Drone regulations in Vietnam

In this article, we explain the current legal situation for drone flights in Vietnam.

In Vietnam, the Ministry of Defense is responsible for the regulation of drone maneuvers. Under the current legal situation, you need to apply for permission from the Ministry of Defense if you want to fly with a drone. However, it does not appear that these rules are consistently implemented.

Several readers of our blog have already tried to get permission from the Department of Defense. One has received a list of the required documents from the embassy in Norway, but unfortunately, the corresponding forms can hardly be found:

  • Application form attached to Decree 79/2011 / ND-CP
  • Technical specifications of the aircraft including photos and flight characteristics
  • License for the drone which allows taking off and landing on an airfield, on land or water
  • Other (unspecified) documents about the aircraft

Applications should be submitted to the Department of Defense at least 14 days before the flight. Address: 1 Nguyen Tri Phuong street, Ba Dinh district, Ha Noi; Telephone: +84 (0) 69 533200 / +84 (0) 69 533105; Email: [email protected]

Meanwhile, many pilots try their luck without permission. Most pilots are doing well, but there seems to be a lot of incidents at Danang airport. If you arrive here, you must expect the drone to be seized and kept until your departure. The baggage is always scanned when leaving the airport, so you should leave your copter at home when you enter Vietnam at this airport. From other airports, I did not hear such reports so far. We will see how the situation is developing in the rest of the country.

Helpful links: Tuoitrenews, Doy News

We have researched the listed drone regulations for Vietnam to the best of our knowledge. We can not guarantee the correctness of the information. If you want to be on the safe side, please contact the competent aviation authority. Alternatively, you can also ask the embassy in your country for further information about the regulations. Please leave us a comment when you receive news and/or gain experience with your copter in Vietnam!

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About the author

Since January 2015, we travel around the world. In our backpack we carry a camera drone which we use to capture the best places from a bird’s perspective. First we travelled with a DJI Phantom 2. But now we use a Yuneec Typhoon H. On our blog we share the best tips for you about travelling with a copter. If you have questions about this article or new information, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment!

Discussions

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  • Chris34218 | 06.04.2017

    I just arrived in Vietnam after 2 hours arguing with customs, (don’t bother to do this) they said you must leave the drone with them and collect it on departure. However the room it is stored in didn’t look secure, you get not receipt and in the end said they will fine us $500usd to get it back. After a little while we agreed to leave the drone with them, not take a receipt and took two names and contact numbers there instead and they said no fine but small ‘storage’ fee must be paid on return.
    Let’s see what happens.
    Hopefully

  • WANDERLUST | 09.04.2017

    I brought my phantom 4 to vietnam and it was confiscated and held. Was told I can get it back when I leave the country.

    • Francis Markert | 12.04.2017

      Oh no! At which airport did you arrive? Can you write us when you left Vietnam? Thank you very much in advance! We wish you good luck!

  • Doria Garms-Sotelo (@DoriaTravels) | 19.05.2017

    I have a Mavic Pro and will be traveling to Vietnam next weekend. I have looked at some websites and it says that drones are allowed in Vietnam but you need a permit. Any idea where I can find this form for a permit for non commercial use?

    • Timo Peters | 20.08.2018

      How did it end?

  • spencer chartier | 30.09.2017

    Im going to be back packing through Vietnam, My concern is weather it will be confiscated at the border coming from Cambodia? any insight?

  • Tim Walker | 02.11.2017

    I agree re Da Nang airport. My Mavic Pro was confiscated as I came through. They gave me it back when I left the city (via the same airport) without any problems

    • Ariel | 27.11.2017

      Hi Tim, any idea if the same scenario will happen in airport at Nah Thrang?

    • Polina | 16.01.2018

      Hello, Tim! how much did you pay for keeping the drone at the airport?

  • Michael Blum | 15.11.2017

    I had flown into HCMC airport with no issues with my Mavic Pro in August 2017. However upon my return from my visa run and flying into Nha Trang last week, my Mavic Pro was confiscated by customs. I have tried contacting the office that UAV Systems International has listed on their website… but emails and phone calls go unanswered.

    If anyone has any information on the licensing requirements or the contacts for it… please PM me and post it in this thread.

  • Lars | 24.11.2017

    We will fly to Hanoi, and and next day to Da Nang. wil lthey check domestic flights as well or international only? How and where can you apply for permits and what does it cost. Anyone who can do it for you for a fee?

  • Jp K | 04.12.2017

    I just discovered this permit form while intensely researching. I haven’t submitted it yet, but I hope some people will find it helpful.

    https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/f47c10_9e23dc49a9fe4c0493109e5667b6aa24.pdf

    • Francis Markert | 28.03.2018

      Ahh excellent, I didn’t find the form before. Do you know how I can submit the form to the government?

