Vietnam is a developing country that attracts foreigners in the growing fields of construction, IT, science, education, tourism, and languages. You’ll find plenty of opportunities in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and nearby towns as well, where foreign talent can narrow the gap of highly qualified labor.
Working in Vietnam is also an opportunity to travel and experience a unique culture. Home to 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Vietnam has an intangible cultural heritage that you can’t find in other countries.
If you’re set to building a career in Vietnam soon, you can start reviewing the requirements to get a Vietnam work visa.
Do I need a work visa in Vietnam?
Foreign nationals who wish to work in Vietnam for longer than 90 days must apply for the appropriate work visas. Furthermore, these visas must be applied from your country of residence with the assistance of your employer.
What are the requirements to apply for a work visa in Vietnam?
A Vietnamese work visa is called an LD visa and has two classifications. LD1 visa is for foreigners with work permit exemption, while LD2 visa is for those without. Each classification has certain occupations or work situations under it, which will determine the requirements you will need.
LD1 scenarios include:
- Owners, chairpersons, and BOD members of companies with at least 3 billion capital contribution
- NGO head representatives
- Lawyers licensed to practice in Vietnam
- Foreign spouses of Vietnam citizens
- Professionals who will work for less than 3 months for technical emergencies
- Other work for less than 3 months
- Students engaged in practical training
- Foreign officials for international agreements
- Other particular cases declared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Other occupations not listed above belong to the LD2 classification and require a work permit. This will include technical workers, specialists and experts, and executives and managers.
LD2 eligibility requirements include:
- For managers and executives, work experience of three years in a supervisorial or management position
- For experts, requisite academic qualification and five years experience in their field of expertise
- For technicians, at least one year of training by a relevant organization and three years of work experience in the field
In addition to the criteria above, here are the basic documentary requirements for both LD visas:
- Visa Application Form
- Valid Passport
- Passport-size photos
- Health certificate
- Proof of no criminal record
- Degrees and education documents
- Work experience documents
- Business certification of employer
- Approval documents allowing the employer to hire foreign workers
- Employment contract signed by both parties
In other words, the most important document in a Vietnamese visa application is either a work permit or a work permit exemption letter/written confirmation.
If your occupation falls under LD1, you need to have all the basic documents and proof of your eligibility to the LD1 classification. If your work belongs under LD2, you need to prepare the same basic documents, as well as proof of qualification for your occupation and a work permit.
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Steps on Applying for a Work Visa in Vietnam
When applying for a Vietnamese work visa, make sure you have around two to three months before your intended departure to Vietnam. You must also have an employer in Vietnam who will sponsor your work visa application.
You can follow the steps below:
1. Obtain a pre-approval letter
Foreign labor is regulated in Vietnam, so your employer must seek pre-approval from the Department of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs (DOLISA) to hire foreign talent.
The Vietnam-based company must first prove that there are no eligible Vietnamese citizens to fill the position offered to the foreign worker. In addition, you must demonstrate local qualification standards for the job you’re being hired to get a work visa in Vietnam.
If the request is successful, they will receive a pre-approval letter that is compulsory to the whole visa application process.
2. Prepare and submit your documents
With guidance from your employer, prepare the required documents depending on your LD visa classification. This includes a fully accomplished visa application form and the approval letter from the previous step.
Your documents should be legalized and notarized by relevant authorities in your country of residence. Furthermore, all documents must be notarized and translated into Vietnamese.
Your employer will collect all relevant documents on your application. Along with company-concerned requirements, they will submit your application to DOLISA or to the labor office of the Vietnamese province where you are expected to work.
Your Vietnamese work visa application is subject to processing fees, which are VND 400,000 or USD 20 for new applicants.
3. Wait for the result
After you submit your application, the processing time is usually between five and 15 working days, depending on the diplomatic office. Some diplomatic offices give an expected date for the visa’s issuance.
If your application is successful, nonetheless, the immigration department will notify your employer. Your employer will then inform you of the result so you can make your travel arrangements. In most cases, you can pick up your visa upon your arrival in Vietnam.
Once issued, your LD visa for Vietnam is valid for up to two years. Renewal of work permits has separate applications and will cost VND 200.000 or USD 10.
4. Apply for a Temporary Residence Card
Once you enter Vietnam, you are required to declare your temporary residence status with the local police authority. Your residence owner or lodging establishment needs to complete a declaration form which you will submit to the local police station within 12 to 24 hours of arrival. You will present documents to confirm your identity, such as your passport, and then be issued a temporary residence card (TRC).
A TRC allows entry and exit to Vietnam without a work visa. It is valid for as long as your work permit is, but can generally last one to ten years. This then completes your work visa application.
If you find you want to reside in Vietnam permanently, however, there are stringent categories to pursue a permanent residence card (PRC). These are fighting for the independence of Vietnam, having distinguished service to the Vietnamese Fatherland, and being the spouse, parent, or child of a Vietnamese citizen living permanently in the country.
I hope that this article on getting a Vietnamese work visa was helpful! If you’re interested in studying abroad, make sure to check out the Available Programs for International Students!