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International Travel

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Country Information

Vietnam

Country Information

Vietnam
Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Last Updated: October 28, 2016
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Six Months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page required for entry stamp  

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Yes

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

No. However, Vietnamese Dong in excess of VND 150,000,000 or foreign currency in excess of 5,000 U.S. dollars or equivalent must be declared. 

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

No. However, Vietnamese Dong in excess of VND 150,000,000 or foreign currency in excess of 5,000 U.S. dollars or equivalent must be declared. 

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Hanoi - Consular Annex
170 Ngoc Khanh
Ba Dinh District
Hanoi, Vietnam

Telephone: +(84) (24) 3850-5000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(84) (24) 3850-5000 or (04) 3850-5000/3850-5105
Fax: +(84) (24) 3850-5010

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City
4 Le Duan, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Telephone:
+(84) (8) 3520-4200
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(84) (8) 3520-4200
Fax: +(84) (8) 3520-4244
Inquiries

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Destination Description

Tourist facilities can be basic in rural areas but are increasingly well established in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and some beach and mountain resorts.  Read the Department of State Fact Sheet on Vietnam for additional information on U.S. - Vietnam relations.

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Entry Requirements: You must have a valid passport and a visa (or pre-approval for a visa on arrival) to enter Vietnam.  Your passport must be valid for six months beyond your planned stay and you must have at least one blank visa page.  Visit the Embassy of Vietnam website for the most current information. If you arrive in Vietnam without an appropriate visa or pre-approval for a visa on arrival, you will be denied entry.

Visas: When you apply for your visa to enter Vietnam, be sure to request the visa category that corresponds to your purpose of travel.  Please refer to Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for information detailing Visa Categories and Descriptions. If you plan to work in Vietnam, you must obtain a work permit before applying for your visa.  If you change the purpose of your visit after you have received your visa, you must obtain a new visa outside of Vietnam appropriate for your new activities before beginning those activities.  Please consult the Embassy of Vietnam website for more information. 

If you plan to travel from Vietnam to Laos by land, you should request that an adhesive visa be affixed to your passport instead of a detachable one.  Lao immigration officials require proof that travelers have departed Vietnam, something that can only be shown with an adhesive visa.  Vietnamese officials remove detachable visas from passports when travelers depart Vietnam, leaving travelers with no proof of their Vietnam departure.  This situation can result in Lao officials requiring travelers to return to Vietnam.

If your U.S. passport is lost or stolen in Vietnam, you will need both a replacement passport and a replacement Vietnamese visa in order to arrive AND depart Vietnam.  The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi and Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City can usually issue you a limited validity replacement passport in as little as one business day for emergency purposes; however, the Vietnamese government requires three to five working days to issue a replacement visa. The U.S. Embassy and the Consulate General cannot expedite the replacement of your Vietnamese visa. 

In February 2017, Vietnam launched a pilot e-visa program for citizens of 40 countries, including the United States.  The program uses an online application process to issue 30-day, one-entry visas for $25, payable via bank transfer.  E-visa holders may enter and exit Vietnam through 28 designated international border gates, including all international airports.  The pilot program will continue through January 31, 2019 subject to review and extension.  The Vietnamese e-visa instructions and application are available online. The correct Vietnamese government websites for e-visas are https://www.immigration.gov.vn/ and https://www.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn

Pre-approval for Visa on Arrival: All U.S. citizens must have a visa to enter Vietnam.  The Government of Vietnam has authorized some businesses and travel agencies to arrange for pre-approval for a “visa on arrival” at the airport.  However, some American citizens have reported being charged unexpectedly high fees and additional charges upon landing in Vietnam. The Embassy of Vietnam website has warnings about websites suspected of fraud.  The Government of Vietnam and the U.S. Department of State recommend that travelers obtain a visa directly from an Embassy or Consulate of Vietnam prior to arrival. 

Certificate of Visa Exemption: Vietnamese nationals residing abroad indefinitely, their spouses, and children may apply for a certificate of Visa Exemption.  The certificate has a maximum validity of five years, during which time the holder can enter Vietnam and stay for up to six months without applying for a visa.  More information can be found on the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Vietnam.  Immunization information for travelers can be found on the Centers for Disease and Control’s website.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.

 

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Safety and Security

The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens overseas always maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness while traveling internationally. Please visit travel.state.gov for up to date information.

Messages regarding weather-related events are posted on the Embassy’s website.

Small-scale, peaceful protests occasionally occur in Vietnam’s major cities, but large-scale demonstrations are rare. You should avoid large gatherings, as they can become violent with little or no warning. 

The Government of Vietnam may not allow or authorize travel to certain areas of the country that are deemed sensitive.  Check with local authorities before visiting border areas to see if you need to obtain a travel permit issued by local authorities.  U.S. citizens have been detained after traveling in areas close to the Vietnamese borders with China, Cambodia, and Laos.  These areas are not always marked, and there are no warnings about prohibited travel. 

Safety standards in Vietnam are not at the same level as those in the United States and vary greatly from company to company and province to province.  This is especially true in regards to the applicable fire code.  Travelers should be aware that many buildings, including hotels, shops and restaurants, have limited or no safety equipment or emergency exits. Ground and water transportation also lack safety regulations. 

To stay connected:

Crime:

Pick-pocketing and other petty crimes occur regularly, especially in crowded areas and tourist locations.  In Ho Chi Minh City, there is typically a rise in petty crime during the Christmas and Tet holiday season, including during the day and in well-lit areas. Motorcyclists are known to snatch bags, cameras, cell phones, and other valuables from pedestrians or passengers riding in "cyclos" (pedicabs) or on the back of motorcycles, sometimes using a sharp weapon such as a knive to cut a bag strap. Although violent crimes such as armed robbery are still relatively rare in Vietnam, perpetrators have grown increasingly bold and may carry a weapon. If you are targeted by thieves, do not resist and report the incident immediately to local police and to the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi or the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City. Sexual assaults also occur, but can be avoided by taking basic security precautions, such as not walking alone in poorly lit areas.

Drink and food spiking has been reported at some establishments in Vietnam’s major cities, usually late at night.  Do not leave drinks or food unattended, as you may be drugged and robbed. 

Some U.S. citizens have reported threats of death or physical injury related to personal business disputes.  You should report such threats to local authorities.

Keep your passport and other important valuables in your hotel in a safe or another secured location at all times and carry both photo and digital copies of your passport.  You should immediately report the loss or theft of your U.S. passport to the local police and the U.S. Embassy or the U.S. Consulate General.  You must obtain a police report from the local police office in order to apply for a replacement passport and a Vietnamese exit visa.  You must report to the police in the location your passport was lost or stolen or the Vietnamese may not issue a police report.

Transportation/tours: Exercise caution in choosing ground transportation upon arrival at the airport in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.  Some travelers have reported being robbed by drivers who greeted them upon arrival with a placard showing the traveler's name.  If you are expecting to be picked up, ask the company for the driver’s name, phone number, and license plate number before you travel.  Use only established airport taxi companies or vehicles provided by hotels.  You should be familiar with the basics of the hotel you have chosen, such as address and neighboring landmarks. You should try to write down the name of the taxi company, plate number, and any other identifying information in any incident so that it can be reported to the local authorities.

We strongly discourage the use of motorcycle taxis (known as “xe oms”).  Motorcycle taxis are unregulated and unsafe, and the helmets provided to riders offer little to no protection against injury in the case of an accident.

Drugs: Recreational drugs available in Vietnam can be extremely dangerous and can result in death.    Drugs sold in Vietnam may be fake, synthetic, or laced with toxic ingredients undetectable to the buyer.  You should also avoid purchasing liquor from street vendors, as the authenticity of the contents cannot be assured.

Victims of Crime: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Vietnam’s local equivalent of an emergency line is 113.  Local police will issue a report of a crime, but generally will only initiate investigations for crimes they determine serious, which do not always equate with U.S. standards.  Investigations can take several months to complete.  Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy and Consulate General can:

  • Replace a stolen passport.
  • Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
  • Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, contact family members or friends.
  • Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime. 

Some travelers have reportedly been victims of sexual assault while traveling in Vietnam. Victims of sexual assault should be aware that services for victims, including police responsiveness to reports, are generally inadequate by Western standards. Nonetheless, victims of sexual assault should immediately report incidents to local police and seek appropriate medical treatment. Victims should also report these incidents to the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi or the Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City.

Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties:  Persons violating Vietnamese laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.  Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Vietnam are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines, or even the death penalty.  In Vietnam, you may be taken in for questioning if you do not have proper ID, such as a passport or a copy of your visa.  In Vietnam, driving under the influence of alcohol could lead to immediate imprisonment.  If you break local laws in Vietnam, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. 

There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but are still illegal in the United States. You can be prosecuted in the United States for engaging in sexual conduct with children or for using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country regardless of the legality of these activities under the host country’s laws.  Counterfeit and pirated goods are illegal in the United States and if you purchase them in a foreign country, you may be breaking local law as well. 

Arrest Notification in Vietnam: To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas and continue to make the  request until you are seen by a U.S. official.  Notification by the Vietnamese authorities to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General and the granting of access by the Vietnamese authorities for a Consular Officer to visit detained U.S. citizens has historically experienced delays. 

Dual Nationality: Dual nationality is accepted by the Vietnamese government in some, but not all circumstances.  As of July 1, 2009, Vietnamese citizens who acquire foreign nationality can maintain Vietnamese nationality, provided they follow the proper procedures.  However, dual nationals should be aware that Vietnam recognizes their Vietnamese citizenship as primary before others.  In such cases, the U.S. Embassy and Consulate General may be limited in the consular services we are able to provide. 

Work Authorization: The Government of Vietnam maintains strict laws with respect to foreign workers.  U.S. citizens planning to work in Vietnam should make sure that they are in full compliance with Vietnamese regulations.  Penalties can be severe and include deportation, fines, or detention.

U.S. citizens who also hold Vietnamese citizenship, and who are currently residing in Vietnam, may wish to contact local authorities and/or seek competent legal advice on how local laws may affect their status.   For detailed information on Vietnamese nationality law and other legal issues visit the Embassy of Vietnam website.

Teaching English: We advise those considering accepting an English teaching job in Vietnam to carefully review the terms of the contract regarding working and living conditions and to ask for references from persons familiar with the institution, especially former U.S. citizen employees. 

Hotels: Hotels in Vietnam require you to present your passport (and visas, if issued separately) upon check-in so that your stay can be registered with local police. Every guest in a hotel room must be registered, regardless of their nationality.  If you stay at a private residence, (i.e. at the residence of family or friends) you must comply with registration requirements by visiting the local police station and registering your stay within 24 hours. 

Exports: Vietnamese law prohibits the export of antiques.  However, these laws are vague and unevenly enforced.  Customs authorities may inspect and seize your antiques without compensating you and the determination of what is an "antique" can be arbitrary.  If you purchase non-antique items of value, you should retain receipts and confirmation from shop owners and/or the Ministry of Culture and the Customs Department to prevent seizure when you leave the country.

Imports: Vietnamese authorities have seized documents, audio and video tapes, compact discs, literature, personal letters they deem to be pornographic or political in nature, or intended for religious or political proselytizing.  It is illegal to import weapons, ammunition, explosives, military equipment and tools (including uniforms), narcotics, drugs, toxic chemicals, pornographic and subversive materials, firecrackers, or children's toys that have "negative effects on personality development, social order, and security."

For up to date information on Vietnam Customs information, please visit the Vietnam Customs website.

Speech: The Government of Vietnam maintains strict control over all forms of political speech, particularly dissent.  U.S. citizens have been detained for political activities (including criticizing the government or its domestic/foreign policies or advocating alternatives to Communist Party rule), possession of political material, and non-sanctioned religious activities (including proselytizing).  Authorities also have detained U.S. citizens for posting messages in blogs or online chatrooms that are political or critical of the government.

