All Details About The Work Permit For Foreigners In Vietnam

  • July 20,2023

Currently, the need for international employees is rising, and it is compulsory to get a work permit for foreigners in Vietnam to work legally. After engaging in the WTO, Vietnam formally entered the international arena and has been working to integrate into the global economy. As a result, Vietnam has increasingly drawn the attention and interest of foreign investors. This post would like to provide customers with the following information on work permits in Vietnam.


The Vietnamese authorities allow a foreigner to work in Vietnam for a specific amount of time by granting a work permit for foreigners. Visitors are allowed to stay in Vietnam for a maximum of two years with this document. The work permit extension can be made once for another two years.

Work permit for foreigners - definition

Foreigners need to register for a work permit in Vietnam to work as legal laborers

Work permits enable foreigners and their families to apply for a Vietnamese temporary resident card. This helps foreigners save a significant amount of time and money when obtaining or extending a visa in Vietnam. Foreigners cannot apply for a Vietnam work visa on their own; they must consult their employers or Vietnamese service organizations.

Foreign employees who are granted a work permit in Vietnam are considered to work legally and have their legitimate rights and interests protected under labor law.


According to Labor Code 2019, Article 151.1, the following conditions apply for a work permit for foreigners in Vietnam:

  • Employees must be at least 18 years old and possess full civil capacity.

  • Foreigners need to fulfill the health requirements determined by the Minister of Health, and having the necessary technical, professional, or vocational qualifications and experience is essential.

  • Must not be serving a term, has not yet had their criminal record expunged, or is facing criminal prosecution under foreign or Vietnamese law.

  • All foreign workers must have a work permit issued by the Vietnamese government to do business in this country.

Foreign workers in Vietnam must adhere to the aforementioned conditions as well as the Vietnamese Labor Code.


The issuance of a foreign work permit pertains to foreigners working in Vietnam, specifically those who:

  • Execute labor contracts.

  • Carry out an intra-company transfer scheme.

  • Have contracts or agreements in business, trade, finance, banking, insurance, science and technology, culture, sports, education, vocational training, and health with a Vietnamese firm or government.

  • Offer contractual services.

  • Work for foreign non-governmental organizations or international organizations in Vietnam that have been granted operating licenses under Vietnamese legislation.

  • Do volunteer work.

  • Take care of building a commercial presence.

  • Work as a manager, chief executive officer, specialist, or technician.

  • Participate in the implementation of bid contracts and projects in Vietnam.


General documents

Documents required for a work permit application include:

  • Form No. 11/PL1 on the appendix appended to Decree No. 152/2020/ND-CP specifies an application form for an employer's work permit.

  • A fitness to work certificate is issued within 12 months after the application's or certificate's submission date, as indicated in Minister of Health rules.

  • The criminal record or certificate verifies that the foreign worker is not a criminal or subject to criminal prosecution. This record or certificate must be issued within six months of the date of issuance and application.

Work permit for foreigners -  required documents

To apply for a work permit for foreigners, individuals need to prepare all relevant documents

Documents for getting a work permit for foreigners with specific careers

If the foreign employee is a manager, chief executive officer, expert, or technician, one of the following documents must be provided:

  • Documents confirming the foreign worker's status as a manager or executive as defined by law and regulations.

  • Original documents such as degrees, certificates, and certifications from a foreign agency, organization, or industry that prove years of experience as an expert or technical worker.

  • Documents confirming that the foreign worker is an experienced foreign football player, and an international transfer certificate (ITC) issued to the foreign football player. Moreover, Vietnam Football Federation documents certifying the temporary or official registration of a player of a club affiliated with the Vietnam Football Federation are needed.

  • Documents certify that the foreign worker has a certificate of competency in aviation maintenance issued by a competent Vietnamese authority. It must simultaneously be issued by a foreign competent authority and validated by the Vietnamese competent authority in the case of a foreign worker who performs aircraft maintenance.

  • Documents confirming the foreign worker's certificate of competency or validation of a certificate of competence granted by a Vietnamese competent authority to a foreign crew member of a ship or vessel.

Other cases where visitors need to register for a work permit in Vietnam

To be eligible to apply for a Vietnam work permit visa for foreigners, citizens need to prepare some materials, as follows:

  • A foreign worker participating in an intra-company transfer program must obtain a document issued by the foreign company authorizing visitors to work at a commercial presence of that company in Vietnam's territory. Moreover, a document proving that foreigners were recruited by the foreign company for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the transfer date is vital.

  • An agreement or arrangement concluded between Vietnamese and foreign partners is required for a foreign worker to execute contracts or agreements in business, commerce, finance, banking, insurance, science and technology, culture, sports, education, vocational training, and health.

  • A service contract completed between a Vietnamese and a foreign partner is required for a foreign worker performing services under a contract. They must provide paperwork to the Vietnamese authorities proving that they have worked for a foreign company with no commercial presence in Vietnam for at least two years.

  • For a foreign worker to supply services, they must obtain a document issued by the service provider to prove that they will travel to Vietnam to negotiate the service provision.


Visas and work permits are both legally required documents for working abroad, but they serve different functions. It is complicated and time-consuming for foreigners to prepare all their documents while working in Vietnam. Both require extensive documents, and the criteria for each differ depending on the nation foreigners are entering and the type of work they will be undertaking.


Work visas 

Work Permits


A visa is a document issued by immigration officials that allows a person to enter a foreign nation to work for a period of time.

