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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Vietnam

Vietnam - Consular Information Sheet
July 27, 2001

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Vietnam is a poor agrarian country controlled by a Communist government. Tourist facilities are not well established, but are improving in certain areas.

ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: U.S. passports are valid for travel in Vietnam. Visas are required and should be obtained from a Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate before traveling to Vietnam. Visas may be issued for one or multiple entries but are usually valid for only one entry. Visas are generally valid for one month, but increasing numbers of travelers have been successful in having their visas renewed after their arrival in Vietnam for up to three months. Entry into and exit from Vietnam is sometimes restricted to a specific port of entry.

U.S. citizens are cautioned that the Vietnamese immigration regulations require foreigners entering Vietnam to carry out only the activity for which the visas were issued. Change of purpose requires permission from the appropriate Vietnamese authority in advance. U.S. citizens whose stated purpose of travel is tourism but who engage in religious proselytizing have had religious materials confiscated and have been expelled from Vietnam.

Current entry requirements as well as other information may be obtained from the Vietnamese Embassy, 1233 20th Street, Suite 400, NW, Washington, DC 20036, telephone 202-861-0694 or 2293, Fax 202-861-1297, Internet home page: http://www.vietnamembassy-usa.org; the Vietnamese Consulate General, 1700 California Street - 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94109, telephone 415-922-1577, or from a travel agent who organizes travel to Vietnam. Overseas inquiries may be made at the nearest Vietnamese Embassy.

The Vietnam Tourism Company, a state-run enterprise operating directly under the authority of the Vietnam General Department of Tourism, has three offices in Vietnam:

VTC, 30A Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hanoi, Telephone: (84-4) 826-4154, Fax: (84-4) 825-7583, E-mail: vntourism2@hn.vnn.vn

VTC, 18 Le Loi Street, Hue, Telephone: (84-54) 828-316, Fax: (84-54) 821-090, E-mail: vntourismhue@dng.vnn.vn

VTC, 123 Le Loi Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Telephone: (84-8) 821-0869, Fax: (84-8) 821-0876, E-mail: cndlvn-hanoi@hcm.fpt.vn

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.

DUAL NATIONALITY: U.S. citizens born in Vietnam or persons who are former citizens of Vietnam and their children, while required to obtain visas, are treated in criminal matters as Vietnamese nationals by Vietnamese authorities. They also may be subjected to laws that impose special obligations upon Vietnamese nationals, such as military service and taxes. U.S. citizens of Vietnamese origin may be charged with offenses allegedly committed prior to their original departure from Vietnam. U.S. citizens of Vietnamese origin should refer to the paragraph on consular access regarding their rights. Specific questions on Vietnamese citizenship should be directed to the Vietnamese Embassy. Questions on dual nationality may be directed to the Office of Overseas Citizens Services, Department of State, Washington, DC 20520, telephone: 202-647-5226. For additional information, see Dual Nationality flyer.

SAFETY AND SECURITY: In February 2001, Daklak and Gia Lai provinces, in the Central Highlands were the scenes of ethnic minority protests. These protests stopped traffic on roads leading to Buon Ma Thuot and Pleiku. Vietnamese authorities closed hotels to foreigners and prohibited airline travel by foreigners to those regions. Yok Don National Park in Daklak province, Vietnam's largest wildlife reserve and a major tourist destination, was also closed. The situation remains fluid, and neither the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi nor the Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City are able to state when this situation will change. Official U.S. personnel are not authorized to travel to the Central Highlands areas without prior consent from the Government of Vietnam. These travel limitations hinder the ability of the U.S. government to provide assistance to private U.S. citizens in those areas.

Vietnamese security personnel may place foreign visitors under surveillance. Hotel rooms, telephone conversations, fax transmissions, and e-mail communications may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched. Large gatherings, such as those forming at the scene of traffic accidents, can become violent. Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in problems with authorities. Tourists should be cautious when traveling near military bases and avoid photographing in these areas.

