Vietnam travel advice

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Risk level

Vietnam - Exercise a high degree of caution

Exercise a high degree of caution in Vietnam due to high rate of petty crime.

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Safety and security

Crime

Petty crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs frequently. It’s most prevalent in larger cities and may increase during major public holidays, such as Tet (Lunar New Year).

Criminals work alone or in groups and may use various techniques to distract you and steal your belongings. They may try to grab your bag and other valuables while passing on a motorbike or slash your bag in crowded streets and markets. 

Theft is frequent:  

  • in popular tourist areas
  • in markets, shopping centres and commercial streets
  • on public transportation including sleeper trains
  • in transportation hubs such as airports and train stations
  • in restaurants, including patios and outdoor cafés
  • at beaches and seaside destinations

While travelling:

  • ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • keep a digital copy of your identity and travel documents
  • avoid showing signs of affluence or wearing expensive jewellery 
  • avoid carrying large sums of cash
  • avoid isolated areas, especially at night
  • pay attention to your surroundings, particularly in crowded and tourist areas
  • be extra cautious when withdrawing cash from ATMs

Violent crime

Although violent crimes targeting foreigners are rarer, they may occur. In some cases, criminals have used weapons such as knives and razors. Threats of physical injury related to personal disputes also occasionally occur.

  • If you are involved in a dispute, contact the police as soon as possible
  • If you are threatened by robbers, don’t resist

Residential break-ins

Residential break-ins occur, especially in large cities and may increase before and during the Tet holiday (Lunar New Year). Burglars may target houses or apartments rented or owned by tourists and foreigners.

  • Stay in accommodations with adequate security measures  
  • Make sure you lock doors and windows at night and when you’re away

Women’s safety

Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse. Sexual assault and harassment do occur, including:

  • in beach destinations
  • in bars, nightclubs and entertainment districts
  • on taxis and public transportation

Local authorities may not always respond adequately to reports of sexual violence and harassment. If you are a victim of sexual assault:

  • seek immediate medical assistance, whether or not you appear to have been physically harmed
  • contact the local police and ensure they file a report
  • inform consular officials at the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate

Advice for women travellers

Fraud

Credit card and ATM fraud

Credit and debit card as well as ATM fraud occurs frequently.

  • Avoid using your credit card in small establishments
  • Consider using a card with a small credit limit
  • Cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • Pay careful attention when others are handling your cards
  • Avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • Use ATMs located in public areas or inside a bank or business
  • Check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

Cybercrime

Cybercrime occurs. Perpetrators may compromise public Wi-Fi networks to steal credit card or personal information.

  • Avoid using unsecured public Wi-Fi networks
  • Avoid making purchases on unencrypted websites
  • Be cautious when posting information on social media
  • Be especially vigilant if you decide to meet someone you met online
  • Don’t click a suspicious link in an email or text message asking for your credit card details

At the airport

Criminals posing as taxi drivers have targeted foreign visitors at Nội Bài International Airport in Hanoi and robbed them by forcing them to withdraw money from ATMs.

Travellers have also been robbed by drivers who greeted them upon arrival with a placard showing their name.

  • Arrange your pickup with your hotel before arrival, or use authorized airport taxis
  • Confirm the driver’s identity and the licence plate before getting in the car

Gambling scams

Tourists have been victims of gambling scams in Hanoi, as well as in Ho Chi Minh City, particularly in the Pham Ngu Lao neighbourhood.

The scam consists of a friendly invitation sent to the victim to go to someone’s home in order to meet a relative interested in visiting Canada. While waiting for the relative, the scammers suggest a casual game of cards involving an initial small wager. Some victims have lost thousands of dollars over the course of an evening.

Be wary of unsolicited proposals from strangers.