Association with Groups: Persons whom the Government of Vietnam perceives to be associated with dissident or political groups may be denied entry to Vietnam, prevented from departing, detained, interrogated, or placed under serveillance. 

U.S. citizen travelers have been summoned by immigration or local security officials for reasons that are unclear or not explicitly related to any suspected or alleged violation of law.  We recommend that U.S. citizens finding themselves in this situation contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General immediately for further information and/or assistance.  

Photography: Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in questioning by authorities, fines, or delayed travel.  You should be cautious when traveling near military bases and avoid photography in these areas.

Disputes: The Vietnamese government has occasionally seized the passports and blocked the departure of foreigners involved in commercial disputes.  U.S. citizens whose passports have been seized by Vietnamese authorities should contact the Embassy or Consulate General for assistance.

Civil Procedures:
 Civil procedures in Vietnam, such as marriage, divorce, documenting the birth of a child, and issuance of death certificates, are highly bureaucratic and can be slow.  Please contact the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington, D.C., or the Vietnamese Consulate General in San Francisco or Houston concerning documentary requirements for these services.  Enforcement of civil orders is frequently difficult or non-existent.

Women Traveler Information: If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.

LGBT Rights: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBT events in Vietnam.  For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Vietnam, you may review the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.  For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our LGBT Travel Information page.

Accessibility:  Most public places and public transportation are not accessible to persons with disabilities. Side walks, curb ramps, rest rooms, road crossings, and tourist areas are not equipped to assist such individuals.  A 2010 law required construction and major renovations of new government and large public buildings to include access for persons with disabilities, but enforcement is sporadic.  New, modern buildings and facilities in larger urban cities are regularly being built with ramps and accessible entries

Adventure Tourism: Vietnam has a developing adventure tourism industry that includes but is not limited to zip lining and rock climbing.  However, safety standards and training requirements for personnel operating these activities and safety inspections of the equipment may not be equivalent to those required for similar activities in the United States.  We recommend that travelers check the safety records of adventure tourism operators.

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Health

Medical facilities in Vietnam, including emergency response services, frequently do not meet international standards and may lack medicine and supplies: 

  • Medical personnel generally speak little or no English. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate cash payment for health services.  You may obtain lists of local English-speaking physicians from the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi or the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City or on our website.
  • International health clinics in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City can provide treat minor illnesses and injuries, but more serious problems often require medical evacuation to Bangkok or Singapore. 
  • Although you can purchase many prescription and non-prescription medications at pharmacies, some common U.S. medications may not be available.  You should bring adequate supplies of medications for the duration of your stay in Vietnam, and ensure with the Ministry of Health that the medicine you need is allowed to enter Vietnam.  You should carry copy of your prescription if carrying medicine in a travel case or container.  You can also e-mail the Health Ministry with further questions.
  • We strongly recommend travelers purchase medical evacuation insurance before visiting Vietnam. 
  • Travelers to Vietnam are at risk of the following diseases: Tuberculosis, Dengue Fever, Zika, Avian Influenza (H5N1), and HIV.  You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website.  
  • Air pollution is also a significant problem in Vietnam’s major cities, and you should consult your doctor prior to travel and consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on you.  Air quality in Hanoi can be tracked on the U.S. Embassy website
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Travel and Transportation

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: Road conditions are poor, and traffic is chaotic; traffic accidents are the leading cause of death, severe injury, and emergency evacuation of foreigners in Vietnam. Long-distance buses and trains do not meet U.S. safety standards. Many Vietnamese drivers and motorbike operators do not adhere to traffic rules, and pose a danger to others. Persons involved in vehicular accidents, especially outside of major cities, cannot expect quick or adequate medical attention. 

Riding motorbikes in Vietnam is dangerous, especially for persons who are not already skilled riders. The vast majority of American citizens killed in vehicular accidents in Vietnam die in motorcycle accidents.  Rental motorbikes may lack safety features, such as functioning signal lights or rear view mirrors, and rental helmets may not may not be equivalent to standards in the United States.

International driving permits and U.S. drivers' licenses are not valid in Vietnam.  Foreigners renting vehicles risk fines, prosecution, and/or imprisonment for driving without a Vietnamese license endorsed for the appropriate vehicle.  Foreigners involved in vehicular accidents may be detained, prevented from leaving Vietnam, or fined by authorities, even before fault is determined. If you wish to drive in Vietnam, contact the Provincial Public Transportation Service of the Vietnamese Department of Communications and Transport to obtain a Vietnamese driver's license.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.  Also, we suggest that you visit the website of the country’s national tourist office.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Vietnam, and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Vietnam’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards.  Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Hanoi - Consular Annex
170 Ngoc Khanh
Ba Dinh District
Hanoi, Vietnam

Telephone: +(84) (24) 3850-5000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(84) (24) 3850-5000 or (04) 3850-5000/3850-5105
Fax: +(84) (24) 3850-5010

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City
4 Le Duan, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Telephone:
+(84) (8) 3520-4200
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(84) (8) 3520-4200
Fax: +(84) (8) 3520-4244
Inquiries

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General Information

For information concerning travel to Vietnam, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Vietnam.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

Vietnam is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Vietnam and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

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Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Vietnam and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.  

 

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children’s Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children’s Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

 

 

Contact information:

Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Website

 

Email: AskCI@state.gov

Parental child abduction is not a crime in Vietnam. 

 

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court.  Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

 

 

 

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Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Vietnam and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children’s Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.   Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Vietnam for information and possible assistance.

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Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children’s Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Vietnam are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam posts list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

The Department of State is not aware of any government or private organizations that offer mediation services for custody disputes. 

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country.  It is important for parents to understand that, although a left behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.   For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney when planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Vietnam is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or Convention). Intercountry adoption processing in Convention countries is done in accordance with the requirements of the Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); the IAA’s implementing regulations; as well as the implementing legislation and regulations of Vietnam.

Effective September 16, 2014, intercountry adoptions from Vietnam to the United States may proceed through a program for children with special needs, children aged five and older, and children in biological sibling groups (Special Adoption Program). U.S. prospective adoptive parents interested in adopting a child from Vietnam through the Special Adoption Program should contact one of the U.S. adoption service providers authorized by the Government of Vietnam to assist in such cases. Please see our September 12, 2014 Adoption Notice for more details.

The United States will not process intercountry adoptions from Vietnam that fall outside the parameters of the Special Adoption Program.

U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Vietnam, you must meet the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)’ suitability and eligibility requirements. USCIS determines who can adopt under U.S. immigration law

Additionally, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law in order to immigrate to the United States with an IH-3 or IH-4 immigrant visa.

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt a child from Vietnam must meet the following requirements of Vietnam:

  • Residency: Vietnam does not require that prospective adoptive parents reside in Vietnam for a specified period prior to completing an intercountry adoption. To finalize the adoption, however, at least one adopting parent must travel to Vietnam to receive the adopted child in person at the “Giving and Receiving” ceremony before the appropriate Vietnamese authorities. If only one member of an adopting married couple travels to Vietnam, Vietnam requires that the traveling spouse have in his/her possession a Power of Attorney from the other spouse, notarized and authenticated by the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington or one of the Vietnamese Consulates General elsewhere in the United States.
  • Age of Adopting Parents: Under Vietnamese law, prospective adoptive parents must be at least 20 years older than the child to be adopted unless the prospective adoptive parent is a step-parent or maternal/paternal aunt or uncle of the child to be adopted.
  • Marriage: Vietnamese law permits intercountry adoption by both single persons and opposite-sex married couples. Gay, lesbian, transgender, and intersex individuals and same-sex couples – whether married or unmarried – are not eligible to adopt from Vietnam.
  • Income: There is no minimum income required. The Vietnamese Central Authority, the Ministry of Justice, Department of Adoptions (MOJ/DA), will assess the economic, housing, and health conditions of prospective adoptive parents, who must demonstrate that they are sufficient to ensure the care and education of the adopted child.
  • Other: Vietnamese authorities impose other eligibility requirements, including that the prospective adoptive parents are of good morals and are legally competent. Specifically, Vietnam requires that prospective adoptive parents have not had their parental rights to their own children restricted, must not be in prison, and must not be subject to administrative sanctions imposed by an educational or medical institution. Specific offenses that will disqualify prospective adoptive parents include: deliberately violating the life, health, dignity, and honor of others; mistreating grandparents, parents, spouses, children, or caregivers; enticing, coercing, or hiding juvenile offenders; and the trafficking, exchanging, or kidnapping of children.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Because Vietnam is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Vietnam must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for intercountry adoption. For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of Vietnam have determined that placement of the child within Vietnam has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests. At this time only children who qualify under the Special Adoption Program are eligible for intercountry adoption from Vietnam. See below for more information. In addition to qualifying as a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law, a child must meet the following requirements of Vietnam.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Relinquishment: For a child to be eligible for adoption, the birth parent(s) or guardian must give their voluntary written consent to the emigration and adoption of the child to the provincial Department of Justice. The consent must be given no earlier than 15 days after the child’s birth. Furthermore, birth parent(s) will have an additional 30 days to retract their consent before the child can be determined eligible for intercountry adoption.
  • Abandonment: For abandoned children whose parents are unknown and who are being cared for in an institution, the head of the institution where the child lives gives consent to the adoption to the provincial Department of Justice. In addition, the provincial police must provide the provincial Department of Justice with a police report verifying the search for biological parents.
  • Age of Adoptive Child: The child must be under 16 years old to be eligible for intercountry adoption. Children who are 16 or 17 may be adopted by a stepparent or maternal/paternal uncle or aunt. Children who are nine or older must give their voluntary consent to the adoption. Children who are five and older are included in “List 2.” “List 2” is Vietnam’s legal mechanism for identifying children with special needs, children aged five and older, and children in biological sibling groups of two or more who may be eligible for intercountry adoption through the Special Adoption Program. Please note that U.S. age requirements for a child adopted from a Convention country differ from Vietnam’s requirements.
  • Sibling Adoptions: Children in biological sibling groups of two or more and children who are older than five years of age and are living in government orphanages and are included in “List 2” and may be eligible for intercountry adoption through the Special Adoption Program. Vietnam prioritizes placing siblings together with the same adoptive family. Healthy children living outside of government orphanages are not eligible for intercountry adoption even if they are in sibling groups or aged five and older.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions: Children with disabilities, HIV/AIDS, and other life-threatening diseases, as defined by Vietnamese law, who are living in government orphanages are included in “List 2” and may be eligible for intercountry adoption through the Special Adoption Program. In addition, children with disabilities, HIV/AIDS, and other life-threatening diseases, as defined by Vietnamese law, who are living outside of government orphanages, may be eligible for intercountry adoption through the Special Adoption Program.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care: The Vietnamese requirement to conduct a search for eligible domestic prospective adoptive parents is waived in “List 2” cases of children with special needs, children aged five and older, and children in biological sibling groups.
  • Other: According to Vietnamese law, an adoption by a Vietnamese citizen permanently residing in another country is considered an intercountry adoption. In general, Vietnam’s MOJ/DA considers an adoption of a child from Vietnam who will subsequently be moved to another Convention country following an adoption or for the purpose of an adoption as an intercountry adoption subject to the Convention. Vietnam’s MOJ/DA also generally considers Vietnamese children temporarily in the United States in a non-immigrant status to be permanent residents (habitually resident) in Vietnam and subject to the Convention.
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How to Adopt

WARNING: Vietnam is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Vietnam before a U.S. consular officer issues an “Article 5/17 Letter” in the case. Read on for more information.

