Exercise normal safety precautions in Vietnam. Use common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local conditions.
- Petty theft is common in tourist areas, markets and other public places. Aggravated theft and sexual assault also occur, particularly in major cities. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times. Minimise the amount of valuables you carry. See
Safety and security.
- There are strict security measures to combat drug trafficking. Penalties for drug offences severe and include death. Over 30 Australians are either serving long jail sentences, including life imprisonment, for drug trafficking, or have been arrested and are pending further investigation/trial. See
- Traffic accidents are common. Consider the safety and legal risks of driving a car or riding a motorcycle, particularly if you are unfamiliar with local conditions. Don't drive without a valid Vietnamese drivers' licence. See
- Apply for your visa on official Government of Vietnam websites or directly with the nearest
Embassy or Consulate of Vietnam to avoid visa scams and protect your personal information. See
Entry and exit.
- From June to December, floods, flash floods and typhoons are common. Monitor media and weather reports and follow local authorities' instructions. Check with tour operators before travelling to affected areas. See
Entry and exit
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination's entry or exit requirements.
You must have a visa, a visa exemption certificate or an approval letter for a visa-on-arrival. More information:
Government of Vietnam's online information website
You can apply for an e-visa through the
Web Portal on Immigration. You can also apply for a tourist visa through the
Vietnamese Embassy’s website. The costs and processes differ between these two websites.
Make sure you correctly enter your details when applying or you may have to pay a second fee on arrival. Print a copy of your application and carry it with you.
For stays longer than 30 days or for multiple entries, apply for a visa directly from the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Vietnam. Complete the
visa application form and take it to the nearest
Embassy or Consulate of Vietnam. If you arrive in Vietnam with a written approval letter for a visa to be issued on arrival, you must pay the fee in cash, either in USD or Vietnamese dong.
To avoid online visa or travel agent scams, apply for your visa through the Government of Vietnam’s official website or offices.
If your spouse or parent is a national of Vietnam, you can apply for a visa exemption certificate. The certificate is valid for five years and allows multiple entries into Vietnam for up to six months.
If your visa expires or is otherwise invalid, you will face delays and fines when leaving.
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest
Embassy or Consulate of Vietnam for up-to-date information.
Changes to visa status and visa extensions
You can't change the status of your entry visa (such as tourist visa or spouse visa) to any other visa type (such as a working visa) in-country.
To obtain a visa extension from the Vietnamese immigration authorities (including for overstaying your visa), your passport must have at least six months validity remaining at the time of application. This requirement is subject to change. For up-to-date information, check with the nearest
Embassy or Consulate of Vietnam.
There are value and quantity restrictions on the import and export of prescription medicines. These change so check what current restrictions apply with an Embassy or Consulate of Vietnam.
If you have 'addictive medicine' (used for the treatment of addiction) you can't carry more than a seven day supply when entering or exiting Vietnam. If you have 'psychotropic medicine' (used to treat conditions including anxiety, depression and insomnia) you can't carry more than a ten day supply. Consult your doctor about possible alternatives if necessary.
Prescriptions and medication must be shown to customs. The prescription must be in English or Vietnamese. It must include your name and age; and the name and dosage of your medication. It must include the doctor's signature and address.
Vietnam has health screening for all inbound travellers. Extra attention is paid to those arriving from countries affected by Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). If you show symptoms of MERS-COV or Zika virus on arrival, you may be quarantined.
All foreigners must register where they're staying with the local police within 24 hours of arrival. The Australian Embassy and Consulate-General can't provide translation services to assist with registration.
- Confirm you'll be registered as part of the normal hotel check-in process. They'll need your passport details.
- Many hotels ask foreigners to leave their passport with hotel staff for registration purposes. It isn't a legal requirement for hotels to retain your passport for the duration of your stay.
- If you stay with family, friends or in another private residence, you'll need to register at the local police station, with a translator if needed.
- Local hosts need to pre-register foreign guests – if you stay in a private residence, make sure your host has satisfied this legal requirement.
Check the expiry date of your Australian passport before you travel. Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months from when you plan to leave that country.
You must use the same passport for your entry, exit, transit and residence in Vietnam.
Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.
Be aware of attempts to access your passport by deception. If you're forced to hand over your passport, contact the Embassy or Consulate-General for advice.
If your passport is lost or stolen, notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.
The currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong.
