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New Policy Increases Visa Fees for US Tourists Five-Fold

While American expats struggling to obtain a work permit have looked forward to one-year visas for some time, a new government policy will make tourist visas far more expensive for visitors from the US.

VnExpress reports that as of August 29, US citizens must now pay US$135 for a one-year multiple-entry visa. The US$25 single-entry visas are no longer available, and visitors must apply for a one-year visa, no matter how short their stay is.

The news source quotes an interview with Vu The Binh, vice chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association (VTA), who said the new policy is in line with an agreement between Vietnam and the US. The latter has long offered one-year visas to Vietnamese passport holders at $US160

As Binh says, “the regulations are just too rigid. Most tourists to Vietnam are on one-time and few-day travel trips so there is no need to apply for this type of visa.” The government is actively working to bring more tourists into the country, and their efforts thus far have paid off. Last year 500,000 Americans visited Vietnam, a 10% increase from 2014. Meanwhile, 386,000 U.S. arrivals were recorded in the first eight months of this year, up 15% from the same period last year.

Tour companies are undoubtedly upset about the fee hike, while VTA has recently announced that it would file an official complaint to the government about the new policy, according to Thanh Nien. Most tour agencies are taken aback by the fee, lamenting that they have not received any official document in advance.

"We can’t inform our partners that the visa fee has been increased without any document. Tourists will surely react when told to pay more money," Phan Xuan Anh, chairman of Viet Excursions travel firm, told the news source.

[Photo via dcgreer]

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