If you’ve been scammed:

  • get to a safe location immediately
  • take note, as soon as possible, of the name and address of the facility where you were held
  • notify the police and obtain a report
  • if a bank card was involved, report the scam to your banking company, which will likely request a copy of the police report to cancel the transaction

Overseas fraud

Spiked food and drinks

Snacks, beverages, gum and cigarettes may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

  • Be wary of accepting these items from new acquaintances
  • Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers

Unregulated alcohol

Some people died after consuming unregulated and adulterated rice wine due to high levels of methanol.

  • Be cautious if you choose to drink alcohol
  • Only consume reputable alcohol brands
  • Avoid buying alcohol from individuals or street vendors
  • Seek medical assistance if you begin to feel sick

Alcohol, drugs and travel

Demonstrations

Current situation in Dak Lak

An increased police presence in Dak Lak continues, after organized attacks on a police station in June 2023.

If you are in the area, do not photograph security forces.

Public demonstrations are rare since local authorities don’t usually authorize them. Demonstrating without authorization can lead to heavy consequences, including lengthy prison sentences.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Don’t photograph demonstrations
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Internet censorship and surveillance

Within the Vietnamese territory, local authorities block access to several:

  • websites
  • social media
  • search engines
  • online services

You shouldn’t expect internet privacy.

Local authorities may monitor your communications at any time. They may review the content stored or consulted on your electronic devices. They may also place certain foreigners under electronic surveillance. They can search your home or hotel room without your knowledge or consent.

Cyber security while travelling

Journalism

Foreign journalists and other media workers in Vietnam may face considerable restrictions in the context of their work. The Vietnamese government may employ measures such as:

  • physical and electronic surveillance
  • delaying or refusing renewals of press cards and visas
  • intimidation and harassment

Be particularly vigilant if researching or reporting on subjects critical of or sensitive to the government.

Landmines and war remnants

Landmines and unexploded ordnance still pose a serious risk in several areas, particularly:

  • in the province of Quảng Trị
  • along the border with Laos
  • in North and Central Vietnam

Unmarked minefields are common. If you plan travelling outside of major tourist destinations:

  • pay attention to signs indicating the possible presence of landmines
  • remain on paved roads
  • avoid open fields, roadside ditches, shoulders and unmarked trails
  • report any suspicious items to local authorities

Adventure tourism

Outdoor activities, such as trekking, zip-lining, rock climbing, speleology, or parasailing and other adventure activities can be dangerous if unprepared. Trails are not always marked, and weather conditions can change rapidly, especially during the rainy season.

Tour operators may not always adhere to international safety standards.

If you intend to practice adventure tourism:

  • never do so alone, and do not part with your expedition companions
  • consider hiring an experienced guide from a reputable company 
  • obtain detailed information on your activity and on the environment in which you will be setting out  
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation   
  • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity  
  • avoid venturing off marked trails  
  • ensure that you’re adequately equipped and bring sufficient water   
  • stay informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard  
  • refrain from using facilities or equipment if you have doubts on their safety  
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary  

Water activities

Tidal changes and strong winds can cause hazardous currents and riptides.

Swimming and diving

Beaches are not always supervised.

Corals, sea urchins, jellyfish and other aquatic life found along reefs may be poisonous. A sting to the touch can cause poisoning or infection.

If you plan to dive:

  • choose a reputable company 
  • always respect warning flags advising of dangerous conditions
  • ask about the presence of dangerous species
  • seek immediate medical attention in case of injury
  • wear swimming shoes to protect yourself from reefs, rocks, corals or sea urchins
  • keep a safe distance from boats and restricted areas
  • avoid beaches or coastal areas during periods of severe weather warnings
  • avoid diving into unknown waters, as hidden rocks or shallow depths can cause serious injury or death
  • follow the advice of the local authorities

Boating

Boat accidents have occurred due to the overloading and poor maintenance of some vessels, including in Ha Long Bay.

  • Choose a reputable boating company
  • Ensure that your tour operator follows up-to-date safety regulations
  • Don’t board vessels that appear overloaded or unseaworthy

Water safety abroad

Piracy

Although rare in Vietnam, pirates commit attacks and armed robbery against ships in coastal waters.

