Living in Vietnam

This guide sets out essential information for British national residing in Vietnam, including advice on entry requirements, health, education, driving regulations and more.


This guide sets out essential information for British national residing in Vietnam, including advice on entry requirements, health, education, driving regulations and more. We are unable to provide any guidance on general lifestyle enquiries apart from the information and links listed below. See our information on what consulates can and cannot do for British nationals.

Entry and residence requirements

All British nationals need to obtain a Vietnamese visa. The British Embassy/Consulate General is not involved with transfer, issuing or production of visas for Vietnam. If you are outside of Vietnam, please contact your nearest Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate. Location and contact details can be obtained via the internet. If you are inside Vietnam and wish to transfer or extend your Vietnamese visa please contact the nearest Vietnamese Immigration Office. If you live in Vietnam, you do not need to register with the British Embassy in Hanoi or the British Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City. The Embassy no longer keeps a register of British residents in Vietnam.

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All non-Vietnamese nationals are required to register their presence with the local police. When checking into a hotel, you will have to hand over your passport so that the hotel can register your presence with the local police. Make sure your passport is returned and keep it in a safe place. Don’t use your passport as a deposit for renting a hotel room. If you are staying in private accommodation, you will still be expected to register. Ask your host to help you with this as soon as you arrive. You may be fined if you don’t register.


British Nationals working in Vietnam for 3 months or more require a work permit and an appropriate work visa. Your employer will need to help you obtaining a proper work permit. Working without a work permit is not permitted and you may be subject to a big fine as well as deportation order.

Driving licences and vehicles

If you would like to drive a vehicle or ride a motorbike in Vietnam you must have a Vietnamese driving licence. It is illegal to ride or drive in Vietnam without a driving licence. If you hold a valid international or a British driving licence you can use it to apply for a Vietnamese national driving licence. Depending on where you reside, you should contact the nearest Department of Transport for advice on the procedure.

Their offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are:

Hanoi Urban Transport Management and Operation Centre: 16 Cao Ba Quat Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi

Department of Transport in Ho Chi Minh City at one of the following addresses:

  • 252 Ly Chinh Thanh, Ward 9, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City

  • 8 Nguyen Anh Thu, Trung My Tay ward, District 12, Ho Chi Minh City

  • 111 Tan Son Nhi, Tan Son Nhi ward, Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City


Healthcare in Vietnam

The Medical facilities in Vietnam can be quite basic and there are not many English speaking hospitals. There are some international or private hospitals/medical clinics with English speaking environment and the fees are normally very high. Medi-vac to Singapore or Thailand can be very expensive. Please make sure you hold a valid medical insurance whilst staying in Vietnam. Please click on the following link to our list of some English speaking hospitals/medical centres in Vietnam

UK Healthcare

Your entitlement to free NHS treatment depends on the length and purpose of your residence in the UK, not your nationality. You must be able to show UK residency to be eligible for free treatment, even if you are a British citizen. The Citizens’ Advice Bureau or NHS can provide further information.


There are a number of English or international schools in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang and some other big cities.

The Hanoi International Women’s Club has information on international or English-speaking schools. The website has information for Ho Chi Minh City.

Leaving Vietnam

If you have not made full National Insurance (NI) contributions, remember you may not be eligible for state benefits or support. HM Revenue & Customs provide some useful information on returning to live in the UK for non-residents, including how to make NI contributions from abroad. If you reside in Vietnam and would like to apply for a criminal record check, please contact the Provincial Justice Department (Hanoi-phone +84-24-3354 6163, Ho Chi Minh City- phone +84-28-3829 0230) and they can issue a “Judicial Record”. This Record is normally only issued to foreign nationals residing in Vietnam but not to the short-term tourists/visitors. The Embassy/Consulate General cannot help you to obtain this certificate. You may need to ask your Vietnamese employer or hire a local lawyer to ask about this process. Also, we don’t provide a biometric test at post for birth registration.


This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCO and the British Embassy will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.

Published 26 November 2013
Last updated 29 November 2013 + show all updates
  1. TO update more information upon request of HQ.
  2. First published.