Do you remember that the approval to film "Tomorrow never dies" in Vietnam was revoked shortly before the camera began to roll?
"Kong: Skull Island" blockbuster has marked the change in perspective of global film makers towards Vietnam.
1. How to apply for Filming Permit in Vietnam?
I would like to give you brief and helpful introduction about filming in Vietnam. This is must know information for all production managers or executive producers who are organizing filming in Vietnam. According to law of Vietnam, all foreign production companies, movies studios or TV channels who wish to film in Vietnam must apply for Vietnam general/principal filming permit to Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Vietnam Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Following documents should be submitted: synopsis of the show, list of shooting locations, list of crew with copy of passport, list of equipment and daily shooting schedule.
Producer of the show will be requested to fill in different application forms.
Download the Press Request Form here
It takes around 7 - 10 working days to process and issue general/principal Vietnam filming permit. In case of using drone, shooting in National Park or National Relics, extra applications must be submitted to Ministry of Defence, Management Committee of National Park or National Relics and it takes around 7 - 10 working days to award these extra permits. Don't be worried about application for these extra permits, film officer and I, who is your fixer in Vietnam, will work directly with these administration offices to apply for permits on behalf of you.
Download the Application Form For Request of Flight Authorization here
As an experienced Vietnam local TV and Film fixer, I am glad to assist foreign production companies, movies studios or TV channels in applying for all kinds of shooting permit in Vietnam. I will try my best to ensure that your filming in Vietnam will go smoothly.
I am straightforward to say that I do not charge extra fee for the support of film permits application. You pay directly to Vietnam filming officer after you finish your filming in Vietnam and you will have official invoice/receipt.
The process of applying for Vietnam filming permit will cover the process of applying for journalist visa to enter Vietnam. Before issuing film permit, Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) will request Immigration Department under Vietnam Ministry of Public Security to process and grant journalist visa to each member of crew to enter Vietnam. After checking crew's status of entering Vietnam with journalism purpose, Immigration Department will issue a document of journalist visa approval which states that following people (with name, passport number, date of birth, gender) are allowed to enter Vietnam with journalism purpose. I will scan and send this document to you through email. You are requested to show this document at the international airports while doing procedure for immigration. You will pick up journalist visa upon arrival in Vietnam. The fee for visa stamping at the airport is US$25 per person. Please remember to bring passport photo!
Recently, some people have sent me emails to ask for consultancy on whether or not they can bring in drone and have drone flight in Vietnam without Vietnam drone permit. My advice is you should apply for drone permit in Vietnam if you are professional TV crew. With all kinds of permits in your hand, we can focus 100% on content shooting.
If you come to Vietnam as tourists, you can bring in and have drone flight without Vietnam drone permit at locations which are not touristy or most-visited tourist attractions but you should mentally prepare yourself to cope with the fact that your drone can be confiscated and your footage is deleted. This is the biggest risk of having drone flight without drone permit Vietnam.
Click here for regulation on having drone flight in Vietnam
Recently, to promote tourism industry, Vietnam government has promulgated a decree to allow nationals of certain countries to enter Vietnam without visa for a period of time.
LIST OF COUNTRIES WHICH HAVE VISA EXEMPTION ARRANGEMENTS WITH VIETNAM
United Kingdom 15 days – from 1 July, 2015
France 15 days – from 1 July, 2015
Italy 15 days – from 1 July, 2015
Spain 15 days – from 1 July, 2015
Germany 15 days – from 1 July, 2015
Belarus 15 days – from 1 July, 2015
Japan 15 days
South Korea 15 days
Sweden 15 days
Norway 15 days
Denmark 15 days
Russia 15 days
Finland 15 days
Cambodia 30 days
Thailand 30 days
Malaysia 30 days
Singapore 30 days
Indonesia 30 days
Laos 30 days
Philippines 21 days
Brunei 14 days
Myanmar 14 day
Download the Vietnam governmental regulation of foreign press activities in Vietnam territory here
If you are citizens of above countries, you are exempt from visa to enter Vietnam. However, before issuing film permit, Vietnam's MoFA will consult with Immigration Department (under Vietnam's Ministry of Public Security) about your status of entering Vietnam with journalism purpose. This is internal process.
