This policy allows visa applicants to come to these enterprises, instead of the Japanese Embassy and Consulate General.
Vietnamese visitors, instead of applying for and obtaining visas at the Japanese Embassy in Hanoi or the Consulate General of Japan in HCM City, can perform their visa procedures at accredited travel agencies, starting from this month.
These firms can receive applications for various visa types, except for some special cases such as official or diplomatic passport holders. However, they are merely authorized to collect visa applications and whether visas are granted depends on Japanese visa officers.
The new policy is aimed to reduce the workload at the visa section, improve visa services, shorten processing time, and further enhance convenience for visa applicants in rural and remote areas.
There are nearly 30 travel agencies entrusted to receive visa applications from tourists. They have nationwide networks of offices, allowing visa seekers to send their documents to the nearest offices of the travel firms.
Some travel companies have recently introduced this positive policy as one of their advantages in operating tours to Japan.
Visa fees vary from one travel firm to another. In addition to the Japanese government’s prescribed visa application fee, many enterprises may or may not collect extra fees from customers.
Tu Quy Thanh, director of Lien Bang Travelink, said, “Those customers buying our tours will have to pay no extra charge. For non-buyers, we will collect no more than VND200,000 (US$8.7) per application dossier,” said.
Over two years ago, Japan listed 56 travel firms for outsourcing visa procedures. Vietnamese tourists purchasing their package tours to the Land of the Rising Sun enjoyed the relaxed visa requirements. The majority of the chosen companies this time are from the previous list.
Japan in January-October welcomed more than 20,000 Vietnamese tourists, showing that it has become more attractive to tourists from Vietnam. The Japanese tourism promotion agency established a representative office in Hanoi last month.