Vietnam’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Justice, Department of Adoptions (MOJ/DA)

The Process

Because Vietnam is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adoptions from Vietnam must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is provided below. You must complete these steps in the following order to meet all necessary legal requirements. Adoptions completed out of order may result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.

1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider That Has Been Authorized by Vietnam’s Central Authority to Operate in Vietnam
2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt
3. Apply to Vietnam’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child
4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption
5. Adopt the Child in Vietnam
6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider That Has Been Authorized by Vietnam’s Central Authority to Operate in Vietnam

The first step in adopting a child from Vietnam is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide services to U.S. citizens in Convention cases and that has been authorized by the Government of Vietnam. Only accredited or approved adoption services providers may act as the primary provider in your case. The primary adoption service provider is responsible for ensuring that all adoption services in the case are done in accordance with the Hague Adoption Convention and U.S. laws and regulations. Learn more about Agency Accreditation.

2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt

After you choose a U.S. accredited or approved and Government of Vietnam authorized adoption service provider, you must apply to be found suitable and eligible to adopt by the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), by submitting Form I-800A. You will need to complete a home study, fingerprints, and a background check as part of this application. Read more about Eligibility Requirements.

3. Apply to Vietnam’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child

After USCIS determines that you are “suitable” and “eligible” to adopt and approves the Form I-800A application, your adoption service provider will provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the adoption authority in Vietnam as part of your adoption dossier. Vietnam’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also suitable and eligible to adopt under Vietnam’s law.

If both the United States and Vietnam determine that you are suitable and eligible to adopt, and the central authority for Convention adoptions in Vietnam has determined that a child is available for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the central authority for Convention adoptions in Vietnam may provide you with a referral for a child. The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of a specific child. The adoption authority in Vietnam will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral or not. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for, a particular child. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the central authority in Vietnam. Learn more about this critical decision.

4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption

After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States (Form I-800). USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child appears to meet the definition of a Convention Adoptee and will be eligible to enter and reside in the United States.

After provisional approval of Form I-800 petition, you or your adoption service provider will submit a visa application to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi that is responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Vietnam. A consular officer will review the Form I-800 and the visa application for possible visa ineligibilities and advise you of options for the waiver of any noted ineligibilities.

WARNING: The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5/17 Letter”) to Vietnam’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Vietnam where all Convention requirements are met and the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform Vietnam’s Central Authority that the parents have been found suitable and eligible to adopt, that the child appears eligible to enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.

Do not attempt to adopt or obtain custody of a child in Vietnam before a U.S. consular officer issues the “Article 5/17 Letter” in any adoption case.

Remember: The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

5. Adopt the Child in Vietnam

Remember: Before you adopt a child in Vietnam, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps can you proceed to finalize the adoption in Vietnam.

The process for finalizing the adoption in Vietnam generally includes the following:

  • Role of Adoption Authority: Several governmental bodies at the national and provincial levels have roles in the intercountry adoption process in Vietnam:

    Ministry of Justice, Department of Adoption (MOJ/DA) is the Central Authority for Intercountry Adoption in Vietnam. MOJ/DA is responsible for the overall supervision of the adoption process. MOJ/DA authorizes foreign adoption agencies to operate in Vietnam, accepts and reviews dossiers of prospective adoptive parents, reviews referrals made by provincial authorities, and verifies that the adoption was in accordance with Vietnam’s Adoption Law and the Hague Adoption Convention. The MOJ/DA also matches prospective adoptive parents with children with special needs, children aged five and older, and children in biological sibling groups (i.e., children included in “List 2”).

    The provincial Department of Justice determines the eligibility of the child for intercountry adoption, organizes the “Giving and Receiving” ceremony, and maintains the adoption registry, which is a record of all adoption cases processed in the province that contains information on the adopted child, adoptive parents, and the date the provincial People’s Committee issued the Adoption Decree.

    The provincial People’s Committee issues the final Adoption Decree.
  • Role of the Court: Vietnam’s courts do not issue Adoption Decrees in Vietnamese Convention adoptions. The Vietnamese courts have no role in intercountry adoptions.
  • Role of Adoption Agencies: The accredited and authorized U.S. adoption service provider facilitates the adoption on behalf of the prospective adoptive parents, including assembling the application dossier for submission to MOJ/DA, providing logistical support for prospective adoptive parents and their adopted child(ren), and providing post-adoption reports to MOJ/DA. The adoption service provider is also responsible for fully informing prospective adoptive parents about the child’s medical condition, if applicable, so that they can make an informed decision about the adoption.
  • Time Frame: It is difficult to predict with certainty how much time is required to complete an adoption in Vietnam. Adoption processing depends on many variables, including the wait time to be matched with an eligible child, the workload of Vietnamese adoption authorities, and the specific circumstances of each case. Although Vietnam processes adoptions through the Special Adoption Program as expeditiously as possible, it should be noted that the adoption process in general can be lengthy.
  • Adoption Application: To start the adoption process through the Special Adoption Program, prospective adoptive parents or their accredited adoption service provider must contact the MOJ/DA.

    Application: Prospective adoptive parents file their application dossier with MOJ/DA through an accredited U.S. adoption service provider that has been authorized by the Government of Vietnam.

    Matching: MOJ/DA reviews and approves the application dossier of the prospective adoptive parent(s). The MOJ/DA then matches prospective adoptive parents with an eligible child from “List 2.”

    Prospective adoptive parents have 30 days to either accept or refuse the referral. Formal acceptance is defined by the MOJ/DA as notification by the adoption service provider to the MOJ/DA of referral acceptance and receipt by the MOJ/DA of the “Article 5/17 Letter.” “Article 5/17 Letters” issued by the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi indicate that the prospective adoptive parents are eligible and suitable to adopt, have been counseled as necessary, the child is or will be authorized to enter and reside permanently in the United States, and the adoption may proceed.

    In order for the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi to issue an “Article 5/17 Letter,” USCIS must provisionally approve the child’s Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, which may take an average of 30 days upon USCIS’ receipt of the filing. USCIS also must notify the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi of the provisional approval. If a child has urgent medical needs that have been clearly articulated by the MOJ/DA in the child’s background report and these medical needs meet USCIS expedite criteria, prospective adoptive parents may wish to request expeditious processing of their Form I-800 petition from USCIS.

    The MOJ/DA can extend the 30-day response timeframe for an additional 30 days one time only. Prospective adoptive parents or their adoption service provider may request this extension in writing to the MOJ/DA, indicating their acceptance of the referral. After the response time expires (30 days, or 60 days if extended), the MOJ/DA may refer the child to another prospective adoptive family as a potential match.

    Given Vietnam’s timeframe, prospective adoptive parents should be prepared to file the Form I-800 petition with USCIS as soon as possible after deciding to accept a referral; ensure that the Form I-800 petition information is as complete and accurate as possible at the time of submission in order to avoid requests from USCIS for additional information; notify the MOJ/DA of acceptance of the referral within 30 days; and simultaneously request from the MOJ/DA the one-time, 30 day extension. This will help to ensure that your referral does not expire while awaiting USCIS and Department of State processing.

    If prospective adoptive parents refuse the referral without a reasonable justification, they may not receive another referral.

    Prior Contact: Prospective adoptive parents are generally not allowed to have any contact with the child’s birth parents, guardian, or institutions caring for the child until they have an approved Form I-800A, Vietnam has determined that the child is eligible for adoption, and the required consents to the adoption have been obtained. However, certain exceptions to this rule apply, including when a prospective adoptive parent is a family member as described in 8 CFR 204.309(b)(2)(iii); when adopting children with special needs; when adopting a child who is a sibling of an already adopted child, when prospective adoptive parents have been working or studying in Vietnam for at least one year, and when the contact is otherwise permitted by the MOJ/DA.
  • Adoption Fees:In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your adoption service provider will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.

    Adoption fees charged by the MOJ/DA include:

    • Application fee: 9,000,000 VND (approximately 430 USD as of September 2014) to be paid to MOJ/DA when prospective adoptive parents submit their application dossier. Prospective adoptive parents who are stepparents, uncles, or aunts of the adopted child pay 50 percent of the application fee. Prospective adoptive parents who apply to adopt more than one child who are siblings pay 50 percent of the application fee for each additional child.
    • Adoption processing fee: The fee is waived for adoptions of children through the Special Adoption Program (i.e., children with special needs, children aged five or older, and children in biological sibling groups of two or more). Otherwise, the fee would be 50,000,000 VND (approximately 2,400 USD as of September 2014) to be paid to MOJ/DA when prospective adoptive parents accept the child referred to them by MOJ/DA.

    Other fees associated with adopting from Vietnam may include:

    • Legalization of documents by the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate in the United States costs 10 USD per document (as of September 2014). The fee is for authentication of the seal.
    • Passport application fee is 200,000 VND per passport (approximately 10 USD as of September 2014).
    • Translations of documents can be done in the United States and the costs may vary.
    • Fees for notarizing documents for the Vietnamese passport application should be nominal and posted by the provincial DOJ.
    • In some cases, adoption service providers may be asked to reimburse certain medical expenses for the child, including psychological counseling and preparation for children to be adopted.
  • Documents Required:The following documents are required to be submitted in the application dossier:
    • Adoption application form
    • Copy of passport or other equivalent identification document
    • Certificate of child adoption approval issued by a competent U.S. authority (also known as the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ approval of the Form I-800A application)
    • Home study (issued within past 12 months)
    • Medical report (issued within past 12 months)
    • Confirmation of income (issued within past 12 months)
    • Criminal records (issued within past 12 months)
    • Marital status certificate (i.e. marriage certificate or single status statement)

    Note: Prospective adoptive parents are required to prepare two identical sets of application dossiers. All documents must be translated and authenticated by the Vietnamese Embassy or one of the Vietnamese Consulates in the United States. Additional documents may be requested.

  • Authentication of Documents:You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. If so, the Department of State, Authentications office may be able to assist. Read more about Authenticating U.S. Documents.

    Note: Any documents pertaining to adoption applications submitted to the Vietnamese authorities must be notarized and authenticated by the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate in the United States and translated into Vietnamese. All documents submitted to the U.S. government must be translated into English.

6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for your Child and Bring Your Child Home

Now that your adoption is complete, there are a few more steps to take before your child can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

Birth Certificate
You will receive the child’s original birth certificate after the “Giving and Receiving” ceremony so that you can use it to apply for a passport for your child.

Vietnam Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Vietnam.

The adoption service provider should assist adoptive parents with obtaining a Vietnamese passport for the adopted child. Passport applications are submitted to the Ministry of Public Security, Department of Immigration office in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. Applications should include the following:

  • Passport application form with photo affixed, certified by the provincial Department of Justice where the adoption was finalized
  • Four separate, identical 4x6 photos with white background
  • One notarized copy of the Adoption Decree
  • One notarized copy of the Giving and Receiving Minute
  • One notarized copy of the Birth Certificate
  • One notarized copy of adoptive parents’ passports

Passport applications may be submitted at one of the following offices of the Department of Immigration:

       Hanoi Office
       44-46 Tran Phu Street
       Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
       Tel: +84-24-3825-7941

       Ho Chi Minh City Office
       254 Nguyen Trai Street
       District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
       Tel: +84-28-3920-2300

The passport application fee is 200,000 VND per passport (approximately 10 USD as of September 2014). The regular processing timeframe is five days.

U.S. Immigrant Visa

After you obtain the birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to finalize your application for a U.S. visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam. After the adoption is granted, visit the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi for final review of the case, issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate, final approval of Form I-800, and to obtain your child’s immigrant visa. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the consular officer must be provided the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Read more about the Medical Examination.