Live piracy report - International Maritime Bureau

Road safety

Road safety is poor throughout the country. 

Fatal accidents are frequent. They frequently involve motorcycle and pedestrians are commonly victims.

Always use elevated walkways or pedestrian bridges when available.

Road conditions

Road conditions are poor throughout the country.

Driving can be dangerous due to:  

  • poorly maintained roads and vehicles
  • traffic jams and heavy traffic, especially in urban areas
  • potholes 
  • slippery roads during the rainy season

Driving habits

Drivers don’t always respect traffic laws.  

Some vehicles, especially motorcycles, drive against the flow of traffic and on the sidewalks.

If you plan to travel by car in Vietnam, you should consider hiring a driver.

If you choose to drive:

  • always drive defensively
  • avoid travelling after dark or during adverse weather conditions
  • avoid driving a motorcycle
  • Make sure you have proper insurance and a valid licence

Public transportation

Taxis

Official taxis are generally safe.

Motorcycle taxis (known as “xe oms”) are not safe.

  • Avoid motorcycle taxis
  • Use only official taxis or a trusted ridesharing app
  • Negotiate the fare in advance, or insist that the driver use the meter
  • Never share a taxi with a stranger
  • Confirm the driver’s identity and the licence plate before getting in the car
  • Be familiar with your hotel’s address and the neighbourhood to avoid being brought to a wrong location

Buses

Bus and coach accidents are common.

Trains

Trains are generally reliable.

Thefts have been reported on certain train lines, including sleeper trains.

Ticket stub is required to exit the train station. Passengers without a ticket stub will be required to pay the fare again.

Retain your ticket stub when travelling by train.

Ferries

Ferry accidents have occurred due to the overloading and poor maintenance of some vessels, particularly on the line connecting Ho Chi Minh City to Vung Tau.

Don’t board vessels that appear overloaded or unseaworthy.

Transport within Vietnam - Vietnam Tourism

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

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Entry and exit requirements

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Vietnamese authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.

Passport

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Vietnam.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

Visas

Tourist visa: required
Business visa: required
Student visa: required
Work visa: required

E-visa authorization

If you have a valid Canadian passport, you may be eligible to apply online for an e-visa. This can be a single-entry or multiple-entry electronic tourist visa, valid for a maximum of 90 days. It allows you to enter Vietnam via the port of entry indicated in the visa approval notice only. Some restrictions apply.

For visits longer than 90 days, you must get a visa from the nearest Vietnamese embassy before departure.

Apply for an e-visa - Immigration Department of Vietnam

Visa exemptions

Canadian spouses or children of Vietnamese citizens may be eligible for a visa exemption certificate.

Contact the Embassy of Vietnam in Canada for more information on this process.

Visa extension

You must have a visa to enter Vietnam.

If required, you can request a visa extension at:

  • the Vietnam Immigration Department in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City
  • certain local travel agencies and tour companies

Vietnamese visas in expired Canadian passports are not valid. The visa needs to be transferred to the new passport.

Overstaying your Vietnamese visa or having the wrong type of visa is a serious matter. You may be delayed from onward travel until a fine is paid.

Check the visa validity and conditions carefully.

Registration

You must report your presence to local authorities upon arrival.

Commercial accommodations will generally file the declaration on your behalf. If you're staying in a non-commercial accommodation, you must do so with the nearest police station.

Make sure you request the return of your passport once it has been registered by hotel staff.

The hotel staff may ask to see your passport at check-in. They may make copies of it. They may also insist on holding your passport until you leave. There is no legal reason for this.

  • Never leave your passport or any other ID document with anyone
  • Ask for your documents to be returned to you as soon as check-in is complete

Travel restrictions

Travel near military facilities is restricted:

  • in some parts of the central highlands
  • in some border area

If you wish to visit a village, commune or ward that is close to the border, you must obtain permission from the provincial police department.