A work permit is a legal document that allows a business owner to conduct operations in Vietnam.

Issued by

The Vietnam Immigration Department

The Department of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs


The fees that visitors need to pay will depend on how they get their visas.

The fee is stipulated in the Vietnamese government’s law.

Documentation Required 

Completed visa application forms, an invitation letter, a copy page of visitors’ original passports, financial support proof of foreigners’ travels, and visa fees.

A copy of all academic and professional qualifications, a work experience certificate from prior employers, an employer's reference letter, and, if applicable, a signed client contract.


Visitors benefit more from a work visa than a work permit.

Work permits limit the advantages that foreigners can get for their trips in Vietnam.


Employers (except bidders) who require hiring a foreign employee must submit a written request to the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs or the Chairman of the People's Committee at the provincial level at least 30 days before the start of employment to report their need for foreign employees.

Work permit for foreigners -  detailed instructions

Foreigners must strictly follow Vietnam work permit procedures

Request approval of the demand for the use of foreign workers

Employers may also submit the request via the web portal at:

  • The employer registers an account at the accurate address and submits the application with the established account at least 20 days before the anticipated start date of employment.

  • The competent authorities must send the results to the company through email within 12 days of receiving the genuine application and a report explaining the demand for using foreign personnel. If the application is not valid, the appropriate authorities will inform visitors that they must adjust to meet the regulations.

  • After gaining authorization to hire foreign personnel, the employer submits or mails the original paperwork to the responsible authority. The competent authority must return the initial approval result to the employer within eight hours of receiving the original application.

Submit an application for a work permit for foreigners

A work visa application should be filed with the Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs or the Department of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs in the province where the foreign employee is anticipated to work at least 15 days before the start of employment.

Foreigners will make the work permit payment and will decide a date when the results will be received if the application is approved. If not, the applicant will be asked to add extra information regarding their applications. A work permit usually takes 5 working days to process after a complete and legal application is received.

Obtain the result

In accordance with Form 12/PLI issued as an index of Decree 152/2020/ND-CP, the Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs or the Department of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs shall provide work permits to the applicant within 5 working days. If the applicant is refused, the Vietnam government shall notify visitors in writing, along with the reason for the rejection.


The charge will be controlled differently depending on the procedures for granting a work permit to an employee (according to Circular 250/2016/TT-BTC):

  • In Hanoi, for example, the charge for filing for a new work permit is VND 400,000. In Ho Chi Minh City, the fee is VND 600,000 for the same category. The most expensive price is currently VND 1,000,000. For each local authority, this cost can be modified appropriately.

  • The work permit fees will be covered by the recruiter instead of the employee, as usual.


The entire processing period for a work permit request is 20 working days (after receipt of all relevant papers), which includes:

  • 15 days for approval of a request to hire foreign workers.

  • The work permit will be granted in five working days.

  • However, it is strongly advised that the procedure be completed at least 30 days before the foreigners' projected start date.

The cost of a work permit in Vietnam varies depending on the province or city where foreigners submit their application forms.


Article 10 of Decree 152/2020/N-CP clearly states that the duration of a work permit shall be granted based on one of the following cases but shall not exceed two years:

  • The estimated period of the labor contract.

  • The length of the foreign entity's deployment of a foreign employee to work in Vietnam.

  • The term of the contract or agreement executed between the Vietnamese side and its foreign partners.

  • The term of the contract or service provision agreement signed between Vietnamese and foreign partners

  • The time limit in the document indicates that the service provider is deploying a foreign employee to Vietnam to negotiate service supplies.

  • The period restriction for service has been established in the certificate of the foreign non-governmental organization or international organization authorized to operate under Vietnamese law.

  • The limitation of serving term in the document of the service supplier sending the foreign employee to Viet Nam to establish the service provider's business presence;

  • The limitation on serving time in the document establishes that the foreign employee is permitted to participate in the operation of a foreign firm that has established a commercial presence in Vietnam.

  • Limitation on the serving period in the written approval to engage foreign staff.

The following information relates to work permits for foreign employees in Vietnam. If the Vietnamese government wishes to make any changes, this information will be updated for visitors to follow up on.


What are the penalties that foreigners can object to when they lack a work permit in Vietnam? Visitors can face a serious penalty if they enter and work for a Vietnamese firm without a work permit.

For Vietnamese businesses

Employers who hire foreign workers in Vietnam without work permits or written confirmations of exemption from work permit requirements will be subject to a fine. It is not an exception for those who hire foreign workers with expired work permits or written confirmations of exemption from work permit requirements, as follows:

No. violated employees


1-10 workers

30,000,000 to 45,000,000 VND

11-20 workers

45,000,000 to 60,000,000 VND

21 or more workers

60,000,000 to 75,000,000 VND 

For foreign employees

A fine of 15 to 25 million dong will be imposed on any foreign employee who commits one of the following offenses:

  • Working without a work permit or without written proof that he or she is not required to apply for a work permit.

  • Applying for a work permit with an expired work permit or an improper written certification of not being subject.

  • Vietnam's government forces visitors who don't present their work permit or official certification to prove their legal entry and work in Vietnam to be expelled.

This article covers all about the work permit for foreigners that employees need to pay attention to before contributing to Vietnamese firms. Visitors can learn about their validity, requirements, and grounds for avoiding application rejection. We hope that is sufficient for visitors to deal with their problems. Please contact us at +1 315 715 8498 or email [email protected] for further information on this or any other visa-related issues.

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