Vietnam work permit for foreigners

Last update: Dec 30, 2019


Vietnam work permit is an official certificate issued by the Department of Labor, Invalid and Society to allow its holder to work in Vietnam legally. It cannot be applied directly by the workers/foreigners, but with the assistance of their employers or a service center in Vietnam. And Vietnam work permit is an important paper to apply for a working visa for Vietnam.

Here you can see a sample of Vietnam work permit:

Vietnam work permit sample

Vietnam work permit sample

In order to be eligible for Vietnam work permit application, the foreigners have employment in a company/entity registered and recognized in Vietnam.

The maximum validity of a work permit for foreigners working in Vietnam is 2 years, and its extension is available.

Now, in this post, we will take you through details about the work permit for Vietnam.

Vietnam Work Permit Requirements

To get a work permit in Vietnam, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Over 18 years old
  • 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; experienced in business, management and other professions that Vietnamese labors are currently unable to conduct efficiently.

Vietnam Work Permit Exemption

Do you need a work permit to work in Vietnam? In fact, some foreigners are exempted from getting Vietnam Work Permit and can work in Vietnam with business visas only. They are:

  • 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 e 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 less 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.

When to Apply for Vietnam Work Permit?

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.

Required documents to get a work permit for Vietnam?

Here comes the list of documents that you and your employer need to prepare so that you can apply for the work permit for Vietnam:

  1. Request form for Vietnam work permit (Form No. 7 issued together with the Circular No. 40/2016/TT-BLDTBXH. You can download it here);
  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, & the criminal record from their home countries (you can see step-by-step guide to get criminal record in Vietnam here);
  4. Certified copy of your certificate/degree;
  5. Working experience confirmation document from former employers;
  6. Passports (Copy);
  7. Approval certificate which 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. (Download this application form, fill it out and send it to the authority mentioned above);
  8. Certified copy of the Employer’s Business Registration Certificate;
  9. 02 4*6cm photos (see the photos requirements here);
  10. Employment contract.

What if I do not have my certificate/degree?

A common question that foreign workers have had about work permit for Vietnam is: “How to apply for Vietnam work permit without a degree?” To reply, please note if you want to apply for a work permit but have no certificate or diploma of recognition, you must have a written certification of at least five years’ experience in your profession, production execution and management issued by a competent foreign agency.

How to apply for a Vietnam work permit?

Your employer/his agent in Vietnam need to follow the steps below to get the Vietnam work permit for you:

  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.

Vietnam work permit processing time and cost

The work permit request processing time is totally 13 working days (after receiving full required documents), including:

  • 05 working days for online approval;
  • 08 working days for granting the work permit.

But all are highly recommended to carry out the procedure at least 20 days before the expected work start date of the foreigners.

The cost for Vietnam work permit varies by the province/city where you submit your application forms.

Vietnam Work Permit Termination

A work permit may be terminated if:

  • The work permit has been expired.
  • 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 been expired or terminated.
  • The foreign employer announced the termination of the foreign employee working in Vietnam.
  • Work permit launched by authorized state agencies has been withdrawn.
  • The operation of the company, organization, and partners in Vietnam has been terminated.

The validity of the work permit for Vietnam is 2 years. And then, if you wish to work in Vietnam for longer, you can apply for work permit extension/renewal. But if you want to return to your home country or move to another country for work, before leaving Vietnam, your 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 fifteen (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.

If you wish to work in Vietnam, but you don’t know about the job opportunities and wish to learn more by visiting Vietnam first, please check your Vietnam visa requirement, enter the country for certain days and make your own decision.

Disclaimers: While we put an effort to ensure that the provided information is correct and up-to-date, there are probably changes which we are unaware of.

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