Foreigners who wish to stay in Vietnam on a long-term basis (more than three months) and engage in work are required to obtain a work permit. Work permit is a document that allows foreigners to work legally in the country and its absence may cause deportation or further penalisation.
A government body responsible for issuing work permit is the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs. Work permit is valid for up to 24 months (or two years) and can be renewed again once expired.
Eligibility and Requirements
Successful applicants for Vietnamese work permit must meet the following conditions:
- Be of age of 15 years old or more
- Be in adequate health condition to be able to meet the demands of the work
- Work as managers, directors, experts or technicians
- Have no criminal record in their current country of residence, Vietnam or any other country; must not be under any warrant of arrest or jailing by the Vietnamese or foreign police
- Written approval from competent Vietnamese authority
Upon meeting the above conditions, foreigners can proceed with their application by gathering all necessary documents, having them translated into Vietnamese and notarised in their home country (preferably).
However, there are some cases where work permit is not required. The exemption scenarios are:
- Work duration in Vietnam does not exceed three months
- Being a member of a limited liability company that includes more than one member
- Owning a one member limited liability company in Vietnam
- Being a member of BOM in a joint stock company
- Being a lawyer who is given permission by the Vietnamese Department of Justice
- Working as a head of the representative office or branch of an international company in Vietnam
Expats can either apply for a work permit from within Vietnam, or from abroad with the help of their employer or a contracted visa agency. Those applying from within Vietnam will need to do so within 90 days of arrival, as the government only grants a three-month period during which expats can live and search for job opportunities in the country without a permit.
As such, the application process consists of two main steps:
Step 1: Completing the application form and submitting it at the municipal office of Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs
The required documents are:
- Completed application form
- Job application for the position in a Vietnamese company (provided by the employer)
- Criminal record issued by the authority of the resident country or Vietnam (if previously lived in Vietnam for more than six months) no older than six months
- Copy of the passport page containing profile and picture
- Health certificate issued in residential country or in Vietnam no older than twelve months
- Proof of professional experience – university degree, professional certificates, work experience confirmation from previous employer
- Appointment letter, agreement between Vietnamese and foreign partners, etc.
- Two colour photos (4x6cm) no older than six months
Step 2: Coming to the submission centre and collecting the work permit
Processing Time and Fee
The processing time is 10 working days.
- New applicants – 400,000 VND (20 USD)
- Re-issuing: 300,000 VND (15 USD)
- Renewal: 200,000 VND (10 USD)