In order to curb the spread of Covid-19, Vietnam has decided to shut down its borders in March. The government also suspended all International flights and halted the issuance of new visas to foreign nationals. Because of this, thousands of foreigners were left stranded in the country and have to get their visa extended. The Vietnam government is very much aware of this, which is why they have launched the automatic stay extension policy.
There was a recent update regarding the extension of stay of foreign nationals who are currently stuck in Vietnam due to the coronavirus pandemic. Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security has recently announced a new policy that will provide an automatic extension of the temporary stay of foreigners who cannot leave because of the ongoing pandemic. A letter was sent to the various embassies all over the country regarding this new policy. Here are the details of the new automatic stay extension policy.
The Immigration Department of Ministry of Vietnam will continue to implement the automatic stay exemption until September 30, 2020. In order to qualify for the automatic stay extension, the foreigners must complete the temporary residence and health status declaration form.
The new policy involves a one-month extension to the existing policy, which means they have until September to enjoy the privilege. This applies to all foreigners holding a temporary stay visa, such as the e-visa, visa on arrival, and other types of tourist visas.
The automatic stay extension of Vietnam applies to foreigners who entered the country since March 1st but have been stranded because of the Covid-19 travel restrictions. With the automatic stay extension, their temporary stay permits are automatically extended. The initial plan was to extend it only until July 31, but the recent announcement states that it will be extended again until September 30.
Those who entered the country before March 1st are also eligible to have their stay extended automatically until the end of September. However, they must be able to provide proof that they were stranded in Vietnam because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which will be established by the relevant embassies. For instance, if they have been quarantined or treated due to Covid-19, they must be able to provide documents from relevant authorities to prove this.
Foreign nationals who are not eligible for the automatic stay extension, but ended up staying longer than their visa validity will face penalties according to the Immigration laws of Vietnam.
Another dilemma that some foreigners have to deal with is the expiration of their passport. Since they have been stranded in the country for several months, a lot of them have not been able to get their passport renewed. The Vietnam Immigration has provided a separate policy for this.
For stranded foreigners who are holding a passport that will expire soon, they are required to submit a Diplomatic Note stating that they have not been granted a new passport because of the Covid-19 restrictions. The Immigration Department will give them exceptions. They will provide the necessary assistance to the foreign nationals, even though their passports have already expired or about to expire.
With the latest announcement from the Vietnam Immigration Dept., in coordination with the Ministry of Public Security, foreigners will automatically be given free permit extensions. This means that they no longer need to do anything on their end and they don’t have to pay for any fee. Their visa will immediately be extended so they are legally allowed to stay in the country until September 30th. They can leave Vietnam without paying any penalties and they don’t have to undergo any official procedures concerning their visa validity.
As per the regulation of Vietnam’s Immigration Ministry, any foreign individual who has been granted the extension of temporary residence permit is required to declare their health status and residency. Those who are not eligible or anyone who will commit violations will be dealt with according to Vietnam’s existing laws on immigration.
Vietnam has so far been successful in containing the coronavirus and has gone 100 days without any new cases. It has only recorded 355 infections with no deaths. However, a recent outbreak was detected in Da Nang in the past week. This was the first recorded community transmission in the country for the past three months.
The detection of these new Covid-19 cases comes just as the country is trying to rebuild its economy. In fact, the government is considering travel bubbles with some other countries that are considered “low-risk”.
Vietnam’s borders are still closed and it’s not yet clear when the country will start opening again. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of foreign visits in the country has fallen to 55.8% compared to the previous year.
Depending on the type of visa that you currently have, you will need to have a sponsoring entity for the extension of your visa. The NA5 form that you will submit must be signed and stamped by the direction of the entity before you submit the form to the immigration office.
If you will choose to process the extension of your visa by yourself, you need to first prepare the required documents. Here are the documents needed: Form NA5 – you can download this form online.
If you are holding a Vietnam visa, one of the most important things you need to keep in mind is the validity of the visa. These visas will only allow you to stay in the country for a certain number of days.