Typically, at least one adoptive parent appears at the immigrant visa interview with the child. If neither parent is able to attend the interview and to execute the oath on the DS-260 Immigrant Visa Application Form, then the adult accompanying the child(ren) must be in possession of a Power of Attorney from the adoptive parent(s) allowing him or her to execute the application and conduct the interview on behalf of the parent(s).

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: An adopted child residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence generally will acquire U.S. citizenship automatically upon entry into the United States if the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, including the child is under the age of eighteen.

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Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport
U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Department of State’s Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Vietnam
In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Vietnam, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

Staying Safe on Your Trip
Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

Staying in Touch on Your Trip
When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State. Enrollment makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Vietnam, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

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After Adoption

Post-Adoption Reporting Requirements
Adoptive parents are responsible for providing post-adoption reports to both the MOJ/DA and a Vietnamese diplomatic mission in the country where the adopted child resides every six months for three consecutive years following the adoption. The report should provide information about the child’s health status, physical and psychological development, and how he or she is integrating with the adoptive family and new environment. We urge you to comply with Vietnam’s post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to Vietnam’s history of positive experiences with U.S. citizen parents.

In order to submit post-adoption reports, adoptive parents must fill out the “Child development report form,” which is available through your adoption service provider or from Vietnam’s Ministry of Justice. The form must then be certified by a competent home study preparer and authenticated by a Vietnamese diplomatic mission in the United States.

Under Vietnamese law, adoption service providers are responsible for reminding adoptive parents to submit post-adoption reports. Adoption service providers must also provide the MOJ/DA with a separate annual report summarizing the development of all Vietnamese children who have been adopted through the adoption service provider. In addition, adoption service providers must also provide a report on specific cases at the request of the MOJ/DA.

Post-Adoption Resources
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Vietnam
Consular Section
Rose Garden Tower
170 Ngoc Khanh Street
Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: 84-24-3850 5100
Fax: 84-24-3850 5026/3850 5145
Email: HanoiAdoptions@state.gov
Internet: https://vn.usembassy.gov/

Vietnam’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Justice
Department of Adoption
58-60 Tran Phu Street
Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: 84-24-6273 9697
Fax: 84-24-6273 9359
Email: cngt@moj.gov.vn
Internet: moj.gov.vn/en/Pages/home.aspx

Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
1233 20th Street, N.W. Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20036
Tel: (202) 861-2293 or (202) 861-0694
Fax: (202) 861-0917
Email: vnconsular@vietnamembassy.us
Internet: vietnamembassy-usa.org

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
CA/OCS/CI, SA-17A, 9th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
Email: AdoptionUSCA@state.gov
Internet: adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures: USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet: uscis.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-800A or I-800 petition: USCIS National Benefits Center
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
Email: NBC.Hague@uscis.dhs.gov

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 12 Months
A-2 None Multiple 12 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-2 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-1 None Multiple 12 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 12 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 12 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 12 Months
F-1 None Multiple 12 Months
F-2 None Multiple 12 Months
G-1 None Multiple 12 Months
G-2 None Multiple 12 Months
G-3 None Multiple 12 Months
G-4 None Multiple 12 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 12 Months
H-1B None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-2A None N/A N/A 3
H-2B None N/A N/A 3
H-2R None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 12 Months 3
I None Multiple 12 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 12 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 12 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 12 Months
L-2 None Multiple 12 Months
M-1 None Multiple 12 Months A
M-2 None Multiple 12 Months A
N-8 None Multiple 12 Months
N-9 None Multiple 12 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 12 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 12 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 12 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 12 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 12 Months
R-2 None Multiple 12 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Vietnam has no centralized national system for vital records. Many records have been lost through war and inconsistent record keeping, but larger cities may have old documents on file, and records from the north are generally available. Registrars will sometimes certify that certain documents were lost or destroyed. Records for Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)-Cholon since 1953 are kept at the Central Registrar's office of the Ministry of the Interior (Phong Ho Tich So Tu Phap) in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). Some pre-1954 records from Haiphong, former North Vietnam are now at the Central Court of Records in HCMC and are available for extracting. Fraudulent civil documents are common in Vietnam and it has been relatively easy to establish false identities both before and after 1975.

When primary documents are unavailable, secondary evidence regarding Vietnamese who fled their country beginning in April 1975 may be available from the individual and his or her refugee record. If the applicant received first asylum in Taiwan, contact AIT - Taipei; if elsewhere in east or southeast Asia, contact the U.S. Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth

Vietnamese law does not distinguish between children born out of wedlock and legitimate children. If the father recognizes the child either parent may file the birth certificate, which must be registered within 30 days at the People's Committee of the village, ward or district capital where at least one parent is resident. Late registration is permitted with reason. A court must resolve claims or denials of paternity after a certificate has been issued. Legally, two U.S. citizens not resident in Vietnam may register the births of their children born there, but in practice local authorities have denied requests unless one parent is legally resident. Birth certificate designs have changed three times since 2006. Originals have one line listing the registration date. Extracts list both registration and extract dates.

Death/Burial

Families or responsible agencies (for foreigners, certain hospitals) must report deaths within 24 hours to the People's Committee of the village, district capital or ward where the deceased resided. The People's Committee can issue the death certificate, as can a hospital or the investigating police. Provincial Justice Department issues official Death Certificates for foreigners.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage

Non-Vietnamese nationals married in Vietnam and now seeking a record of the marriage should write to the provincial Justice Department (So Tu Phap)where the marriage/divorce took place. The request should include the date and location of the marriage. The Department will usually respond, but without friends or relatives to follow up, the process may be lengthy.

Common Law Marriages and Marriage of Relatives

Vietnamese law does not recognize common law marriages. Authorities do issue certificates verifying cohabitation but these do not constitute legal marriages. Vietnamese law prohibits marriage between blood siblings, half siblings, first cousins or any two persons related closer than three degrees of separation. The legal age for marriage is 20 for men and 18 for women.

Divorce

Divorce records are maintained by the courts where they were issued.

Adoption Certificates

Documents relating to adoptions in Vietnam, such as birth certificates, abandonment reports, relinquishment agreements, and investigative reports are generally issued by orphanage directors, local People's Committees, Provincial Departments and the Ministry of Justice, Department of Adoptions (MOJ/DA). The facts asserted in these documents are not verified by the issuing officials. Therefore, all documents issued by the authorities listed above and any other documents containing information not verified by the issuing authority cannot be considered adequate evidence of the facts claimed and, at best, may be used in conjunction with primary and contemporaneous secondary evidence or must be independently verified by U.S. officials in Vietnam before they can be considered valid for immigration purposes.

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Identity Card

Please check back for update

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Required for immigrant visa applicants only.

For Vietnamese residents, Vietnamese non-residents, and foreigners who currently reside in Vietnam:

Request for a "Justice Record Check #2" (Phieu Ly Lich Tu Phap So 2) must be made at the Department of Justice office located in the district where applicant currently resides, or at applicant's official residence. The official residence is registered in the "household registry" (Ho Khau) issued by the district police. The processing fee to request this document is 200.000VND per applicant, and the record check takes approximately 10 working days to complete. Applicant has to apply in person and cannot grant authority to someone else to apply on his/her behalf.

Applicant should be prepared to present two (2) sets of the following documents at the time of the request:

  • Completed application form (Form 03/TT-LLTP.) Please check the box Justice Record Check #2;
  • Applicant's National Identification Card or passport;
  • Proof of residence location and length of time applicant has resided in Vietnam, such as the household registry book (Ho Khau), the temporary residence registry book, the permanent residence card or a residence certification from the local People's Committee of applicant's residence.

For foreigners who formerly resided in Vietnam and no longer reside in Vietnam

Request for a "Justice Record Check #1" (Phieu Ly Lich Tu Phap So 1) must be made at the National Center of Criminal Records - Vietnamese Ministry of Justice in Hanoi. Contact information is as follows:

National Center of Criminal Records
Address: 58 - 60 Tran Phu Street, Ba Ðinh District, Hanoi.
Telephone: +84-4-62739718
Fax: 04.62739359
Email: cntt@moj.gov.vn

The processing fee to request this document is 200.000VND per applicant, and the record check takes approximately 10 working days to complete. If applicant cannot present himself/herself at the National Center of Criminal Records, he/she can grant authority to someone else to apply on his/her behalf as long as he/she provides a Letter of Attorney which is legalized/ authenticated by Vietnamese Consulate General or Vietnamese Embassy at the city of their current residence.

Applicant should be prepared to present two (2) sets of the following documents at the time of the request:

Completed application form (Form 03/TT-LLTP.) if applicant can apply in person, or completed application form (Form 04/TT-LLTP) if applicant cannot apply in person and authorizes someone else to apply on his/her behalf;

  • Applicant's passport;
  • Proof of residence location and length of time applicant resided in Vietnam, such as his/her old entry-exit permit detailing the length of time applicant resided in Vietnam, the permanent residence card, if any, or a residence certification from the local People's Committee of applicant's residence.

 

Prison Records

Available. Prison records in principle can be obtained from the Director of the prison in which the subject was incarcerated.

 

Court Records

Available. Court records in principle can be obtained from the city or provincial court that sentenced the subject.

 

Military Records

Military Records

Available. Military records in principle can be obtained from the military unit where the subject served in the military.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

The following are considered to meet the requirements of INA 101(a)(30):

  • A Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) passport (ho chieu).
  • A laissez-passer (giay thong hanh).

Passports are generally valid for ten years (except for children under 14 years of age's passports which are valid for five years) and are made of green plastic-laminated paper with gilt print on the cover. Official passports are dark green, while diplomatic passports are maroon and are generally valid for five years. The bearer's photo is on an inside page, with a clear plastic laminate over the photo and bio page. The issuance page shows the signature, name and "stamp of office" of one of several issuing authorities.

Other Records

Extracts of Birth, Marriage, and Death Certificates

Residents: Requests for extracts of previously issued certificates are made at the registrar's office where they were issued, and should include the document registration number, date and place of registration. Without this information, fees may be higher and it is less likely the document will be found.

Non-Residents: Only relatives resident in Vietnam may request extracts of documents for their overseas relatives. Documents cannot be requested through a Vietnamese diplomatic mission, nor can a request be sent to a local office from overseas.

Household Registries

Every person residing in Vietnam must be listed on a household registry (Ho Khau), maintained by the Public Security Bureau.

Copies of old registries are sometimes available. Mention of a spouse or child in a registry does not prove legal marriage or blood relationship. Cohabitants and foster children can appear as spouses and children.

Visa Issuing Posts

Hanoi, Vietnam (Embassy) -- Nonimmigrant Visas

Street Address:
170 Ngoc Khanh Street, Dong Da District, Hanoi, Vietnam

Tel: 011 (84) (4) 3850-5000

Fax: (84) (4) 3850-5010

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Consulate General) -- All categories

Street Address:
4 Le Duan Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Tel: 011 (84-8) 3520-4200

Fax: 011 (84-8) 3520-4242

Visa Services

Embassy Hanoi processes nonimmigrant visas only. Ho Chi Minh City processes both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 861-0737 (202) 716-0917

New York, NY (212) 644-0594/0831/2535 (212) 644-5732

San Francisco, CA (415) 922-1577 (415) 922-1707 (415) 922-1848 (415) 922-1757

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Hanoi - Consular Annex
170 Ngoc Khanh
Ba Dinh District
Hanoi, Vietnam
Telephone
+(84) (24) 3850-5000
Emergency
+(84) (24) 3850-5000
Fax
+(84) (24) 3850-5010
Vietnam Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

Country Information

Vietnam
Socialist Republic of Vietnam
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

Six Months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

One page required for entry stamp  

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Yes

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

No. However, Vietnamese Dong in excess of VND 150,000,000 or foreign currency in excess of 5,000 U.S. dollars or equivalent must be declared. 