Foreign visitors to Vietnam have been arbitrarily arrested, detained or expelled for activities that would not be considered crimes in the United States. Visitors deemed suspicious by Vietnamese security personnel may be detained, along with their Vietnamese contacts, relatives, and friends. Local security officials have called in some U.S. citizens of Vietnamese origin for "discussions" not related to any suspected or alleged violation of law. These meetings normally do not result in any action against the traveler, but are nevertheless intimidating. Visitors are not permitted to invite Vietnamese nationals of the opposite sex to their hotel rooms and police may raid hotels without notice or consent. Involvement in politics, possession of political material, involvement in business activities that have not been licensed by appropriate authorities, or non-sanctioned religious activities (including proselytizing) can result in detention. Sponsors of small, informal religious gatherings such as bible study groups in hotel rooms, as well as distributors of religious materials, have been detained, fined and expelled.

TRAVEL IN BORDER AREAS: U.S. citizens have been detained after traveling in areas close to the borders with Vietnam's neighbors. These areas and other restricted areas are not always marked, and there are no warnings about prohibited travel. Travelers should avoid such areas unless written permission is obtained in advance from local authorities.

TRAVEL INFORMATION FOR U.S. VETERANS: Increasing numbers of U.S. military personnel who served in the armed forces during the Vietnam War have returned to Vietnam on personal travel. Neither the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi nor the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City is aware of any Vietnamese government restrictions on former U.S. military personnel visiting Vietnam. Neither the Embassy nor the Consulate General provides special assistance in reaching battlefield sites. Visitors should understand that some battle sites are relatively inaccessible, and access to battle sites may be denied by the Vietnamese government.

The U.S. Government has stated that its highest diplomatic priority in Vietnam is accounting for U.S. armed forces personnel reported missing in action or killed in action during the Vietnam War. Military or civilian personnel with any knowledge of the location of possible personnel missing or killed in action are encouraged to contact the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting at:

JTF-FA, Det 2, Hanoi
130 Doc Ngu Street
Ba Dinh District, Cong Vi Ward
Hanoi, Vietnam
Phone: (84-4) 823-3709/10/11
Fax: (84-4) 823-3628

CRIME: While Vietnam is generally a safe country, street crime is a serious problem in Ho Chi Minh City and, to a lesser extent, throughout Vietnam. The growing nature of incidents warrants caution on the part of the U.S. traveler. Generally, crime in Ho Chi Minh City is limited to pick-pocketing or snatch-and-grab type of incidents, and the theft of unattended bags, briefcases and other personal items. Violent crime directed against foreigners is rare and the last known incident occurred in June 1997. Travelers are advised not to resist such theft attempts and to report them both to police and to the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi or the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City. Motorcyclists, mostly carrying passengers, frequently grab bags, cameras, and other valuables from pedestrians or passengers riding in pedicabs or at the back of rented motorcycles. Thieves also congregate in large numbers around hotels frequented by foreign tourists and business people. Assaults have been reported in outlying areas. As some pedicab drivers have reportedly kidnapped passengers and extorted money, it may be risky to hire pedicabs not associated with reputable hotels or restaurants.

Passengers in pedicabs may be especially prone to thefts of personal possessions by snatch-and-grab thieves because passengers ride in a reclining position that does not allow good visibility or movement and readily exposes their belongings.

Travelers are strongly advised to keep passports and other important valuables in hotel safes or other secure locations. Travelers are advised to carry a photocopy of their passport with them when going out. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi or the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi or the U.S Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City.

Travelers to Vietnam are advised to exercise caution when visiting places where drinking of alcoholic beverages is prevalent. There have been a number of incidents reported in which a suspected toxic or other unknown type of substance was used to taint drinks, leaving the victim susceptible to further criminal acts. Travelers should avoid purchasing liquor from street vendors, as the quality of the contents cannot be assured.