      • James | 08.04.2018

        Any progress on finding out where to send this? I’m planning to make my way through Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam and would love to take my mavic air with me – worried about it getting confiscated…

  • rey | 29.12.2017

    You can engage a 3rd party to help for the application. I came across this but have not done it yet.

    https://www.filminginvietnam.com/about-filming-in-vietnam

  • jp | 25.02.2018

    For anyone going, I would say if you can get past the airport security. You should have no issues flying just be smart about it. Saw only one other person with a drone and he was carrying it lol. I forgot to ask him if he had any issues, I wish I brought mine to Vietnam but it was in repair.

  • Chris | 05.06.2018

    I’m travelling to Vietnam often. Customs will always x-ray scan all your luggage upon international arrival. Sometimes you can be lucky and they don’t, but expect them to.
    Nha Trang/Cam Ranh and Da Nang airports are understandably more strict about drones, as they are major tourist destinations and the spots nearby are either airport NFZs (Nha Trang) or UNESCO World heritage sites (Hoi An/My Son), where filming and flying are strictly regulated. Use of an info app such as Airmap is highly recommended as other infrastructure (ie fuel storage facilities) can also be a designated NFZ here.
    To my knowledge, even none of the local flyers I know have the required permit and the general rule is don’t get caught, as anything relating to airspace (model/drone flight, air sports such as paragliding) is primarily military authority. However, I know from a friend who is a paraglider and well connected in Vietnam, that it’s almost impossible to obtain any form of permit as neither the military nor ministry of sports/tourism declared themselves responsible. He ended up just flying and then, if someone declared himself responsible by saying “you can’t do this here”, go from there.

    • Francis Markert | 29.06.2018

      Hi Chris,
      Thank you for taking the time to explain your experiences in such detail. Safe landings, Francis

  • Chris | 05.06.2018

    Also, just upon checking the relevant Decree (36/2008/CP-ND; http://duytho.com/resources/legal-documents/governmental-decrees/2308-vbpl-sp-19294.html), and the follow-up Decree (79/2011/ND-CP) it goes to show that EACH FLIGHT is to be licensed, and that applications need to be submitted a minimum of 1 week prior to the planned flight or 5 days prior for changes of plan.
    There is no general flight permit.
    This effectively means obtaining licenses for recreational, tourist & ad hoc hobby flying is impossible.
    The first decree lists the competent authority including address and phone and fax numbers. Whether these are still valid after 10 years may be uncertain.

  • Nick Karas | 25.06.2018

    Hi gents , a bit confused

    Going into Vietnam in August and need to know how to protect my drone from being confiscated on arival, I fly with a Mavic Air.

    Going to hoi chi Minh city, Hoi An, Hanoi, Halong bay.. 10 days in total

    What do I do ? Or is it safer to just take the SLR

    • Francis Markert | 29.06.2018

      Hello Nick,
      There is no safe way to protect your Mavic Air from confiscation. If you want to be sure, leave your quadrocopter at home.

  • Stan | 11.07.2018

    I have just travelled through Da Nang airport and had my mavic pro confiscated. Fortunately, nobody there spoke enough English to argue with me when I refused to have it kept in an unlocked room and I insisted on keeping it. After 10 minutes they agreed to let me keep it but have cable tied it shut with some strange rubber band, which they said they will remove when I fly out. The customs required all hand luggage or ‘hand bags’ as they called it to go through a scanner, yet they didn’t require any baggage that had been checked to go through. If you could transfer your drone from your hand luggage to your checked bag in between getting it of the carrousel and going through you might get away with it but it would be at your own risk. Good luck and avoid this airport if you can.

    • Francis Markert | 13.07.2018

      Hi Stan,
      Thanks for your report. Please leave us a comment when you are back from Vietnam. Would be interesting what they do when leaving the country.

    • Mats | 03.09.2018

      Thank you for your comment! Im flying into Da Nang from Singapore, and being my fourth travel in Vietnam, i really want to maximize my photagraphy! I guess ill sneak my DJi Spark into my checked luggage, batteries and controller in my carryaboard.

  • yacob siadatan | 06.08.2018

    Has anybody tried going into Vietnam by land? I.e. through China?

    • Moni | 24.12.2018

      Yes, we entered at Huu Nghi landport with our Mavic Pro. No issues. But they did not xray our luggage at all (we arrived with fully loaded touring bikes, so msybe the amount of stuff helped). We were flying twice, at Cai Rong and Quan Lan. When we left via Hanoi (Noi Bai) airport, nobody cared either.

