🖐 In this blog post we’ll share all drone law links & known rules about recreational & commercial drone use in Vietnam (Hanoi). Give a 👍 at the end of this post if you enjoyed it & feel free to ask any questions or share your experience in our Vietnam Drone Discussion Group. Keep in mind that the content below is updated to the best of our ability & does not replace official sources & your own research.
💡 This article is also available in French
Recreational vs commercial drone use in Vietnam
Vietnam does not seem to differentiate between commercial & recreational drone uses. However both are subject to restrictions & a strict code of conduct.
💡 Good to know, in Vietnam drones are often referred as 'flycams' so don't be surprised, even if officials use this terminology. It simply refers to your drone.
✅ In Vietnam, drone rules are the responsibility of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) which is under the wing of the Ministry of Defense (Decree No 36 issued in 2008, see 'other resources' at the end of this post), however they seem to be little applied by locals who are often unaware of them. The CAA can be contacted anytime via:
Phone: (+84) 04-38722394
🚨 Note that by early 2020, Vietnam authorities are planning to tighten drone rules. The below blog content is based on local experiences which are subject to regulation evolution. Should any changes be confirmed, we will update this post. Keep me in touch!
Can I bring my drone to Vietnam?
✅ Currently, there doesn't seem to be any restrictions on bringing drones within Vietnam as long as your import is considered as legitimate (generally one drone per person). From our personal experience, we flew to Ho Chi Minh, Can Tho, Con Dao & Phu Quoc airports late 2018 without a worry. We also crossed the border between Vietnam and Cambodia by foot at Ha Tien without a worry either (keep your drone in your small backpack tho).
🚨 It seem that the situation is a little different in Da Nang Airport where a lot of members have reported drone confiscations upon arrival.
🚨 Be aware of the airline you purchase to travel as some main ones will only accept your drone on-board if its batteries are detached & placed in a firecase during travel time. Most airlines will have a battery voltage limit based on the recommendation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). You can find more info about a specific airline here.
💡 Smart! Get your drone batteries' firecase today and make sure you're complying with aviation safety rules.
Where can I fly my drone in Vietnam?
✅ We did not find an official fly zone map for drones in Vietnam "If you have more information about this, please share it in the Vietnam Drone Discussion Group". Thankfully in the meantime, app.airmap.io has listed all flight zones in a convenient way organised in a colour legend.
Drone Fly Map Vietnam
🚨 Avoid flying above or near military installations & strategic infrastructure. Fly away from airports & any aerodromes or airports in the country. Avoid urban areas.
🌲 National / Marine parks & reserves might be on a case by case permission & you might need to check directly with the local park or reserve authorities. 🐳
💡 Smart! Pack some spare drone batteries, you never know how close is the next power plug overseas. Also make sure you have a travel adaptor for Vietnam.
Recreational & Commercial Drone use in Vietnam
✅ The excellent news is that there aren't many flying restrictions (as everything has been pre-defined really). This said, you will need a permit to fly your drone in Vietnam. With this in mind, Vietnamese authorities prohibit the following activities:
carry radioactive, inflammable or explosive materials on your drone.
launch, shoot or jettison ("yes, yes, this is a word") harmful objects or substances from the air, nor objects containing hazards.
it is advised to subscribe to an insurance covering all risks.
fly flags or banners, release leaflets or use megaphones for propaganda purposes.
💡 In practice, not many recreational users bother following local drone rules or obtaining a license but be aware that authorities have full rights to confiscate your material upon arrival. For any commercial use, it is more than advisable to follow the process if you don't want to face bigger troubles.
How to obtain my drone permit in Vietnam?
🚨 You will need permission for recreational drone use in Vietnam. You can obtain it yourself or ask an agency to help you. In both cases you need to submit a flight licence application dossier which includes:
an application for a flight license, made using this form 🕔 Apply at least 14 days before your flight date (no modifications less than 10 days before)
Your drone's technical documents, including photos of the type along with a written explanation of its technical aviation properties.
a license or lawful document permitting your drone to take off from or land on an airfield or a land or water surface area.
all other papers & documents you might have related to your drone.
🚨 It does not specify in the text, but we expect that all this should be sent in Vietnamese.
Completing a drone recreational permit myself in Vietnam
You will need to complete the form & answer detailed questions about your stay and your drone category, including information such as the zone in which flight activities are permitted, flight direction & trail, times and duration of flights, regulations on notification of flight coordination, supervision of flights. This will need to be submitted to the Ministry of Defense.
✅ Your contact details for submitting the form:
Address: 1 Nguyen Tri Phuong street, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi
Telephone: (+84) 069 533200 or (+84) 069 533105
Fax: (+84) 04 7337994
🚨 Unfortunately, it seems that many applications never receive an answer.
Completing a drone recreational permit via an agency in Vietnam
Another way around it is to hire a local company to help you with the visa application, and it seems to be able to be done within 7 working days 👌
🚨 Saying this, it has been reported that a permit will cost you between $350 & $700 per day of flying depending on which agency you go with. Note that you cannot change days in case of bad weather conditions so you might end up in debt quite quickly - see the end our sources for an agent's link.
What do I risk for flying a drone illegally in Vietnam?
🚨 The amount & scope of the fine will depend on the nature & severity of your infraction. The judges will also evaluate if you intentionally committed the infraction &/or if you had any commercial purpose during your flight.
Once you have got everything in order, you can start flying above Vietnam's awesome landscapes & create videos like this one:
💡 You're a local, have a question or want to share a travel experience? Head to our Vietnam Drone Discussion Group
Disclaimer: Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information researched, we take no responsibility for any loss, harm or damage caused as a direct or indirect consequence of relying on this information. It is your responsibility to seek advice from qualified local & relevant authorities for needed information about local drone rules and regulations.
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Vietnam Ministry of Justice: Decree 36 issued in 2008
Local drone permit facilitator: FilminginVietnam
Vietnam Ministry of Justice: Decree 36 issued in 2008