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Vietnam welcomes first e-visa visitor

Sunday, February 05, 2017, 10:51 GMT+7

The first-ever e-visa visitor to Vietnam landed in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday to the warm welcome of local officials.

British national Richard Kenneth Wilson was heartily welcomed by officials of the municipal Department of Tourism when he arrived at Tan Son Nhat International Airport on Saturday.

At the ceremony he was showered with gifts and wishes for a fascinating stay in the metropolis.

Wilson applied for a visa via the Internet for his stay in Vietnam from February 3 to March 5, 2017 shortly before the Vietnam Immigration Department issued the first electronic visa (or e-visa) to him right on February 1, the day the Governmental Decree No. 7 began to take effect.

Under a two-year pilot program effective from February 1 stipulated in the decree, visitors from 40 countries, including Ireland, Poland, South Korea, Germany, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the United States,  Greece, Italy, Russia, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Japan, Panama, Peru, Finland, France, the Philippines, Spain, and Sweden, can apply and receive Vietnamese visas via the Internet.   Applications are to be processed by the immigration authority within three working days, after which time approved applicants can access and print their e-visa using an ID provided during the submission process.

Under the new process, visa fee payments will be made by bank transfer to guarantee transparency and convenience for tourists, as well as minimizing intermediate costs.

No letter of guarantee or invitation is required for online visa application, and e-visas will have the validity period of 30 days.

E-visas will be accepted at most international airports in Vietnam, including the major hubs of Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang, Can Tho City, and Phu Quoc Island.

With the employment of the program, Vietnam’s immigration authority can directly issue visas to visitors from foreign countries without a representative office in that country, making it easier and cheaper for tourists to visit Vietnam.

According to statistics by the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism, the number of foreign tourist arrivals to the city saw a surge during the Lunar New Year, which began on January 28 and lingered one week after that, compared to the same period in the previous years.

Air arrivals from January 20 to February 1 were recorded at approximately 253,000, with inbound flights to the city estimated at a daily average of 120 to 135.

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