In light of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, Vietnam has imposed several travel restrictions on those entering the country. As of October 5, 2021, Vietnam had confirmed 813,961 cases of COVID-19 with 19,845 deaths, though 721,480 of the patients, had recovered.
Those planning to travel to Vietnam should be aware of the latest restrictions currently in place:
• Vietnam has suspended the entry of all foreigners since March 22, 2020, until further notice to limit the spread of COVID-19. The measure does not apply to diplomats, officials, foreign investors, experts, and skilled workers.
• Vietnam’s Immigration Department announced automatic visa extensions until October 31, 2021, for foreigners that entered the country on visa waiver programmes, e-visas, or tourist visas since March 1. The measure applies to those who entered Vietnam since March 1, allowing them to leave the country without any penalty or paperwork until October 31, 2021.
• Domestic flights resumed on October 1 under a four-phase plan. Flights resumed with localities that have relaxed pandemic prevention and control measures.
• Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City relaxed social distancing measures on September 21 and October 1 respectively to help recover the economy with pandemic prevention controls. Residents Ho Chi Minh City must receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and obtain a QR code through the mandated health apps for movement within the city.
• Vietnam has cut the centralized quarantine period for fully vaccinated foreign arrivals to 7 days from the previous 14. Arrivals must also test negative for the virus within 72 hours before arrival and would then be required to self-monitor for another 7 days after the quarantine period. In addition, those infected with COVID-19 and have certificates that they have recovered from the virus within six months would also have their quarantine period reduced. The government is yet to provide further details and date for implementation.
• Most localities require COVID-19 tests to enter and exit along with centralized quarantine for 14 days.
• Bamboo Airways, Vietjet Air, and Pacific Airlines suspended most of their regular flight schedules from July 26 due to low demand and social distancing measures in several localities. Vietnam Airlines has reduced operations on the Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City route to just two flights per day.
• The health ministry has mandated that anyone coming or returning from Ho Chi Minh City undergo home quarantine for seven days and be tested three times.
• Vietnam is expected to trial vaccine passports from July where vaccinated foreign travelers will be allowed to quarantine for 7 days compared to the present 21-day requirement. The trial will be done in Quang Ninh province; however, foreign travelers will have to self-isolate for another 7 days after the initial 7-day centralized quarantine.
• Vietnam’s Ministry of Health extended the mandatory quarantine period to 21 days from the previous 14-day requirement from May 5 after several patients, who came from abroad, tested positive after completing the requirement. The requirement applies to all foreign arrivals as well as those who have had contact with COVID-19 positive patients.
• Flag carrier Vietnam Airlines resumed some international flights connecting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with South Korea, Japan, and Australia from April 3. Low-cost carrier VietJet has also resumed services including to Taiwan and Thailand. However, only repatriated approved Vietnamese citizens and approved foreign experts will be allowed to enter Vietnam.
• The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has proposed the government consider gradually resuming international flights in the three stages throughout the year.
• Vietnam and Japan have agreed to lift mandatory quarantine for short-term visits for businesspeople and officials from November 1. However, this will be done as per strict health protocols including testing and medical surveillance. Details of the protocols and procedures are yet to be released
• The government on September 15 issued Notice No 330/TB-VPCP allowing Vietnamese carriers to resume international air routes with six countries – these are Guangzhou (China), Tokyo (Japan), Seoul (South Korea), Taipei (Taiwan), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), and Vientiane (Laos). However, incoming travelers will need to present a negative RT-PCR test three days before departure and test again on arrival in Vietnam. Commercial flights, however, are yet to resume pending further instructions from government authorities.