Contact the relevant local authority to confirm these requirements.

Health screening

Upon entry, you may be subject to a body temperature check.

Exit bans

Vietnamese authorities may place an exit ban on certain individuals to prevent them from leaving the country.

An exit ban can relate to investigations into:

  • an individual, their family or an employer
  • criminal and civil matters, such as business disputes or motor vehicle accidents
  • employment without a valid work permit
  • unpaid financial debts

It is difficult to obtain information on bans from Vietnamese authorities. An exit ban can be requested by people involved in any of these circumstances. You may not be aware that authorities have placed an exit ban on you until you try to leave the country. Your passport may be seized until the case is fully investigated and settled.

If you're unable to leave the country because of an exit ban, consult a lawyer and contact the closest office of the Government of Canada.

Children and travel

Learn more about travelling with children.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

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Health

Relevant Travel Health Notices

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

Risk

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada

Hepatitis A

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

 

Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

Malaria

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is caused by parasites spread through the bites of mosquitoes.
 
There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this destination. 

Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic before travelling to discuss your options. It is recommended to do this 6 weeks before travel, however, it is still a good idea any time before leaving. 
 
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times: 
• Cover your skin and use an approved insect repellent on uncovered skin. 
• Exclude mosquitoes from your living area with screening and/or closed, well-sealed doors and windows.
• Use insecticide-treated bed nets if mosquitoes cannot be excluded from your living area. 
• Wear permethrin-treated clothing. 
 
If you develop symptoms similar to malaria when you are travelling or up to a year after you return home, see a health care professional immediately. Tell them where you have been travelling or living. 

Rabies


In this destination, rabies is carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions, including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. Rabies treatment is often available in this destination. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals). 

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain.  It is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is very low for most travellers. Travellers at relatively higher risk may want to consider vaccination for JE prior to travelling.

Travellers are at higher risk if they will be:

  • travelling long term (e.g. more than 30 days)
  • making multiple trips to endemic areas
  • staying for extended periods in rural areas
  • visiting an area suffering a JE outbreak
  • engaging in activities involving high contact with mosquitos (e.g., entomologists)
Hepatitis B

 Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Travellers' diarrhea

Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.

The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

Chikungunya

There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a country.  Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

Dengue
  • In this country, dengue is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Avian Influenza

Human cases of avian influenza have been reported in this destination. Avian influenza is a viral infection that can spread quickly and easily among birds and in rare cases it can infect mammals, including people. The risk is low for most travellers.

Avoid contact with birds, including wild, farm, and backyard birds (alive or dead) and surfaces that may have bird droppings on them. Ensure all poultry dishes, including eggs and wild game, are properly cooked.

Travellers with a higher risk of exposure include those: 

  • visiting live bird/animal markets or poultry farms
  • working with poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, domestic ducks)
  • hunting, de-feathering, field dressing and butchering wild birds and wild mammals
  • working with wild birds for activities such as research, conservation, or rehabilitation
  • working with wild mammals, especially those that eat wild birds (e.g., foxes)

All eligible people are encouraged to get the seasonal influenza shot, which will protect them against human influenza viruses. While the seasonal influenza shot does not prevent infection with avian influenza, it can reduce the chance of getting sick with human and avian influenza viruses at the same time.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •  washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.

Medical services and facilities

Good health care is limited. The quality of care varies greatly throughout the country.

Both medical facilities and supplies are limited outside of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Private clinics and hospitals are usually better equipped. Services can be expensive, but they usually have qualified medical staff who speak English or French well. 

Emergency and ambulance services response times may be slow du to traffic congestion. In case of emergency, you may consider taking a taxi or private vehicle to go to the hospital rather than wait for an ambulance.

Medical evacuation is very expensive. You may need it to neighbouring countries in case of serious illness or injury.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Medication

If you take prescription medication, you’re responsible for determining their legality in Vietnam.

