Regulations for duration of work permits in Vietnam |

Regulations for duration of work permits in Vietnam

The duration of a work permit in Vietnam 

A work permit (WP) must be issued by the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (DOLISA) in order for a foreigner to work in Vietnam as prescribed in Article 151, Clause 1 of Labor Code No. 45/2019/QH14 (“Labor Code”), except for some cases where the WP is exempt. In simple terms, a WP is a document that allows a foreigner to work legally in Vietnam. A WP will clearly state information about the foreign employee, including full name, passport number, date of birth, nationality, name and address of the organization where the foreigner works, job position and title. 



Depending on the type of work, WPs shall have different durations. Specifically, the term of a WP is specified in Article 10 of Decree No. 152/2020/ND-CP (“Decree 152”) as follows: 

Work permit duration shall not be greater than 02 years or equal to:

1. The labor contract expected to be signed. 

2. The assignment of the foreign party sending foreign workers to work in Vietnam. 

3. The contract or agreement signed by and between the Vietnamese partner and the foreign partners. 

4. The service contract or agreement signed by and between the Vietnamese partner and the foreign partner. 

5. As stated in the document of the service provider which is sending foreign workers into Vietnam to negotiate service provision. 

6. As stated in the operation license of the agency, organization or enterprise. 

7. As stated in the document of the service provider sending the foreign worker to Vietnam to establish the commercial presence of that service provider. 

8. As stated in the document proving that the foreign worker is allowed to participate in the operation of a foreign enterprise that has established a commercial presence in Vietnam. 

9. As stated in the written approval to employ foreign workers, except for the case where a report explaining the need to employ foreign workers is not required. 

Thus, regardless of the work form of foreign workers, the maximum term of a WP is 2 years. When the WP expires, the employee must carry out procedures for renewal of the WP. The condition for renewal of a WP is that the issued WP is valid for at least 5 days, but not more than 45 days. 


In addition, the following points should be noted

1. Before renewing a WP, the employer is required to report the need to use foreign workers and obtain the approval of the Provincial People’s Committee of such need;

2. The WP can only be renewed once with a maximum term of 2 years. If the WP has been renewed once and expires, but the employer still needs to employ the employee, the employee must apply for a new WP.


Work Permit Exemption. 

1. Cases of WP exemption:

There are currently 20 cases of WP exemption specified in Article 154 of the Labor Code and Article 7 of Decree 152.  

Foreigner Work Permit exemption: 

1. Being owner or capital contributor of a limited liability company with a capital contribution of at least 3 billion VND; 

2. Being chairperson or a member of the Board of Directors of a joint-stock company with a capital contribution of at least 3 billion VND; 

3. Being a Chef of representative offices, projects, or persons otherwise taking main responsibility for the operation of international organizations or foreign non-governmental organizations in Vietnam; 

4. Entering Vietnam and staying in the country for less than 3 months to offer services;

5. Entering Vietnam and staying in the country for less than 3 months to deal with complicated technical or technological problems that adversely impact or are likely to have adverse impacts on production and business operations and cannot be fixed by Vietnamese and foreign experts who are currently in Vietnam; 

6. Foreign lawyers holding a professional practice license in Vietnam in accordance with the Law on Lawyers;

7. Getting married to Vietnamese citizens and wish to reside in Vietnam; 

8. Being internally reassigned in the companies which engage in 11 service industries in the Vietnams WTO commitments on services, including: business, communication, construction, distribution, education, environment, finance, health, tourism, culture, entertainment and transportation; 

9. Entering Vietnam to provide professional and technical advisory services or perform other tasks serving the research, construction, appraisal, assessment, management and execution of programs and projects funded by ODA according to the International Treaties on ODA between the competent authorities of Vietnam and other countries; 

10. Being issued with the licenses for the practice of communications or journalism in Vietnam by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; 

11. Being appointed by foreign agencies or organizations to teach or do research in international schools managed by foreign diplomatic missions or the United Nations; offices or organizations established according to the agreements executed or participated in by Vietnam; 

12. Volunteers entering Vietnam to perform work without any remuneration in accordance with international treaties to which Vietnam is a member and certified by a foreign diplomatic mission or international organization in Vietnam; 

13. Entering Vietnam to hold the positions of expert, manager, chief executive officer or technician for a period of less than 30 days and a maximum of 03 visits to Vietnam per year; 

14. Entering Vietnam to implement international agreements to which central or provincial agencies and organizations are signatories in accordance with the law; 

15. Currently studying at a school or training establishment overseas and have an agreement for practical training at an agency, organization or enterprise in Vietnam, or students performing practical training on Vietnamese ships; 

16. Relatives of members of a foreign diplomatic mission in Vietnam who are permitted to work according to an international treaty to which Vietnam is a member; 

17. Holding official passports and entering Vietnam to work in state agencies, political organizations or sociopolitical organizations; 

18. In charge of establishing commercial presence; 

19. Being certified by the Ministry of Education and Training as entering Vietnam to carry out teaching and research; 

20. The cases included in the International Treaties to which Vietnam is a member. 


2. Dossier to apply for a Work Permit exemption:

The dossier to apply for a WP exemption is set out in Article 8, Clause 3 of Decree 152.  

Documents issued in Vietnam must be originals or notarized copies, and documents issued abroad must be notarized, legalized and consularized (unless they are exempt from consularization). After that, they must be notarized and translated into Vietnamese. 

3. The procedure for applying for a specific WP exemption:

Step 1: Apply for Approval of Demand on using foreign workers. (This step is detailed in Article 4 of Decree 152) 

Step 2: Prepare documents for applying for WP. 

Step 3: Submit documents. (This should be done at least 10 days prior to the date when the foreign employee is expected to start his/her work at the company)  

In this step, the employer shall submit the prepared documents to the Ministry of Labor – Invalids and Social Affairs or DOLISA in the province where the foreigner is expected to work. 

Step 4: Receive result. (After 5 working days of receiving full valid documents)


In addition, the following points should be noted

According to the provisions of Articles 4, 7 and 8 of Decree 152 and Article 154 of the Labor Code 2019: 

  1. The following cases are exempted from step 1, i.e the procedure to get approval of demand on using foreign employees: Article 154, Clauses 3, 5 of the Labor Code 2019; Article 7 Clauses 9, 10, 12, 13 of Decree 152.
  2. The following cases are exempted from steps 2 to 4, i.e the procedure to get WP exemption certificate: Article 154, Clauses 6, 8 of the Labor Code 2019.
  3. The following cases are exempted from full procedure mentioned above: Article 154 Clause 4 of the Labor Code 2019, Article 7, Clauses 1, 2, 8, 11 Decree 152.
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