Vietnam work permit for foreigners

Last update: Feb 28, 2021


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 temporary residence card or a working visa for Vietnam. It is currently well governed by the Labor Code No. 45/2019/QH14 and the Decree No. 52/2020/ND-CP.

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.

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 eligible for Vietnam work permit exemption.

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.

How to apply for a Vietnam work permit?

Here are the procedures and documents to get a work permit in Vietnam that both employer and foreign employee should follow:

Step 1: Apply for Approval of Demand on using foreign workers

At least 30 days before the expected date when the foreign worker starts his/her work at the company, the employer shall submit the application for approval of demand on using foreign workers.

In this step, the employer needs to prepare the following documents:

  • Registration form for demand on using foreign workers (Form No. 01/PLI under the Decree No. 152/2020/ND-CP or Form No. 02/PLI in case of changes of demand on using foreign workers);
  • Certified copy of business registration;
  • Letter of attorney in case the submitter is not the company’s legal representative.

Then, all these documents will be submitted 

  • directly at the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs or People’s Committee of the province where the foreigner is expected to work; or
  • online at

Processing time is 15 working days (for direct submission) and 12 working days (or online submission).

Step 2: Prepare documents for work permit:

The employer will need to prepare the following documents:

  • Application form for Vietnam work permit (Form No. 11/PLI);
  • Original health check issued in Vietnam or legalized health check if issued abroad attached with its certified Vietnamese translation. The health check should be issued within the last 12 months;
  • Original Vietnam Police Check or legalized police check if issued abroad attached with its certified Vietnamese translation. The police check should be issued within the last 6 months;
  • Certified copy of valid passport;
  • Approval letter obtained in Step 1;
  • 02 4*6cm photos (see the photos requirements here);
  • Legalized copy documents proving the foreigner’s eligibility for applying position attached with their certified Vietnamese translation;

Quantity: 01 set

Step 3: Submit documents to get work permit 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 prepared to the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs or the Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs of the province where the foreigner is expected to work. 

Step 4: Get the result

The employer shall get the work permit issued in form 12/PLI within 05 working days after submitting full valid documents. In case of getting refused, the employer with get the clarifications.

Vietnam work permit processing time and cost

The work permit request processing time is totally 20 working days (after receiving full required documents), including:

  • 15 days for approval of demand for employing foreigners;
  • 05 working days for granting the work permit.

But all are highly recommended to carry out the procedure at least 30 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 Validity and Extension

As provided for in the Decree No. 152/2020/ND-CP, a work permit is valid for up to 02 years, and it can be extended once for futher 02 years following this Vietnam work permit extension procedure. When the extended work permit become expired, the employer shall follow the same procedure to obtain a new work permit if he/she wishes to further employee such foreign employee.

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. 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.

Talk to us

Applying for work permits in Vietnam can be complicated if you do not have adequate local knowledge or experience as the procedure required different steps and documents which may be subject to the change of legal regulation. Vietnam-visa’s experts in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City may help you with Vietnam work permit service, in which we will:

  • update you with the latest regulations on Vietnam work permits;
  • minimize your documents to be submitted for work permit application;
  • instruct you how to prepare and where to get all the necessary documents;
  • check for legality as well as logics of your documents;
  • follow all the procedures with the Vietnam Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs on y our behalf,
  • update your work permit processing status, and
  • save your time for other businesses.

Feel free to talk to us:

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