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

No. However, Vietnamese Dong in excess of VND 150,000,000 or foreign currency in excess of 5,000 U.S. dollars or equivalent must be declared. 

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Hanoi - Consular Annex
170 Ngoc Khanh
Ba Dinh District
Hanoi, Vietnam

Telephone: +(84) (24) 3850-5000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(84) (24) 3850-5000 or (04) 3850-5000/3850-5105
Fax: +(84) (24) 3850-5010

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City
4 Le Duan, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Telephone:
+(84) (8) 3520-4200
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(84) (8) 3520-4200
Fax: +(84) (8) 3520-4244
Inquiries

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Destination Description

Tourist facilities can be basic in rural areas but are increasingly well established in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and some beach and mountain resorts.  Read the Department of State Fact Sheet on Vietnam for additional information on U.S. - Vietnam relations.

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Entry Requirements: You must have a valid passport and a visa (or pre-approval for a visa on arrival) to enter Vietnam.  Your passport must be valid for six months beyond your planned stay and you must have at least one blank visa page.  Visit the Embassy of Vietnam website for the most current information. If you arrive in Vietnam without an appropriate visa or pre-approval for a visa on arrival, you will be denied entry.

Visas: When you apply for your visa to enter Vietnam, be sure to request the visa category that corresponds to your purpose of travel.  Please refer to Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for information detailing Visa Categories and Descriptions. If you plan to work in Vietnam, you must obtain a work permit before applying for your visa.  If you change the purpose of your visit after you have received your visa, you must obtain a new visa outside of Vietnam appropriate for your new activities before beginning those activities.  Please consult the Embassy of Vietnam website for more information. 

If you plan to travel from Vietnam to Laos by land, you should request that an adhesive visa be affixed to your passport instead of a detachable one.  Lao immigration officials require proof that travelers have departed Vietnam, something that can only be shown with an adhesive visa.  Vietnamese officials remove detachable visas from passports when travelers depart Vietnam, leaving travelers with no proof of their Vietnam departure.  This situation can result in Lao officials requiring travelers to return to Vietnam.

If your U.S. passport is lost or stolen in Vietnam, you will need both a replacement passport and a replacement Vietnamese visa in order to arrive AND depart Vietnam.  The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi and Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City can usually issue you a limited validity replacement passport in as little as one business day for emergency purposes; however, the Vietnamese government requires three to five working days to issue a replacement visa. The U.S. Embassy and the Consulate General cannot expedite the replacement of your Vietnamese visa. 

In February 2017, Vietnam launched a pilot e-visa program for citizens of 40 countries, including the United States.  The program uses an online application process to issue 30-day, one-entry visas for $25, payable via bank transfer.  E-visa holders may enter and exit Vietnam through 28 designated international border gates, including all international airports.  The pilot program will continue through January 31, 2019 subject to review and extension.  The Vietnamese e-visa instructions and application are available online. The correct Vietnamese government websites for e-visas are https://www.immigration.gov.vn/ and https://www.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn

Pre-approval for Visa on Arrival: All U.S. citizens must have a visa to enter Vietnam.  The Government of Vietnam has authorized some businesses and travel agencies to arrange for pre-approval for a “visa on arrival” at the airport.  However, some American citizens have reported being charged unexpectedly high fees and additional charges upon landing in Vietnam. The Embassy of Vietnam website has warnings about websites suspected of fraud.  The Government of Vietnam and the U.S. Department of State recommend that travelers obtain a visa directly from an Embassy or Consulate of Vietnam prior to arrival. 

Certificate of Visa Exemption: Vietnamese nationals residing abroad indefinitely, their spouses, and children may apply for a certificate of Visa Exemption.  The certificate has a maximum validity of five years, during which time the holder can enter Vietnam and stay for up to six months without applying for a visa.  More information can be found on the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Vietnam.  Immunization information for travelers can be found on the Centers for Disease and Control’s website.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.

 

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Safety and Security

The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens overseas always maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness while traveling internationally. Please visit travel.state.gov for up to date information.

Messages regarding weather-related events are posted on the Embassy’s website.

Small-scale, peaceful protests occasionally occur in Vietnam’s major cities, but large-scale demonstrations are rare. You should avoid large gatherings, as they can become violent with little or no warning. 

The Government of Vietnam may not allow or authorize travel to certain areas of the country that are deemed sensitive.  Check with local authorities before visiting border areas to see if you need to obtain a travel permit issued by local authorities.  U.S. citizens have been detained after traveling in areas close to the Vietnamese borders with China, Cambodia, and Laos.  These areas are not always marked, and there are no warnings about prohibited travel. 

Safety standards in Vietnam are not at the same level as those in the United States and vary greatly from company to company and province to province.  This is especially true in regards to the applicable fire code.  Travelers should be aware that many buildings, including hotels, shops and restaurants, have limited or no safety equipment or emergency exits. Ground and water transportation also lack safety regulations. 

To stay connected:

Crime:

Pick-pocketing and other petty crimes occur regularly, especially in crowded areas and tourist locations.  In Ho Chi Minh City, there is typically a rise in petty crime during the Christmas and Tet holiday season, including during the day and in well-lit areas. Motorcyclists are known to snatch bags, cameras, cell phones, and other valuables from pedestrians or passengers riding in "cyclos" (pedicabs) or on the back of motorcycles, sometimes using a sharp weapon such as a knive to cut a bag strap. Although violent crimes such as armed robbery are still relatively rare in Vietnam, perpetrators have grown increasingly bold and may carry a weapon. If you are targeted by thieves, do not resist and report the incident immediately to local police and to the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi or the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City. Sexual assaults also occur, but can be avoided by taking basic security precautions, such as not walking alone in poorly lit areas.

Drink and food spiking has been reported at some establishments in Vietnam’s major cities, usually late at night.  Do not leave drinks or food unattended, as you may be drugged and robbed. 

Some U.S. citizens have reported threats of death or physical injury related to personal business disputes.  You should report such threats to local authorities.

Keep your passport and other important valuables in your hotel in a safe or another secured location at all times and carry both photo and digital copies of your passport.  You should immediately report the loss or theft of your U.S. passport to the local police and the U.S. Embassy or the U.S. Consulate General.  You must obtain a police report from the local police office in order to apply for a replacement passport and a Vietnamese exit visa.  You must report to the police in the location your passport was lost or stolen or the Vietnamese may not issue a police report.

Transportation/tours: Exercise caution in choosing ground transportation upon arrival at the airport in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.  Some travelers have reported being robbed by drivers who greeted them upon arrival with a placard showing the traveler's name.  If you are expecting to be picked up, ask the company for the driver’s name, phone number, and license plate number before you travel.  Use only established airport taxi companies or vehicles provided by hotels.  You should be familiar with the basics of the hotel you have chosen, such as address and neighboring landmarks. You should try to write down the name of the taxi company, plate number, and any other identifying information in any incident so that it can be reported to the local authorities.

We strongly discourage the use of motorcycle taxis (known as “xe oms”).  Motorcycle taxis are unregulated and unsafe, and the helmets provided to riders offer little to no protection against injury in the case of an accident.

Drugs: Recreational drugs available in Vietnam can be extremely dangerous and can result in death.    Drugs sold in Vietnam may be fake, synthetic, or laced with toxic ingredients undetectable to the buyer.  You should also avoid purchasing liquor from street vendors, as the authenticity of the contents cannot be assured.

Victims of Crime: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Vietnam’s local equivalent of an emergency line is 113.  Local police will issue a report of a crime, but generally will only initiate investigations for crimes they determine serious, which do not always equate with U.S. standards.  Investigations can take several months to complete.  Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy and Consulate General can:

  • Replace a stolen passport.
  • Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
  • Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, contact family members or friends.
  • Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime. 

Some travelers have reportedly been victims of sexual assault while traveling in Vietnam. Victims of sexual assault should be aware that services for victims, including police responsiveness to reports, are generally inadequate by Western standards. Nonetheless, victims of sexual assault should immediately report incidents to local police and seek appropriate medical treatment. Victims should also report these incidents to the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi or the Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City.

Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties:  Persons violating Vietnamese laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.  Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Vietnam are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines, or even the death penalty.  In Vietnam, you may be taken in for questioning if you do not have proper ID, such as a passport or a copy of your visa.  In Vietnam, driving under the influence of alcohol could lead to immediate imprisonment.  If you break local laws in Vietnam, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. 

There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but are still illegal in the United States. You can be prosecuted in the United States for engaging in sexual conduct with children or for using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country regardless of the legality of these activities under the host country’s laws.  Counterfeit and pirated goods are illegal in the United States and if you purchase them in a foreign country, you may be breaking local law as well. 

Arrest Notification in Vietnam: To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas and continue to make the  request until you are seen by a U.S. official.  Notification by the Vietnamese authorities to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General and the granting of access by the Vietnamese authorities for a Consular Officer to visit detained U.S. citizens has historically experienced delays. 

Dual Nationality: Dual nationality is accepted by the Vietnamese government in some, but not all circumstances.  As of July 1, 2009, Vietnamese citizens who acquire foreign nationality can maintain Vietnamese nationality, provided they follow the proper procedures.  However, dual nationals should be aware that Vietnam recognizes their Vietnamese citizenship as primary before others.  In such cases, the U.S. Embassy and Consulate General may be limited in the consular services we are able to provide. 

Work Authorization: The Government of Vietnam maintains strict laws with respect to foreign workers.  U.S. citizens planning to work in Vietnam should make sure that they are in full compliance with Vietnamese regulations.  Penalties can be severe and include deportation, fines, or detention.

U.S. citizens who also hold Vietnamese citizenship, and who are currently residing in Vietnam, may wish to contact local authorities and/or seek competent legal advice on how local laws may affect their status.   For detailed information on Vietnamese nationality law and other legal issues visit the Embassy of Vietnam website.

Teaching English: We advise those considering accepting an English teaching job in Vietnam to carefully review the terms of the contract regarding working and living conditions and to ask for references from persons familiar with the institution, especially former U.S. citizen employees. 

Hotels: Hotels in Vietnam require you to present your passport (and visas, if issued separately) upon check-in so that your stay can be registered with local police. Every guest in a hotel room must be registered, regardless of their nationality.  If you stay at a private residence, (i.e. at the residence of family or friends) you must comply with registration requirements by visiting the local police station and registering your stay within 24 hours. 

Exports: Vietnamese law prohibits the export of antiques.  However, these laws are vague and unevenly enforced.  Customs authorities may inspect and seize your antiques without compensating you and the determination of what is an "antique" can be arbitrary.  If you purchase non-antique items of value, you should retain receipts and confirmation from shop owners and/or the Ministry of Culture and the Customs Department to prevent seizure when you leave the country.

Imports: Vietnamese authorities have seized documents, audio and video tapes, compact discs, literature, personal letters they deem to be pornographic or political in nature, or intended for religious or political proselytizing.  It is illegal to import weapons, ammunition, explosives, military equipment and tools (including uniforms), narcotics, drugs, toxic chemicals, pornographic and subversive materials, firecrackers, or children's toys that have "negative effects on personality development, social order, and security."

For up to date information on Vietnam Customs information, please visit the Vietnam Customs website.

Speech: The Government of Vietnam maintains strict control over all forms of political speech, particularly dissent.  U.S. citizens have been detained for political activities (including criticizing the government or its domestic/foreign policies or advocating alternatives to Communist Party rule), possession of political material, and non-sanctioned religious activities (including proselytizing).  Authorities also have detained U.S. citizens for posting messages in blogs or online chatrooms that are political or critical of the government.

