The introduction of e-visa scheme for visitors, regulations on horse, dog racing, international football betting, business in prize-winning electronic games, extension of visa waiver for Western European tourists are among foreign-related policies in Viet Nam in the first half of 2017.
Pilot implementation of an e-visa scheme for visitors
In an effort to attract more foreign visitors to the country, the Government on January 25 issued Decree No. 07/2017/ND-CP, guiding the pilot implementation of an e-visa scheme for visitors from 40 countries.
Under the Decree, all procedures for application for e-visas may be conducted online. To be granted an e-visa, an applicant will access www.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn or www.immigration.gov.vn to fill in the declaration form, pay a visa fee, and get a code for his/her dossier. The applicant will have to wait for three days before receiving a reply from the Immigration Management Department. If his/her dossier is okayed, the applicant will use the granted code to print out the e-visa.
Similarly, Viet Nam-based organizations and individuals wishing to invite or provide guarantee for foreigners to enter the country may carry out procedures for applying for e-visas for their guests.
The new regulation is attached with a list of 40 nations eligible for the e-visa scheme, including the U.S., Japan, Germany, the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Russia, and South Korea, among others. It also specifies 28 border gates through which entry and exit with e-visas are permitted.
Decree on horse, dog racing, int'l football betting
The Government in February 3 issued Decree 06/2017/ND-CP on horse, dog racing and international football betting. The new decree regulates regulations on business management and punishment on administrative infringements on horse and dog racing and pilot international football gambling in Viet Nam.
Accordingly, betting is a conditional business activity which is not encouraged and put under strict control of State management agencies. Vietnamese Dong must be used to purchase betting tickets and pay awards.
Vietnamese and foreigners aged full 21 years or older shall be allowed to bet on horse races, dog races or international football matches at a rate of between VND 10,000 and VND 1,000,000 for each betting product offered by a betting service provider.
In order to be granted a certificate of eligibility for horse racing or dog racing business, an enterprise must have a racecourse equipped with technological systems, technical devices and software to serve betting business. The enterprise will also be requested to work out a feasible business plan with betting ticket distribution methods and areas in conformity with regulations.
Business in prize-winning electronic games for foreigners
Since February 15, 2017, Decree No. 175/2016/ND-CP on business in prize-winning electronic games for foreigners,electronic game machines with prizes used in business shall be 100% new with technical specifications clarified by the manufacturer, and certified by independent certifying agencies operating in G7 countries.
Slot machines will have to offer a pay-out percentage of at least 90%, which is written in to the software that is installed in to the slot machine while it is still in the factory.
If the operator of the facility changes the pay-out percentage, they have to make sure that the new percentage is not lower than 90% and has to have the machine certified again before putting it into use. The pay-out percentage has to be specified in the terms of the game.
Visa waiver extended for Western European tourists
The Government has approved an extension of the visa waiver for citizens from five Western European countries -- the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain -- for the third time.
The visa waiver extension will take effect for one year from July 30 pursuant to a newly released Government decision. Tourists from these countries will not have to apply for a visa if they stay for 15 days or less.
The visa exemption policy for citizens of five Western European countries is being piloted from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, then extended for a further year, to June 30, 2017. This is the second time this policy is renewed./.
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