Foreign currency (including cash and travellers cheques) worth over $US5,000, Vietnamese Dong 15,000,000 and gold over 300 grams must be declared at customs (with supporting documentation) upon arrival and departure. If you don't, it could be confiscated and you could be arrested and/or fined. These requirements may be subject to change. Contact the nearest
Embassy or Consulate of Vietnam for up-to-date information.
Credit cards are widely accepted throughout major cities in Vietnam. ATMs are widespread in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang. Check with your bank if your card will work in Vietnam.
Card skimming occurs. Be alert to your card. See
Safety and security.
You may have difficulty getting replacement ATM cards delivered. Many Australian banks don't maintain local or regional branches with English-speaking staff and Vietnamese postal services are generally unreliable. Consider using an international courier service. The Australian Embassy or Consulate-General can't provide you with bridging funds while you wait for a new card, nor act as a personal mail holding service.
Safety and security
Petty theft, including bag-slashing, is common in tourist areas, markets, supermarkets, and on crowded trains and buses. It increases in the lead up to Vietnamese and Western holiday periods.
Aggravated theft, sexual assault and assault occur, particularly in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Sapa (particularly on the train to/from Lao Cai) and Cat Ba Island (near Ha Long Bay). Reports of groping and other sexual assault are increasing. Foreigners have been robbed and sexually assaulted after consuming spiked food and drinks, particularly at late-night establishments in major cities.
Street crime and harassment occur, especially in larger cities. Snatch-and-grab crimes against pedestrians by thieves on motorcycles are frequent and sometimes result in injury to victims. These crimes occur when victims are crossing the street or walking along footpaths. Valuables such as jewellery, handbags, phones and cameras are popular targets.
Tourists have been robbed after withdrawing money from ATMs. There have been reports of break-ins to hotels and private residences, even while guests are in their rooms. Personal or commercial disputes sometimes lead to threats of physical violence or death.
- Carry only what you need.
- Don't tempt thieves – avoid wearing expensive watches, jewellery and cameras.
- Be alert on overnight trains and buses and on quiet stretches of road.
- Only drink alcohol at reputable establishments.
- Be alert to drink spiking. Pay attention to the preparation of mixed alcoholic drinks to avoid drink spiking or spirits being contaminated with methanol.
- If you suspect drink spiking, seek urgent medical attention.
- Stick with people you trust in bars and at nightclubs.
- Beware of motorcycles approaching from behind as you walk on the footpath.
- Hold bags and backpacks in front of you or in ways that make them harder to snatch.
- Only use ATMs in banks and shopping centres.
- Make sure your hotel room is locked at all times, including when you are in it.
- Report theft promptly to the local police and hotel management.
- If you're threatened with violence or death, report the matter to the local police.
- To avoid commercial disputes, make sure you have a clear agreement on what the expected level of service is.
- If you become a victim of violent crime, seek immediate medical attention – HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and other sexually transmitted diseases are prevalent in Vietnam.
Many tourists have become victims of credit and debit card, taxi and gambling scams.
Credit and debit card skimming (where card data is used in fraudulent transactions) occurs throughout Vietnam.
Some Australians have lost thousands of dollars after accepting invitations to private homes from friendly locals. Beware of rigged card games and other confidence tricks organised by criminals. Gambling may break local laws, which also apply to tourists. See
- Be alert to your credit card.
- Take care not to expose your PIN to others, particularly when using ATMs.
- Monitor your transaction statements.
- Use airport taxis, prearranged hotel transfer services or taxis from clearly marked taxi ranks with minders. Check that any person holding a placard with your name on it knows your destination.
- Be wary of overly friendly people who invite you to their home.
- If you become victim to a gambling scam, report it to police. In Hanoi, call the scams hotline run by the Tourism Department of Hanoi (+84 941 336677), which can take your report or help you to report it to police.
Civil unrest and political tension
Although rare, protests sometimes occur. Don't take photographs of demonstrations, the military or the police. Authorities may not tolerate this.
Internal conflict is rare, although some localised violent clashes between protesters and police have resulted in casualties.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world.
Terrorist threat worldwide
Travel is restricted in parts of the Central Highlands and some border areas, and near military installations.
Long Tan Cross site
The Vietnamese Government won't permit official Long Tan commemorations at the Long Tan Cross site in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. Access to the site will remain open to small groups of people for contemplative private visits without media coverage. This may change at short notice.