In Ho Chi Minh City some U.S. citizens have reported death or physical injury threats related to personal or professional matters. The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi and the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City do not provide personal protection services. U.S. citizens who do not have confidence in the ability of the local police to protect them may wish to depart the country expeditiously.

MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities in Vietnam do not meet U.S. standards and frequently lack medicines and supplies. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate cash payment for health services. Common U.S. medications are not available in Vietnam. Medical personnel may speak only halting English.

Travelers may obtain lists of local physicians from the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi or the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City. Travelers are reminded that neither office may recommend specific medical practitioners or hospitals.

MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

When making a decision regarding health insurance, U.S. citizens should consider that doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.

The companies listed below are the only emergency medical assistance firms with representative offices in Vietnam. The Department of State assumes no responsibility for the professional ability or reputation of the medical assistance companies listed below or for the travel insurance companies listed on its web page.

AEA International/SOS assistance
Central Building, 31 Hai Ba Trung Street
Hoanh Kiem District
Telephone: (84-4) 934-0555
Fax: (84-4) 934-0556
From U.S.: TELEPHONE 1-800-548-7762
24-hour number within the U.S. (Seattle, WA)
Telephone: 206-621-9911
Fax: 206-340-6006

65 Nguyen Du Street, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Alarm center telephone: (84-8) 829-8520
Clinic telephone: (84-8) 829-8424
Fax: (84-8) 829-8551
From U.S.: TELEPHONE: 1-800-523-8930

1 Le Ngoc Han
Ba Ria, Vung Tau Province
Telephone: (84-64) 858-776
Fax: (84-64) 858-779

Hanoi Family Practice
Hanoi Family Practice is part of the MEDEX network. It also offers insurance policies directly in Hanoi.

Hanoi Family Practice (or Van Phuc Clinic)
Building A1, Suite 109-112,
Kim Ma Road, Van Phuc, Hanoi
Telephone: (84-4) 846-1748 or 1749
Fax: (84-4) 846 1750
24-hour Emergency: 09040 1919
Email: HFMedPrac.Kot@fmail.vnn.vn

(U.S. point of contact) MEDEX International
9515 Deereco Road, 4th floor
Timonium, MD 21093 USA
Tel: 410 453 6300
Fax: 410 308 2929
Email: info@medexassist.com

Mondial Assistance - Their network operates in many countries. In USA it is called:

ASA - Assistance Services of America
8050 Southern Maryland Boulevard
Owings, MD 20736
Tel: 410 257 9505
Fax: 410 257 2704

OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Travelers should be cautious when drinking non-bottled water and in using ice cubes in drinks. Travelers may wish to drink hot tea and coffee and bottled water and bottled drinks.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Vietnam is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside/Ambulance Assistance: Poor

Traffic in Vietnam is chaotic. Traffic moves on the right, although drivers frequently cross to the left to pass or turn. Horns are used constantly, often with no apparent reason. Traffic accidents, most involving motorcycles and resulting in traumatic head injury, are an increasingly serious hazard. At least 30 people die each day from transportation-related injuries. Traffic accident injuries are the leading cause of death, severe injury, and emergency evacuation of foreigners in Vietnam. It is the single greatest health risk that U.S. citizens will face in Vietnam.

Streets in major cities are choked with motorcycles, cars, buses, trucks, bicycles, pedestrians and pedicabs. Sudden stops by motorcycles and bicycles to purchase food from sidewalk stalls make driving a particular hazard. Nationwide, drivers do not follow basic traffic principles. There is little adherence to traffic laws or enforcement by traffic police. There are few traffic lights. Vehicles do not yield right of way. Most Vietnamese ride motorcycles and an entire family often rides on one motorcycle.

Road conditions are poor nationwide. Outside the cities, livestock compete with vehicles for road space. Exercise extra caution in the countryside and on national Routes 1 and 5, as sections of both routes are in very poor condition.