Association with Groups: Persons whom the Government of Vietnam perceives to be associated with dissident or political groups may be denied entry to Vietnam, prevented from departing, detained, interrogated, or placed under serveillance. 

U.S. citizen travelers have been summoned by immigration or local security officials for reasons that are unclear or not explicitly related to any suspected or alleged violation of law.  We recommend that U.S. citizens finding themselves in this situation contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General immediately for further information and/or assistance.  

Photography: Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in questioning by authorities, fines, or delayed travel.  You should be cautious when traveling near military bases and avoid photography in these areas.

Disputes: The Vietnamese government has occasionally seized the passports and blocked the departure of foreigners involved in commercial disputes.  U.S. citizens whose passports have been seized by Vietnamese authorities should contact the Embassy or Consulate General for assistance.

Civil Procedures:
 Civil procedures in Vietnam, such as marriage, divorce, documenting the birth of a child, and issuance of death certificates, are highly bureaucratic and can be slow.  Please contact the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington, D.C., or the Vietnamese Consulate General in San Francisco or Houston concerning documentary requirements for these services.  Enforcement of civil orders is frequently difficult or non-existent.

Women Traveler Information: If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.

LGBT Rights: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBT events in Vietnam.  For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Vietnam, you may review the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.  For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our LGBT Travel Information page.

Accessibility:  Most public places and public transportation are not accessible to persons with disabilities. Side walks, curb ramps, rest rooms, road crossings, and tourist areas are not equipped to assist such individuals.  A 2010 law required construction and major renovations of new government and large public buildings to include access for persons with disabilities, but enforcement is sporadic.  New, modern buildings and facilities in larger urban cities are regularly being built with ramps and accessible entries

Adventure Tourism: Vietnam has a developing adventure tourism industry that includes but is not limited to zip lining and rock climbing.  However, safety standards and training requirements for personnel operating these activities and safety inspections of the equipment may not be equivalent to those required for similar activities in the United States.  We recommend that travelers check the safety records of adventure tourism operators.

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Health

Medical facilities in Vietnam, including emergency response services, frequently do not meet international standards and may lack medicine and supplies: 

  • Medical personnel generally speak little or no English. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate cash payment for health services.  You may obtain lists of local English-speaking physicians from the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi or the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City or on our website.
  • International health clinics in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City can provide treat minor illnesses and injuries, but more serious problems often require medical evacuation to Bangkok or Singapore. 
  • Although you can purchase many prescription and non-prescription medications at pharmacies, some common U.S. medications may not be available.  You should bring adequate supplies of medications for the duration of your stay in Vietnam, and ensure with the Ministry of Health that the medicine you need is allowed to enter Vietnam.  You should carry copy of your prescription if carrying medicine in a travel case or container.  You can also e-mail the Health Ministry with further questions.
  • We strongly recommend travelers purchase medical evacuation insurance before visiting Vietnam. 
  • Travelers to Vietnam are at risk of the following diseases: Tuberculosis, Dengue Fever, Zika, Avian Influenza (H5N1), and HIV.  You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website.  
  • Air pollution is also a significant problem in Vietnam’s major cities, and you should consult your doctor prior to travel and consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on you.  Air quality in Hanoi can be tracked on the U.S. Embassy website
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Travel and Transportation

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: Road conditions are poor, and traffic is chaotic; traffic accidents are the leading cause of death, severe injury, and emergency evacuation of foreigners in Vietnam. Long-distance buses and trains do not meet U.S. safety standards. Many Vietnamese drivers and motorbike operators do not adhere to traffic rules, and pose a danger to others. Persons involved in vehicular accidents, especially outside of major cities, cannot expect quick or adequate medical attention. 

Riding motorbikes in Vietnam is dangerous, especially for persons who are not already skilled riders. The vast majority of American citizens killed in vehicular accidents in Vietnam die in motorcycle accidents.  Rental motorbikes may lack safety features, such as functioning signal lights or rear view mirrors, and rental helmets may not may not be equivalent to standards in the United States.

International driving permits and U.S. drivers' licenses are not valid in Vietnam.  Foreigners renting vehicles risk fines, prosecution, and/or imprisonment for driving without a Vietnamese license endorsed for the appropriate vehicle.  Foreigners involved in vehicular accidents may be detained, prevented from leaving Vietnam, or fined by authorities, even before fault is determined. If you wish to drive in Vietnam, contact the Provincial Public Transportation Service of the Vietnamese Department of Communications and Transport to obtain a Vietnamese driver's license.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.  Also, we suggest that you visit the website of the country’s national tourist office.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Vietnam, and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Vietnam’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards.  Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Hanoi - Consular Annex
170 Ngoc Khanh
Ba Dinh District
Hanoi, Vietnam

Telephone: +(84) (24) 3850-5000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(84) (24) 3850-5000 or (04) 3850-5000/3850-5105
Fax: +(84) (24) 3850-5010

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City
4 Le Duan, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Telephone:
+(84) (8) 3520-4200
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(84) (8) 3520-4200
Fax: +(84) (8) 3520-4244
Inquiries

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General Information

For information concerning travel to Vietnam, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Vietnam.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

Vietnam is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Vietnam and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

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Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Vietnam and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.  

 

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children’s Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children’s Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

 

 

Contact information:

Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Website

 

Email: AskCI@state.gov

Parental child abduction is not a crime in Vietnam. 

 

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court.  Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

 

 

 

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Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Vietnam and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children’s Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.   Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Vietnam for information and possible assistance.

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Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children’s Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Vietnam are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam posts list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

The Department of State is not aware of any government or private organizations that offer mediation services for custody disputes. 

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country.  It is important for parents to understand that, although a left behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.   For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney when planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Vietnam is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or Convention). Intercountry adoption processing in Convention countries is done in accordance with the requirements of the Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); the IAA’s implementing regulations; as well as the implementing legislation and regulations of Vietnam.

Effective September 16, 2014, intercountry adoptions from Vietnam to the United States may proceed through a program for children with special needs, children aged five and older, and children in biological sibling groups (Special Adoption Program). U.S. prospective adoptive parents interested in adopting a child from Vietnam through the Special Adoption Program should contact one of the U.S. adoption service providers authorized by the Government of Vietnam to assist in such cases. Please see our September 12, 2014 Adoption Notice for more details.

The United States will not process intercountry adoptions from Vietnam that fall outside the parameters of the Special Adoption Program.

U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTIONS

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Vietnam, you must meet the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)’ suitability and eligibility requirements. USCIS determines who can adopt under U.S. immigration law

Additionally, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law in order to immigrate to the United States with an IH-3 or IH-4 immigrant visa.

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Who Can Adopt

In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt a child from Vietnam must meet the following requirements of Vietnam:

  • Residency: Vietnam does not require that prospective adoptive parents reside in Vietnam for a specified period prior to completing an intercountry adoption. To finalize the adoption, however, at least one adopting parent must travel to Vietnam to receive the adopted child in person at the “Giving and Receiving” ceremony before the appropriate Vietnamese authorities. If only one member of an adopting married couple travels to Vietnam, Vietnam requires that the traveling spouse have in his/her possession a Power of Attorney from the other spouse, notarized and authenticated by the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington or one of the Vietnamese Consulates General elsewhere in the United States.
  • Age of Adopting Parents: Under Vietnamese law, prospective adoptive parents must be at least 20 years older than the child to be adopted unless the prospective adoptive parent is a step-parent or maternal/paternal aunt or uncle of the child to be adopted.
  • Marriage: Vietnamese law permits intercountry adoption by both single persons and opposite-sex married couples. Gay, lesbian, transgender, and intersex individuals and same-sex couples – whether married or unmarried – are not eligible to adopt from Vietnam.
  • Income: There is no minimum income required. The Vietnamese Central Authority, the Ministry of Justice, Department of Adoptions (MOJ/DA), will assess the economic, housing, and health conditions of prospective adoptive parents, who must demonstrate that they are sufficient to ensure the care and education of the adopted child.
  • Other: Vietnamese authorities impose other eligibility requirements, including that the prospective adoptive parents are of good morals and are legally competent. Specifically, Vietnam requires that prospective adoptive parents have not had their parental rights to their own children restricted, must not be in prison, and must not be subject to administrative sanctions imposed by an educational or medical institution. Specific offenses that will disqualify prospective adoptive parents include: deliberately violating the life, health, dignity, and honor of others; mistreating grandparents, parents, spouses, children, or caregivers; enticing, coercing, or hiding juvenile offenders; and the trafficking, exchanging, or kidnapping of children.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Because Vietnam is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Vietnam must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for intercountry adoption. For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of Vietnam have determined that placement of the child within Vietnam has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests. At this time only children who qualify under the Special Adoption Program are eligible for intercountry adoption from Vietnam. See below for more information. In addition to qualifying as a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law, a child must meet the following requirements of Vietnam.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Relinquishment: For a child to be eligible for adoption, the birth parent(s) or guardian must give their voluntary written consent to the emigration and adoption of the child to the provincial Department of Justice. The consent must be given no earlier than 15 days after the child’s birth. Furthermore, birth parent(s) will have an additional 30 days to retract their consent before the child can be determined eligible for intercountry adoption.
  • Abandonment: For abandoned children whose parents are unknown and who are being cared for in an institution, the head of the institution where the child lives gives consent to the adoption to the provincial Department of Justice. In addition, the provincial police must provide the provincial Department of Justice with a police report verifying the search for biological parents.
  • Age of Adoptive Child: The child must be under 16 years old to be eligible for intercountry adoption. Children who are 16 or 17 may be adopted by a stepparent or maternal/paternal uncle or aunt. Children who are nine or older must give their voluntary consent to the adoption. Children who are five and older are included in “List 2.” “List 2” is Vietnam’s legal mechanism for identifying children with special needs, children aged five and older, and children in biological sibling groups of two or more who may be eligible for intercountry adoption through the Special Adoption Program. Please note that U.S. age requirements for a child adopted from a Convention country differ from Vietnam’s requirements.
  • Sibling Adoptions: Children in biological sibling groups of two or more and children who are older than five years of age and are living in government orphanages and are included in “List 2” and may be eligible for intercountry adoption through the Special Adoption Program. Vietnam prioritizes placing siblings together with the same adoptive family. Healthy children living outside of government orphanages are not eligible for intercountry adoption even if they are in sibling groups or aged five and older.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions: Children with disabilities, HIV/AIDS, and other life-threatening diseases, as defined by Vietnamese law, who are living in government orphanages are included in “List 2” and may be eligible for intercountry adoption through the Special Adoption Program. In addition, children with disabilities, HIV/AIDS, and other life-threatening diseases, as defined by Vietnamese law, who are living outside of government orphanages, may be eligible for intercountry adoption through the Special Adoption Program.
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care: The Vietnamese requirement to conduct a search for eligible domestic prospective adoptive parents is waived in “List 2” cases of children with special needs, children aged five and older, and children in biological sibling groups.
  • Other: According to Vietnamese law, an adoption by a Vietnamese citizen permanently residing in another country is considered an intercountry adoption. In general, Vietnam’s MOJ/DA considers an adoption of a child from Vietnam who will subsequently be moved to another Convention country following an adoption or for the purpose of an adoption as an intercountry adoption subject to the Convention. Vietnam’s MOJ/DA also generally considers Vietnamese children temporarily in the United States in a non-immigrant status to be permanent residents (habitually resident) in Vietnam and subject to the Convention.
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How to Adopt

WARNING: Vietnam is party to the Hague Adoption Convention. Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in Vietnam before a U.S. consular officer issues an “Article 5/17 Letter” in the case. Read on for more information.

