Flight and Other Departure Assistance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

U.S. Embassy Hanoi and Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City – American Citizens Services

Flight and Other Departure Assistance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi and the U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City update our COVID-19 webpage daily.  Please read it closely for the latest information regarding the COVID-19 situation in Vietnam.  We advise all U.S. citizens residing or traveling in Vietnam to register or update their information with the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  You may also follow us on Facebook for periodic updates.

The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi and Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City do not currently have plans to arrange charter flights back to the United States.  Commercial flights are still available and U.S. citizens are advised to book commercial flights as soon as possible.  We understand current airfares may be expensive and that flights may be cancelled with short notice.  Nonetheless, U.S. citizens who wish to return home should make use of available commercial flight options. Check our Airline Departure Information page for the latest information we have regarding airlines that continue to serve international destinations from Vietnam.

If you are a U.S. citizen and want to return to the United States, but have no funds, we urge you to contact family and friends in the United States who may be able to help.  If you are destitute, you may be able to apply for a repatriation loan from the U.S. government to return to the United States.  Please complete an inquiry form here.

A consular officer will review your situation and determine if you are qualified for the loan.  Please be advised that we must contact your friends and relatives to confirm your eligibility.

If you are eligible for the loan, your passport will be limited and will only be valid for direct return travel to the United States.  You will not be eligible for a new U.S. passport until you repay your loan.

We have advised U.S. citizens in Vietnam who intend to return to the United States to do so as soon as possible.  Vietnamese authorities have introduced strict measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, including nationwide social distancing, closing all but essential businesses, shutting down public transportation, suspending the entry of foreigners into the country, imposing 14-day mandatory quarantines for all who arrived in Vietnam after March 8, and mandating quarantine for anyone suspected of coming into contact with COVID-19 positive cases or coming from certain areas of the country.

Currently, the Government of Vietnam is requesting that quarantined individuals complete the mandatory quarantine period prior to departing Vietnam.  Please be advised that the U.S. Embassy and Consulate General cannot intervene in the quarantine rules established by the Vietnamese government.

Vietnam sometimes requires travelers to provide the following information if departing Vietnam after completing your quarantine:

  • A negative COVID-19 test result, as provided by the quarantine center.
  • Itinerary or tickets for an already booked flight.
  • Scheduled transportation to the hotel and/or airport on leaving the quarantine center. (Staff in the quarantine center, and/or your travel agent, should be able to help with this requirement.)

Please be aware that you will be personally responsible for any costs.

We do not have plans to evacuate U.S. citizens at this time.  We advise U.S. citizens interested in returning to the United States to depart using commercial means as soon as possible.  Please note that if we do offer evacuation flights in the future, U.S. government-chartered flights are not free of charge.  U.S. citizen passengers are responsible for paying associated costs.

If your flight has been cancelled, you will need to arrange new tickets.  Please contact a travel agent if you need assistance booking a flight.  There may be some indirect routes to the United States through other Asian cities that can get you home.   Check our Airline Departure Information page for the latest information we have regarding airlines that continue to serve international destinations from Vietnam.

Please note that the U.S. Embassy Hanoi and Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City cannot sponsor U.S. citizens in visa matters.

The Vietnamese government has told us that foreigners who have work visas or other sponsored, non-tourist visas must work with their sponsors to extend their work permit and request visa extensions.

Vietnamese Immigration authorities informed the U.S. Mission that Vietnam’s immigration offices re-opened on April 23.  They have informed that U.S. citizens and other foreigners with visas that expired during the closure will not be considered overstays for their period of April 1-22.  Those on a tourist visa might also consider contacting a local tourist company that can sponsor foreigners to extend their Vietnamese visas without having to depart and re-enter Vietnam. The Vietnamese government has indicated that foreigners who have work visas or other sponsored, non-tourist visas must work with their sponsors to extend their work permit and request visa extensions.

U.S. citizens with plans to exit Vietnam should take advantage of the Government of Vietnam policy of automatic extension of temporary stay for foreigners in certain qualifying groups with plans to depart Vietnam through July 31, 2020.  This policy includes U.S. citizens and other foreign nationals who entered Vietnam with a visa exemption certificate, e-visa, or tourist visa on or after March 1, 2020.  Individuals under this qualifying group may exit Vietnam during this period without having to apply for an extension of stay.   U.S. citizens and other foreign nationals who entered Vietnam before March 1, 2020, may also be considered for an automatic extension through July 31, 2020, if upon exiting Vietnam they can provide proof that they have been stranded in Vietnam due to COVID-19 mandatory quarantine, treatment, or other reasons beyond their control, or present a letter from their Embassy or Consulate about their situation.  Additional questions regarding this Government of Vietnam policy should be directed to the Vietnamese Immigration Department at (024) 39387320 for further guidance.