  • Bring sufficient quantities of your medication with you
  • Always keep your medication in the original container
  • Pack your medication in your carry-on luggage
  • Carry a copy of your prescriptions

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Laws and culture

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.

No transfer of offenders treaty exists between Canada and Vietnam. If you’re convicted of a serious crime, you must serve your jail sentence in Vietnam. You may also have to remain in Vietnam for a parole period after your release.

Drugs

Penalties for possession, use, production or trafficking of drugs, including cannabis, are severe. Convicted offenders can expect heavy fines, jail sentences or the death penalty.

Drugs, alcohol and travel

Identification

Local authorities may request to see your ID at any time.

  • Carry valid identification or a photocopy of it at all times
  • Keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place in case it’s lost or seized
  • Keep a digital copy of your ID and travel documents

Gambling

Gambling outside of licensed casinos is illegal in Vietnam.

You must hold of a foreign passport to gamble in these licensed establishments.

Political activities

There are severe restrictions on political activities, including:

  • participating in public protests
  • publishing messages critical of the government on social media

If you engage in political activities you may face detention, deportation and travel ban to Vietnam in the future.

Photography

Photography of sensitive installations is prohibited. This includes:

  • military sites
  • border crossings

These sensitive areas are not always identified.

  • Refrain from photographing military installations or personnel even if no sign is posted
  • Comply with all requests from local authorities

Religious activities

There are restrictions on certain religious activities, such as preaching, distributing literature and associating with unapproved religious groups.

Sexual and intimate activities

As a foreigner, you are not allowed to invite Vietnamese nationals of the opposite sex into your hotel room to stay overnight unless you are married.

You are allowed to stay with a Vietnamese family only if you have obtained permission from local authorities.

Importation, possession and distribution of pornographic material is illegal.

Exportation of antiques

Vietnamese law restricts the export of antiques, but these laws are vague and unevenly enforced. If you purchase items that may be considered as antiques:

  • keep receipts and all paperwork provided by the seller
  • ensure you have the proper exportation permits from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Vietnam General Department of Customs

If you can't present the required paperwork, the items may be confiscated.

Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Vietnam (in Vietnamese)

Dress and behaviour

The Vietnamese society is conservative.

When visiting religious and culturally places to avoid offending local sensitivities:

  • dress conservatively
  • behave discreetly
  • respect religious and social traditions
  • seek permission from locals before photographing them

Tet celebrations

The lunar new year is celebrated between the end of January and the end of February. Theses celebrations usually last several days and can have an impact on the availability and provision of essential services such as:

  • banking services
  • public services including healthcare
  • transport
  • food distribution

Plan your trip accordingly if you travel to Vietnam during this period.

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Vietnam.

If local authorities consider you a citizen of Vietnam, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.

Travellers with dual citizenship

Mandatory military service

Canadians with Vietnamese citizenship may be subject to mandatory military service and other national obligations.

Confirm this requirement before travelling to Vietnam.

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Vietnam.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Vietnam by an abducting parent:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Vietnam to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

Useful links

Doing business in Vietnam

Disputes related to business agreements or arrangements are costly and take time to resolve. You may be subject to a travel ban restricting you from leaving the country until matters are resolved.

If you plan on doing business in Vietnam:

  • seek legal advice in Canada and in Vietnam before making commitments
  • choose your own lawyer
  • ensure that all documents are translated so that conditions, terms and limitations are well understood

Teaching

There are many teaching opportunities in Vietnam. However, make sure you are well informed before signing a contract.

  • Consult a local lawyer or professional
  • Ensure that the contract specifies the maximum number of classroom hours per day and per week, maximum workdays per week, and vacation periods
  • Confirm the living arrangements if any are included
  • Ensure that you possess the right visa for the activities you will perform
  • Ensure you understand any liabilities linked to early termination of a contract

Driving

You must hold a valid Vietnamese driver's licence to drive a vehicle with an engine of 50CC or more. This includes most motorcycles. Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear a helmet.