Vietnam’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Justice, Department of Adoptions (MOJ/DA)

The Process

Because Vietnam is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adoptions from Vietnam must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is provided below. You must complete these steps in the following order to meet all necessary legal requirements. Adoptions completed out of order may result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.

1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider That Has Been Authorized by Vietnam’s Central Authority to Operate in Vietnam
2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt
3. Apply to Vietnam’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child
4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption
5. Adopt the Child in Vietnam
6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider That Has Been Authorized by Vietnam’s Central Authority to Operate in Vietnam

The first step in adopting a child from Vietnam is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide services to U.S. citizens in Convention cases and that has been authorized by the Government of Vietnam. Only accredited or approved adoption services providers may act as the primary provider in your case. The primary adoption service provider is responsible for ensuring that all adoption services in the case are done in accordance with the Hague Adoption Convention and U.S. laws and regulations. Learn more about Agency Accreditation.

2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt

After you choose a U.S. accredited or approved and Government of Vietnam authorized adoption service provider, you must apply to be found suitable and eligible to adopt by the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), by submitting Form I-800A. You will need to complete a home study, fingerprints, and a background check as part of this application. Read more about Eligibility Requirements.

3. Apply to Vietnam’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child

After USCIS determines that you are “suitable” and “eligible” to adopt and approves the Form I-800A application, your adoption service provider will provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to the adoption authority in Vietnam as part of your adoption dossier. Vietnam’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also suitable and eligible to adopt under Vietnam’s law.

If both the United States and Vietnam determine that you are suitable and eligible to adopt, and the central authority for Convention adoptions in Vietnam has determined that a child is available for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, the central authority for Convention adoptions in Vietnam may provide you with a referral for a child. The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of a specific child. The adoption authority in Vietnam will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral or not. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for, a particular child. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the central authority in Vietnam. Learn more about this critical decision.

4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption

After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States (Form I-800). USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child appears to meet the definition of a Convention Adoptee and will be eligible to enter and reside in the United States.

After provisional approval of Form I-800 petition, you or your adoption service provider will submit a visa application to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi that is responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from Vietnam. A consular officer will review the Form I-800 and the visa application for possible visa ineligibilities and advise you of options for the waiver of any noted ineligibilities.

WARNING: The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5/17 Letter”) to Vietnam’s Central Authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from Vietnam where all Convention requirements are met and the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform Vietnam’s Central Authority that the parents have been found suitable and eligible to adopt, that the child appears eligible to enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. Central Authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.

Do not attempt to adopt or obtain custody of a child in Vietnam before a U.S. consular officer issues the “Article 5/17 Letter” in any adoption case.

Remember: The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

5. Adopt the Child in Vietnam

Remember: Before you adopt a child in Vietnam, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps can you proceed to finalize the adoption in Vietnam.

The process for finalizing the adoption in Vietnam generally includes the following:

  • Role of Adoption Authority: Several governmental bodies at the national and provincial levels have roles in the intercountry adoption process in Vietnam:

    Ministry of Justice, Department of Adoption (MOJ/DA) is the Central Authority for Intercountry Adoption in Vietnam. MOJ/DA is responsible for the overall supervision of the adoption process. MOJ/DA authorizes foreign adoption agencies to operate in Vietnam, accepts and reviews dossiers of prospective adoptive parents, reviews referrals made by provincial authorities, and verifies that the adoption was in accordance with Vietnam’s Adoption Law and the Hague Adoption Convention. The MOJ/DA also matches prospective adoptive parents with children with special needs, children aged five and older, and children in biological sibling groups (i.e., children included in “List 2”).

    The provincial Department of Justice determines the eligibility of the child for intercountry adoption, organizes the “Giving and Receiving” ceremony, and maintains the adoption registry, which is a record of all adoption cases processed in the province that contains information on the adopted child, adoptive parents, and the date the provincial People’s Committee issued the Adoption Decree.

    The provincial People’s Committee issues the final Adoption Decree.
  • Role of the Court: Vietnam’s courts do not issue Adoption Decrees in Vietnamese Convention adoptions. The Vietnamese courts have no role in intercountry adoptions.
  • Role of Adoption Agencies: The accredited and authorized U.S. adoption service provider facilitates the adoption on behalf of the prospective adoptive parents, including assembling the application dossier for submission to MOJ/DA, providing logistical support for prospective adoptive parents and their adopted child(ren), and providing post-adoption reports to MOJ/DA. The adoption service provider is also responsible for fully informing prospective adoptive parents about the child’s medical condition, if applicable, so that they can make an informed decision about the adoption.
  • Time Frame: It is difficult to predict with certainty how much time is required to complete an adoption in Vietnam. Adoption processing depends on many variables, including the wait time to be matched with an eligible child, the workload of Vietnamese adoption authorities, and the specific circumstances of each case. Although Vietnam processes adoptions through the Special Adoption Program as expeditiously as possible, it should be noted that the adoption process in general can be lengthy.
  • Adoption Application: To start the adoption process through the Special Adoption Program, prospective adoptive parents or their accredited adoption service provider must contact the MOJ/DA.

    Application: Prospective adoptive parents file their application dossier with MOJ/DA through an accredited U.S. adoption service provider that has been authorized by the Government of Vietnam.

    Matching: MOJ/DA reviews and approves the application dossier of the prospective adoptive parent(s). The MOJ/DA then matches prospective adoptive parents with an eligible child from “List 2.”

    Prospective adoptive parents have 30 days to either accept or refuse the referral. Formal acceptance is defined by the MOJ/DA as notification by the adoption service provider to the MOJ/DA of referral acceptance and receipt by the MOJ/DA of the “Article 5/17 Letter.” “Article 5/17 Letters” issued by the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi indicate that the prospective adoptive parents are eligible and suitable to adopt, have been counseled as necessary, the child is or will be authorized to enter and reside permanently in the United States, and the adoption may proceed.

    In order for the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi to issue an “Article 5/17 Letter,” USCIS must provisionally approve the child’s Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, which may take an average of 30 days upon USCIS’ receipt of the filing. USCIS also must notify the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi of the provisional approval. If a child has urgent medical needs that have been clearly articulated by the MOJ/DA in the child’s background report and these medical needs meet USCIS expedite criteria, prospective adoptive parents may wish to request expeditious processing of their Form I-800 petition from USCIS.

    The MOJ/DA can extend the 30-day response timeframe for an additional 30 days one time only. Prospective adoptive parents or their adoption service provider may request this extension in writing to the MOJ/DA, indicating their acceptance of the referral. After the response time expires (30 days, or 60 days if extended), the MOJ/DA may refer the child to another prospective adoptive family as a potential match.

    Given Vietnam’s timeframe, prospective adoptive parents should be prepared to file the Form I-800 petition with USCIS as soon as possible after deciding to accept a referral; ensure that the Form I-800 petition information is as complete and accurate as possible at the time of submission in order to avoid requests from USCIS for additional information; notify the MOJ/DA of acceptance of the referral within 30 days; and simultaneously request from the MOJ/DA the one-time, 30 day extension. This will help to ensure that your referral does not expire while awaiting USCIS and Department of State processing.

    If prospective adoptive parents refuse the referral without a reasonable justification, they may not receive another referral.

    Prior Contact: Prospective adoptive parents are generally not allowed to have any contact with the child’s birth parents, guardian, or institutions caring for the child until they have an approved Form I-800A, Vietnam has determined that the child is eligible for adoption, and the required consents to the adoption have been obtained. However, certain exceptions to this rule apply, including when a prospective adoptive parent is a family member as described in 8 CFR 204.309(b)(2)(iii); when adopting children with special needs; when adopting a child who is a sibling of an already adopted child, when prospective adoptive parents have been working or studying in Vietnam for at least one year, and when the contact is otherwise permitted by the MOJ/DA.
  • Adoption Fees:In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your adoption service provider will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.

    Adoption fees charged by the MOJ/DA include:

    • Application fee: 9,000,000 VND (approximately 430 USD as of September 2014) to be paid to MOJ/DA when prospective adoptive parents submit their application dossier. Prospective adoptive parents who are stepparents, uncles, or aunts of the adopted child pay 50 percent of the application fee. Prospective adoptive parents who apply to adopt more than one child who are siblings pay 50 percent of the application fee for each additional child.
    • Adoption processing fee: The fee is waived for adoptions of children through the Special Adoption Program (i.e., children with special needs, children aged five or older, and children in biological sibling groups of two or more). Otherwise, the fee would be 50,000,000 VND (approximately 2,400 USD as of September 2014) to be paid to MOJ/DA when prospective adoptive parents accept the child referred to them by MOJ/DA.

    Other fees associated with adopting from Vietnam may include:

    • Legalization of documents by the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate in the United States costs 10 USD per document (as of September 2014). The fee is for authentication of the seal.
    • Passport application fee is 200,000 VND per passport (approximately 10 USD as of September 2014).
    • Translations of documents can be done in the United States and the costs may vary.
    • Fees for notarizing documents for the Vietnamese passport application should be nominal and posted by the provincial DOJ.
    • In some cases, adoption service providers may be asked to reimburse certain medical expenses for the child, including psychological counseling and preparation for children to be adopted.
  • Documents Required:The following documents are required to be submitted in the application dossier:
    • Adoption application form
    • Copy of passport or other equivalent identification document
    • Certificate of child adoption approval issued by a competent U.S. authority (also known as the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ approval of the Form I-800A application)
    • Home study (issued within past 12 months)
    • Medical report (issued within past 12 months)
    • Confirmation of income (issued within past 12 months)
    • Criminal records (issued within past 12 months)
    • Marital status certificate (i.e. marriage certificate or single status statement)

    Note: Prospective adoptive parents are required to prepare two identical sets of application dossiers. All documents must be translated and authenticated by the Vietnamese Embassy or one of the Vietnamese Consulates in the United States. Additional documents may be requested.

  • Authentication of Documents:You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. If so, the Department of State, Authentications office may be able to assist. Read more about Authenticating U.S. Documents.

    Note: Any documents pertaining to adoption applications submitted to the Vietnamese authorities must be notarized and authenticated by the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate in the United States and translated into Vietnamese. All documents submitted to the U.S. government must be translated into English.

6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for your Child and Bring Your Child Home

Now that your adoption is complete, there are a few more steps to take before your child can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

Birth Certificate
You will receive the child’s original birth certificate after the “Giving and Receiving” ceremony so that you can use it to apply for a passport for your child.

Vietnam Passport
Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from Vietnam.

The adoption service provider should assist adoptive parents with obtaining a Vietnamese passport for the adopted child. Passport applications are submitted to the Ministry of Public Security, Department of Immigration office in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. Applications should include the following:

  • Passport application form with photo affixed, certified by the provincial Department of Justice where the adoption was finalized
  • Four separate, identical 4x6 photos with white background
  • One notarized copy of the Adoption Decree
  • One notarized copy of the Giving and Receiving Minute
  • One notarized copy of the Birth Certificate
  • One notarized copy of adoptive parents’ passports

Passport applications may be submitted at one of the following offices of the Department of Immigration:

       Hanoi Office
       44-46 Tran Phu Street
       Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
       Tel: +84-24-3825-7941

       Ho Chi Minh City Office
       254 Nguyen Trai Street
       District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
       Tel: +84-28-3920-2300

The passport application fee is 200,000 VND per passport (approximately 10 USD as of September 2014). The regular processing timeframe is five days.

U.S. Immigrant Visa

After you obtain the birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to finalize your application for a U.S. visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam. After the adoption is granted, visit the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi for final review of the case, issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate, final approval of Form I-800, and to obtain your child’s immigrant visa. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the consular officer must be provided the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Read more about the Medical Examination.