Consistent with long-standing practice, visitors to the site may not wear medals or uniforms, or carry banners or flags. Visitors are asked to behave in a solemn manner, respectful to the wishes of local communities.
Australian Consulate-General, Ho Chi Minh City
Remnants of war
Unexploded ordnance and landmines are a hazard in former battlefields, particularly in central Vietnam and along the Lao border. Mine-free roads and paths are well marked.
Tours and adventure activities
Transport and tour operators don't always meet safety and maintenance standards, including for adventure activities such as mountain climbing and boat trips. Safety equipment may not be provided.
If you're going to take part in adventure activities:
- check if the activity is covered by your insurance policy
- ask about or insist on minimum safety requirements.
- always use available safety equipment, even if others don't
- if appropriate safety equipment is unavailable, use another provider.
Streets are crowded in major cities and road rules are routinely ignored. Vehicle and road maintenance are poor. Traffic accidents occur frequently and attract large crowds. You are four times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Vietnam than in Australia.
If you're involved in an accident, whether or not you're at fault, you could face criminal charges and may be required to make large compensation payments to the injured person, or their family.
- Consider not driving a car or riding a motorcycle in Vietnam, particularly if you're unfamiliar with local conditions.
- Whether driving, riding or walking, be very careful when crossing busy streets – traffic can appear from any direction.
Road safety and driving
You must have a valid Vietnamese driver's licence to drive in Vietnam, including for motorcycles of 50cc or more. International Driver's Permits issued in Australia are not recognised in Vietnam. Fines for driving without a valid licence vary.
Australian Embassy, Hanoi
The number of tourists involved in serious motorcycle accidents is increasing. Check if your travel insurances covers you riding a motorcycle. Always wear a helmet.
Only ride a motorcylce if you're licensed and familiar with local driving conditions.
- check your travel insurance policy covers you when travelling by motorcycle
- only ride motorcycles if you are properly licensed and are familiar with – and comfortable in – local driving conditions.
Be wary of using taxis hailed on the street. Always choose a reputable and reliable taxi company. Make sure the taxi driver knows how to get to your destination before entering the taxi. Ensure the meter is used and leave the taxi if the driver tries to pick other passengers up.
If you book a taxi online or through an app, make sure the details of the vehicle and driver match those provided by the company.
Be wary of taxi scams. See
Safety and security.
Inter-city buses have a high accident rate. Consider taking a train, where possible.
Petty theft regularly occurs on buses. See
Safety and security.
Rail travel is usually safe, but petty theft occurs, including on sleeper trains between Hanoi and Lao Cai/Sapa.
When travelling by rail, retain the ticket stub so you can exit the train station.
Boats, hydrofoils and ferries may not meet Australian safety standards. Accidents on waterways occur and there have been a number of fatalities resulting from vessels sinking, including in Ha Long Bay.
If you plan to travel by boat:
- ask tour operators about the safety record and emergency procedures
- ensure there is adequate safety equipment such as life vests on board
- if adequate equipment is not available, use another provider.
Piracy occurs in coastal areas of Vietnam.
All airports in Vietnam require you to show your luggage tags when exiting the airport. Keep your luggage receipt from your airline on you at all times.
By law, children 14 years and under travelling alone on domestic flights must carry a birth certificate and an authorisation letter between the legal guardian of the child and the airline confirming the child can travel alone. Contact the airline in advance to confirm requirements for unaccompanied travel by minors.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the
Aviation Safety Network for information on aviation safety in Vietnam.
You're subject to local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our
Consular Services Charter. We can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
There are strict security and investigative measures to combat drug trafficking. Penalties for all types of drug offences, including those involving small amounts of drugs, are severe. Many drug offences attract the death penalty or life imprisonment. Marijuana in any form is illegal.
Over 30 Australians are serving long jail sentences, life sentences for drug trafficking offences, or have been arrested and pending further investigation/trial.
Never carry parcels or luggage for others.
For information about taking prescription medication into Vietnam, see
Entry and exit.
Carrying or using drugs
To marry a Vietnamese citizen in Vietnam, you must seek formal approval from the Department of Justice in the province where the Vietnamese citizen is registered. You need a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage (CNI) if you plan to marry in Vietnam.
