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Safety Tips for U.S. Citizens Traveling to Vietnam

Posted by Webmaster on March 10, 2014

Source: U.S. Department of State

Chúng Tôi Không Là Việt KiềuPrior to the Trip
It is encouraged that all U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Vietnam to sign up for Smart Traveler Enrollment Program with the U.S Citizen Services unit. The information you supply will allow the U.S. Government to communicate with you and assist you in case of an emergency. Enrollment is not required but is strongly recommended. You may enroll in this program online using the State Department’s secure online travel website at https://step.state.gov/step/.

If You Get Arrested
If you are arrested, you should ask the authorities to notify a U.S. Consul. Consuls cannot get you out of jail (when you are in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws). However, they can work to protect your legitimate interests and ensure that you are not discriminated against. They can provide you with a list of local attorneys, visit you, inform you generally about local laws, and contact your family and friends. Consular officers can transfer money, food, and clothing to the prison authorities from your family and friends. They can try to obtain relief if you are held under inhumane or unhealthy conditions.

What To Expect
The first thing that an American citizen detained by the authorities in Vietnam must understand is that the Vietnamese system of justice, and even the concept of justice, differ greatly from the concept and administration of justice in the United States. The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi and the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City will do all that it can to ensure that an American citizen accused of a crime in Vietnam receives all the protection and benefits afforded a detainee under Vietnamese law, but it will not be able to guarantee any of the protections and guarantees that have come to be expected under American law.
An American should not expect that s/he will be subjected to brutal interrogations, or sentenced without some legal representation. Instead, s/he can expect to receive treatment according to carefully considered procedural law and that the progress of his legal situation will be monitored by the Embassy and/or the Consulate.
An Embassy or Consulate consular officer is guaranteed access to detained Americans and will help them to understand their situations as well as possible. However, consular officers cannot investigate crimes, provide legal advice or represent American citizens in court, serve as official interpreters or translators, or pay legal, medical, or other fees for American citizens.

Notification and Access
A 1994 agreement between the United States and Vietnam provides for immediate notification of and reciprocal access within 96 hours to each other’s detained citizens. Bearers of U.S. passports who enter Vietnam with a Vietnamese visa, including those of Vietnamese origin, are regarded as U.S. citizens by the U.S. Government for purposes of notification and access. Therefore, U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry photocopies of passport data and photo pages with them at all times so that, if questioned by Vietnamese officials, proof of U.S. citizenship is readily available.
According to the 1994 agreement, U.S. citizens, including dual nationals, have the right to consular access if they were admitted into Vietnam as a U.S. citizen with their U.S. passport, and should insist upon contact with the U.S. Embassy or the U.S. Consulate General.
Additionally, based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, bilateral agreements with certain countries, and customary international law, if you are arrested in Vietnam, you have the option to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest, and to have communications from you forwarded to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Emergency Contact Information

The U.S. Citizen Services Unit provides emergency services to U.S. citizens in the event of an emergency such as arrest, missing persons, destitution and/or other critical situations. To contact the U.S. Citizen Services Unit during normal business hours (8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) regarding an emergency involving a U.S. citizen, please call the embassy at (04) 3850-5000within Vietnam or 011-84-4-3850-5000 from the United States. To contact the U.S. Citizen Services Unit after hours, please call the Embassy Duty telephone at 090-340-1991 within Vietnam or 011-84-90-340-1991 from the United States.
The local equivalents to the “911″ line in Vietnam are 113 for police, 114 for fire, and 115 for ambulance.
United States Citizen Services
Consular Section
Rose Garden Building
Second Floor, 170 Ngoc Khanh Street
Hanoi, Vietnam
Mailing Address: 7 Lang Ha Street, Hanoi, Vietnam
Email: acshanoi@state.gov
Telephone: (84-4) 3850-5000 (GMT +7h)

Contact Information of U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Vietnam

U.S. Embassy in Hanoi
170 Ngoc Khanh
Ba Dinh District
Hanoi, Vietnam
Telephone: (84-4) 3850-5000
Emergency Telephone: (84-4) 3850-5000 or (04) 3850-5000/3850-5105
Fax: (84-4) 3850-5010
E-mail: acshanoi@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City
4 Le Duan, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Telephone: (84-8) 3520-4200
Emergency Telephone: (84-8) 3520-4200
Fax: (84-8) 3520-4244
E-mail: acshcmc@state.gov

Source: U.S. Department of State

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