U.S. citizens who arrived in Vietnam prior to March 1, 2020 and can present concrete plans to exit Vietnam by July 31, 2020, may request an exit letter using our American Citizen Services inquiry form here.  Please provide detailed information about your situation, including your full name, date of birth, U.S. passport number, and the date of expiration of your Vietnamese visa.  The U.S. Embassy Hanoi and Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City can in no way sponsor U.S. citizens during their stay in Vietnam.  This is a temporary measure that will only be in effect in response to COVID-19.

At this time, the Government of Vietnam has not lifted its suspension on the issuance of visas for foreigners, or its suspension of entry for foreigners, including people with a Vietnamese visa exemption certificate.  The Government of Vietnam has not announced a potential date to allow foreigners to enter Vietnam again.  The exemption for entry only refers to the entry of special categories of travelers with current Vietnamese visas, such as diplomatic, official duty, and special cases, including experts, business managers, and high-tech workers of businesses involved in important projects as determined by the Government of Vietnam.  Private businesses with employees with valid visas in the exempted categories mentioned previously must work with Vietnamese authorities on sponsoring their workers and requesting travel entry exceptions.  The U.S. Embassy and Consulate General are not involved in this process and cannot carry out medical surveillance of U.S. citizens during their stay in Vietnam.  U.S. companies and citizens with questions about the status of new visa processing for Vietnam should consult the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security’s national web portal on immigration for information.  The English version of the website can be accessed here.  The website of the Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in the United States also offers information on visa applications for Vietnam (available in Vietnamese and English).

Members of exempted categories with valid visas for Vietnam should work directly with their company to receive permission from local authorities to enter Vietnam.  The U.S. Embassy and Consulate General are not involved in this process.  However, companies that want to sponsor their employees need to send a request letter to the provincial people’s committee (PPC) where the employee will be located after entry into Vietnam, cc-ing relevant agencies such as the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), the Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs (MOLISA), and the Ministry of Health (MOH).  The letter should specifically request that the authorities approve that the worker/expert be permitted to enter Vietnam and provide quarantine measures to be taken by the company (at a hotel, or at the company’s facility).  The company must also work out the details regarding quarantine, medical surveillance, transportation options, etc., with the authorities on a case-by-case basis.  After reviewing the request, the PPC will make a decision and, if approved, will instruct Immigration to process the foreigner’s entry.  If approved, all individuals entering Vietnam must be quarantined for 14 days at a government designated facility or the company’s facility (if applicable).  The PPC also requires a non-COVID-19 medical certificate. The certificate is presented upon entry and may be required in advance.  There may be a possibility for the GVN to waive this requirement if such a testing laboratory is not available in the sending country.  Instead, the test would be conducted by GVN authorities upon arrival.  However,  this is on a case-by-case basis and the company must work this out with the authorities.  The U.S. Embassy and Consulate General cannot intervene in the entry restrictions and quarantine rules established by the Vietnamese government.

U.S. citizens in quarantine who are unable to exit Vietnam before their tourist visa expires may pay a fee upon departure at the airport.  In certain cases, the Vietnamese Department of Immigration may waive the administrative fee for cases of overstay that do not exceed 10 days for reasons beyond an individual’s control.  The individual must be able to present proof of those circumstances to the immigration authorities.  If you have been in quarantine and booked a flight, we may be able to issue a supporting letter.  To request assistance from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General, please use the form here.  In the textbox, please put VISA OVERSTAY DUE TO QUARANTINE as the first line.

We are not aware of any plans to close U.S. borders to U.S. citizens.  We advise you to monitor information provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security regarding COVID-19 restrictions here.  Currently, U.S. citizens traveling from, or transiting, any of the countries subject to the recent Presidential Proclamations (China, Iran, UK, Ireland, and the 26 countries of the Schengen zone in Europe) will be subject to increased screening and 14-day self-quarantine on arrival to the United States.

We advise U.S. citizens living in Vietnam to follow the guidance of local authorities, be ready to comply with social distancing, testing, and/or quarantine requirements, and be prepared to rely on the local health system, which may be under pressure and not up to U.S. standards.

U.S. citizens should take this information into account as they decide on whether to return to the United States or continue to stay in Vietnam for the long term.

We have lists of private hospitals in Vietnam on our website.  In some cases, international hospitals are able to organize medevac services for their patients.  However, flights to typical medevac locations are not available in many cases and hospitals may refuse the service in COVID-19 positive cases or when a person wants to enter a country with 14-day quarantine restrictions or that would require the medical escort to quarantine upon return to Vietnam.  Please check directly with the hospital for more information regarding medevac service.  Only if these services are unable to provide transportation in life-threatening cases of COVID-19 can the State Department directly medevac U.S. citizens.  There are many requirements and restrictions, and the service can only be provided on a reimbursable basis, which will likely cost at least $100,000, possibly more.

We currently advise against all but essential travel.  Flights to and from Vietnam are very limited.  Vietnamese authorities have introduced visa bans and compulsory quarantine for foreign nationals entering Vietnam.  As of March 22, the Vietnamese government has suspended entry to all foreigners, including people with a Vietnamese visa exemption certificate.  We understand that all U.S. citizens will be refused entry or be quarantined on arrival in Vietnam even if they have a valid visa.

