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Can You Bring a Drone to Vietnam?

Traveling is every photographer’s favorite activity. For American drone enthusiasts, Vietnam is an exciting vacation destination. If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam, the first thing you need to check is whether you can bring your drone with you.

You can bring a drone to Vietnam, but there are some restrictions. Most importantly, every drone flight must be approved with an official license application at least two weeks in advance. Additional guidelines exist that will ensure your safety while flying your drone.

Because you’ll want to follow the rules closely for the best possible drone experience in Vietnam, read on to find out the specific details.

Can I bring a drone to Vietnam?

Vietnam is known for its beautiful culture, amazing beaches, delicious food, and famous festivals. It’s pretty much a photographer’s dream come true.

You’ll definitely want to catch as many images as possible of this colorful country as soon as you land on its shores, but what about using your drone? Will you be allowed to bring it to capture aerial shots, as well?

Yes! As long as you follow some reasonable guidelines, you will be able to fly your drone legally in Vietnam. This is great news for all of us drone enthusiasts with wanderlust.

It’s not as simple as pulling out your camera, of course. There are several hoops you will need to jump through. If you’re determined to get some amazing drone footage, though, rest assured that it is possible.

For your safety abroad, it is essential to know and follow the guidelines when you’re there. This will help you have a successful trip with nothing but happy memories and awesome drone footage.

What guidelines will I need to follow for flying a drone in Vietnam?

It’s crucial to follow local drone guidelines when you are in another country for several reasons. The restrictions are in place for your safety and the safety of others. Also, this is their house, so you will want to respect their rules.

Luckily for drone enthusiasts, Vietnam’s limitations aren’t difficult to follow once you understand them.

Here are the most common rules you must follow when you are flying a drone in Vietnam:

  • To fly a drone in Vietnam, you must apply for a permit at least two weeks (14 days) in advance of the drone flight. You will submit your application to the Operations Bureau of the General Command Post of the Ministry of Defense.
  • The highest you may fly your drone is 492 feet. Take care to set your device to warn you when you are reaching this height limit.
  • You may not use a drone that weighs over 26 pounds. Anything 26 pounds and under should be fine with the permit.
  • You can fly your drone during the daytime hours, but evening and nighttime are restricted. You are unlikely to get permission for a nighttime drone flight, so it’s best to plan your itinerary for sunlight hours only.
  • Hazardous materials cannot be attached to your drone or launched from it. Also, you may not fly attached flags or other propaganda items from your drone.
  • As in many countries, certain areas, such as military bases, are prohibited. You will want to request a map of locations where you cannot fly your drone so you can safely avoid these places.
  • Double-check with your airline to make sure your drone will be permitted on the flight. This is an important step that you don’t want to overlook! Some airlines have frequently changing rules about items you can safely store in cargo.
  • As always, drone safety and etiquette around the world require that you respect others’ privacy. This is true anywhere you fly, whether it’s your home neighborhood or Vietnam.

» MORE: Airline Drone Policy (Read This Before You Travel)

Applying for a permit to fly a drone in Vietnam

This is undoubtedly the biggest hurdle for drone flyers to jump before they can legally fly in the country. It can’t be avoided, so it’s worth your attention. There is a good reason for this process.

The permit allows the government to keep track of who is permitted to fly a drone, which will keep you out of trouble when you begin your flight. It also helps you receive official support when your trip begins so that you have the most up-to-date rules.

There are two ways to complete the application process that will allow you to fly your drone in Vietnam.

On your own

There is a form that you will need to fill out for the Vietnamese government about your intended drone flight. It will ask you questions about your drone, the plans you have to fly it, and your stay in Vietnam.

When you have completed the form, you will submit it to the Vietnamese Ministry of Defense. This must be completed 14 days in advance of the day you wish to fly your drone, so make sure you check your itinerary carefully.

Be aware that this form is not in English. You will also need a separate form for every flight.

Through an agency

Because the form can be daunting for foreigners, there are local agencies that will assist with the application for a fee.

Though there is an extra cost associated with this, many travelers may find the convenience worth it to get the license approved in a timely manner.

What will I need to provide for my application?

There is a somewhat hefty fee to apply for permission to fly your drone in Vietnam. Depending on whether you apply on your own or through an agency, it can cost anywhere from $350 to $700, so make sure you are paying attention to costs when you make your decision.

You will also need to provide all relevant documentation of your drone.

This includes several items:

  • Papers for your drone.
  • Your current drone license or other official proof of permission to fly your drone legally.
  • A breakdown of the specs for your drone, often including photographs of the device itself.