Disagreements on the recently introduced Chinese microchipped passport created difficulties for Chinese e-passport holders wishing to apply for a Vietnamese eVisa and other visas to China’s neighboring countries. Chinese e-passport holders will therefore need to obtain the visa through a different application process or apply for a different type of visa.
This article includes important information regarding the Vietnamese eVisa for Chinese nationals, China’s e-passport implementation and controversy, and options that Chinese citizens can explore in order to get a visa to Vietnam and enjoy their holiday hassle-free.
A New Biometric Passport: the Chinese e-Passport
In 2012, the Chinese government started issuing e-Passports. e-Passports are special microchipped documents that contain digitalized biometric information about the holder like fingerprints and signature.
China e-passport joins a long list of passports around the world that have been updated with the latest technology. e-Passports are harder to counterfeit making borders and international travel safer.
Moreover, they allow the holder to use special e-passport gates at several airports around the world. The e-passport gates are automated border control gates where the traveler can have their passport checked automatically without needing the supervision of a border control officer — therefore reducing queues and waiting times at the airport.
The Chinese government introduced the Chinese biometric passport as a tool to make traveling smoother and safer.
The Vietnam eVisa for Chinese Citizens
Several countries — including Vietnam — have started implementing eVisas following a similar logic. Applying for a Vietnamese eVisa is quick and straightforward: the application is completed entirely online and once granted, the eVisa for Vietnam allows tourists to stay in the country for up to 30 days.
The Vietnamese eVisa saves tourists time and effort. They won’t have to visit an embassy in person or apply for a visa at the airport, which can often result in long queues and variable fees. As long as they have the required documents and meet the Vietnam eVisa requirements, tourists are usually able to receive their visa via email in minutes.
Why Chinese e-Passport Holders Can’t Apply for a Vietnamese eVisa
Unfortunately, disagreements have arisen between China and several neighboring countries (including Vietnam, India, and the Philippines) following the release of Chinese e-passports.
A map of China printed in the e-passport features lands and maritime territories that are claimed by either Vietnam, India, or the Philippines. As a response, these countries have set limitations to the eligibility of Chinese nationals for their visas.
Chinese e-passport holders now cannot apply for Indian visas from outside China and can’t have Philippine visa labels on their passport — instead, they need to carry their Philippine visa on a separate document.
Implications for Chinese e-passport holders also include not being able to apply for an eVisa with the e-passport in order to travel to Vietnam.
How Can Chinese e-Passport Holders Obtain a Visa to Vietnam?
Using a Chinese electronic passport to apply for an eVisa to Vietnam is not possible and the application will be unsuccessful.
In general, Chinese electronic passport holders applying for a visa to Vietnam from outside China must be aware that they may be required to return to China in order to complete their application successfully. Most likely, they will be asked to visit a Vietnamese consulate or embassy in China.
Vietnamese travel agents in China can also assist travelers in obtaining a Vietnam visa printed on a separate document (known as a loose-leaf visa) so that they can enter Vietnam by plane.
It’s important to notice that Chinese nationals holding a non-electronic passport can apply for the Vietnamese eVisa just like all visitors from eligible countries. All they’ll have to do is make sure that their traditional passport is valid for at least 6 months upon arrival, that they have a credit or debit card to pay for the application fees, as well as comply with other Vietnam eVisa requirements for Chinese citizens.