NA considers exemptions for foreigners in coastal economic zones
Legislature discusses visa-free policy for foreigners entering certain coastal economic zones.
The National Assembly (NA) considered a proposal on visa exemptions for foreigners entering “coastal economic zones that are separate from external territories” at its on-going meeting on the morning of November 14.
Foreign visitors are exempted from visas if they are travelling to a coastal economic zone that has separate spaces and defined geographical boundaries, is separated from outside territories, has an international airport, conducts operations consistent with the country’s socioeconomic development policy, and does not harm Vietnam’s defense, security, social order, and safety.
The regulation within the proposal aims to “legalize” the continued application of Decision No 80 issued by the Prime Minister in 2013, which allows for a 30-day visa exemption for foreigners visiting Phu Quoc Island. The Decision will form the basis for applying similar policies in other coastal economic zones.
Vietnam now has 18 coastal economic zones, including Van Don (northern Quang Ninh province), Dinh Vu - Cat Hai (northern Hai Phong city), Nghi Son (north-central Thanh Hoa province), Vung Ang (north-central Ha Tinh province), Hon La (central Quang Binh province), Chan May - Lang Co (central Thua Thien Hue province), Dung Quat (central Quang Ngai province), Van Phong (south-central Khanh Hoa province), Phu Quoc Island (the Mekong Delta’s Kien Giang province), Dinh An (the Mekong Delta’s Tra Vinh province), and Nam Can (the Mekong Delta’s Ca Mau province).
Agreed with the proposal, the National Defense and Security Commission nonetheless noted that visa exemptions for foreigners pose certain risks, creating difficulties in ensuring security, order, and the management of activities of foreigners in Vietnam. Therefore, these visa exemptions must be accompanied by strict conditions the government will decide upon.
This is the first time a draft law amending and supplementing a number of articles in the law on the entry, exit, transit, and residency of foreigners in Vietnam has been submitted to the NA. The law will be voted on by delegates on November 25. VN Economic Times
Coastal economic zones (EZs) were established with an aim to help attract more investment, but they have not brought the desired effects.