Regarding customs clearance to bring equipments in, before you arrive, film officer will send list of equipment to airport customs and do the procedure for temporary importation of equipment for you. Film officer and fixer will be at the airport to pick you up and assist you in handling the immigration and temporary equipment importation.
2. Vietnam overview
For currency converter click here
For time and date of Vietnam click here
There is not absolutely right or wrong period of time to shoot a film in Vietnam in terms of weather because in almost months during the year you will see both sunshine and rain in different quantities. Vietnam is a country with over 3,000km of coastline and has three different weather systems.
Vietnam is typically hot and has high humidity, the weather can change dramatically from one part to another part due to the length of country.
Sometimes, there has been snow in the mountainous northern part of the country while in the south, people can enjoy the life under the sun in beautiful beaches.
Typically, Vietnam has three main geographical parts. The North, The Central and The South with different destinations.
Mountainous Far North
Sapa, Ha Giang, Bac Ha, Ban Gioc waterfall, Ba Be National Park, Mu Cang Chai rice terrace...
The weather in Sapa and Vietnam’s far north-west is divided into two seasons: the dry season runs from October to late March with the wet season lasting from April to September. It can get very cold in December and January, especially at night.
The best months to travel in the north-east (Ha Giang) is during the dry season, from October to April, although December and January can get very cold. We recommend avoiding travelling in Ha Giang during the rainy season (May to September).
Trekking and adventure:
The best trekking conditions in Sapa and the northwest are from September to November and from March to May. Daytime temperatures range from 15-28°C, and night-time temperatures from 10-18°C. Trekking and cycling are possible year round, however the wintertime can be rather chilly, and the summer rather wet.
Hoi An ancient town, Danang, Imperial city of Hue, Quy Nhon & Nha Trang beaches
Hoi An, Hue & Danang in the centre of Vietnam have hot and dry weather from mid-January to late August, with temperatures often reaching the mid-30's °C. During the winter months the rainfall increases with October and November achieving peak levels, occasionally in the form of typhoons.
Hue is often cooler than Hoi An, especially early in the year. In addition, with each sitting on opposite sides of a small mountain range the weather can often differ between the two greatly on any given day.
Quy Nhon is a six hour drive south of Hoi An and shares a similar weather pattern although the dry season is slightly longer due to its proximity to the southern system.
At the far south of Central Vietnam, Nha Trang benefits from a longer dry season (typically January to September), with high temperatures and little rain . The rainy season runs from October to early December with almost half the annual rainfall falling in October and November.
Hanoi, Halong Bay, Ninh Binh (Trang An Landscape Complex, Hoa Lu ancient capital, Cuc Phuong National Park, Phat Diem Cathedral, Bai Dinh Temple...), Son Doong and En caves Phong Nha- Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh...
Hanoi and North Vietnam has a distinct winter and summer season. The cool but mostly dry winter lasts from November to April when temperatures average 17-22°C with the coldest months being January - March.
Summer lasts from May to October when it is hot and humid and the region experiences its highest rainfall. July to September are often the wettest months of the year. During these months severe weather can prevent junks sailing in Halong Bay although such weather is rare.
Ho Chi Minh City, The Mekong Delta area, Cai Rang floating market, Dalat city & Phu Quoc island...
With temperatures remaining constant year round the climate of the south is split into two simple seasons, wet and dry. The dry season begins in November and ends in April/early May with late February to May being slightly hotter and with higher humidity. The wet season lasts from May to early November with the months from June to August receiving the highest rainfall of the year. Throughout much of the wet season rainfall is generally heavy but short lasting, often occurring in a mid-afternoon heavy downpour.
The average temperatures in the south range between 25 - 35°C year round.
In the far south, the beaches of Phu Quoc enjoy a monsoon climate with two seasons; wet (late-July to late October) and dry (November to July). Visits to Phu Quoc can be made year-round although the best time is during the dry season (outside of October the chances of sunny days remain high).
Dalat is wet from June to October making outdoor pursuits problematic. From November to May it is far dryer although cold in December & January.