Typically, at least one adoptive parent appears at the immigrant visa interview with the child. If neither parent is able to attend the interview and to execute the oath on the DS-260 Immigrant Visa Application Form, then the adult accompanying the child(ren) must be in possession of a Power of Attorney from the adoptive parent(s) allowing him or her to execute the application and conduct the interview on behalf of the parent(s).

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s entry into the United States: An adopted child residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence generally will acquire U.S. citizenship automatically upon entry into the United States if the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, including the child is under the age of eighteen.

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Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport
U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Department of State’s Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

Obtaining a Visa to Travel to Vietnam
In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are affixed to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for Vietnam, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

Staying Safe on Your Trip
Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

Staying in Touch on Your Trip
When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State. Enrollment makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in Vietnam, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

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After Adoption

Post-Adoption Reporting Requirements
Adoptive parents are responsible for providing post-adoption reports to both the MOJ/DA and a Vietnamese diplomatic mission in the country where the adopted child resides every six months for three consecutive years following the adoption. The report should provide information about the child’s health status, physical and psychological development, and how he or she is integrating with the adoptive family and new environment. We urge you to comply with Vietnam’s post-adoption requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to Vietnam’s history of positive experiences with U.S. citizen parents.

In order to submit post-adoption reports, adoptive parents must fill out the “Child development report form,” which is available through your adoption service provider or from Vietnam’s Ministry of Justice. The form must then be certified by a competent home study preparer and authenticated by a Vietnamese diplomatic mission in the United States.

Under Vietnamese law, adoption service providers are responsible for reminding adoptive parents to submit post-adoption reports. Adoption service providers must also provide the MOJ/DA with a separate annual report summarizing the development of all Vietnamese children who have been adopted through the adoption service provider. In addition, adoption service providers must also provide a report on specific cases at the request of the MOJ/DA.

Post-Adoption Resources
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Vietnam
Consular Section
Rose Garden Tower
170 Ngoc Khanh Street
Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: 84-24-3850 5100
Fax: 84-24-3850 5026/3850 5145
Email: HanoiAdoptions@state.gov
Internet: https://vn.usembassy.gov/

Vietnam’s Adoption Authority
Ministry of Justice
Department of Adoption
58-60 Tran Phu Street
Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: 84-24-6273 9697
Fax: 84-24-6273 9359
Email: cngt@moj.gov.vn
Internet: moj.gov.vn/en/Pages/home.aspx

Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
1233 20th Street, N.W. Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20036
Tel: (202) 861-2293 or (202) 861-0694
Fax: (202) 861-0917
Email: vnconsular@vietnamembassy.us
Internet: vietnamembassy-usa.org

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
CA/OCS/CI, SA-17A, 9th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
Email: AdoptionUSCA@state.gov
Internet: adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures: USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet: uscis.gov

For questions about filing a Form I-800A or I-800 petition: USCIS National Benefits Center
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-816-251-2770 (local)
Email: NBC.Hague@uscis.dhs.gov

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 12 Months
A-2 None Multiple 12 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-2 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-1 None Multiple 12 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 12 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 12 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 12 Months
F-1 None Multiple 12 Months
F-2 None Multiple 12 Months
G-1 None Multiple 12 Months
G-2 None Multiple 12 Months
G-3 None Multiple 12 Months
G-4 None Multiple 12 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 12 Months
H-1B None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-2A None N/A N/A 3
H-2B None N/A N/A 3
H-2R None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 12 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 12 Months 3
I None Multiple 12 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 12 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 12 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 12 Months
L-2 None Multiple 12 Months
M-1 None Multiple 12 Months A
M-2 None Multiple 12 Months A
N-8 None Multiple 12 Months
N-9 None Multiple 12 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 12 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 12 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 12 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 12 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 12 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 12 Months
R-2 None Multiple 12 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Vietnam has no centralized national system for vital records. Many records have been lost through war and inconsistent record keeping, but larger cities may have old documents on file, and records from the north are generally available. Registrars will sometimes certify that certain documents were lost or destroyed. Records for Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)-Cholon since 1953 are kept at the Central Registrar's office of the Ministry of the Interior (Phong Ho Tich So Tu Phap) in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). Some pre-1954 records from Haiphong, former North Vietnam are now at the Central Court of Records in HCMC and are available for extracting. Fraudulent civil documents are common in Vietnam and it has been relatively easy to establish false identities both before and after 1975.

When primary documents are unavailable, secondary evidence regarding Vietnamese who fled their country beginning in April 1975 may be available from the individual and his or her refugee record. If the applicant received first asylum in Taiwan, contact AIT - Taipei; if elsewhere in east or southeast Asia, contact the U.S. Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth

Vietnamese law does not distinguish between children born out of wedlock and legitimate children. If the father recognizes the child either parent may file the birth certificate, which must be registered within 30 days at the People's Committee of the village, ward or district capital where at least one parent is resident. Late registration is permitted with reason. A court must resolve claims or denials of paternity after a certificate has been issued. Legally, two U.S. citizens not resident in Vietnam may register the births of their children born there, but in practice local authorities have denied requests unless one parent is legally resident. Birth certificate designs have changed three times since 2006. Originals have one line listing the registration date. Extracts list both registration and extract dates.

Death/Burial

Families or responsible agencies (for foreigners, certain hospitals) must report deaths within 24 hours to the People's Committee of the village, district capital or ward where the deceased resided. The People's Committee can issue the death certificate, as can a hospital or the investigating police. Provincial Justice Department issues official Death Certificates for foreigners.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage

Non-Vietnamese nationals married in Vietnam and now seeking a record of the marriage should write to the provincial Justice Department (So Tu Phap)where the marriage/divorce took place. The request should include the date and location of the marriage. The Department will usually respond, but without friends or relatives to follow up, the process may be lengthy.

Common Law Marriages and Marriage of Relatives

Vietnamese law does not recognize common law marriages. Authorities do issue certificates verifying cohabitation but these do not constitute legal marriages. Vietnamese law prohibits marriage between blood siblings, half siblings, first cousins or any two persons related closer than three degrees of separation. The legal age for marriage is 20 for men and 18 for women.

Divorce

Divorce records are maintained by the courts where they were issued.

Adoption Certificates

Documents relating to adoptions in Vietnam, such as birth certificates, abandonment reports, relinquishment agreements, and investigative reports are generally issued by orphanage directors, local People's Committees, Provincial Departments and the Ministry of Justice, Department of Adoptions (MOJ/DA). The facts asserted in these documents are not verified by the issuing officials. Therefore, all documents issued by the authorities listed above and any other documents containing information not verified by the issuing authority cannot be considered adequate evidence of the facts claimed and, at best, may be used in conjunction with primary and contemporaneous secondary evidence or must be independently verified by U.S. officials in Vietnam before they can be considered valid for immigration purposes.

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Identity Card

Please check back for update

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Required for immigrant visa applicants only.

For Vietnamese residents, Vietnamese non-residents, and foreigners who currently reside in Vietnam:

Request for a "Justice Record Check #2" (Phieu Ly Lich Tu Phap So 2) must be made at the Department of Justice office located in the district where applicant currently resides, or at applicant's official residence. The official residence is registered in the "household registry" (Ho Khau) issued by the district police. The processing fee to request this document is 200.000VND per applicant, and the record check takes approximately 10 working days to complete. Applicant has to apply in person and cannot grant authority to someone else to apply on his/her behalf.

Applicant should be prepared to present two (2) sets of the following documents at the time of the request:

  • Completed application form (Form 03/TT-LLTP.) Please check the box Justice Record Check #2;
  • Applicant's National Identification Card or passport;
  • Proof of residence location and length of time applicant has resided in Vietnam, such as the household registry book (Ho Khau), the temporary residence registry book, the permanent residence card or a residence certification from the local People's Committee of applicant's residence.

For foreigners who formerly resided in Vietnam and no longer reside in Vietnam

Request for a "Justice Record Check #1" (Phieu Ly Lich Tu Phap So 1) must be made at the National Center of Criminal Records - Vietnamese Ministry of Justice in Hanoi. Contact information is as follows:

National Center of Criminal Records
Address: 58 - 60 Tran Phu Street, Ba Ðinh District, Hanoi.
Telephone: +84-4-62739718
Fax: 04.62739359
Email: cntt@moj.gov.vn

The processing fee to request this document is 200.000VND per applicant, and the record check takes approximately 10 working days to complete. If applicant cannot present himself/herself at the National Center of Criminal Records, he/she can grant authority to someone else to apply on his/her behalf as long as he/she provides a Letter of Attorney which is legalized/ authenticated by Vietnamese Consulate General or Vietnamese Embassy at the city of their current residence.

Applicant should be prepared to present two (2) sets of the following documents at the time of the request:

Completed application form (Form 03/TT-LLTP.) if applicant can apply in person, or completed application form (Form 04/TT-LLTP) if applicant cannot apply in person and authorizes someone else to apply on his/her behalf;

  • Applicant's passport;
  • Proof of residence location and length of time applicant resided in Vietnam, such as his/her old entry-exit permit detailing the length of time applicant resided in Vietnam, the permanent residence card, if any, or a residence certification from the local People's Committee of applicant's residence.

 

Prison Records

Available. Prison records in principle can be obtained from the Director of the prison in which the subject was incarcerated.

 

Court Records

Available. Court records in principle can be obtained from the city or provincial court that sentenced the subject.

 

Military Records

Military Records

Available. Military records in principle can be obtained from the military unit where the subject served in the military.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

The following are considered to meet the requirements of INA 101(a)(30):

  • A Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) passport (ho chieu).
  • A laissez-passer (giay thong hanh).

Passports are generally valid for ten years (except for children under 14 years of age's passports which are valid for five years) and are made of green plastic-laminated paper with gilt print on the cover. Official passports are dark green, while diplomatic passports are maroon and are generally valid for five years. The bearer's photo is on an inside page, with a clear plastic laminate over the photo and bio page. The issuance page shows the signature, name and "stamp of office" of one of several issuing authorities.

Other Records

Extracts of Birth, Marriage, and Death Certificates

Residents: Requests for extracts of previously issued certificates are made at the registrar's office where they were issued, and should include the document registration number, date and place of registration. Without this information, fees may be higher and it is less likely the document will be found.

Non-Residents: Only relatives resident in Vietnam may request extracts of documents for their overseas relatives. Documents cannot be requested through a Vietnamese diplomatic mission, nor can a request be sent to a local office from overseas.

Household Registries

Every person residing in Vietnam must be listed on a household registry (Ho Khau), maintained by the Public Security Bureau.

Copies of old registries are sometimes available. Mention of a spouse or child in a registry does not prove legal marriage or blood relationship. Cohabitants and foster children can appear as spouses and children.

Visa Issuing Posts

Hanoi, Vietnam (Embassy) -- Nonimmigrant Visas

Street Address:
170 Ngoc Khanh Street, Dong Da District, Hanoi, Vietnam

Tel: 011 (84) (4) 3850-5000

Fax: (84) (4) 3850-5010

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Consulate General) -- All categories

Street Address:
4 Le Duan Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Tel: 011 (84-8) 3520-4200

Fax: 011 (84-8) 3520-4242

Visa Services

Embassy Hanoi processes nonimmigrant visas only. Ho Chi Minh City processes both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 861-0737 (202) 716-0917

New York, NY (212) 644-0594/0831/2535 (212) 644-5732

San Francisco, CA (415) 922-1577 (415) 922-1707 (415) 922-1848 (415) 922-1757

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Hanoi - Consular Annex
170 Ngoc Khanh
Ba Dinh District
Hanoi, Vietnam
Telephone
+(84) (24) 3850-5000
Emergency
+(84) (24) 3850-5000
Fax
+(84) (24) 3850-5010
Vietnam Country Map

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Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.