How To Get Work Permit for Foreigner in Vietnam? (Part 1)

Linh Pham

June 11, 2020


How To Get Work Permit for Foreigner in Vietnam? (Part 1)

Linh Pham

June 11, 2020

In the context of globalization, people have plenty of opportunities to collaborate with many other colleagues around the world. The integration has created such a big chance for people coming from different nations to learn and grow together as well as contribute to the development of organizations. Vietnamese businesses are always willing to cooperate with foreign partners and welcome them to come to Vietnam. If you are living in a foreign country and would like to work in Vietnam, this article will provide you with essential pieces of information to assist you in getting a work permit for foreigner in Vietnam.

Regulations to get the work permit for foreigner in Vietnam  


In order to enter Vietnam, a foreigner needs a visa issued by the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate. A Vietnamese visa can be granted while in a third-party country or from within Vietnam. There are several types that foreigners should know to apply for the correct type.

If a foreigner would like to work in Vietnam, it is advised that he/she apply for a longer-term three-month single or multiple entry visa. 

Vietnam Visa types to get the work permit

Visa-free entry

Since March 2020, regular passport holders from 14 countries do not need a tourist visa to enter Vietnam. So what are these 14 countries? Please refer to the table in this link. Furthermore, according to The Amended Law on Immigration for foreigners No. 51/2019/QH14 dated 25 November 2019, for foreign nationals coming from countries which Vietnam unilaterally granted visa-free entry, it is no longer required that the entry date must be at least 30 days from the previous exit. This will come into effect from July 1, 2020. 

Work permits

This part will provide you with the necessary documents, the application procedure, the cost, and some other important information that you need to complete the process to work in Vietnam. Vietnam work permit is an official certificate issued by the Department of Labor, Invalid and Society to allow its holder to work in Vietnam. According to the Amended Law No. 51/2019/QH14 (come into effect from July 1, 2020), the term for a work permit is up to two years and can only be renewed once for a further two-year term.

Requirements of the work permit for foreigner in vietnam

The applicants have to meet these following requirements: 

– At least 18 years of age

– Have a good health condition that satisfies the job’s specific demands and requirements.

– Free of any criminal record in their country or a national security offense, not currently facing criminal prosecution, or not serving a criminal sentence by the Vietnamese and foreign policemen during the assignment.

– Have a high degree of specialized knowledge, technology, and qualification; being experienced in business, management, and other professions that Vietnamese laborers are currently unable to conduct efficiently.

Cases of work permit exemption

– Working in Vietnam for shorter than 03 months. Those foreigners can work in Vietnam under a business visa;

– Being the members of a limited liability company with two members or more;

– Owning a limited liability company with a member (except an authorized representative);

– Being the Board of Directors members of the joint-stock company;

– Entering Vietnam to provide services;

– Entering Vietnam for 03 months to handle emergency problems such as incidents, technical situations, arising complex technologies that affect or likely to affect production, a business that Vietnamese experts or foreign experts currently in Vietnam cannot handle. If the time for the said matters is more than 03 months, they have to apply for a work permit.

– Being internally transferred within an enterprise operating in the 11 service sectors in the list of Vietnam’s commitments on services to the World Trade Organization, including business, communication, construction, distribution, education, environment, finance, healthcare, tourism, cultural entertainment, and transport;

– Entering Vietnam to provide advisory services and technical expertise or perform other tasks serving research, construction, appraisal, monitoring and evaluation, management and implementation of programs/projects funded with official development assistance (ODA) as specified and agreed in international agreements on ODA between competent authorities of Vietnam and other countries;

– Being issued with a license for the practice of journalism in Vietnam by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in accordance with the law;

– Being teachers of foreign organizations that are sent to Vietnam by such organizations to teach and research in international schools under the management of foreign diplomatic missions or international organizations in Vietnam or permitted by the Ministry of Education and Training to teach and research in Vietnam’s education and training institutions;

– Being volunteers certified by foreign diplomatic missions or international organizations in Vietnam;

– Coming to Vietnam to work as experts, managers, executive directors or technical employees within a period of fewer than 30 days and no more than 90 cumulative days in 01 years;

– Entering Vietnam to implement international agreements to which central and local state agencies are signatories as prescribed by the law;

– Being students studying in foreign schools and institutions having agreements on an internship in agencies, organizations, and enterprises in Vietnam;

– Being family members of diplomatic agents of foreign diplomatic missions in Vietnam permitted for working by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, except where international treaties to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a signatory that contains provisions different from this;

– Having official passports to work for state agencies, social organizations and socio-political organizations;

– Other cases decided by the Prime Minister at the proposal of the Ministry of Labor – Invalids and Social Affairs.

