Vietnam travel advice
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- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
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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.
Safety and security
COVID-19 - Preventative measures and restrictions
COVID-19 preventative measures and restrictions are still in effect in some destinations.
These could include:
- curfews, movement restrictions, or lockdowns
- mandatory mask use
- required proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test result to access public and private services and spaces
Before travelling, verify if specific restrictions or requirements are still in effect.
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs from time to time, particularly in larger cities. Instances of petty crime may increase before major public holidays, especially Tet (Lunar New Year). 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.
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).
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse. Sexual assault and harassment do occur.
Local authorities may not always respond adequately to reports of sexual violence and harassment. If you are the victim of a sexual assault, you should report it immediately to local authorities and to the nearest Canadian office.
- Avoid travelling alone, especially at night.
- Remain particularly vigilant in less populous areas.
- Be careful when dealing with strangers or recent acquaintances.
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.
Entry and exit requirements
COVID-19 - Entry, exit and transit restrictions and requirements
Most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions and requirements for their territory due to COVID-19. These measures can be imposed suddenly and may include:
- entry or exit bans
- mandatory proof of vaccination or COVID-19 testing
- suspensions or reductions of international transportation options
Foreign authorities might not recognize or accept proof of vaccination issued by Canadian provinces and territories. You may need to obtain a translation, a notarization, an authentication, or the legalization of the document.
- verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any restrictions or requirements related to this situation
- consider even your transit points, as there are transit rules in place in many destinations
- monitor the media for the latest information
- reconfirm the requirements with your airline or tour operator
The situation could disrupt your travel plans. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance to change your travel plans.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Many travel agencies submit visa applications in batches. Some have returned visa approval confirmations containing personal details to multiple clients. If you apply for a visa through a travel agency, be aware that some of your personal information may be shared with other clients.
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.
Those who have an e-visa can only enter Vietnam via the port of entry indicated in their visa approval notice.
Apply for an e-visa - Immigration Department of Vietnam
Canadians who are spouses or children of Vietnamese citizens 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.
Phu Quoc Islands
You may visit the islands of Phu Quoc without a visa if:
- your visit does not exceed 30 days
- your passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of entry into the country
- you are not transiting or visiting other parts of Vietnam
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.
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.
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 are right for you.
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 not required to enter this country.
- 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.
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.
- 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 provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
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 (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
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 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 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.
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.
For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
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 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.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
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.
- 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.
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
COVID-19 - Testing facilities
Consult the following links to find out where you can get a COVID-19 test:
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.
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.
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.
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.
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
You must hold a valid Vietnamese driver’s licence to drive a vehicle with an engine of 50CC (cubic centimetres) or more, including most motorcycles.
Contact the Department of Transport in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City for licensing information.
Department of Transport in Ho Chi Minh City (in Vietnamese)
If you are involved in a traffic accident, you may face criminal charges as a driver. You may have to pay compensation if someone is injured. You may be prohibited from leaving the country before paying this compensation.
There is zero tolerance for drinking and driving or cycling. If you’re convicted of driving or cycling under the influence of alcohol, you can be fined and have your driver’s licence revoked for up to two years.
Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear a helmet.
If driving, ensure that the vehicle has proper insurance.
There are restrictions on vehicles crossing into neighbouring countries.
Declaration upon arrival and departure
Upon arrival, you must declare if you have:
- 15 million Vietnamese dong or more, or US$5,000 or more (or the equivalent in any other currency), in cash
- more than 300 grams of gold, including jewellery, gold bar and raw gold
Upon departure, you must declare if you have 15 million Vietnamese dong or more, or US$5,000 or more (or the equivalent in any other currency), in cash. You must also present one of the following documents:
- written confirmation of carrying foreign currency or Vietnamese dong in cash abroad, issued by an authorized Vietnamese credit institution in accordance with the laws on foreign exchange control
- written approval to carry foreign currency or Vietnamese dong in cash abroad, issued by the State Bank of Vietnam
The currency is the Vietnamese dong (VND).
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
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
Due to the ongoing pandemic, our consular services could be limited. Contact us by email or telephone before visiting our offices.
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 of Canada, in Ho Chi Minh City, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact 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, 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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