Work permit procedures and requirements

Work permit procedures and requirements

A work permit is required for working in Vietnam for more than three months. This should be done at least 15 days in advance by the employer with the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) before the foreign worker starts working. The processing time for a work permit takes up to 10 working days.

In case the work permit is not required, it must be notified 7 days in advance to the provincial MoLISA before working in Vietnam. Currently, work permits for foreigners are valid for up to three years and cannot be renewed. A new application must be made if the company wants to continue employing foreign workers.

In order to be granted a work permit, workers need to meet the following conditions:
• At least 18 years old
• Have a good health to satisfy job requirement
• A manager, executive director or expert have knowledge and technical skills necessary for the job
• Not currently subject to criminal prosecution or any criminal sentence in Vietnam or overseas or have a criminal record.


A work permit may be terminated in the following cases:
• Expiration of work permit;
• Termination of labor contract;
• The content of the labor contract is not consistent with the work permit granted;
• If the foreign employee is fired by the foreign employer;
• Withdrawal of work permit by authorized state agencies;
• Termination of operation of the company, organization, and partners in Vietnam; and
• The foreigner is sentenced to prison, dies or is proclaimed missing by court.
In the following cases, foreigners are exempt from work permits:
• Working in Vietnam for less than three months;
• A member of a limited liability company with two or more members;
• The owner of a limited liability company with only one member;
• A member of the board of a joint stock company;
• Coming to Vietnam to market products and services;
• Coming to Vietnam for less than three months in order to resolve an emergency or technologically complex situation that could affect production, which Vietnamese experts or foreign experts currently in Vietnam are unable to resolve;
• Lawyers granted a professional permit in Vietnam;
• Heads of representative offices, chiefs of project offices or someone working for foreign non-government organization in Vietnam;
• Internally transferred within an enterprise, which has a commercial presence in the committed service list of Vietnam with the World Trade Organization, including: business service, information service, construction services, distribution service, education service, environment service, financial service, health service, tourism service, cultural and recreational services and transportation service; and
• Coming to Vietnam to supply consulting services on tasks serving to research, build, appraise, monitor and evaluate, manage and process programs and projects that use Official Development Assistance (ODA) in accordance with regulations or agreements in an international treaty on ODA signed between an authorized Vietnam agency and foreign agency.

The Vietnamese government is becoming stricter in terms of work permits. Those who violate the regulations when working in Vietnam without a work permit may be fined or if they cannot meet the work permit requirements will be deported back to the country within 15 days. In addition, employer activities may be suspended for three months with fines of up to $ 3,300.