Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – American Citizen Services

If you have questions regarding American Citizen Services (ACS) in Vietnam, please read the frequently asked questions below.  If you still cannot find the answer to your question, please contact us.  You can also review our frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the Consular Report of Birth Abroad application process, and Passport application FAQs.

If you have successfully submitted the appointment request but could not print the confirmation page, you may attend your scheduled appointment without the confirmation printout.  When you come to our office on your appointment date, please provide your full name and passport number to our security guards to locate your appointment on the daily appointment list.

Remember, appointments for American Citizen Services are free (no cost).

You may wish to contact the district People’s Committee of the place where you were born to issue certified copies of your birth certificate (Ban Sao Giay Khai Sinh). Alternatively, you may ask them to provide an Extract (Trich Luc Giay Khai Sinh) of your birth certificate.  If you are not able to obtain your birth certificate because records have been destroyed or the government will not issue one, you must obtain a statement to that effect from the local civil registrar’s office.

To obtain a copy of your U.S. birth certificate, contact the Vital Statistics Office in the state where you were born.  If you are a U.S. citizen who was born abroad and you lost your Consular Report of Birth Abroad, you can request a new one through the Department of State.

If you are getting married in Vietnam, you’ll need to follow a few steps to do so. Please keep in mind, the Vietnamese authorities are the proper point of contact for marriage registration in Vietnam. Vietnamese officials administer marriage requirements and it is possible that these requirements may vary from province to province.

A U.S. citizen may acquire foreign citizenship by marriage, or a person naturalized as a U.S. citizen may not lose the citizenship of the country of birth.  U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one citizenship or another.  Also, a person who is automatically granted another citizenship does not risk losing U.S. citizenship.  However, a person who acquires a foreign citizenship by applying for it may lose U.S. citizenship.  In order to lose U.S. citizenship, the law requires that the person must apply for the foreign citizenship voluntarily, by free choice, and with the intention to give up U.S. citizenship.

See Dual Citizenship on the State Department’s website for further information.

U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide do not have the ability to perform criminal background checks for U.S. citizens abroad.  As a U.S. citizen, you have two options that are generally acceptable:

  1. You may contact the local police where you were last resident and follow their procedures.
  2. You may consider requesting a background check from the FBI.

While U.S. Embassies and Consulates offer routine notary services, academic degrees and credentials are certified differently.  We do not certify academic degrees and credentials. To notarize an academic degree or credential you will need to follow a process of authentication that can be completed in the U.S.

However, Vietnamese authorities will sometimes accept a sworn statement attached to the academic document.  As such, you may wish to consult with your employer to see if they would accept an affidavit executed by yourself at the U.S. Consulate attesting to the authenticity of your degree.  However, we cannot guarantee the acceptance or applicability of such affidavits by local authority.

You may obtain a visa in advance from a Vietnamese consulate or Embassy or you may obtain a written approval letter for a visa upon arrival.  To obtain a written approval letter, you must contact a travel agency prior to departure for Vietnam.  For more information, please view our Country Specific Information. Please also note that to enter Vietnam, you need a valid U.S. passport with at least six months validity remaining beyond the date of your arrival.

Vietnamese visas and immigration issues fall within the purview of the Vietnamese authorities. Financial penalties for overstaying the validity of your visa are determined on a case-by-case basis.  You may wish to directly contact the Ho Chi Minh City Immigration Department at 245 Nguyen Trai, District 1 (Tel: 39200353-39201701) for further assistance.

The U.S. Embassy/Consulate cannot assist with renewing Vietnamese visas.  Depending on the type of visa you want to renew, you will need to contact a local travel agent or the Vietnam Immigration Office.

