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Official Gazette

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Overseas Vietnamese and their families enjoy new visa exemptions

Updated: 16:51’ - 02/05/2008

Overseas Vietnamese and their families enjoy new visa exemptions

Huynh Thi Thai, a Vietnamese woman who has lived in the Republic of Korea for more than 30 years, has become one of the first overseas Vietnamese to receive a visa exemption certificate from the Vietnamese government, enabling her to freely return to her homeland like a Vietnamese citizen. Bearing the Republic of Korean citizenship, Thai was moved to possess such a certificate which, she said, was not merely a paper facilitating her visit home but, more significantly, a recognition of her Vietnamese origin.

Thai is among hundreds of Vietnamese living in different parts of the world who have been the first beneficiaries of the newly-issued regulation on visa exemption for Vietnamese residing overseas.

The regulation, which was issued together with Prime Minister Decision No. 135 on August 17 and which took effect on September 1, seeks to ease travel formalities for overseas Vietnamese in a bid to encourage more homeland visits from overseas Vietnamese and promote their contribution to national construction and development.

Under the regulation, Vietnamese residing overseas bearing foreign passports or foreign residence permits and foreign nationals who are spouses or children of Vietnamese citizens or Vietnamese residing overseas are eligible for a visa exemption certificate.

The visa exemption certificate, which is valid for five years and expires at least 6 months prior to the expiration date of the passport or residence permit issued by foreign authorities, is used for multiple entry with each entry not exceeding 90 days. Those wishing to stay longer may apply for an extension when they are in the country.

Overseas Vietnamese only need to present a foreign passport with the visa exemption certificate to enter at a Vietnam border gate.

To acquire a visa exemption certificate, an overseas Vietnamese will need to produce a passport, passport-substitute paper or residence permit valid for at least 6 months, a visa exemption application form and one of the following documents:

(i) a document proving that he/she is Vietnamese residing overseas or a paper issued by the administration of former regimes in Vietnam that  can be used to assume his/her original nationality or Vietnamese origin;

(ii) a written guarantee by an overseas Vietnamese association based in the country where he/she resides or by a Vietnamese citizen; or

(iii) a document issued by an authorized foreign agency certifying that he/she has Vietnamese nationality or origin.

The document proving that an applicant is Vietnamese residing overseas can be either:

(i) a Vietnamese nationality certificate;

(ii) a copy of the decision to terminate or resume his/her Vietnamese nationality;

(iii) a certificate of his/her loss of Vietnamese nationality; or

(iv) other documents that can be used to assume his/her original nationality or Vietnamese origin, such as Vietnamese passport (including expired one), residence registration book, identity card, birth certificate and latest voter card.

Foreign applicants who are spouses or children of Vietnamese citizens or Vietnamese residing overseas need to submit a document proving this relationship, which can be either of the following:

(i) a marriage certificate;

(ii) a birth certificate;

(iii) a document certifying the parental relationship, including child adoption certificate; or

(iv) other valid documents according to Vietnam law.

Applicants can submit dossiers at Vietnamese overseas diplomatic missions in their countries of residence or in countries most convenient for them if a Vietnam diplomatic mission is not available in their countries of residence, or at the Ministry of Public Security’s Immigration Departments in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang.

Applicants will receive the visa exemption certificate within 7 working days from the date of submitting valid dossiers.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains a website at
http://mienthithucvk, providing specific guidance on visa exemption application dossiers and procedures in both Vietnamese and English. It also gives full addresses of Vietnamese overseas diplomatic missions for direct or mail submission of application dossiers.

The decision to free overseas Vietnamese from entry visa is a move to materialize Politburo Resolution No. 36 of March 2004 on tasks relating to overseas Vietnamese, said Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Phu Binh in a recent interview with the daily Nhan Dan (The People).

It reflects the State’s care for and favored treatment of the overseas Vietnamese community which is considered an inseparable part of the Vietnamese community, he said, stressing that Vietnam is leading the world in offering such a privilege for its nationals overseas.

Visa exemption, together with other policies, including adopting single pricing for overseas Vietnamese, allowing overseas Vietnamese to own homes in Vietnam, and introducing a common investment law for Vietnamese, overseas Vietnamese and foreigners, shows the Government’s continued efforts to address concerns of overseas Vietnamese and eliminate the distinction between Vietnamese living home and abroad, Mr Binh said. He pointed out that the visa exemption decision is the Government’s major administrative reform given the fact that, not long ago, even Vietnamese citizens bearing Vietnamese passports were required to secure entry and exit visas.

The Deputy Minister affirmed that the new regulation would be implemented in the most flexible and convenient manner for overseas Vietnamese, compared with current visa granting formalities, since concerned authorities, including the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Public Security, Finance and Defense, have been well prepared to provide detailed guidance on the regulation to overseas diplomatic missions.

The visa exemption policy for overseas Vietnamese was first mentioned by President Nguyen Minh Triet in his meeting with overseas Vietnamese from all over the world in Hanoi on the occasion of the 2006 lunar new year. He reaffirmed it in another meeting with more than 100 overseas Vietnamese in Los Angeles during his official visit to the United States in June 2007.

The overseas Vietnamese community has warmly applauded the Government’s new visa policy.

Receiving his visa exemption certificate, Professor Nguyen Van Tuan of New South Wales University said the visa exemption policy was good news for the overseas Vietnamese community, proving the State’s open policies and helping eliminate the doubts and misunderstanding of some people about Vietnam.

Ly Kieu Thu, a resident of France, said the new visa policy would truly help Vietnam unite its nationals all over the world and was a practical answer to those often distorting realities in Vietnam.

Petra Pham, a German wife of a Vietnamese, extended her thanks to the Vietnamese Government for granting her such a certificate, helping her to easily travel to her husband’s homeland.

Professor Truong Huy Tran, living in France, said the certificate was very helpful for him to travel home frequently for his current projects with Hanoi National University.

Tran Van Thinh Paul, a resident of Belgium, said the visa exemption policy proved that Vietnam was intensively and extensively carrying out its renewal and open-door policies, taking its overseas nationals into major account.

Film director Ho Quang Minh in Switzerland said the decision would trigger an increasing influx of overseas Vietnamese who would be encouraged to engage in more investment and business at home.

Luu Quang Viet, one of the first overseas Vietnamese in France receiving the certificate, said, although born and raised in France, he has longed to come back to Vietnam to learn about the history and culture of his homeland, and this certificate would make his wish come true.

Quach Hung Tong, living in the US, said the new visa regulation has spared him from visa application times, about a week for each entry, thus largely facilitating his business in Vietnam.

According to the Committee for Overseas Vietnamese, there are some 3 million Vietnamese living abroad, with the greatest numbers the United States, France, Australia and Canada. An average of 500,000 overseas Vietnamese return home each year.

Some 200,000 visa exemption certificates have been sent to overseas diplomatic missions in anticipation of a rising number of visa exemption applicants, the Committee said.-




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