Driving at night is especially dangerous and drivers should exercise extreme caution. Roads are poorly lit and road signs are minimal. Buses and trucks often travel at high speed with bright lights that are rarely dimmed. Vehicles of all types often stop in the road without any illumination, and livestock are likely to be encountered.

Motorcyclists and bicyclists should wear helmets. Vehicle passengers should use seatbelts in cars or taxis. The Vietnamese government has mandated the use of motorcycle helmets on major roads leading to large urban centers. Enforcement of this law began in January 2001 but application has been slow and sporadic at best. New laws have been promulgated concerning the use of motorcycle helmets in urban areas as well, though they have not been enforced. Child car seats are not available.

Penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or causing an accident resulting in injury or death can include fines, confiscation of driving permits or imprisonment. U.S. citizens involved in traffic accidents have been barred from leaving Vietnam before paying compensation (often determined arbitrarily) for property damage or injuries.

Emergency roadside help is available by dialing at nationwide telephones: 113 for police, 114 for fire brigade and 115 for an ambulance. Efficiency of these services is well below U.S. standards and locating a public telephone is often difficult. Trauma care is not widely available.

The urban speed limit ranges from 30 to 40 km/h. The rural speed limit ranges from 40 to 60 km/h. Both speed limits are routinely ignored.

International driving permits or U.S. drivers' licenses are not valid in Vietnam. Foreigners renting vehicles risk prosecution and/or imprisonment for driving without a Vietnamese license endorsed for the appropriate vehicle. Potential drivers should contact any office of the Vietnamese Department of Communications and Transport to obtain a Vietnamese driver's license.

Most Vietnamese travel within Vietnam by long-distance bus or train. Both are slow and safety conditions do not approach U.S. standards.

For additional information about road travel in Vietnam see the U.S. Embassy Hanoi home page, http://usembassy.state.gov/vietnam/, or the U.S. Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City home page, http://www.uscongenhcmc.org.

For additional general information on road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs Home Page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information concerning Vietnamese driving permits and other travel information, contact the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism in Hanoi at phone (84-4) 825-2246.

SEASONAL FLOODING: Heavy rainfall during Vietnam's annual rainy season, usually June through September, and again during the typhoon season from October to December, coupled with outdated and poorly maintained infrastructure, places much of Vietnam at high risk for seasonal flooding. Northern Vietnam is most likely to experience seasonal flooding during the rainy season, while Central and Southern Vietnam are most likely to experience seasonal flooding during from August to November.

While minor flooding is fairly common in Hanoi, the source of any major flood in Hanoi is the Red River. In the event of a major flood, Vietnamese authorities would destroy a portion of the protective dike around the river well upstream from Hanoi. U.S. citizens living near the Red River, upstream of Hanoi, should be aware of this potential risk. If a major flood is not diverted before striking Hanoi, experts predict the flood would be devastating.

There is also a serious risk of flooding in Central Vietnam and in the Mekong River delta regions in Southern Vietnam.

U.S. citizens living in flood prone areas are urged to have a home escape route from rising water levels, stock drinking water and canned food at home, keep a fully stocked first aid kit, keep passports and other important documents in a safe place, and keep informed of weather conditions during the rainy season.

Prior to the onset of a flood, Vietnamese television channel VTV One (which broadcasts in Vietnamese) is a good source for weather information. The Vietnamese government maintains an English-language flood website at: http//:www.undp.org.vn/dmu/latest/en/frame.htm

The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi and the Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City will make available any information they have on possible flood situations which could affect U.S. citizens residing in Vietnam.

AVIATION OVERSIGHT: Because there is no direct commercial air service between the U.S. and Vietnam, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Vietnam's civil aviation authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Vietnam's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the U.S. Department of Transportation at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet home page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.

