The country is a unique mixture of cultural influences from France and China which can be experienced in the social structure, language and local cuisine. Vietnam is a popular tourist destination with millions of people arriving every year. Tourists and expats are mainly attracted by the nation’s culture, natural beauty, historic attractions and temples.
The country has three main climate zones, the North has generally lower temperatures than the Central and South regions. The South tends to be hot and dry with an annual rainy season.
The capital Hanoi is the second largest city. The largest city Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is the main economic hub of the country and where many expats go to find work.
There are many places of interest to visit during your time in Vietnam including UNESCO World Heritage sites and many historic temples. For those with an interest in the outdoors, hill walking opportunities are available in the hills of Sapa or it’s possible to go sailing and kayaking in Halong Bay. Make sure also to take an overnight stay in a traditional Junk boat which is said to be a unique experience.
Motorbikes tend to be the main method of transport in Vietnam and it is relatively easy to rent or buy a motorbike in many parts of the country, particularly in Hanoi.
Vietnamese cuisine is generally very healthy with a lot of fresh vegetables and seafood and food plays an important role in society. The French influence can also be seen in the local food as cafes serving baguettes and patisseries are popular. The city of Hoi An is known for its food, restaurants and street food in particular.
Moving to Vietnam
Expats will need a work permit which will last initially for three months. It will need to be extended at 6 monthly increments. After 6 months, expats are eligible for applying for a residence card.
Shipping to Vietnam
Upon arrival in Vietnam, you will need to declare your unaccompanied baggage on the arrival card, specifying if it is sea or air or both. You will need to also produce your original arrival / departure card obtained on a prior visit to Vietnam. The card will need to be stamped by Customs upon exiting the airport of arrival.
All shipments (except diplomatic shipments) are subject to a physical inspection and import duty for certain items. Clothes and other personal belongings are not dutiable subject to reasonable quantities.
1 x sea and 1 x air shipment is allowed into Vietnam (exceptions are considered case by case).
Air Shipments to Vietnam
Air shipments must arrive within 30 days of the person importing the items.
Shipping a car to Vietnam
Cars can be imported if they are either new or less than 5 years old (for non-diplomats). They are subject to 170% duty. The value of the car is determined by Customs. All cars must be left-hand drive to be imported.
The vehicle must arrive within 30 days of the shipper and all documents must be in the name of the shipper. NB: Except for Hanoi where only diplomatic vehicles are allowed.
A customs inspection will take place for all shipments in order to calculate duties and check for prohibited items (e.g. dangerous items, publications referring to Vietnam and used motorbikes).
Duty is applicable (at varying rates) on electrical appliances, alcohol, furniture, bicycles, computer software and DVDs / CDs / Videos. Each family is allowed on set of each electrical item.
Cultural items will be screened by the Customs Office or Cultural officers from the Ministry of Culture depending on the number and size of the cultural items. Undesirable material is confiscated by the Cultural Officer.
This includes books, printed material, CDs, DVDs, computer disks and videos.
If you would like a quotation for your shipment to Vietnam, please don’t hesitate to contact us. An expert advisor will be able to talk you through the process and clarify all import customs procedures.
Customs regulations can change on a regular basis so please contact us for confirmation of the above regulations.