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Vietnam - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Vietnam due to increasing petty crime targeting foreigners.
Travel Health Notice - Zika virus
The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued advice for travellers on the Zika virus, recommending that Canadians practice special health precautions while travelling in affected countries. Pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant should avoid travel to Vietnam. See Health for more information.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Petty crime against tourists is increasing, particularly in the larger cities. Pick-pocketing is common in:
- tourist areas
- markets and shopping centres
- crowded buses and trains
Motorcyclists grab bags and other valuables from pedestrians and from passengers or drivers on motorbikes. This often results in injury to the victim.
Criminals are more likely to target hotels and tourist areas.
Bag slashing is a frequent occurrence in crowded streets and markets.
Avoid showing signs of affluence and ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times.
Although violent crimes such as armed robbery are still relatively rare in Vietnam, perpetrators have grown increasingly bold. Knives and razors have been used in attempted robberies in Ho Chi Minh City.
Aggravated assaults, including sexual assault, are rare but do occur. Groping and sexual assault also occur.
Threats of physical injury related to personal disputes occasionally occur. If you are in this position, contact the local police and the closest Canadian government office immediately.
At the airport
Individuals 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.
If you’re expecting to be picked up, confirm your driver’s name, phone number and licence plate number before you travel.
When leaving the airport, you should only use authorized airport taxis or hotel transportation. Authorized taxi companies usually have operators posted at airports who are responsible for monitoring taxi services. These companies publish the taxi driver’s name and vehicle number on a card that should be affixed to the windshield (in front of the driver’s seat).
Credit card fraud
Both tourists and expatriates have been targeted by credit card forgery crime. Avoid using your credit card in smaller establishments, and pay careful attention when others are handling your card. Consider obtaining a second card, with a low credit limit, for use during your stay in Asia. To minimize risks:
- pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
- use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
- avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
Tourists have been victims of gambling scams in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (particularly in the Pham Ngu Lao neighbourhood). This scam usually starts with a friendly invitation to someone’s home to meet a relative interested in visiting or studying in Canada. While the visitor is waiting for this individual, a casual game of cards will begin. Even though they started with only a small wager, victims have lost thousands of dollars over the course of an evening.
Public demonstrations are generally not tolerated in Vietnam and can carry heavy penalties, including lengthy jail sentences.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Traffic accidents occur frequently, often causing death or serious injury. Motorcycle riders and pedestrians are common victims.
Driving standards are poor, vehicles and roads are often badly maintained, and roads in major cities are congested. Rain can flood potholes and roads, especially those in the north, can become impassable during the rainy season. Travelling after dark is dangerous.
You should hire a car and driver for personal transportation.
Rent a motorcycle only if you hold a valid Vietnamese driver’s licence and you are accustomed to local driving standards. Be aware that insurance may not be included with these rentals.
Motorcycle taxis (known as “xe oms”) are unsafe. Avoid this method of transportation.
Be familiar with your hotel’s address and neighbouring landmarks. Taxi drivers have taken unaware visitors to the wrong establishment, in order to receive a commission.
Never share a taxi with a stranger.
Bus and coach accidents are common.
A number of fatal boat accidents have occurred in past years, including in Ha Long Bay. Ensure that your tour operator follows up-to-date safety regulations.
Retain your ticket stub when travelling by train, as it is required to exit the train station. Passengers without a ticket stub will be required to pay the fare again.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
Live piracy report - International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre
General safety information
Travel near military facilities in some parts of the central highlands and in some border areas is restricted. 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 for more information.
Unexploded landmines remain a hazard in some rural areas of central Vietnam.
Never leave your food or drink unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as they may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
Do not purchase liquor from street vendors, as the quality cannot be assured.
Hotel rooms and electronic communications may be monitored.
Hotel staff must register your passport with local authorities. The staff may insist on keeping your passport until your departure, but there is no legal reason for them to do so. You may request the return of your passport once it has been registered.
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 foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
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 for at least 1 month beyond the expiry date of their visa.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
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 diplomatic mission for your destination.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Work visa: Required
Canadians must be in possession of a visa to enter Vietnam. You should obtain your visa prior to arrival. You can request an extension from:
- the Vietnam Immigration Department in Hanoi, Danang or Ho Chi Minh City
- certain local travel agencies and tour companies (for a fee)
Vietnamese visas in expired Canadian passports are not valid. The visa needs to be transferred to the new passport.
Overstaying your Vietnamese visa without authority or having the wrong type of visa is a serious matter and you may be delayed from onward travel until a fine is paid. Check the visa validity and conditions carefully.
For visits of multiple entries or longer than 30 days, you must get a visa from the nearest Vietnamese embassy before travelling to Vietnam.
A visa may be issued on arrival in emergency situations. Contact the Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in Canada for more information on this and other visa requirements.
Electronic visa authorization
Holders of a valid Canadian passport are eligible to apply online for a single-entry electronic tourist visa (e-visa), valid for a maximum of 30 days (some restrictions apply).
