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Viet Nam Today
 
New visa policy makes crossing the divide easier
10-16-2007, 05:26 am

Ha Noi (VNA) - Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Phu Binh sat down for an interview with the Viet Nam News Agency to discuss a new visa exemption policy for overseas Vietnamese that the Prime Minister signed off on last week.

Binh, who also doubles as Chairman of the Committee for Overseas Vietnamese, said that the government hopes that the new visa requirements will promote greater interaction between the Vietnamese people living overseas and the country.

VNA: What makes this new policy so significant for overseas Vietnamese?

Deputy FM Nguyen Phu Binh: The decision allowing overseas Vietnamese to obtain visa exemptions is a cornerstone policy under the Political Bureau’s Resolution 36 that states "overseas Vietnamese are considered a part of the community of Vietnamese ethnicities". It also demonstrates the high priority that the government has placed on the relationship we share with the overseas Vietnamese community.

Resolution 36 works to provide overseas Vietnamese with a convenient mechanism to visit and for the worship of their ancestors. Therefore, regulations mandating entry, exit, stay and travel for overseas Vietnamese in the country must be simple and convenient.

The granting of exemptions and other policies that have been custom tailored for them, including a single-price policy or a policy that allows overseas Vietnamese to buy homes in Viet Nam are part of a package that aims to address the overseas Vietnamese community's needs and will step by step stamp out some of the old discriminatory policies.

We are convinced that the visa exemption will have a broad based effect, in raising the awareness of the government ministries, sectors and localities on the affairs of overseas Vietnamese.

VNA: Who is eligible for the exemption?

Deputy FM: Visa exemptions will be granted to all ethnically Vietnamese that reside abroad who can provide the necessary documentation.

Overseas Vietnamese and foreigners who are spouses or offspring of Vietnamese nationals or overseas Vietnamese are also entitled to visa exemptions. They will need to have an up-to-date passport or a certification document that is still valid for at least 6 months along with a visa exemption certificate from an authorised Vietnamese agency.

The visa exemption certificate will be valid for five years and will allow multiple entries for a maximum stay of 90 days for each stay.

VNA: How easy will this decision be to implement?

Deputy FM: The Prime Minister’s decision has been warmly welcomed by the overseas Vietnamese community but there have been concerns that this is only a policy and it will remain difficult for people to obtain the certificates as they wait upon ministries and branches to grant them.

However, I would like to confirm that all of the ministries and branches involved in the granting of certificates (the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Public Security, Finance and Defence) will instruct agencies and Viet Nam’s representative offices abroad to carry out the Prime Minister’s decision based on a spirit of openness.

Visa exemption certificates will be granted swiftly, actually within seven days of an individual handing over the needed documentation. It will be a relatively simple procedure that will allow overseas Vietnamese to apply for the certificates at Viet Nam’s representative offices abroad or the Viet Nam Immigration Management Department.

The declaration is pretty straightforward and sample forms are available on the Government’s website and a number of web-based news outlets.-Enditem


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