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There are immigration laws governing foreign employment and investment in Vietnam. The Labor Department is responsible for ensuring that all foreign nationals working in the country are staying within the indicated limits of their permits and contracts. There are also legislations concerning admissions into, via, and out of Vietnam.

The Foreign Affairs Representatives of Vietnam and the General Consulate Office of Vietnam are two agencies that mainly handle immigration issues. These are located in several countries. However, special provisions may be provided to borderline countries depending on each situation.

There are also laws legalizing the acquisition of visas only upon arrival in Vietnam. Immigration law allows individuals from most ASEAN countries as well as those involved in a bilateral or unilateral treaty with Vietnam to enter without the need of a visa, but only up to a maximum of thirty (30) days.


Immigration Q&A

What kind of visa do I need so that I can legally work in Vietnam?
There are two Main Requirements for Foreigners Working in Vietnam:
+ Labor Requirement: A Work Permit, issued by the labor department from the province employee will work. Provided by MOLISA (Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs).
+ Immigration Requirement: Visa or Temporary residence card issued by the immigration department. (Provided by Ministry of Public Security). Also applicable to dependents. 

How can I get a work visa?
There are several steps and documents required to obtain a work permit. The first step is to make sure there is a company registered in Vietnam that will sponsor your work permit (host entity). Beyond that, there are various other requirements such as a health check, police record from home country, educational degree paperwork, etc.

Can I apply for a work visa on my own?
Yes, or your host entity can also do it for you but be aware that the process is relatively complicated given that original documents issued in overseas and required for the work permit application (degree, police clearance certificate) should be certified and legalized in the related country.

What documents do I need to submit?
There are several documents required to obtain a work permit. Main documents required for Being Granted a Work Permit in Vietnam:
+ Educational or Job Experience Eligibility: Person has a university degree or equivalent or having an experience of minimum 5 years in a field related to the position to be taken in Vietnam.
+ Clean Medical Record: Recent Health Check and documentation from an International Clinic (normally in Vietnam) is required.
+ Clean Criminal Record: Police Report from home country required.
+ Sponsoring Entity: Only a company registered in Vietnam may sponsor the work permit. Business license or representative office license… etc is required.

How long do I have to wait for my papers to be processed?
Once application is lodged, the processing time is 10 to 15 working days to be granted of the work permit.

Where can I check on the status of my application?
There is no way to check on the status. Usually once supporting documents are accepted on the day you lodge the application, expect to be granted of the document within 10 to 15 days.

What will my proof of work visa be?
Foreign nationals granted of work permit are provided with a document “Work Permit” that shows your name, position, occupation, name of host entity or employer, issuance and expiry date.

What are the government fees I have to pay for while I’m on my work visa?
The work permit fee is approximately equivalent to 25USD. Beside expect to pay the business visa or temporary residence card government fees which vary between 50 to USD110 depending on the validity duration of the document.

How long is the validity of the work visa before it expires?
The duration of the work permit will depend on the duration of the assignment and up to 3 years renewable.

If my passport expires before my work visa expires, what should I do?
The Work permit shall be reissued with the new passport number.

When my work visa expires, do I need to leave the country? How can I re-enter the country and accept a new job?
When the work permit expires, the temporary Residence card also expires so you are not allowed to stay in the country. To accept a new job a foreign national will have to hold a valid business visa and reapply for a new work permit under the new host entity. This process may be done without having to exit the country.

Is there a grace period to renew my work visa?
A penalty will apply if the current visa expired before the application date for renewal. Only work permit holders will be able to get their visa renewed.

It is advised to pay particular attention on expiry dates of your visa, passport, work permit… Resident Vietnam through its immigration management portal reminds individuals and clients prior to document’s expiry date.

Can I come in the country on a tourist visa to search and apply for jobs?
On tourist visa a foreign national is not supposed to work or look for a job in Vietnam.

What happens when an employer asks me to work immediately without a work visa?
Employers who hire workers without valid Work Permits may be fined up to US$2,000 for each non-compliant foreign worker. Employees who work without valid authorization could be expelled and face an exclusion period from Vietnam.

How do I make sure I don’t get banned from re-entry?
By holding a valid business visa and a work permit sponsored by your host entity or employer.

How can I transfer my work visa from one employer to the next?
This is possible but under certain conditions. Please contact our immigration team for further advise at www.residentvietnam.com.

Aside from obtaining a work visa, how else can I reside in the country?
As explained earlier, there are two requirements to work and live in Vietnam. Beside the Work Permit (labor requirement) the employee and dependents are required to hold a valid business visa or temporary Residence card (immigration requirement).

How can my partner / spouse or children who work and live in Vietnam sponsor my residency?
Marriage certificate, birth certificate or family book is required to prove the dependence and those will be eligible for the same immigration document and the same duration.

Can I get a job soon after my family sponsors my residency?
Long term visa holder or temporary residence card holder is not allowed to work by virtue of their dependence. Dependents who intend to work in Vietnam are required to apply for a work permit and must therefore have a sponsoring entity.

Can I apply for permanent residency and acquire citizenship when I get my work visa?
Foreigners holding a work permit of duration of more than 1 year are eligible for the temporary Residence permit. Foreigners (except for very exceptional cases) will not be granted citizenship.

Will an expat’s child born in Vietnam acquire Vietnamese citizenship?
No, unless the spouse is Vietnamese National.

I am Vietnamese currently living overseas with a foreign nationality. What are the requirements for my partner to be able to reside with me in Vietnam?
The same requirements as any other foreign nationals will be required. More information is available at the Immigration departments of the province you intend to live in. The immigration department in Vietnam belongs to the Ministry of public security.

What should I do to have a successful relocation?
Anticipation and preparation months in advance are the keys of a successful relocation to Vietnam. We advise foreigners to visit the country prior to accepting the assignment. Resident Vietnam team arranges such trips. Expatriates and their family will have all their questions answered and will be provided with in-depth materials to better understand what it is like to live and work in Vietnam so they can make informed decisions as well as prepare required labor and immigration applications.

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