Immigration Categories

A brief description of corporate immigration categories by assignment type follows. The appropriate immigration category or status for your employees will depend on their specific details and on your company. The most common category for corporate transfers in our experience is intra-company transfers. For details on non-typical categories not listed below please contact your representative.

  • New Hires
  • Intra Company Transfers (must be employed with overseas head office or overseas affiliate for at least one (1) year immediately prior to the assignment to Vietnam entity)
  • Highly Skilled Migrants
  • Short Term Work Assignments

Typical Process Overview

The following process overview is applicable to intra-company transfers. Other scenarios and processes should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Approximate overall processing time from the time the first step is submitted to the time the employee is legal to work in Vietnam is twelve (12) to fourteen (14) weeks. However, note that lead time for document gathering at the start of the process should be factored in, as should processing time for completion of post arrival formalities. In Vietnam, the document gathering stage of the process is particularly labor intensive, as many documents must be legalized and translated. We can assist with this if required. See the “Application Materials” section below for further details.) Average processing time for each individual step is noted below.

The Work Permit application must be sponsored by a Vietnam-registered entity (host entity) which is not necessarily the employer.

Foreign nationals entering Vietnam for work purpose are required to obtain a Business Visa (DN or LD category if holding a work permit before entering Vietnam).

Step One: Pre-Arrival Steps – Performed Concurrently

A: Local People’s Committee Approval
Processing Time:
Four (4) to six (6) weeks from filing

The Work Permit application is processed by the Department of Labor only after the approval letter is issued from the People’s Committee.

  • Every year (and during the year if any change), employers in Vietnam must report their demand and must also seek approval for using foreign nationals for each specific position where Vietnamese nationals cannot meet the employer’s requirements.
  • The demand shall be submitted at the Provincial Labor Department who will then forward the demand for approval to the People’s Committee of the province/city where the company’s head office in Vietnam is located.
  • The demand must be lodged at least thirty (30) days prior to the expected work commencement date at the Provincial Labor Department.
  • The Processing Time for this step will vary in different parts of Vietnam and estimated timeframes cannot be guaranteed.

B: Police Clearance (PCC)/Good Conduct Certificate (GCC) & Legalization
Processing Time:
Varies country to country; In general, three (3) to four (4) weeks from filing.

The employee must obtain a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) /Good Conduct Certificate (GCC) from their home country or current work location. The PCC must be legalized for use in Vietnam. Emigra Worldwide’s representative can usually assist with this step.

C: Health Examination
Processing Time: Within five (5) to seven (7) working days

The assignee is required to perform a health examination in Vietnam in support of the work permit application. This can be arranged during the preview trip while assignee is on a business visa, where applicable. If performed overseas in the employee’s home country, the medical report will have to be legalized as well for use in Vietnam and will be subject to additional processing time.

D: Degree/ Working Testimonial/Expert Experience Certificate and Family relationship document legalization
Processing Time: Varies country to country – in general, three (3) to four (4) weeks from filing.

The employee’s Degree/ Working testimonial letter or Expert Experience Certificate (as it may be applicable depending on each case background)as well as accompanying family’s (spouse/ children’s if any) Birth and Marriage Certificate/s must be legalized for use in Vietnam in the country of issuance of documents. An Emigra Worldwide representative can assist with this step.

Step Two: Work Permit Filing

Processing Time: Ten (10) to fifteen (15) working days

Once the legalized police clearances, degree and/or working testimonials, legalized Expert Experience Certificate, Medical Report and People’s Committee Approvals from Step One are in place the next step is to file the Work Permit application with the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA).

Step Three: Pre-Approval to obtain Work Visa (LD category is most common)

Authorization Letter from Immigration Department to obtain a LĐ work visa at Vietnamese Consulate

Processing Time: Seven (7) to ten (10) working days

Upon Work Permit issuance, Immigration Department is now able to issue approval letter (to work permit holders only) to support a Consular Visa filing for a Work visa – LD.

If the applicant is not yet holding a work permit, a DN visa should be issued sponsored by the same entity sponsoring the work permit and can then be converted to a LD work visa in country after the work permit is available. DN Visa is currently issued for three (3) months only and in some exception (i.e. company in oil and gas industry for example) six (6) months, but typically it’s a three (3) month maximum. Once in country on DN Visa, the assignee should obtain his Work Permit before the expiry date of DN entry visa in order to apply for a Temporary Residence Card (TRC).