You can apply for a CNI through the
Australian Embassy in Hanoi or the
Australian Consulate-General in Ho Chi Minh City. You can also apply for the CNI from the
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia (DFAT). An Embassy or Consulate of Vietnam will need to authenticate a DFAT CNI before the Department of Justice in Vietnam will recognise it, so there will be additional fees.
Increased Australian business activity has resulted in higher numbers of commercial disputes in recent years. If you are considering entering into a contract of any sort, first seek professional legal advice.
If you become involved in a business or civil dispute, authorities could prevent you from leaving until the matter is resolved.
Disputes over alleged misrepresentation of working and living conditions for Australians working in Vietnam, particularly those teaching English, occur frequently.
Before signing an employment contract or travelling to Vietnam for work:
- verify the true nature of the work being offered
- check for unacceptable employment conditions. For example, conditions for early termination may state that the employee surrenders the right to a return air ticket, and pay can be withheld
- verify the living arrangements you've been offered
- make sure you have the correct visa before arrival – ask an
Embassy or Consulate of Vietnam
- get professional legal advice before signing any contract
- get all necessary work permits - the Australian Embassy or Consulate-General can provide a limited range of
notarial services for some documents required for a work permit.
- never surrender your passport to your employer, even for 'safe-keeping'. Reputable businesses won't ask
- maintain a valid visa and work permit – if you don't, you'll be fined and possibly detained.
Living and working overseas
Penalties for serious crime, such as rape, espionage and hijacking, include the death penalty.
The following activities are illegal and may result in arrest and imprisonment:
- photography of border crossings or military installations
- getting too close to the borders with China, Cambodia or Laos without prior written permission from the local authorities (more information:
Embassy or Consulate of Vietnam)
- gambling, except in government-licensed casinos – access is restricted to holders of foreign passports
- possession of pornography
- possession of non-state sanctioned political or religious material
- involvement in non-state sanctioned political or religious activities, including on-line activities. Authorities can deny entry to, detain, deport or prevent from leaving, anyone suspected o these activities until they have completed investigations
- exporting antiques without a permit – contact the
Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism for advice and any necessary permit ( this website is in Vietnamese).
Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:
- bribery of foreign public officials
- child pornography
- child sex tourism
- female genital mutilation
- forced marriage
- money laundering.
Staying within the law
Same-sex relationships are legal but social and cultural attitudes can be conservative, particularly in rural areas. Same-sex partners aren't legally protected or recognised.
Vietnam recognises dual nationality in limited circumstances.
If you're an Australian/Vietnamese dual national, enter on your Australian passport. If you enter on your Vietnamese passport, you may not be able to access Australian consular assistance. Particularly in cases of arrest and detention, authorities may not advise Australian consular officials and refuse consular access or allow Australia to provide consular assistance to dual nationals.
Australian citizens must re-enter Australia on an Australian passport.
You may be subject to compulsory military service in Vietnam. Contact the nearest
Embassy or Consulate of Vietnam in Australia before you travel.
Take out comprehensive
travel insurance before leaving to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.
Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government won't pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.
- what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
- that you are covered for the whole time you will be away.
Physical and mental health
Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
- At least eight weeks before you leave, see a doctor for a basic health check-up. Discuss your travel plans and implications for your health
- Get vaccinated before you travel.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may be illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by a doctor. Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to.
Prescription medicine (except for addictive and psychotropic medicine) intended for non-commercial use can be brought in to Vietnam. The total import value may be restricted. Check what restrictions apply with the nearest Emvassy or Consulate of Vietnam. See Entry and exit
Take enough prescription medication with you to last for your travel. Always carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you take and that it's for personal use only.
There is ongoing transmission of Zika virus. If pregnant, the Australian Department of Health advises you discuss any travel plans with a doctor and defer non-essential travel to affected areas.
The mosquito-borne dengue fever occurs, particularly in the south. There is no vaccine or treatment. Japanese encephalitis also occurs. A Japanese encephalitis vaccine is registered and available in Australia. Malaria is a risk in some remote mountainous areas.
Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses:
- ensure your accommodation is mosquito proof
- use insect repellent and wear long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing
- consider taking prophylaxis against malaria where necessary
- get vaccinated against Japanese encephalitis before you travel
- discuss your travel plans and other vaccination needs with your doctor before you travel
- if pregnant, defer non-essential travel.
Rabies is a potentially fatal viral disease found in dogs, monkeys, bats and other mammals. Most reported cases are in the mountain provinces of Northern Vietnam and most commonly transmitted through dog bites.
