Vietnam rolls out new online visa processing system

HANOI – March 14th saw the rollout of Vietnam’s new online Visa processing system. As a result of the new system, foreigners will now be able to register and fill out visa application forms online. The official website can be found here.

Previously, foreigners looking to apply for a Vietnamese visa had to physically visit the relevant representative government agency in their area in order to get the required forms.

Among the websites capabilities, foreigners will be able to check the progress of their visa application and access visa related information.

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has stated that in addition to smoothing the process for foreigners, it is hoped that the new online system will “enhance automation in job handling and administrative reforms, link the ministry’s organs together in a unified network infrastructure and share database[s] with other agencies and ministries.”

The MOFA, which is the agency in charge of running the new system, also hopes that it will “attract more foreign individuals and businesses to visit and work in the country, contributing to promoting people-to-people exchanges and national socio-economic development.” In particular, it is hoped that the new system will increase the amount of foreign tourists to the country due to the visa process becoming less of a headache-inducing ordeal.

Vietnam saw over 7.57 million international visitors in 2013, convincingly beating its target of 7.2 million for the year. The figures released by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) represented a rise of 10.6 percent from the 2012 year (6.85 million). Revenues generated from tourism in 2013 came to US$9.4 million.  However, the industry still lags behind neighboring countries such as Thailand.

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Vietnam’s move to an online visa processing system is part of a larger project funded by the World Bank and intended to improve the country’s IT and communication systems.

Dezan Shira & Associates is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in emerging Asia. Since its establishment in 1992, the firm has grown into one of Asia’s most versatile full-service consultancies with operational offices across China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore and Vietnam in addition to alliances in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand as well as liaison offices in Italy and the United States.

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