If you develop symptoms, you should seek medical assistance and follow the advice provided by medical professionals.  A list of testing centers is here.

You may be asked to quarantine in a government-run facility or instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days if you develop flu-like symptoms, if it is suspected that you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or if you travel from one part of Vietnam with numerous cases, such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, to another.

In most cases, foreign nationals will not have to pay for COVID-19 tests in Vietnam.  Quarantine at government facilities may be free.  If you are at a hotel or other private facility, you will have to pay for those costs, even if directed there by local authorities.

Foreign nationals must pay for medical treatment in Vietnam, and this applies to COVID-19.  Therefore, while your COVID-19 test may be free, you will need to pay for any necessary treatment, including the cost of hospitalization.

If you have been placed in mandatory 14-day quarantine by the Vietnamese government, please complete this mandatory quarantine requirement, even if you test negative for COVID-19.  You may wish to inform the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General regarding your quarantine by sending a message to our American Citizens Services team through our website.  However, please understand that we cannot intervene in the quarantine rules established by the Vietnamese government.  If you have urgent health issues, please let us know and we will contact the quarantine facility on your behalf.

Please also note that the Vietnamese government has imposed strict penalties on violations.  Individuals who complete their quarantine requirement should receive a confirmation letter indicating successful completion. This form may need to be presented to customs and/or airport officials if quarantined individuals subsequently attempt to exit Vietnam. U.S. citizens currently under quarantine, in self-isolation or stranded in Vietnam can notify the U.S. Embassy of Hanoi or U.S. Consulate of Ho Chi Minh City of their situation by submitting an online inquiry. In the online inquiry, please include specific information about your situation: the date you entered quarantine, where you arrived from, your current location, reason for quarantine, as well as any medical needs or urgent health issues. Note that those wishing the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to share information about their situation with friends, family, and loved ones will need to attach a completed Privacy Act Waiver (Form DS-5505) to their inquiry.  The Privacy Act Waiver helps specify whom a U.S. Consular Officer may contact and to whom to release information with regards to your case.

There have been instances of foreigners being turned away from, or asked to leave, hotels in Vietnam. The Vietnamese government has not asked U.S. citizens to leave the country, but decisions to serve or admit foreigners is up to individual landlords and hotels.

If you find yourself in this situation, please contact us.

Please contact us.  We are working with local authorities to ensure U.S. citizens have adequate accommodations during quarantine, including access to food, water, and medical supplies.

We have raised concerns about the condition of some quarantine facilities with the Vietnamese authorities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.  Our consular team in Vietnam remains in close contact with the Vietnamese authorities and is providing consular assistance to affected U.S. citizens.

In some cases, the Vietnamese government has permitted U.S. citizens and other foreign nationals to quarantine at certain designated hotels; however, these accommodations are not free.  U.S. citizens who choose hotel quarantine are responsible for all associated costs.  Please work with the local authorities if you wish to be quarantined at a hotel.  Please let us know of your status as well.

Ask for doctors and/or nurses that can speak English.  We may be able to help you communicate with quarantine or hospital authorities if English-speaking officials are not available.

Ask your friends and family if they can help you or provide temporary loans.  Additional information on emergency financial assistance is here.

The U.S. government can generally only assist destitute Americans who wish to return to the United States.  If you wish to apply for a loan from the U.S. government to return to the United States, please complete an inquiry form here.  A consular officer will review your situation and determine if you are qualified for the loan.  Please be advised that we must contact your friends and relatives to confirm your eligibility.  If you are eligible for the loan, your passport will be limited and will only be valid for direct return travel to the United States.  You will not be eligible for a new U.S. passport until you repay your loan.

Questions about the CARES Act and the related economic impact payment for eligible U.S. citizens must be answered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  U.S. citizens are recommended to visit this website for information and updates:  https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus.

Please note that the IRS has released a statement urging taxpayers to be on the lookout for a surge of call and email phishing attempts about COVID-19 and the economic impact payment, which could result in tax-related fraud and identity theft.  The IRS reminds U.S. citizens that it will never ask by phone, email, text, or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.  U.S. citizens who receive unsolicited emails, text messages, or social media attempts to gather information that appear to be from the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), should not engage with the message and should forward it to phishing@irs.gov.  You may learn more about reporting suspected scams by going to the Report Phishing and Online Scams page on IRS.gov.

For Assistance:

U.S. Embassy Hanoi
From outside Vietnam: +84-24-3850-5000
From the U.S.: 011-84-24-3850-5000
From landline within Hanoi: 3850-5000
From mobile or landline within Vietnam: 024-3850-5000
Submit an Inquiry Form

U.S. Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City
From outside Vietnam: +84-28-3520-4200
From the U.S.: 011-84-28-3520-4200
From mobile or landline within Vietnam: 028-3520-4200
Submit an Inquiry Form

Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs: +1-888-407-4747 or +1-202-501-4444