The policy of work permit exemption has been amended according to the Amended Law No. 51/2019/QH14(come into the effect of 1 July 2020). People in the following circumstances will also be except for the work permit: 

– A foreign national married to a Vietnamese citizen is now exempt from a work permit. Therefore, the immediate sponsor for visa/temporary resident cards for the foreign national could be changed from the Vietnam organization to the Vietnamese husband/wife of the foreign national.  Regulations to be issued in due course should give guidance on this matter.

– Foreign national owners or shareholding members of limited liability companies and shareholders being members of the board of directors of joint-stock companies with a certain threshold of capital contributions are entitled to a work permit exemption.  The government will provide further guidance on the threshold requirements in due course.

When applying for a work permit for foreigner in Vietnam

According to the Circular No. 23/2017/TT-BLDTBXH guiding the online grant of work permits to foreign workers in Vietnam, the foreigner’s employer or his agent shall, at least 13 working days before the date the foreigner is expected to start working, fill in the request form and required documents to the Department of Labor – Invalids and Social Affairs to apply for the work permit.  

Mandatory documents to apply for the work permit

It is required that foreigners need to prepare these documents to apply for the work permit in Vietnam. 

1. Request form for Vietnam work permit (Form No. 7 issued together with the Circular No. 40/2016/TT-BLDTBXH);

2. Health check certificate;

3. Criminal records (issued within 180 days), if applicants have stayed more than 6 months in Vietnam, they will have to provide both Vietnamese criminal records and the criminal record from their home countries;

4. Certified copy of your certificate/degree;

5. Working experience confirmation document from former employers;

6. Passport and valid visa (Copy);

7. Approval certificate allows the employer to use foreign workers from the Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs or the People’s Committee where the employer resides. This certificate should be applied for at least 20 days before the expected date of recruitment of foreign workers by the employer;

8. Certified copy of the Employer’s Business Registration Certificate;

9. 02 4*6cm photos;

10. Employment contract.

Required document to get work permit in Vietnam

The application process

The process of application goes through five steps:
1. Prepare the required documents mentioned above, and their scans as well;

2. Access to, register an account and fill in a declaration form and submit a dossier of the work permit application to the work permit-granting agency.

3. Get informed via email of whether the declaration and dossier are legally satisfactory and the work permit will be granted or not within 5 working days after the work permit-granting agency receives the submission.

4. Submit the prepared documents (in papers) directly or by post to the work permit licensing agency after receiving the positive reply via email from this agency checking, comparison, and storage according to regulations.

5. Wait and get the Vietnam work permit as it will be delivered to the employer/his agent directly or by post to his registered address within 8 working days after receiving full required documents.

After that, the application process will be approved in 20 days including 12 working days for online approval and 8 working days for granting the work permit. Therefore, foreigners are advised to apply for the work permit at least 20 days before the expected working date.

Moreover, during the process, foreigners have to pay the work permit cost and the cost for Vietnam work permit varies by the province/city where the application form is submitted. 

Work permit termination

A work permit may be terminated under the following circumstances

– The work permit has expired.

– The Labor contract has been terminated.

– The content of the labor contract is not consistent with the granted work permit.

–  The contracts of business, trade, finance, banking, insurance, science and technology, culture, sports, education, or medicine have expired or terminated.

–  The foreign employer announced the termination of the foreign employee working in Vietnam.

–  Work permits launched by authorized state agencies have been withdrawn.

–  The operation of the company, organization, and partners in Vietnam has been terminated.

In case a foreigner wants to return his/ her home country or move to another country for work, before leaving Vietnam, his/ her Work Permit needs to be canceled with the assistance of the Department of Labor, Invalids and Foreign Affairs. Foreign employees should return the permit to their employer within 15 days from the date that their employment ends. It is the employer’s responsibility to submit the permit with a notification letter to the local office of the Labor Department.

To sum up, this article provides foreigners with essential information about the work permit for foreigner in Vietnam. The very first thing that foreigners should prepare is the visa, yet people coming from 14 countries mentioned above do not need to have a visa to come to Vietnam. The blog also introduces clearly about the procedure of application and required documents.

Some special cases of the work permit for foreigner in Vietnam are also mentioned regarding the work permit exemption and the work permit termination. The next part of this article will guide you about the standard salary and benefits for foreign workers while working in Vietnam. Please follow Viettonkin’s blog to keep track of accurate information. Viettonkin Consulting is always willing to help you in any cases so, don’t hesitate to contact us and you can see our HR service to help you for getting the work permit in Vietnam

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