A valid passport and a visa are required of all foreigners visiting Vietnam. Vietnamese embassies and consulates in your countries will issue visas to Vietnam. Some overseas offices of Vietnam tourist agencies are able to issue tourist visas. Entry to Vietnam may be refused if your passport has less than six months validity. Please check with the Vietnam embassy or consulate in your country to know more about the procedure; it may differ in other countries.
You should apply for tourist visa at least for the duration of your project in Vietnam. For short-term volunteers, it will be difficult for you to extend your visa. Don’t think about extending your visa once in Vietnam, it also costs much money! Do not complete your visa application until your travel plans are certain. You are required to state your intended ports of arrival and departure (for example, arriving in Hanoi and departing from Ho Chi Minh City). Changing either of these upon or after your arrival could result in a lot of red tape and extra expense. Submit your application along with two standard passport photos, your passport and the required fee.
Don’t start to explain that you come here to be a volunteer, to help the poor children, etc. Except if you want to spend three days of explanation at the embassy and not receive your visa for “national security reasons”. Apply for your visa at least three weeks before to be completely sure to get it on time! Make at least three photocopies of your passport and visa and put them in different places. Give one photocopy to your coordinator. Keep the other photocopies for yourself. It can be very difficult if you lose your papers. If you lose your passport or if you over stay you will need to apply for a new visa from the Immigration authorities in order to leave the country. This can only be done during working hours and usually takes three to five working days. For further information, check with your nearest Vietnamese Embassy.
Do not travel without insurance: An emergency abroad can be extremely expensive! The volunteers need to have their own travel insurance and medical insurance. So please make sure you got adequate insurance coverage.
What should your travel insurance policy cover at least?
– Medical and health cover for an injury or sudden illness abroad
– 24-hour emergency service and assistance
– Personal liability covers in case you are sued for causing injury or damaging property
– Lost and stolen possessions cover
– Cancellation and curtailment (cutting short your trip) cover
You can find a good quality medicine infrastructure in the big cities and hospitals with foreign doctors (at the “French Hospital” or “International SOS hospital” in Hanoi) but these private hospitals are extremely expensive that’s why you absolutely need to have a good travel assurance before to start your trip! We advise you to visit a physician and your dentist before coming, also to check your vaccination status on time!
– Malaria / Paludism: you don’t need to take treatment pills against Malaria/Paludism; there is no malaria in the big cities of vietnam!
– Check if your TETANUS, DIPHTHERIA, POLIO and HEPATITIS A+B vaccination are up- dated. Some doctors here, advice to do a preventive vaccine against fuzz (bird-flu).
– DIARRHOEA is a frequent travel problem. Even when traveling is in good conditions, it is not always possible to avoid it. Ask advice and the correct medications to your pharmacy.
– Vaccination against yellow fever :
* Not compulsory if arriving from Europe, North America, Oceania and Asia
* Compulsory only if arriving or transiting from infected areas
– Additional vaccination(s):
* Japanese encephalitis: vaccination can be justified in case of long-lasting stays in rural areas
* Hepatitis A: vaccination justified
* Hepatitis B: vaccination justified
* Rabies: vaccination can be justified for long-lasting stays or risky trips
* Tetanus-poliomyelitis: vaccination justified
* Typhoid: vaccination justified
We also suggest you bring a simple medical kit. Your doctor should advise you what to include AND HOW TO USE IT; however as a minimum we suggest you bring:
* Aspirin or Paracetamol (for pain or fever)
* Cold and flu tablets
* Anti diarrhea medicines
* Medicines against nausea
* Insect repellant
* Antiseptic and bandages
* Sunscreen and lip balm
(*) For extra info about traveling health advice:
(*) In case of emergency:
International SOS Clinic
1 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho District, Hanoi
T: (04) 3934 0666 (Alarm centre)
T: (04) 3826 4545 (Admin)
Family Medical Practice
Van Phuc Compound, 298 Kim Ma Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi (down the side street that runs parallel to Kim Ma)
T: (04) 3843 0748
Vietnam French Hospital
1 Phuong Mai, Dong Da District, Hanoi
T: (04) 3577 1100
Emergency: (04) 3574 1111
Hong Ngoc Hospital
55 Yen Ninh, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
T: (04) 39 275 568