Securing a work permit in Vietnam

Foreigners hoping to live and work in Vietnam face some important legal obstacles before landing their first job. One of the most important – and also burdensome and time-consuming – is securing a work permit. This paperwork is essential for most foreign nationals to take up a new job and, in turn, obtain a residence card and work visa.

Like in a lot of other countries, companies in Vietnam can hire foreign nationals if the skills required for these jobs are not available in the local labour market. Companies are required to demonstrate this in a report submitted to the authorities before a position can be advertised.

Foreigners can be recruited in three main categories: Managers, Executive Directors, and Experts. Each of these categories has specific requirements that the foreign candidate must fulfil and be able to demonstrate through academic qualifications and professional experience. This evidence can include length of employment, level of experience, and technical training.

What to know before you go

Foreigners wishing to work in Vietnam will need to have this evidence certified and legalized before submitting it to the authorities. This can be a long and drawn-out process involving embassies, employers, universities, and notaries. So, it would be advisable to do as much of this as possible before arriving in Vietnam. Some of the most important documents required include:

  • A clean police check from the candidate’s home or previous countries.
  • Degree certificates, academic transcripts, or other professional qualifications.
  • Official letters from previous employers confirming the candidate’s previous experience.
  • A health check confirming the candidate’s fitness to work in Vietnam – this will need to be done after arrival.

Work permit duration and exemptions

It should take around 10 working days to secure a work permit. However, this is not set in stone and often takes much longer in practice. Meanwhile, the authorities have become stricter in recent times and multiple rejections are not uncommon before an application is granted. Once approved, however, work permits are valid for up to two years and can be renewed once. Once that four-year period is over, a brand-new application will need to be submitted.

Some foreign nationals are exempt from these work permit requirements. These include (but are not limited to) those working in Vietnam for less than three months, people married to Vietnamese nationals and living in Vietnam, and Chairs or Members of a Board of Directors of companies which meet minimum capital contribution thresholds. However, even those not required to obtain a work permit still need a valid exemption certificate.

Keep up to date with CCIFV

The requirements to obtain a work permit are subject to constant change. It is not unusual for the authorities to review and revise the rules from time to time, and it can be challenging to keep up with the latest regulations.

CCIFV has a dedicated Human Resources Committee which monitors the latest developments on this and other important HR issues and shares them with our members through regular events and seminars. For more information about the HR Committee, or to become a member of CCIFV, just check out our website.

Would you like more information on obtaining your work permit?

CCI France Vietnam has the expertise to answer all your questions and guide you in obtaining your work permit in Vietnam.

Contact our team
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