Vietnam has decided to extend temporary residence permits for foreigners who are currently in the country and unable to leave due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic, according to the Immigration Department under the Ministry of Public Security.
Foreign nationals entering Vietnam visa-free or on tourist visas who find themselves stranded in the country because of the pandemic after their period of stay has expired can apply for an extension of temporary residence by up to 30 days, the department said in a document issued on Wednesday.
The embassy or consulate general of the visitor's home country can act as their guarantor, and applications are to be lodged to the Immigration Department.
An application must include a valid passport or equivalent documentation, proofs of temporary residence registration and health declaration, and an application form stamped by the embassy or consulate general of the applicant's home country.
The Immigration Department will return the result in five working days after a valid application is successfully submitted. Those who overstay their temporary residence permit for less than ten days due to force majeure will be exempt from any administrative fine, provided they can produce proofs of a valid reason for their overstaying.
Acceptable reasons for overstaying include being under quarantine and having no flights home due to travel restrictions and border closures.
This policy is effective until April 30.
The Immigration Department also said it has stopped receiving and processing immigration-related procedures for Vietnamese and foreign organizations and individuals for 15 days from 0:00 April 1, except in urgent cases.
Vietnam has barred entry to all foreigners, including persons who hold visa exemption documents, from March 22.
A considerable number of foreign visitors are spending extended stays in lodgings throughout Vietnam due to canceled flights.
Ho Chi Minh City has identified 33 four- and five-star hotels currently accommodating a total of 407 foreign guests, a large number of whom have booked their stay through mid-April.
According to the municipal Department of Tourism, hotels must check and keep records of lodging guests, including their name, date of birth, nationality, gender, passport number, contact details, travel history, and means of transport before arriving in Ho Chi Minh City.
During the foreign guests' stay, hotels must implement medical screening and prepare measures to ensure the safety of their guests and staff members, advise guests to avoid leaving the premises, perform mandatory medical declaration and regular body temperature checkup, maintain the use of face masks and a distance of two meters from one another, halt buffets, and prioritize in-room catering service.
In case of suspected COVID-19 infection, hotels must immediately contact the local Center for Preventive Medicine or reach the Ministry of Health hotline for instructions, as well as comply with the ministry’s guidelines and inform the Department of Tourism.