PASSPORT SEIZURES/EXIT BANS: The Vietnamese government may seize, and has in the past seized, the passports and blocked the departure of foreigners involved in commercial disputes. Passports should never be used as security for rental of vehicles, collateral for hotel payments, etc. The hotel may retain a passport until checkout. In such circumstances, the U.S. Government may issue a new passport to a U.S. citizen. The Vietnamese exit ban, however, could remain in effect, preventing departure.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Vietnamese government authorities have increased the seizure of documents, audio and video tapes, compact discs, literature, and personal letters they deem to be religious, pornographic, or political in nature or intended for religious or political proselytizing. The authorities are also increasingly detaining and expelling individuals believed to be engaged in such activities. Individuals arriving at airports with videotapes or materials considered to be pornographic have been detained and heavily fined (up to U.S. $2,000 for one videotape). Authorities may search rooms and luggage without notice or consent. It is illegal to import weapons, including firearms, knives, and ammunition.

Vietnamese law restricts the export of antiques, but the laws on the subject are vague and unevenly enforced. Antique objects are subject to inspection and seizure by customs authorities with no compensation made to owners/travelers. The determination of what is an "antique" can be arbitrary. Purchasers of non-antique items of value should retain receipts and confirmation from shop owners and/or the Ministry of Culture and the Customs Department to prevent seizure upon departure. Prior to purchasing antiques, travelers may wish to determine from the Ministry of Culture whether the object can be exported and the amount of duty. The process of exporting antiques can be difficult and time-consuming; however, travelers can insist that sellers obtain all necessary permits from the Ministry of Culture and Customs Department before final purchase is made. Travelers are advised to contact the Embassy of Vietnam in Washington, DC or the Vietnamese Consulate General in San Francisco for specific information regarding customs requirements.

CURRENCY: Foreign currency (including notes, coins and traveler's checks) in excess of USD 3,000 and cash exceeding Vietnamese Dong (VND) 5,000,000 must be declared at customs upon arrival and departure. There is no limitation on either the export or import of U.S. dollars or other foreign currency by U.S. citizens, provided that all currency in excess of USD 3,000 (or its equivalent in other foreign currencies) or in excess of VND 5,000,000 in cash is declared upon arrival and departure, and supported by appropriate documentation.

VIETNAMESE CIVIL DOCUMENTS AND PROCEDURES: U.S. citizens who plan to marry a Vietnamese national in Vietnam should contact the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington, D.C. or the Vietnamese Consulate General in San Francisco concerning documentary requirements. Several documents will require notarization at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi or the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City.

Children born in Vietnam to one or two U.S. citizen parents may apply for an adjudication of their child's claim to U.S. citizenship at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi or the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City. A U.S. citizen parent who was formerly a Vietnamese national is required by Vietnamese law to certify that the child is a Vietnamese national in order to obtain the child's Vietnamese birth certificate.

Vietnamese law requires an autopsy before a death certificate may be issued for a deceased foreigner. In some cases this requirement may be circumvented with a diplomatic note from the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi or the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City, particularly if the deceased was elderly or in documented poor health and the cause of death can reasonably be ascribed to age or ill health.

INS SERVICES IN VIETNAM: U.S. citizens who wish to file fiance/e visa petitions, immigrant visa petitions, or immigrant visa petitions for orphan children should contact the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in Ho Chi Minh City at 65 Le Loi, Saigon Center, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, telephone (84-8) 821-6237, fax (84-8) 821-6241.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Vietnam's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Vietnam are strict, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

Foreigners have been executed for drug smuggling. The death penalty applies to anyone caught possessing 100 grams of heroin or five kilograms of opium. A Canadian national of Vietnamese origin was executed in early 2000 for drug smuggling. Both the sentencing and execution were carried out swiftly, without what would be considered due process in the United States.

Vietnamese authorities often detain foreign nationals for lengthy periods - months if not years - before concluding their investigation into an alleged crime and sending the case forward for prosecution. The criminal justice process is also lengthy.

