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Moving Tips for US Veterans Retiring in Vietnam



US Veterans Retiring
Image Source: Getty Images

Few things stir up conversation as much as the topic of war, both past and present. There always seems to be a debate for either side and heated discussions about the whys and wherefores. So, it makes sense that for some, it is hard to understand why many surviving veterans chose to return and retire in Vietnam when more than 58,000 U.S. service members died during the Vietnam War.

However, when looking at this situation from both sides of the coin, it becomes clear why many U.S. veterans retire in Vietnam and why this unique migration to a once war-torn country shows no signs of slowing down.

For some veterans, retiring in Vietnam means they can finally seek an opportunity for reconciliation and forgiveness. For others who may not have been in the line of fire but stayed in the background, Vietnam is appealing because it offers cheap housing and healthcare, and the standard of living continues to improve. That said, it still is not an easy decision for veterans because it means leaving behind a country they know and love.

If you are a veteran and thinking about moving to Vietnam for your retirement, there are several factors to consider.

Research and Planning Is Crucial

Vietnam is not the same place it was during the war. And chances are you did not have time to get acquainted with the locals or cities and towns. Before moving to Vietnam, take some time to research Vietnamese customs and laws. Consider important factors like climate, healthcare, and living costs. If you want to join a veteran community, find out beforehand whether there are any communities in the place you want to retire.

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Give yourself enough time to settle all the paperwork and shipping logistics that come with a move to Vietnam. You should also ensure that your finances are in order and that you have no outstanding debts.

Create a Finance Strategy

Put a finance strategy in place to avoid financial difficulties in Vietnam. First, you must understand the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Vietnamese dong. Ask your bank about the fees you pay when transferring money. You could also consider opening a Vietnamese bank account to make things easier.

Don’t forget to research the cost of housing, groceries, transport, and other essentials. This will help you budget properly and establish monthly expenses. If you receive a monthly pension, create a direct deposit for your bank account. You can do the same if you earn interest from other investments.

Visa Requirements

Vietnam does not offer a retirement visa specifically, but you can apply for visa approval for six or 12 months. You can do this through a Vietnamese embassy. Just remember that even if your visa is approved for up to 12 months, you can only stay in Vietnam for 90 days at a time. This means you must travel outside Vietnam for hours or days before returning for another 90 days.

Choose Where to Live

Considering you must leave every three months, you should choose a secure neighborhood. Many Americans retiring in Vietnam choose to live near the ocean. However, whether you live in a beach town or a large city, you will still pay substantially less for your home.

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There is a caveat to buying a house in Vietnam. Only Vietnamese can buy properties and own the land on which they sit. All land in Vietnam remains the property of the state. So, if you buy a home, you buy a lease for 50 years, and you do not own the land. You also cannot sublet your home.

What to Pack When Moving to Vietnam

When you have your finances and property details in order, you can finally begin packing for your move. It is crucial to research voltage differences between the U.S. and Vietnam so you can buy the right converters for your electronic devices. Remember to back up important data to the cloud before you move. You should also file your important documents in a folder. Keep this folder handy to have it ready when you land in Vietnam.

While you cannot (and should not) pack your entire house, you should think beyond kitchen items and bathroom accessories. Even though you are retiring in Vietnam, it likely does not mean you want to sit on a porch somewhere, keeping an eye out for whales in the sea. If you want to explore the country and enjoy the unique nature of Vietnam, pack some camping gear. Or take some sports gear to stay active by playing sports.

You should pack enough clothing and shoes for a while since Vietnamese shops typically do not sell clothing in Western sizes. Also, take at least three months’ worth of chronic medication (if you use any) to ensure that you do not run out. Confirm whether you can get your medication in the country before you move. Moreover, get private health insurance when you arrive in Vietnam if you need to see a doctor or visit the emergency room.

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Consider the Cost of Moving

Moving to Vietnam will take a chunk out of your wallet. Prepare for the cost of a long-distance move. You can pay up to $12,000 in moving costs alone, depending on the size of your house and the items you want to take with you. Hire a professional international shipping or moving company with experience handling military relocations. Also, research the relevant shipping regulations in Vietnam, including restrictions and duties.

Enjoy Your Vietnam Retirement

When the stress of moving and settling in is over, you can start enjoying your life in Vietnam. Get to know your neighbors and learn basic Vietnamese phrases so you can make your way around stores and public institutions. If you want to immerse yourself in the country, attend cultural events and explore the outdoors. Stay connected with family and friends back home through video calls and WhatsApp chats as you start your new chapter. This way, you can keep a little part of the U.S. with you in Vietnam.

Shabbir Ahmad is a highly accomplished and renowned professional blogger, writer, and SEO expert who has made a name for himself in the digital marketing industry. He has been offering clients from all over the world exceptional services as the founder of Dive in SEO for more than five years.

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