The country is opening up to travelers months ahead of schedule.
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A general view shows part of the Vinpearl leisure complex on Phu Quoc island in Vietnam
Credit: Nhac Nguyen/Getty Images

Travelers may not have to wait until summer to get back to Vietnam's gorgeous beaches, bustling cities, and historic sites after all.

The Vietnamese tourism ministry is hopeful it will be able to fully reopen its borders to foreign visitors beginning March 15 — a full three months earlier than initially expected.

Under the tourism ministry's reopening plan, international travelers would need to test negative for COVID-19 before departure to Vietnam and again upon arrival in the country. All visitors will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 within the previous six months and at least 14 days ahead of travel to Vietnam.

Entry information can also be found on the US Embassy and Consulate in Vietnam's website.

Visitors also would be required to quarantine for the first day of their trip and carry travel medical coverage for up to $10,000. The plan "is in accordance with the government's new responses to the pandemic, which are adapting safely and flexibly and controlling the virus effectively," a Vietnamese government official told Reuters.

Vietnam's push toward reopening comes despite an increase of COVID-19 infections. The country, on Wednesday alone, reported nearly 32,000 new cases of the coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization. But with hospitalizations and deaths are rising less steeply than infections, officials are cautiously following in the footsteps of southeast Asian neighbors including the Philippines and Thailand by gradually welcoming back visitors.

In an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19 within its borders, Vietnam implemented one of the world's strictest travel policies early in the pandemic. With local vaccinations well underway, Vietnam begin welcoming foreign visitors again in November.

Travelers from several countries, including the U.S., will still need to obtain a visa for travel to Vietnam.

Meena Thiruvengadam loves wandering new streets and discovering the world's stories. Subscribe to her newsletter, and look for her on Facebook and Instagram.