Traffic accidents involving foreigners

Legal basis

- The 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
- The Ordinance on Privileges and Immunity for Foreign Diplomatic Agencies, Consular Agencies and Representative Agencies of International Organizations in Vietnam dated March 28, 1993.
- Inter-ministerial Circular 01/TTLN dated September 8, 1998, by the Supreme Prosecution Bureau, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Handling Traffic Accidents Involving Foreigners.
- The civil code, the criminal code and the criminal proceedings code of Vietnam.

General principles

- Foreigners under the management of the HCM City Department of Foreign Affairs (holding consular identity paper) will enjoy immunity if they cause traffic accidents during the execution of official duty. Except for this case, they cannot enjoy privileges and immunity. According to Inter-ministerial Circular 01, persons with diplomatic status and consular identity papers causing traffic accidents during the execution of an official duty will not be subject to administrative penalty. However, if they violate traffic regulations intentionally, they will be subject to the penalty under the law of Vietnam.
- If the accident is caused by the Vietnamese driver of a car bearing a diplomatic number plate, the driver must be liable under the law. The car owner must jointly bear civil liability.
-Other cases will be handled in accordance with the Vietnamese law.


1. Traffic police will make a report of the accident, draw a figure of the scene, and seize the papers of the related parties, such as the identify card, passport, driving license, car circulation permit and car technical inspection certificate.

2. Traffic police will tell the related parties of their faults. The party causing the accident must make compensation. Persons enjoying diplomatic privileges and immunity are not exempt from the civil liability for compensation. Traffic police cannot interfere in the parties’ agreement on compensation. If the parties have reached an agreement on compensation, the victim has received compensation and the case is not serious, traffic police must make a report and close the case, with the signatures of both parties. If the case is serious (serious injuries or death), traffic police must transfer the file to the investigation authority to investigate further, take appropriate measures or prosecute the case. Foreigners enjoying diplomatic immunity will not be prosecuted and their cars will not be put under custody but they must bear civil liability.

3. If the parties concerned cannot reach a civil agreement, the case must be brought to the municipal people’s court for settlement. When a verdict is delivered, the foreign party must be notified of it and can make an appeal.