Step Four: Business or Work Visa Application
Processing Time:
Five (5) to seven (7) working days

Once the pre-approval has been issued, a copy of the approval letter is forwarded to the assignee so that he or she may apply for a Work Visa (LD or DN) at the Vietnamese Consulate in his or her home country or current work location. For short-term assignments, entry will be on a DN Visa, which also involves a pre-approval in Vietnam.

The DN visa can also be picked up currently on arrival at Vietnamese International airport by presenting the passport with a clear copy of the DN Pre- Visa approval letter obtained from Vietnamese authorities. For short-term assignments, entry will be on a DN Visa, which also involves a pre-approval in Vietnam.

Step Five: Temporary Residence Card/ Business Visa Extension Filing
Processing Time:
Seven (7) to ten (10) working days

Once in country on a valid LD/DN visa, the foreign assignee must obtain residence registration from local police. Applicants may then seek a Temporary Residence Card or an extension for their Business Visa of up to one (1) year, depending on the approved Work Permit’s validity.

Remarks: Some categories of foreign nationals are exempt from the Work Permit requirement, and may work in Vietnam while holding Business Visas or Temporary Residence Cards. Please contact your Emigra Worldwide Representative for further information on the Work Permit exemption.

Heads of foreign branch and representative office in Vietnam, and employees of foreign-based contractors are NOT exempt from the Work Permit requirement.

Typical Documents Obtained

Following the category intra-company transfers described above will result in the obtention of the following immigration documents. Typical validity is noted next to each document name. For details on the renewal process, please see the next section, “Renewal.”

  • Work Permit: Two (2) years
  • Residence Permit (Temporary Residence Card): Two (2) years

The validity period of the Work Permit is based on the length of assignment provided in the employment contract, up to a maximum of two (2) years. It can be re-issued based on the employment contract or assignment letter for up to a maximum of two (2) years each time.

Renewal

Renewal is possible. Renewal processes take ten (10) to twelve (12) weeks prior to current Work Permit/ Temporary Residence card expiry dates; please allow three (3) weeks’ lead time for document gathering.

Deregistration

To ensure that assignees leave Vietnam after the expiration of their permission to stay and to keep tabs on the number of foreign workers in the country, the government of Vietnam requires all applicants to deregister upon departing the country:

  • Immediately prior to departure from Vietnam, the employee’s Work Permit must be cancelled with the Labor Department. Foreign employees must return their Work Permit to their employer within three (3) days from the date their work permit expires or employment ends.
  • Temporary Residence Cards (TRC) can be returned for cancellation at the Immigration department after repatriation after departure.
  • The Temporary Residence Cards (standalone documents for assignee and family) are necessary for the assignee and his or her family to exit the country. These will need to be returned to Vietnam by courier after departure. At this time, Emigra Worldwide’s representative can return them to the authorities. For assignments with duration of less than twelve (12) months, residence authorization may be provided by a Multiple Entry Visa stamped in the assignee’s passport, which does not need to be returned.

Dependents

Dependent immigration status approval depends on the immigration status of the principal applicant. Where the principal applicant is in Vietnam under the immigration category intra-company transfers the following rules apply for dependents:

  • Minimum age (spouses): Not Applicable
  • Maximum age (children): Eighteen (18)
  • Unmarried partners: No
  • Same sex partners: No
  • Non-traditional dependents (e.g. parents): No
  • Work authorization granted? No

Application Materials

Application materials vary depending on the immigration category being applied for and on the specifics of the case. We will advise you in detail regarding your specific case; however, general application materials are noted below.

  • A variety of personal and corporate documents will be needed to support the application.
  • Such documents may include copy of diploma(s), current resume (C.V.), and corporate contacts and registration certificates. For dependents, certified and legalized birth and marriage certificates will be required. For foreign worker assignees, certified and legalized degree, working testimonial and police clearances will be required.
  • All documentation must be submitted in English. We can assist with translation requirements.