For more information about Vietnamese visas, please contact the nearest Vietnam Immigration Department:

Hanoi office:
44-46 Tran Phu Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
Inquiry phone: (04) 3825-7941 within Vietnam or (84-4) 3825-7941 from the U.S.
Email: vnimm@hn.vnn.vn
Immigration Department official website (Vietnamese language only)
Office hours: 8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Ho Chi Minh City office:
254 Nguyen Trai Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Inquiry phone: (08) 3920-2300 within Vietnam or (84-4) 3920-2300 from the U.S.
Email: vnimm@hn.vnn.vn
Immigration Department official website (Vietnamese language only)
Office hours: 8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

There is no time limit for how long U.S. citizens may stay overseas.  The validity of your Vietnamese visa, which allows you to legally stay in Vietnam, is determined by the Vietnamese government.

Lawful Permanent Residents risk losing their status if they are outside the United States for over one year.

The U.S. Embassy/Consulate cannot receive mail for U.S. citizens.  We suggest you have your replacement card sent to your lodging address in Vietnam.

You should notify the death to the police office in the district where the U.S. Citizen passed away and contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  When an U.S. citizen dies abroad, a consular officer notifies the next-of-kin and offers information to the family regarding the options and costs involved in making funeral arrangements.  If the deceased has no legal representative or trustee in Vietnam, a consular officer will act as ‘provisional conservator’ of the deceased’s effects.  A consular officer will also prepare a Consular Report of Death Abroad based on the local death certificate for use by the next-of-kin.

More information is available regarding the death of a U.S. citizen in Vietnam.

A consular officer will send the family up to 20 original/certified copies at the time of death at no fee. Additional copies can be obtained at a later time by contacting the Department of State, Passport Vital Records Section at the following address:

Department of State
Passport Vital Records Section
CA/PPT/S/TO/RS
44132 Mercure Circle
P.O. Box 1213
Sterling, VA 20166-1213

Please note, you must submit a notarized written request to the above address, with the following information. There is a $50 fee for each additional certified copy of a Report of Death.

  • Full name of the deceased;
  • Date and place of death;
  • A copy of requester’s valid identification;
  • Your return address and telephone number;
  • Signature of requester; and
  • Appropriate fees, payable to the “Department of State” by check or money order

U.S. driver’s licenses cannot be renewed or transferred in Vietnam.  Please contact your state’s Department of Transportation or Motor Vehicles for the proper procedure for obtaining a new driver’s license.  If you need a Vietnamese driver’s license you have to apply for it locally.  Please click here to see the guidelines of applying for a driver’s license in Vietnam.

If you are interested in adopting a child in Vietnam, please see our page on adoptions in Vietnam.

Registering your travel plans is one of the best ways to stay informed about travel warnings and alerts.  You can register for this service through the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

We can assist in locating a U.S. citizen in Vietnam in cases of parental child abduction or missing person cases, or when a friend or loved one has not arrived at a location on the scheduled date and time.  For more information regarding International Parental Child Abduction, please visit the U.S. Department of State’s website.  We cannot help you trace your ancestry in Vietnam.

We can help pass messages to U.S. citizens in Vietnam.  Consular officers use the information provided by the family or friends of a missing person to locate the individual, and pass the caller’s message.  We check with local authorities in Vietnam to see if there is any report of a U.S. citizen hospitalized, arrested, or otherwise unable to communicate with those looking for them.  Depending on the circumstances, consular officers may personally search hotels, airports, hospitals, or even prisons.  The more information that the caller can provide, the better the chances are that we can find the missing U.S. citizen.

Please note that the Privacy Act of 1974 limits what we can tell you about our interaction with any U.S. citizen over 18 years of age.  We cannot release any information about a U.S. citizen’s situation without his or her express permission to waive the Privacy Act.  Without this permission we can only notify the individual of your concern and suggest that they contact you directly.

We are happy to provide this service; however, you must supply your own flag. Please contact the appropriate American Citizen Services unit for more information.

The consular exchange rate, as of December 11, 2016, is $1 USD  = VND 22,800.  This rate is used exclusively for Consular Services.