Apply for an e-visa - Immigration Department of Vietnam
Canadian nationals who are spouses or children of Vietnamese nationals can apply for a visa exemption certificate. The certificate is valid for 5 years and allows multiple entries into Vietnam, each for a 6-months stay. Applications can be made at the nearest Vietnamese embassy or the Immigration Department in Vietnam.
You must register with the local police upon arrival, even if staying with relatives. Hotel guests are automatically registered. You may be fined if they are not properly registered with local authorities.
Travellers entering the country are subject to a body temperature check and, in some cases, may be quarantined for medical observation if they show flu-like symptoms.
Travellers must register with the local police upon arrival, even if staying with relatives. Hotel guests are automatically registered.
Travellers entering the country are subject to a body temperature check and, in some cases, may be quarantined for medical observation if they show flu-like symptoms.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
- Zika virus: Advice for travellers - February 12, 2018
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is low for most travellers. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to mosquito bites (e.g., spending a large amount of time outdoors) while travelling in regions with risk of Japanese encephalitis.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world.
Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
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.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* 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.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Southeast Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southeast Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- 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 is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this 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 fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Zika virus infection
Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. Recent or ongoing cases of Zika virus have been reported in this country.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites day and night.
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects such as abnormally small heads (microcephaly). Zika virus can also be sexually transmitted.
Travellers who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy:
- Should avoid travel to this country
- If travel cannot be avoided follow strict mosquito bite prevention measures.
- Talk to your health care professional about the risk of Zika infection in pregnancy.
- Use condoms or avoid having sex for the duration of the pregnancy, if you are pregnant and your partner has travelled to this country.
- Female travellers: wait at least 2 months after returning from this country before trying to conceive (get pregnant) to ensure that any possible Zika virus infection has cleared your body.
- Male travellers: wait 6 months after returning from this country before trying to conceive. Use condoms or avoid having sex during that time.
See travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in some areas in Southeastern Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
There have been human cases of avian influenza in this country.
Avian influenza is a viral infection that can spread quickly and easily among birds. In rare cases, it can infect people.
- avoid high risk areas such as poultry farms and live animal markets
- avoid areas where poultry may be slaughtered
- avoid contact with birds (alive or dead)
- avoid surfaces that may have bird droppings or secretions on them
- ensure all poultry dishes, including eggs, are well cooked
Hand, foot and mouth disease
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common viral illness that mainly affects infants and children. Travellers are at increased risk if visiting or living in overcrowded conditions. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against this disease.
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
Health-care service standards are below what you might expect in Canada. Both medical facilities and supplies are limited outside of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Serious medical problems may require evacuation.
Canadian travellers should have adequate travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & 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.
Vietnamese law requires everyone to carry photo ID at all times. You should carry a photocopy of the pages from your passport with your personal details and visa for ID, and leave the original passport in a safe place.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe and include the death penalty.
Illegal or restricted activities
Gambling outside of licensed casinos is illegal in Vietnam.
Photography of military installations and border crossings is prohibited.
Involvement in politics, possession of political or sexually explicit material, or involvement in an unsanctioned religious activity can result in detention. Participation in a public demonstration is generally not tolerated in Vietnam and can carry heavy penalties, including lengthy jail sentences.
Visitors are not allowed to invite Vietnamese nationals of the opposite sex into their hotel rooms to stay overnight. Visitors are allowed to stay with a Vietnamese family, providing they have obtained permission from local authorities.
Vietnamese law restricts the export of antiques, but these laws are vague and unevenly enforced. If you purchase non-antique items of value, retain receipts and confirmation from shop owners and/or the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Vietnam General Department of Customs to prevent seizure of your items upon departure.
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.
You must hold a valid Vietnamese driver’s licence to drive a motor vehicle in Vietnam, including motorcycles of more than 50cc.
Driving without a Vietnamese driver’s licence is illegal. You can apply for a Vietnamese driver’s licence at an office of the Department of Public Works and Transportation in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.
If you are involved in a traffic accident, you may face criminal charges and have to pay compensation if someone is injured. You may be prohibited from leaving the country before paying this compensation.
Penalties for drinking and driving are severe. Convicted offenders can expect heavy fines and jail sentences.
Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear a helmet.
The currency is the Vietnamese dong (VND). U.S. dollar traveller’s cheques cannot be exchanged outside major cities and tourist areas. Credit cards are accepted at major hotels throughout the country, as well as at an increasing number of restaurants and shops. Automated banking machines are available throughout Vietnam.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
The rainy (or monsoon) season extends from June to September in the north and south, and from October to December in central Vietnam. Severe rainstorms can cause flooding and landslides. Seasonal flooding occurs in October and November in central Vietnam. Flooding is common in and around Hanoi, particularly along the Red River, and in the Mekong River Delta regions in the south.
Typhoons usually occur between June and December and affect primarily central and northern Vietnam. These storms can result in significant loss of life and extensive damage to infrastructure, and can hamper the provision of essential services. Monitor local news and weather reports, avoid disaster areas and follow the advice of local authorities.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 113
- medical assistance: 115
- firefighters: 114
Hanoi - Embassy of Canada
Ho Chi Minh City - Consulate General of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Vietnam in Hanoi or the Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also call the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
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, express 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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