HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam is seeking to recognise vaccine passports and certificate from more countries and will work harder to repatriate Vietnamese citizens from overseas for the Tết (Lunar New year) holiday, announced Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng during a press briefing in Hà Nội on Thursday.
While Việt Nam has recognised vaccine passports from 79 countries and territories, negotiations are underway to recognise other vaccine passports, especially those in a digital format.
“Citizens from these 79 countries who have been vaccinated with two doses will have their quarantine time reduced to three days,” the spokeswoman said at the briefing.
Vietnamese vaccine passports have been recognised by 10 partner countries; the US, Japan, the UK, Australia, India, Belarus, Cambodia, Philippines, Palestine and Maldives.
On December 23, the health ministry issued a vaccine passport template for Việt Nam. The foreign ministry then submitted this to diplomatic missions of countries in Việt Nam, as well as the diplomatic missions of Việt Nam in other countries, to promote the mutual recognition of vaccine passports.
Repatriate more citizens home for Tết
Answering questions from local reporters regarding repatriation flights to bring Vietnamese citizens home, Spokeswoman Hằng said that in the past two years Việt Nam has organised more than 800 flights to repatriate nearly 200,000 Vietnamese citizens from more than 60 countries and territories.
“To contribute to social-economic recovery, enhance international integration, return to normalcy and create favourable conditions for trade with other countries and territories, as well as meet the aspiration of Vietnamese citizens to return home for Tết holiday while taking into account the pandemic situation and quarantine capability, the foreign ministry will continue to work with relevant ministries, agencies, localities and competent authorities to organise more repatriation flights based on citizens’ need,” she said.
Since January 1, 2022, Việt Nam has resumed regular commercial flights with eight countries and territories, she said.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Việt Nam has continued to work with partners to resume flights to Australia and European countries to help Vietnamese citizens overseas return home, the spokeswoman said.
On January 18, the Government approved a proposal from the foreign affairs ministry to allow family members and spouses of Vietnamese citizens residing abroad with valid visa exemption cards to enter Việt Nam, without seeking the approval of ministries or localities or seeking further documents, even if the visa exemption was obtained before COVID-19, Hằng said.
For foreigners and Vietnamese citizens entering Việt Nam with valid documents like permanent or temporary residence cards, valid visas or visa exemption cards, they can enter Việt Nam following relevant law and regulations, she said.
For people who want to enter Việt Nam for purposes like work, investment or to attend meetings, conferences, study or visit relatives, but do not have relevant papers and documents, they will still need to seek approval from relevant ministries, agencies and local authorities following the Article 16 of the Law on Entry, Exit and Transit in Việt Nam, she said.
“Prior and after arrival to Việt Nam, entrants from these three groups have to comply with the health ministry’s guidance on the pandemic prevention protocols including vaccination, testing and further health monitoring and declaration,” she said.
Overcharging repatriation flights condemned
Answering a question from a reporter from Dân Việt newspaper about reports of price gouging of repatriation flights and complex administrative procedures on entry, the spokeswoman said: “It is necessary to reiterate that organising flights to repatriate Vietnamese citizens wishing to return home or those with difficult situations who wish to return home is a righteous and humanitarian policy of the government.
“Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Vietnamese diplomatic missions abroad have cooperated with relevant agencies to create most favourable conditions for Vietnamese nationals who wish to return home country with relevant information published publicly and transparently on website and social media platforms,” Hằng said.
To prevent any possible scams, citizens are advised against making contacts with individuals or organisations that are anonymous without credibility or working with brokers, she said.
“We have made very clear that all activities or actions that are meant to exploit people and go against the humanitarian nature of the government endeavours need to be condemned and punished according to the law,” she said. — VNS