  • Flying_GOAT_ | 14.08.2018

    Flew in to Da Nang from Saigon with Mavic Air (mavic bag inside my backpack) – no issues. Flew back to Saigon – no issues. Tok some shots over Ba Na Hills and asked for permission after, they said no offcourse.

  • dale | 17.08.2018

    Having spoke through a Vietnamese friend to someone from the ministry of air defense in Hanoi. The regulations lack any fluidity. Each permit is permitted on a person to person basis. But each flight must be logged, the location, the duration and the route before any permits will be given. This process can take up to 3 weeks if you can find the relevant people to talk too. I was excited about taking my mavic to Vietnam as i`ve been there many times and its a beautiful country but the cost in time and effort not including palming money to officials and the bureaucratic hoops you have to jump through make it near impossible.

  • Martin | 20.08.2018

    This I would like to know to, we will be crossing the border from Laos into Vietnam by land.

  • barry | 30.09.2018

    i saw vietnam from air back in 67-68 as crewmen on huey yes even then beautiful countryside… if was to consider ever going back which highly unlikely.. i surely would not be taking my Mavic Air as no way i would surrender it up, regardless of fact they may or may not return it, if it hasn’t already been stolen beforehand … if they want make it that hard for owner of drone to show beauty of the country, then forget it and don’t risk the loss of drone, as lot more country that happy to let one use there drone

  • Tony | 02.10.2018

    I purchased my DJI phantom 3 here in Hanoi back in 2015, travelled with it numerous times between Hanoi and HCMC, Nha Trang by air and by road to Lao Cai and Sa Pa, never had any issues. No paperwork either.

    • Francis Markert | 26.10.2018

      Sounds great! 🙂

  • Dale | 27.10.2018

    Travelled to Vietnam sept 2018 from Dubai to Ho Chi Minh. When I arrived there was yellow tape on my case and it was rescanned. But no problems there. The following day i travelled to Danang and no problems there too. During a flight at Cau Dai beach a policeman approached me but was just interested. I think it seems to just be an game of chance as to confiscation and maybe i got lucky. Last year saw Trumps visit which saw raised security and Da nang still seems to be thorough in checking. We just have to hope the idiot flyers dont spoil it for the responsible flyers when drones do get through, but thats another subject all together.

    • Francis Markert | 01.11.2018

      Hi Dale
      Cool, thanks for writing us your travel experiences!

  • Neil | 03.11.2018

    Hi.
    I have just sent the permit from JP K to my partner in Da Nang, I’ll see what she can find out.

    • Francis Markert | 07.01.2019

      I’m curious! 🙂

  • Dominique Godefroy | 21.01.2019

    For Thailand – I got my permit by visiting the local police station and filling out papers. They will take picture of the drone and batteries. The authorization is only valid by region/district. After you get the permit you can fly anywhere in that district. Thailand is strick yet if you follow the law it is a breeze. He took me 20
    Mn to do at the police station and it is free. My district was Kalasin northeast Thailand.

  • Steinar Eriksen | 22.03.2019

    I contacted the Vietnam Embassy in Norway and asked about bringing a drone to Vietnam this summer.
    I got the proper form and this information.
    Hope this might help some of you

    Dear Mr. Steinar,

    Please kindly find the information below:

    – Getting a drone/flycam permission in Vietnam: http://moj.gov.vn/vbpq/en/lists/vn%20bn%20php%20lut/view_detail.aspx?itemid=2867

    – Submit an application form in accordance with Decree 79/2011 / ND-CP); (I attach the form here)
    – b/ Technical documents on flying vehicles, including photos of the type of the aircraft or flying vehicle and a written explanation of technical aviation properties of the aircraft or flying vehicle, made according to a set form (not printed herein);
    c/ A license or lawful document of authority permitting the aircraft or flying vehicle to take off from or land on an airfield or a land or water surface area;
    d/ Other papers and documents related the aircraft or flying vehicle.
    2. At least 14 days before the planned date of organization of their flights, organizations and individuals shall submit applications for flight licenses to the Operations Bureau of the General Command Post.
    3. At least 10 days before the planned date of organization of their flights, organizations and individuals shall submit applications for modification of flight licenses to the Operations Bureau of the General Command Post.
    4. The Ministry of Defense shall specify the organization of receipt and handling of applications for flight licenses or modification of light licenses of organizations and individuals, ensuring convenience and promptness.

    – The Ministry of Defense address and phone number:
    Address of its mail box: 1 Nguyen Tri Phuong street, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi;
    Its telephone numbers: 069 533200; 069 533105;
    Its fax number: 04 7337994.

  • Tim | 26.04.2019

    Hello,
    I’m going to buy a drone in ho chi minh,
    But is there any possibility i could get problems with the drone when leaving vietnam?

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