Coronavirus measures and the Vietnam visa
Vietnam was one of the first countries hit by the coronavirus, but due to quick and far-reaching measures implemented by the government, the consequences were limited. However, currently there is a second wave in the Southeast Asian country, and precautionary measures have once again been taken. This also impacts your trip and the Vietnam visa.
What is the state of affairs surrounding Covid-19 in Vietnam?
Being a one-party state, Vietnam was able to comprehensively tackle the coronavirus and quickly take far-reaching measures. This made it so the number of coronavirus infections remained limited. To this day (6 August 2020) only 717 confirmed infections have been reported, along with 9 casualties. However, the numbers are slowly starting to rise again, which makes it important to keep a number of things in mind if you were planning to travel to Vietnam.
Can I travel to Vietnam?
One of the measures through which the Vietnamese government is trying to stop the spread of the coronavirus, is a travel ban for virtually all travellers. This also applies to foreigners that already received a visa. Exceptions are made, for instance for diplomats and experts. If it is of essential importance that an expert performs a service, the company or organisation in question can submit an application with the Vietnamese authorities. Diplomatic passport holders can travel into the country without additional procedures. All travellers that are granted access are required to quarantine themselves for 14 days at a designated location, where they will be tested. Quarantining at home will not suffice.
It is unknown how long this travel ban will remain in place. As new measures are being taken to stop a possible new outbreak, it is expected that travelling to Vietnam will not be recommended for at least another month.
What effect does this have on my visa?
In all likelihood, visas that were already issued for a trip later this year will remain valid, so that the visa is still usable after the travel ban for Vietnam is lifted. Take note: this has not been legally confirmed, and the government of Vietnam can always decide otherwise in the future.
The immigration service of Vietnam will not refund the visa costs under any circumstances, even if you cannot use the visa (anymore). Travellers that have travel or cancellation insurance for their trip via a tour operator can try to claim their damages there.
Can I still apply for a Vietnam visa?
It is currently still possible to apply for an electronic Vietnam visa online on this website. However, applications are put on hold until the travel ban is lifted. For a moment, it seemed as if the immigration service would resume issuing visas from 1 July onward, but this was not the case. It concerned a simple administrative formality; the law making issuing of e-visas possible expired on 30 June 2020, and had to be reinstated. It is unknown when applications that are currently on hold will be processed again, and if there will be additional requirements for the Vietnam visa.Apply for the Vietnam e-visa now
What do I do if I’m already in Vietnam?
If you are already in Vietnam, you are required to observe the regulations set up by the Vietnamese government. These differ locally. In certain areas, most companies operate as normal, though you are required to adhere to a number of hygienic measures. Offices, stores, restaurants, schools and service companies are open again in these areas. In other areas, namely Da Nang in central Vietnam, the province Quang Nam and the cities Hai Duong and Buon Ma Thuout, social distancing measures are in place. This means that non-essential stores and establishments are closed. People are expected to stay inside, except for essential transportation. Travelling to and from other cities is not possible. In Hanoi, bars, karaoke and street restaurants are also closed until further notice. Furthermore, it is advisable to observe the guidelines of the NHS.
The British government advises all travellers that are currently in Vietnam without a pressing reason to leave the country. Starting June, domestic flights have returned to normal; the only exception is Da Nang. British Airlines, Asiana Airlines and Korean Air offer flights to Europe from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi (sometimes via South Korea). Travellers returning from Vietnam are required to quarantine themselves for 14 days.
In case you cannot or do not want to return, you can ask the Immigration Services (in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi or Da Nang) if and how you can extend your residence permit or visa.
Disclaimer: the information on this page is as secure and topical as possible. However, due to the speed with which the situation surrounding the coronavirus develops itself, no rights can be gained from it. To stay informed about the current state of affairs, contact your travel agency, airline or the embassy.