U.S. citizens should be aware that many charges involving business or driving offenses that are considered civil charges in the U.S. are considered criminal charges in Vietnam. U.S. citizens of Vietnamese origin who left Vietnam may be subject to charges for any crimes they allegedly committed prior to their original departure from Vietnam, even if that departure was many years ago.

CONSULAR ACCESS: The 1994 Agreed Minute between the United States and Vietnam provides for reciprocal access to each other's detained nationals. Bearers of U.S. passports who enter Vietnam with a Vietnamese visa, including those of Vietnamese origin, will be regarded as U.S. citizens for purposes of access. Therefore, U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry photocopies of passport data and photo pages with them at all times so that, if questioned by Vietnamese officials, proof of U.S. citizenship is readily available.

Despite the 1994 agreement, U.S. consular officers in Vietnam are typically not notified in a timely manner when a U.S. citizen is arrested or detained. There have been very significant delays in obtaining access to incarcerated U.S. citizens. This has been particularly true when the U.S. citizen is being held during the investigatory stage that Vietnamese officials do not consider as covered by our bilateral agreement. The investigatory stage can last months or longer and often proceeds without the formal filing of any charges. The problem of access has been particularly evident when the U.S. citizen is considered by the Vietnamese government to be a citizen of Vietnam irrespective of proof of U.S. citizenship. U.S. citizens, even dual nationals, have the right to consular access and should insist upon contact with the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi or the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City. Lack of timely notification of the arrest of a U.S. citizen and lack of access to detained U.S. citizens is the single most important consular bilateral issue between the U.S. and Vietnam.

PROPERTY ISSUES AND LIFTING OF SANCTIONS: On January 28, 1995, the U.S. and Vietnam signed agreements resolving diplomatic property issues and settling outstanding claims between the two countries. For more information, contact: The Assistant Legal Adviser for International Claims and Investment Disputes, Department of State, SA-44, Room 205, Washington, DC 20520, telephone 202-776-8360.

Pursuant to the February 3, 1994, lifting of sanctions against Vietnam, U.S. visitors to Vietnam are no longer subject to spending limitations. U.S. visitors must comply with all normal Commerce Department export requirements. For additional information contact: The Bureau of Export Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20230, telephone 202-482-4811.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/childen's_issues.html or telephone (202) 736-7000.

REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE GENERAL LOCATION: U.S. citizens living in or visiting Vietnam are encouraged to register in person or via telephone with the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi or the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Vietnam.

The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi is located at 6 Ngoc Khanh, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Vietnam, telephone: (84-4) 831-4590; after hours emergency telephone number: (84-4) 772-1500; fax: (84-4) 831-4578, Internet home page: http://usembassy.state.gov/vietnam/. The consular section's business hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. The Embassy's Consular Section provides the full range of services for U.S. citizens (passport services, consular reports of birth abroad, notarial services) and non-immigrant visa services (except K-1 fiancee visas).

The U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City is located at 4 Le Duan, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Socialist Republic of Vietnam, telephone: (84-8) 822-9433, fax: (84-8) 822-9434, Internet home page http://www.uscongenhcmc.org. The Consulate General's business hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. The Consulate General provides the full range of consular services for U.S. citizens (passport services, consular reports of birth abroad, notarial services) and the full range of immigrant and non-immigrant visa services. All immigrant visa processing in Vietnam, including visas for adopted children and fiance/e visas, is conducted solely at the Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City.

Callers from the U.S. should note that Vietnam is 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and 11 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.

A copy of the U.S. citizen registration form is on the Embassy website and may be downloaded and faxed to the Embassy's Consular Section or to the Consulate General.


This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated September 14, 1999, to update sections on Entry/Exit Requirements, Safety and Security, Travel Information for U.S. Veterans, Crime, Medical Facilities, Medical Insurance, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions, Seasonal Flooding, Aviation Oversight, Customs Regulations, Currency, Vietnamese Civil Documents and Procedures, Criminal Penalties, Consular Access, and Registration/Embassy and Consulate General Location.

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