How to Get a Vietnam Work Permit for Foreigners 2021

Lan Anh

A recent COVID-19 outbreak in Vietnam has resulted in additional travel restrictions on foreigners looking to enter the country. While foreign tourists still cannot enter, foreign workers may enter on the condition that they meet all the updated requirements. Below we outline all the important considerations for foreign workers, and process to obtain a Vietnam Work Permit for Foreign Workers.

If you are also looking to recruit employees in Vietnam, you can find our free recruitment tips here.

Vietnam Work Permit: Who It Applies To, and Who It Doesn’t

Many foreigners mix up the Work visa and the Business visa, although they are very different. Work visas start with LD, whereas Business visas start with DN, LV, or DT. For this article, we are focusing on the Work visa only. If you are unsure which visa applies to you, take a look at our comparison chart below:

Vietnam Work Permit_Saigon Coworking

Process Overview: From Overseas to Working in Vietnam

There are two major legal documents to complete: the Work permit, and the Work visa. Note: the LD1 Work visa does not require a Work permit; that requires a Work permit Exemption Certificate instead.

The employer/legal representative of the foreign worker must complete the Work permit first. The total processing time for the permit is 20 working days, but it is highly recommended to start the procedure at least 30 days before the expected start date for the foreign worker. Employers should note that the Work visa application requires the Work permit. Hence, employers should start their foreign worker’s Work visa application after receiving the Work permit.

If you are still in the stages of setting up your company in Vietnam, you can read our free guide on registering a company in Vietnam here.

Qualifications for Foreign Workers in Vietnam

General Requirements:

  • Over 18 years of age (passport verification)
  • No prior criminal offenses (requires document proof)
  • Of health standard meeting the job’s demands (requires document proof)

Technical Requirements for Foreign Workers

Foreign employees that qualify for a work visa fall under three categories: specialists/experts, technical workers, and directors/managers/CEOs. Below are the requirements for each category:

For Experts/Specialists:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent or higher qualifications + certificate demonstrating at least 3 years’ work experience relevant to position the foreign employee is expected to take up in Vietnam; OR
  • Certificate demonstrating at least 5 years’ work experience relevant to position the foreign employee is expected to take up in Vietnam

For Technical Workers:

  • At least 1 year’ training in technical/related field and at least 3 years’ work experience in that field; OR
  • Certificate demonstrating at least 5 years’ work experience relevant to the position the foreign employee is expected to take in Vietnam;

For Directors/Managers/CEOs:

  • Document showing appointment decision, AND
  • Certificate demonstrating at least 3 years’ work experience relevant to the position the foreign employee is expected to take in Vietnam;

Process To Obtain Work Permit

Step 1: Apply for Approval of Demand to employ foreign workers (30 days before employee start date)

Employers must prepare the following documents:

  • Registration Form for Demand to employ foreign workers
  • Copy of business registration;
  • Attorney’s letter if person conducting the Work Permit process is not a legal representative of the employees’ company

Once completed, these documents can either be submitted electronically at http://dvc.vieclamvietnam.gov.vn or directly to the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs or People’s Committee of the city/province where the employee will work.

Step 2: Prepare Required Documents

Employers must prepare the following documents:

  • Work Permit application form
  • Vietnam Health Check or overseas health check with certified Vietnamese translations issued within the last 12 months
  • Vietnam Police Clearance/Check or overseas police check with certified Vietnamese translations issued within the last 6 months
  • Passport copy
  • Approval of Demand (issued in Step 1)
  • Two 4x6cm photos
  • Legal documents demonstrating foreign employee’s eligibility for work position with certified Vietnamese translations

Step 3: Submit documents to get work permit for foreign workers in Vietnam

At least 15 days before the expected date when the foreign worker starts his/her work at the company, the employer shall submit the documents to the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs or the Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs of the province where the foreigner is expected to work.

Step 4: Wait

Employers should receive the Work Permit within 5 working days after submitting all the required documents.

Process to Obtain Work Visa

Step 1: Prepare Required Documents

Employers must prepare the following documents:

  • Passport copy
  • Work Permit or Work Permit Exemption Certificate (if applying for LD1 Visa)
  • One 3x4cm photo
  • Form NA16 – Form for seal use of the legal representative of the Vietnam-based company
  • Form NA5 – Application for visa extension for foreign employees
  • Company operations license (company where foreign employees are working for)
  • Certificate for Seal Use by the Company

Step 2: Submit documents, and get Work visa letter

The employer or legal representative of the foreign workers will submit the above documents to the Immigration Department of the province where the foreigner is expected to work. Then, the Immigration Department will issue the Work visa letter on an appointed date.

Step 3: Prepare relevant documents, Receive work visa, and Pay fees

Once the employer or legal representative receives the visa letter, they need to inform the foreign worker. Afterwards, the foreign worker needs prepare the documents below and bring with them to the Vietnamese embassy/consulate in their host country:

  • Form NA1 – Vietnam Visa Application + one 3x4cm photo
  • Physical passport
  • Copy of visa letter issued by the Immigration Department of Vietnam

Then, the foreign worker will need to pay the visa fee to the embassy to get the work visa stamp.

Support Where It Matters

Saigon Coworking realizes that this whole process can be confusing and difficult, especially as there are multiple Vietnamese laws in play that may be difficult to fully grasp. Hence, we recommend companies conduct this process with a Vietnam-based agency or consultant. Metasource offers legal services to foreign companies looking to start or expand to Vietnam. You can contact us at info@saigoncoworking.com to receive a free consultation.

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