Moving to Hanoi, Vietnam

There’s no place like Hanoi. Its French influences and American inspirations perfectly blended with Asian sensibilities make it one of the most preferred retirement destinations in the world. The cost of living in the capital is affordable by Western stand ards, as confirmed by a British couple who lived in Hanoi as English teachers. In London, they spent almost £1,700 per month on food, rent, utilities and transportation. They only needed half of that amount in Hanoi. Read about their four-month stay in Vietnam here. Everything you need is in Hanoi – from schools to jobs and leisure activities.

Pet relocation

Bringing your pet dog or cat to another country is not a simple matter. There are strict rules and regulations you need to comply with to avoid penalties, or worse, imprisonment. If you are bringing a domestic animal to Vietnam, take note of the following requirements:

  • Each pet should have an implanted microchip compliant with ISO Standard 11784 or Annex A to ISO Standard 11785. No other form of identification is allowed.
  • Your pet dog or cat must have an original Rabies Certificate stating the microchip number, date of vaccines and the validity of the vaccinations.
  • Before the flight, secure a Health Certificate for your pet from an accredited veterinarian.

The Health Certificate must be issued and signed by government authorities in your country of origin. The certificate must be prepared in A4 and presented separately from the animal’s passport.

Visa application process

A Vietnamese visa can be issued within five business days. You can expedite your request, for an additional fee, to receive your visa in one to two business days. If you lose your visa and apply for a new one, you can expect your replacement visa in three to five working days. Replacement visas cannot be expedited.

You may apply for the visas in person or via mail by submitting the following documentary requirements:

  • A completed application form (available here)
  • Original passport, with at least one-month validity prior the date of exit from Vietnam and/or six-month validity
  • One passport-sized photograph (2×2)
  • Passport, valid for at least six months
  • Visa fees, prepared in the form of money order, cashier’s check or company check payable to “Embassy of Vietnam”
  • For applications via mail, include a self-addressed prepaid return envelope with your application.

Additional requirements and fees:

  • Single-entry, 30-day visa – USD 20 per person + USD 25 stamping fee
  • Multiple-entry, 30-day visa – USD 23 + USD 50 stamping fee
  • Single-entry, 90-day visa – USD 30 processing fee + USD 25 stamping fee
  • Multiple-entry, 90-day visa – USD 45 + USD 50 stamping fee

You may check with the nearest Vietnamese embassy or consulate regarding changes in the fee schedule. These fees don’t include the postage cost for applications via mail.

Diplomatic visa

The diplomatic or official visa is free of charge.

Visa categories

Tourist visa

If you’re a citizen of the following countries, you can visit Vietnam without a visa to stay within a certain period of time: Brunei Darussalam (14 days), Cambodia (30 days), Indonesia (30), Malaysia (30), Laos (30), the Philippines (21), Singapore (30), Thailand (30), Japan (15), South Korea (15), Denmark (15), Finland (15), Norway (15), Russia (15) and Sweden (15). For updates on the visa free-privilege, you may visit

Effective July 1, 2015, the Vietnamese government will not require a visa from nationals of Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain for trips up to 15 days.

If you’re entering Vietnam through an international border gate to travel to Phu Quou and stay there only, you don’t need to get a visa for a 15-day visit.

There are two types of tourist visas issued by Vietnam: the 30-day and the 30-month single or multiple entry visa. You can extend your tourist visa only once for 30 days. Tourist visa extensions can be done personally or through a representative in various cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang and Hue. Processing typically takes two to three days.

Re-entry visa

If you’re holding a single entry visa when you entered Vietnam and decided to visit Cambodia, a bordering country, you’d need a re-entry visa to return to Vietnam. It’s advisable that you arrange your re-entry visa before leaving to avoid going through the entire visa process again. Your re-entry visa can be available in a two to three business days.

Business visa

If you’re travelling to Vietnam on an official business capacity, you’d need a business visa. This visa is usually valid for three to six months. It’s issued to foreigners visiting their Vietnam branch, attend work-related conferences and seminars, among others. If you’re planning of working in the country, your business visa is not enough. You’d need to secure a work permit as well.

Student visa

Vietnam is an emerging educational and cultural destination for foreign students. Students visas are typically arranged after arrival in Vietnam. You can enter with the tourist visa, enrol in a local school, then change your visa status once your enrollment application is approved. You can also request for a student visa before departing for Vietnam as long as you have a proof of admission from a Vietnam school.

Transit visa

Foreigners passing through Vietnam for another destination should apply for a transit visa. This visa type is valid for a maximum of five days and is usually issued to tourist groups on tour.

Diplomatic/official visa

A diplomatic/official visa is granted to foreigners visiting Vietnam on government or diplomatic business. To apply for this visa, you must submit an official letter (note verbale) from a government agency, international organisation or other similar entity in your home country.

French citizens holding valid diplomatic passports can enter and stay in Vietnam without a visa for 90 days, with several visits within six months. Chilean citizens holding valid diplomatic passports are extended visa-free visit privileges for 90 days. Individuals holding APEC Business Travel Cards (ABTCs) can stay in the country for 60 days without the need for a visa.


Know more about Hanoi, Vietnam with our relocation guide for expatriates:


This relocation guide is provided by, copyright © 2016 Interexpat Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Neither Interexpat nor S.A.S. ACS can be held liable for any errors or omissions, or any loss, damage that may occur as a result of this information. This information does not constitute advice.


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