Customs Information

Vietnam - All


The work visa must be available or customs clearance of household goods in Vietnam can be complicated.  All clients MUST be in Vietnam and MUST work for a registered company or organization.

Returning Vietnamese citizens should check carefully before shipping household goods back to Vietnam. It is extremely difficult for returning citizens to import personal effects unless they worked overseas for a foreign company and are returning to continue work for the same company.

Please check with destination on confirmation of documents based on port of entry: Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh. Shipments arriving into Hanoi will require 3 copies of documents. Shipments arriving into Ho Chi Minh will require 2 copies of documents.

Customs clearance in Vietnam is subject to the following requirements:

  • The shipper of record must be in Vietnam for customs clearance.
  • The shipper of record must be working for a registered company or organization in Vietnam.
  • All ports/airports require a Work Permit and Arrival/Departure Card (ADC) to guarantee clearance.  It may be possible to clear small air consignments without a Work Permit but in all cases shipments should not be sent without approval from the destination agent.
  • Customs will inspect all “non-diplomatic” shipments.
  • All documents should be signed and stamped by the owners of the goods’ registered local employer in Vietnam.
  • All items must be "used" and be for personal use only. No commercial items should be included in the shipment.
  • Duties and taxes must be paid at the time of import and are non-refundable. 
  • 3 copies of each document are required for each shipment. 
    • If there are multiple shipments, a separate set of documents (of 3) are required.
  • Please note the documents needed for customs clearance:

    • Work permit - this is mandatory for Sea freight and could be avoided via Air Freight under 250kgs.
    • Business visa or Temporary Residence Card (TRC)
    • Entry Customs Declaration

    Authorization letter to enable Saigon Van to clear the customs on behalf of shipper/consignee

Specific clearance times:

  • All air shipments are physically inspected by Customs at the air terminal. 
    • The average time is approximately 1-2 days.
  • Sea shipments will normally undergo physical Customs inspection. 
    • The average time for Customs clearance is 2-3 days for full container load (FCL) shipments and 3-5 days for less container load (LCL) shipments.
  • Sea or air shipments of diplomatic status are exempt from Customs inspections (diplomats).
  • All shipments undergo cultural inspections. 
    • This process takes approximately 3-4 days. 
    • Inspection may include, but is not limited to, books, art works, DVDs, CDs, antiques.


The following documents are required for customs clearance of household goods and personal effects into Vietnam:

  • Copy of passport (identification pages only) with entry stamp*
  • Vietnam entry visa (valid at least 3 or more months) / temporary residence card*
  • Immigration Arrival/Departure Card (ADC) **, noting that there is unaccompanied baggage to follow within 90 days of issue.
  • Packing List/Inventory in English. The list must not contain any cartons ‘Packed by Owner’.
  • Work Permit. (Must be valid for at least 12 months to be eligible to import household goods - validation date should be during the arrival of the goods into the country)
  • Letter of employment
  • Copy of labor contract (Hanoi only)
  • Vietnam employer’s company license copy
  • Letter of Authorization on the shippers’ employer’s letterhead authorizing the destination agent to handle customs clearance.
  • Application letter
  • Copy of organizations Memorandum of Understanding confirming duty free entry (if applicable).
  • Owner of the goods’ address in Vietnam
  • Diplomatic ID Card (if applicable)

** “Original Arrival/Departure (ADC) Customs Declaration Cards” – Upon arrival at the airport in Vietnam the shipper of record must proceed through the RED channel at customs and obtain the ADC from customs authorities stating that they have unaccompanied baggage and have this stamped by customs prior to leaving the airport. The card will not be automatically provided and it is the shippers’ responsibility to obtain this. It is a critical requirement for air and sea imports.


Please contact the destination agent regarding the import of a motor vehicle. Import of motor vehicles is a difficult process and can be subject to very heavy duties and taxes. The following requirements also apply:

  • Motor vehicles must be less than 5 years old and left-hand drive.
  • The original sales invoice, vehicle registration & title, are required for clearance together with 3 original Bills of Lading.
  • Diplomats, United Nations officials, and some NGO organizations are permitted to import a motor vehicle duty free providing that they hold a Memorandum of Understanding with the Vietnamese Government or hold an official duty free book.

Documents Required:

  • Duty free quota book OR Organization Memorandum of Understanding with the Vietnamese Government confirming duty free import.
  • Original Sales Receipt
  • Original Vehicle Registration
  • Original Title of the Vehicle
  • Vehicle manual with technical information
  • Import Permit


The import permit is required by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. Quarantine for pets traveling as cargo is not required. Pets should arrive on a weekday (M - F) before 3:30 p.m. It is permitted to import a pet into Vietnam duty free subject to the following documents:

  • Vaccination record
  • Owner of the goods’ passport
  • Owner of the goods’ entry visa (valid at least 3+ months)
  • International health certificate
  • Import permit
  • Flight arrival details
  • Original Vietnam arrival - departure card (3 copies per shipment) (pets traveling as cargo)
  • Vietnam employer’s company license copy (pets traveling as cargo)
  • Application letter and Power of Attorney (pets traveling as cargo)
  • Airway bill (pets traveling as cargo)


Application of duties and taxes are not consistent, but luxury goods, including TV's, stereos, computer’s, radios, DVD’s, VCRs, cassette recorders, motorcycles, automobiles, tobacco and alcohol are subject to duty and taxes.

The following items are restricted and subject to close examination during Customs Clearance in Vietnam:

  • Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products should be declared with the exact number of bottles, type, volume, alcohol percentage and value.
  • Liquor with  alcohol by volume of less than 30% measured at 20°C:
    • 125-150%
  • Liquor with  alcohol by volume of more than 30% measured at 20°C:
    • 125-150%
  • Wine (10-20 bottles duty free):
    • 125-150%                
  •  Duty shall be payable on tobacco at the following rates:
    • >100 cigars:           150%    prepared tobacco (> 50 grams):                 45%
    • >400 cigarettes:      150%    all other manufactured tobacco products:      45%
  • Cultural items such as books, compact discs, video and cassette tapes, computer discs, calendars and document files will be declared to the Cultural Department.
  • Medicine (must provide prescription)
  • Satellite dishes and fax machines require an Import License and must be registered in Vietnam.
  • Vietnamese antiques brought into Vietnam should be photographed at origin and declared to Customs upon arrival to avoid any problems if the items are re-exported from Vietnam.  
  • Non-perishable food items and items in cans and other durable packaging can be imported in small amounts.


The following items are prohibited from import and fines will be imposed on the customer by the Vietnamese Government in addition to confiscation:

  • Weapons
  • Ammunitions
  • Explosives
  • Military equipment
  • Radio transmitters
  • Satellite dishes
  • Poisonous chemicals
  • Cultural products
  • Articles of anti-government nature
  • Fireworks
  • Toys and games which affect public moral education and security
  • Pornographic or subversive materials
  • Motorbikes
  • Cultural or politically sensitive material