The Vietnamese government has decided to resume pre-pandemic visa issuance and drop the requirements of COVID-19 vaccination certificates and quarantine for foreign arrivals as the Southeast Asian country is seeking to fully revitalize international tourism.
In a notice issued on Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh said the entry and exit procedures for foreigners and Vietnamese living overseas would be restored to the level before COVID-19 restrictions were introduced in early 2020.
Deputy PM Minh also asked the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other related agencies to implement the government’s resolution issued earlier on the day on visa exemption for citizens from 13 countries, namely Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Norway, Finland, Belarus, and Sweden.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall assume the prime responsibility and coordinate with ministries and agencies in formulating immigration policies with partners within the framework of bilateral and multilateral relations.
It will also continue to negotiate with other countries on the recognition of each other’s COVID-19 vaccine passports, facilitate Vietnamese citizens traveling abroad; instruct the application of vaccine passports held by foreigners in Vietnam; and notify relevant countries and territories about adjustments in Vietnam’s immigration policy.
New set of COVID-19 rules
On Wednesday morning, the Ministry of Health promptly announced the renewed health surveillance protocol applicable to foreign arrivals following the government’s urge in the previous day’s notice.
The regulations state that visitors with negative COVID-19 tests can enjoy quarantine-free travel from the first day of their arrival in Vietnam.
Travelers entering the country via air routes will have to present proof of negative COVID-19 tests done within 72 hours prior to departure in cases of RT-PCR/RT-LAMP or within 24 hours in cases of rapid antigen tests, and the results must be certified by the authorities of the country where the testing is conducted.
Children under two years old are exempted from these requirements while people entering by road, sea, and rail will be subject to them.
If arrivals fail to show proof of negative tests, they are required to take a test using either of the two aforementioned methods in the first 24 hours from the time of arrival.
If the results are negative, they may travel outside of their place of accommodation, with safety measures still maintained. If their tests return positive, they must contact health authorities for further instructions.
Arrivals must make a medical declaration before entry and use Vietnam’s COVID-19 mobile application PC-COVID during their entire stay.
At border gates, if a person shows symptoms of COVID-19 infection, they must immediately notify health agencies on the spot to apply response measures as regulated.
No mandatory quarantine is required, but in the first 10 days after entry, people should self-monitor their health and if any symptoms are found, they must ask for assistance from the nearest medical facilities.
Visitors are asked to frequently wear masks and disinfect their hands.
People without negative COVID-19 results prior to entry are asked not to call a halt and make contact with other people along the way from the border gate to their place of accommodation.
The new official set of COVID-19 rules also excluded the requirements on COVID-19 vaccination or recovery certificates.
These guidelines, released a day after the country fully reopened international tourism activities, replace all other previous COVID-19 rules for foreign entries.
With these relaxed regulations, international visitors entering Vietnam will be “treated the same way” as domestic visitors, as Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam promised late on Tuesday.
Vietnam closed international tourism and halted granting visas to foreign tourists since March 2020 due to COVID-19 outbreaks.
It is hoped the new regulations will ease concerns from international tourist companies who have been desperate to welcome back foreign vacationers to the country after two years of severe disruptions caused by the pandemic.
Vietnam has resumed economic activities following a strategy of safe and flexible adaptation to COVID-19 since October 1 last year.
As of Tuesday, the country had documented 6,552,918 COVID-19 infections, with 3,383,142 recoveries and 41,545 fatalities, the Ministry of Health reported.