Many tourists from the five European countries which Vietnam has scrapped visas for still had to pay the fees when arriving at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on the very first day the visa waiver took effect.
Since July 1, Vietnam has waived visas for people from Italy, Germany, Spain, England and France, with an allowed stay of 15 days for each entry in one year.
But many tourists from these countries have complained that they were asked to pay US$45 to get a stamp on their visa upon arrival at Noi Bai, according to Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Saigon) newspaper.
Some Spanish and German travelers said they had learned of the visa-free travel policy prior to their Vietnam trip, but there were no instructions regarding the visa waiver at the airport’s immigration counter.
Those tourists who knew they would not have to apply for a visa could go straight into the immigration counter, and “everything was OK,” the tourists said.
But those who still presented their visa applications would be immediately directed to the counter to get the visa stamp, without being asked for their nationality.
This illustrated that Noi Bai authorities are not ready to follow the new government policy, a German tourist told Saigon Giai Phong.
A Spanish tourist, meanwhile, said paying a $45 fee was not a big deal, but they felt very disappointed.