COVID-era visa rules hamper Vietnam’s tourism recovery

 Friday, March 31, 2023 


Before the Covid 19 pandemic, it was possible to go to Vietnam without getting a visa in advance, instead acquiring a visa on arrival. This is no longer true. Many travellers are still ignorant of this, causing confusion at airports and contributing to Vietnam’s delayed tourism recovery.

The professional organisation e-Visa describes the current scenario for potential Vietnam tourists in this analytical piece.

For many years, Vietnam offered a visa-on-arrival system (also known as VOA), which travellers could apply for after they arrived in the country. This meant they didn’t have to apply for a visa before leaving.

The visa requirements for Vietnam have altered dramatically since the onset of COVID-19. Travelers must now apply for visas many days in advance of their departure, and they may only stay in the nation for a maximum of 30 days.

Vietnam’s immigration department never formally declared the end of the VOA. After the reopening of the borders, they’ve just ceased issuing them. The immigration department has neither verified nor denied the VOA’s return.

The complications surrounding Vietnam’s abolition of the visa on arrival affect pre-departure applications for the online visa variation.

Not only are there longer lines, but visas are increasingly being requested for at the last minute, since individuals are sometimes caught off guard., a visa agency, has noted a significant increase in the number of rush order visa applications being submitted.

According to Pleun Leijten, press manager at, an increasing number of travellers are encountering difficulties due to Vietnam’s ambiguous visa policy.

“Not a day goes by that we don’t receive last-minute phone calls from customers applying for rush order visas, informing us that they didn’t know about the VOA’s discontinuation,” she said.

She adds that the lack of government transparency has made it more difficult to properly assist frustrated callers.

The decision to eliminate visa on arrival has had a significant impact on Vietnam’s tourism industry. Vietnam attracted only 3.6 million tourists in 2022, an 80% decrease from 2019.

Neighbours Thailand and Cambodia had a far faster rebound in the number of arriving visitors. By 2022, the number of visitors in Thailand was already 28% of the 2019 number, and 35% in Cambodia.

Thailand gives visa waivers to a wide range of nations, whereas Cambodia provides visas on arrival at the airport.

« Back to Page

Related Posts


Subscribe to our Newsletter

I want to receive travel news and trade event update from Travel And Tour World. I have read Travel And Tour World's Privacy Notice.