HANOI, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Under a decree recently issued by the Vietnamese government, citizens from 35 countries, including China, are eligible for e-visas under a pilot program, local media reported on Thursday.

The new decree on amending and supplementing the list of foreign citizens eligible for e-visas and border gates that allow immigration by e-visas stipulates that citizens from 35 countries, including Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, Croatia, Mexico, Qatar, Papua New Guinea and Switzerland are eligible for the two-year program starting on Feb. 1, online newspaper VnExpress reported.

International border gates Tay Trang in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien, Na Meo in the central province of Thanh Hoa, La Lay in the central province of Quang Tri, Duong Dong port in the southern province of Kien Giang and Chan May port in the central province of Thua Thien Hue will also allow immigration by e-visas. Accordingly, a total of 16 border gates and nine ports in Vietnam currently allow foreigners to enter the country with e-visas, Vietnam News Agency reported.

Vietnam received more than 1.5 million foreign visitors in January, up 5 percent against the same period last year, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

The country, which welcomed roughly 15.5 million international arrivals, including nearly 5 million Chinese tourists in 2018, is striving to host some 18 million foreign visitors and 85 million domestic ones in 2019.