- Avoid direct contact with dogs and other mammals
- If you are bitten or scratched by a mammal in Vietnam, get treated with rabies immunoglobulin as soon as possible.
HIV/AIDS is a risk for travellers. Take precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) is common with outbreaks that are more serious occurring sometimes. Outbreaks usually start in March or April and peak in May but can continue until August to October. It mostly affects children under the age of 10 but adult cases (particularly young adults) are not unusual.
The illness is characterised by fever as well as blisters and rashes on the hands, feet and buttocks. HFMD is spread by direct contact with nose and throat discharges and faeces of infected people.
- Practice good hygiene, including careful and frequent hand washing.
Outbreaks of conjunctivitis occur.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is infected
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently
- Avoid exposure to infected eyes.
The World Health Organization has confirmed a number of human cases of avian influenza (bird flu).
Cholera and other Infectious diseases
Acute watery diarrhoea and cholera occur, with outbreaks that are more serious occurring sometimes. Outbreaks of water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including hepatitis, rabies, typhoid, tuberculosis, and meningitis) occur sometimes.
- Boil all drinking water or drink bottled water
- Avoid ice cubes
- Avoid uncooked and undercooked food
- Prepare and select food carefully
- Use good personal hygiene.
Seek urgent medical attention if you suspect food poisoning, have a fever or suffer from diarrhoea.
There is particulate pollution present in major cities. Seek medical advice before travelling if it's likely to affect you
World Air Quality
There have been reports of drug use causing psychotic episodes and hospitalisation. If you use drugs in Vietnam, you face possible health and legal consequences. See
The standard of medical facilities and care varies.
Foreign private medical clinics are available in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vung Tau and Da Nang but may not meet Australian standards.
Medical facilities and care at most public hospitals, especially outside Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, are poor. Medical evacuation to a major centre may be required for even relatively minor operations.
Doctors and hospitals expect payment before providing medical services, including for emergency care. Some hospitals may liaise with travel insurance companies for payment, others may require upfront payment before giving treatment.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need to be evacuated. Air evacuations, often to Bangkok or Singapore, are very expensive.
Decompression chambers are located in Khanh Hoa (Nha Trang), Quy Nhon (Binh Dinh), Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
To be recognised as next of kin for medical consent purposes you may need a legalised birth certificate.
During the rainy season, from June to December, floods, flash floods and typhoons are common.
Flooding can lead to landslides. The
Mekong River Commission provides information on flood levels for the Mekong River region.
Typhoons mostly affect the coastal provinces of the North and Central Regions. They also occur less frequently in the south.
Disruptions to transport (air, sea, road and rail), electricity and communications are possible during severe weather events.
- Keep an eye on media, weather and flood level reports, especially during the rainy season.
- Don't enter areas affected by severe weather or a natural disaster without first seeking advice from local authorities.
- Follow local authorities' instructions.
- Check with your tour operator for information on disruptions.
If there is a flood, typhoon or other severe weather:
- secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it
- contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare
- monitor the media, other local sources of information and the
Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
- follow the local authorities' instructions
- check with tour operators before travelling to affected areas.
Frequent large earthquakes in the region make destructive tsunamis more likely.
If there is a tsunami or a tsunami warning, check the
Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre website regularly.
Where to get help
Depending on what you need, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, travel agent, travel insurance provider, employer or airline. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Emergency phone numbers
- Firefighting: 114
- Medical emergencies: 115
- Criminal issues, contact police: 113
Emergency numbers in Vietnam are operated in Vietnamese only and may be unreliable. There is often a long wait time before emergency services arrive.
Always get a police report when reporting a crime. Take a translator with you to report a crime to the police. It's at the discretion of local police if cases reported by foreigners are accepted.
Tourism services and products
For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
For consular assistance, contact:
Australian Embassy, Hanoi
8 Dao Tan Street
Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
Phone: (+84 24) 3774 0100
Fax: (+84 24) 3774 0111
Australia in Vietnam
Australian Consulate-General, Ho Chi Minh City
20th Floor, Vincom Centre
47 Ly Tu Trong Street
Ben Nghe Ward, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Phone: (+84 28) 3521 8100
Fax: (+84 28) 3521 8101
Consulate-General websites for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
If you're unable to contact the Embassy or Consulate-General in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas or 1300 555 135 within Australia.