Vietnamese government abolishing approval procedure, all airlines allowed to bring Vietnamese citizens home

Vietnamese citizens board a plane from Singapore to Vietnam

Overseas Vietnamese nationals who want to return home from now on will not have to go through any review. They just need to comply with regulations on epidemic prevention/control.

That is the content of the document just issued by the Ministry of Transport, which was announced by the state-controlled media on January 31 and February 1. Accordingly, all restrictions on entry for Vietnamese citizens when returning home will be completely removed, without limitation on the type of means of transport including aviation, maritime, road, etc. as well as routine and non-routine transportation.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport and Communications has agreed to allow airlines to notify and sell tickets to all Vietnamese citizens abroad returning home.

The document directs the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to immediately notify and issue permits for airlines to bring citizens home on regular and irregular flights without requiring any personnel review documents. As for the medical control requirements, they follow the guidance of the Ministry of Health of Vietnam for people on entry.

The above-mentioned document was issued after the Ministry of Public Security on January 28 informed about the probe and detention of the Director and Deputy Director and two officers of the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the crime of accepting bribes while carrying out flights to rescue citizens stuck abroad during the recent COVID-19 outbreak. These high-ranking officials are believed to have committed violations in the process of approving and granting permits for companies to carry out flights to bring Vietnamese citizens home from abroad for personal gain.

Four people were probed and detained, including Ms. Nguyen Thi Huong Lan, Director of the Consular Department, Mr. Do Hoang Tung, Deputy Director of the department; Mr. Le Tuan Anh, Chief of Office of the department and Mr. Luu Tuan Dung, Deputy of the Department of Citizen Protection.

On January 31, the Office of the Government of Hanoi announced the direction of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on solutions to protect Vietnamese citizens abroad returning home. Accordingly, the Prime Minister requested the Ministry of Transport to urgently grant permits for foreign airlines to carry Vietnamese citizens home.

The report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam said that there are still many Vietnamese citizens stranded due to the COVID-19 epidemic in a number of countries. Especially in the Middle East and Africa, there are more than 600 Vietnamese who want to return home but still cannot return.

Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam Le Thi Thu Hang on January 20 told the press that in the past two years, under the direct direction of the Government, there have been more than 800 flights to repatriate Vietnamese citizens from more than 60 countries and territories to the home country.

As reflected by many people and has been reported by the state-controlled press, the ticket prices of the rescue flights over the past time are many times higher than the normal fare. For example, the price of a one-way ticket to rescue people from the US and Canada has reached VND52-58 million per ticket, twice the normal price.

In addition to cumbersome paperwork, people returning home even though they have had enough vaccines must also be isolated. According to Vietnamese people in the US, the isolation cost is about VND500,000/room/person with only breakfast to VND1.5 million/room/person with three meals. (Translated)