The country has a zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving or cycling. Penalties for drinking and driving or cycling include:

  • licence suspension
  • heavy fines

If you are involved in a traffic accident as a driver, you may:

  • face criminal charges as a driver
  • have to pay compensation to the victims
  • face a travel ban preventing you from leaving the country until compensation is paid

There are restrictions on vehicles crossing from and into neighbouring countries.

Contact the Department of Transport in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City for information on for licences or restrictions.

Department of Transport in Ho Chi Minh City (in Vietnamese)

Money

The currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese dong (VND).

Cash declarations

Arrival

Upon arrival, you must declare if you have:

  • more than 15 million Vietnamese dong, more than US$5,000, or the equivalent in any other currency, in cash
  • more than 300 grams of gold, including jewellery, gold bar and raw gold
Departure

Upon departure, you must:

  • declare if you have more than 15 million Vietnamese dong, more than US$5,000, or the equivalent in any other currency, in cash
  • present a written approval to carry foreign currency or Vietnamese dong in cash abroad, issued by an authorized Vietnamese credit institution in accordance with the laws on foreign exchange control or the State Bank of Vietnam

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Natural disasters and climate

Rainy season

The rainy season extends:

  • from June to September in the north and south
  • from October to December in central Vietnam

Seasonal flooding occurs in October and November in central Vietnam. It’s also common:

  • in and around Hanoi, particularly along the Red River
  • in the Mekong River Delta regions in the south

Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable due to mudslides and landslides. Bridges, buildings, and infrastructure may be damaged.

  • Remain vigilant, especially in areas around major rivers
  • Stay away from flooded areas
  • Monitor weather reports
  • Monitor local media for the latest updates, including those on road conditions
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities, including evacuation orders

Useful links

Typhoons

Typhoons usually occur from June and December. During this period, even small tropical storms can quickly develop into major typhoons.

These severe storms can put you at risk and hamper the provision of essential services.

If you decide to travel to Vietnam during this period:

  • know that you may expose yourself to serious safety risks
  • be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
  • stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
  • carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
  • follow the advice and instructions of local authorities

Useful links

Heat waves

Humidity and heat may be severe, particularly during the rainy season.

Know the symptoms of dehydration and heatstroke, which can both be fatal.

Wildfires

Forest fires may occur.

The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke.

In case of a major fire:

  • stay away from affected areas, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
  • follow the instructions of local emergency services personnel
  • monitor local media to stay informed on the evolving situation

Air pollution

Smog and other types of air pollution can be hazardous in urban areas. Air quality can also be affected in rural areas due to agricultural burning.

Air pollution levels can change quickly.

During periods of high pollution:

  • limit your outdoor activities, especially if you suffer from respiratory ailments or have pre-existing medical conditions
  • monitor local media
  • follow the instructions of local authorities

Useful links

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Need help?

Local services

Emergency services

In case of emergency, dial:

  • police: 113
  • medical assistance: 115
  • firefighters: 114

Consular assistance

Hanoi - Embassy of Canada
Street Address31 Hung Vuong Street, Hanoi, VietnamTelephone84 (24) 3734-5000Fax84 (24) 3734-5049Emailhanoics@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-VietnamFacebookEmbassy of Canada to VietnamTwitterCanada In VietnamAppointment Book your appointment online
Ho Chi Minh City - Consulate General of Canada
Street Address9th Floor, The Metropolitan, 235 Dong Khoi Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, VietnamTelephone84 (28) 3827-9899Fax84 (28) 3827-9936Emailhochi.consular-consulaire@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-VietnamFacebookTổng lãnh sự quán Canada tại TP. Hồ Chí MinhTwitterCanada In VietnamAppointment Book your appointment online

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Vietnam, in Hanoi, or the Consulate General of Canada to Vietnam, in Ho Chi Minh City, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

Disclaimer

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

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