Business Visitors

  • Name of visa granted: Business Visa (HN category)
  • Duration of stay: Up to ninety (90) days
  • General activities permitted:
    • Attending business meetings or discussions;
    • Making sales calls to potential Vietnamese clients, provided that the employee represents a commercial entity outside of Vietnam;
    • Attending seminars or “fact-finding” meetings.

 

 

Notes:

  • An Entry Business visa can be obtained at the Overseas Vietnamese embassy/ consulate having jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of current, legal residence or country of citizenship. This occurs after securing an authorization for the visa in Vietnam first.
  • Usually the pre-authorization application at the Immigration department in Vietnam takes seven (7) business days. Expect an additional five (5) working days for the Visa endorsement process at the Vietnamese consulate overseas.
  • The validity period of Entry Business Visas is maximum three (3) months and may be renewed in country under certain conditions such as evidence of a work permit or work permit exemption.

Change of Status

A foreign national may convert from Business Visitor status to Work status while remaining in the country. It is commonly accepted that he/she may be present in the country as a Business Visitor holding DN visa while the Work Permit application is in process.  However, he/she may not commence the official assignment until the work permit application is approved.

This means that the in-country conversion is possible from a business visa sponsored by the same company that will sponsor the work permit i.e. the entry visa is a DN visa sponsored by the same entity as the entity sponsoring work permit. If this condition is met, we can obtain LD work visa for the applicant (in country) once the work permit is issued.

In country conversion from Business (HN) type visa to work authorization is not possible.

Salary and Payroll

Salary and payroll requirements vary depending on the immigration category and on the specifics of the case. In Vietnam, the minimum salary is not prescribed in the labor law, it is up to the negotiation between the employer and the assignee; however, it should meet the standards for the position, region and experience level. Full home country payroll is acceptable. The labor law does not stipulate this and it’s a decision for the employer as to how payroll is managed. No evidence of tax payment needs to be shown at time of renewal. Please contact your representative for more details for your specific situation.

Qualifications

Qualification requirements will vary from case to case and will depend on the immigration category under which the application is made. However, in general, the immigration authorities do expect to see a University/ Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent and relevant work experience.  Applicant must hold a university degree or equivalent or be able to prove at least five (5) years’ experience in a field related to the job occupied in Vietnam. Note that the requirement justifying the qualification may vary according to the job level (manager vs technician, expert and specialist).

Red Flags

In our experience, the following points are important to note at the start of the process. If any of the below situations apply to you, contact your representative immediately for further detailed advice.

  • Absence of degree.
  • Absence of relevant experience.
  • Unmarried partners cannot receive dependent status.
  • The Labor Department (MoLISA) will look at the employer’s ratio of foreign to local workers.
  • Minimum age must be eighteen (18) years
  • Must be in good health commensurate to the job demand or requirements.
  • Job position to be applied – manager, executive, specialist, expert, technician or artisan level and above
  • Must not have a criminal record nor a national security offence nor be facing criminal prosecution or serving a criminal sentence as of the time of the Vietnam assignment.
  • The Work Permit application is processed by the Department of Labor only after the approval letter is issued from People’s Committee

Step 1: Demand for the use of foreign labor in specific position(s) or project

Step 2: Work Permit application for a selected employee to fulfil an approved position.

  • Every year (and during the year if any change), employers in Vietnam must report their demand and must also seek approval for using foreign nationals for each specific position where Vietnamese nationals cannot meet the employer’s requirements.
  • The demand shall be submitted at the Provincial Labor Department who will then forward the demand for approval to the People’s Committee of the province/city where the company’s head office in Vietnam is located.
  • The demand must be lodged at least thirty (30) days prior to the expected work commencement date at the Provincial Labor Department.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

The government of Vietnam takes immigration non-compliance very seriously. Penalties for non-compliance may include fines, deportation, and imprisonment.

Employee Penalties

Employees who work without valid authorization could be expelled and face an exclusion period from Vietnam.

Employer Penalties       

Employers who hire foreign nationals without valid authorization could be fined up to VND 75’000’000 (US$3500) and suspended operations for one (1) to three (3) months.

For more details, please contact your representative.

Bilateral Agreements

Vietnam is not party to any relevant bilateral agreements.