Whether you’re coming to Vietnam for working or just a quick visit, the cultural differences may leave you a bit startled. Getting yourself familiarized with these common laws in Vietnam for expats can help you start your new life in Vietnam more easily with as little culture shock as possible.
The traditional method: Applying for the visa to the Immigration Office
E-visa is now an official element of Vietnam Immigration Laws, allowing visitors from 80 countries to obtain a Vietnam e-visa.
Vietnam visa on arrival: most major international airports offer visa services for foreign visitors.
The Vietnamese government requires everyone to register themselves to the local police when staying at a local residence. If you’re staying at a hotel, the chances are that the receptionist will take care of the process, but for staying at a rented apartment or house, have the landlord help you register.
The registration is crucial for getting a criminal record by the local police when you apply for a work permit in Vietnam.
Check prices and reviews of top hotels in Vietnam:
International employees must obtain a work permit sponsored by a company in Vietnam to work legally. The entire process should take around 15 - 30 days, so it is advisable to apply for a Vietnam work permit 1 month before starting at work. Foreign citizens working without a work permit in Vietnam can get deported if detected.
Once you’ve received the permit, you need to get a work visa and Temporary Residence Card (TRC), which acts as a proof of identity and is valid from 2 - 5 years, depending on your occupation and the visa type. A TRC is also needed for opening a bank account or getting insurance.
Since July 1st, 2020 foreign nationals residing in Vietnam no longer have to exit and re-enter the country to change their visa’s purpose.
For expats staying in Vietnam for more than 183 days (6 months) within 12 months or signing a rental contract of more than 183 days, you are subject to filing for personal income taxes. An international bank in Vietnam can be a great help in dealing with your taxes.
Legal procedures in Vietnam is getting more and more simple since most of the steps can be done electronically or via a professional service
The Vietnamese laws require at least USD 30,000 in the bank account for an expat to start a business in Vietnam. The visa type and the duration of a TRC depend on the amount of money you invest in the company.
There are many types of business you can choose, whether it is a partnership with a local Vietnamese or a fully foreign-owned enterprise. You may need consultancy from a quality lawyer or accounting service for the registration process and the tax payments afterward.
It is by the Vietnamese laws that the maximum working hours is 48 hours per week. Do keep this in mind whether you are applying for a job or hiring employees.
Aside from the fact the Vietnamese drive on the right and the driver’s seats on cars are on the left, there are other notes to bear in mind when driving in Vietnam to avoid accidents and fines.
A valid license is required for driving in Vietnam. In case you’ve already had a license from your home country, have it converted to a Vietnamese version which can be one of these following common types:
A1: for riding motorbikes from 50 cc - 175 cc
A2: for riding motorbikes from 175 cc and other vehicles regulated for the A1 license
B1: for driving cars having up to 9 seats or minivans 3.5 tons
Everyone needs a license for driving in Vietnam
Wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle is mandatory
Driving on Vietnam's streets is never a dull moment
For getting to know the scene of Vietnamese streets, join a private motorbike tour led by local professional guides.
Check out our private motorbike tours with professional local guides
Expats are allowed to buy houses and apartments in Vietnam, but not land, and the leasehold period is 50 years but can be renewed. Having a Vietnamese spouse can ensure a freehold tenure. Foreign citizens are also not allowed to own exotic pets (especially those in endangerment) or exporting valuable antiques without a permit.
Accommodations can vary greatly from affordable rental dorm rooms to luxurious apartments or pet houses
After spending a good number of years in Vietnam, you may fall in love with a lovely Vietnamese local and decide to tie the knots. Apart from the Vietnamese wedding’s traditions that you need to get accustomed to, the legal procedure to have your marriage recognized by the Vietnamese laws is also crucial:
Other than the aforementioned regulations, there are other critical common laws to know as expats in Vietnam that you should take notes of:
More on What Not to Bring to Vietnam
See more on Vietnam Land Border Crossing
The border areas in Vietnam have stunning sceneries, but may cause you a fine for traveling without a permit
Public display of affection (PDA), revealing clothes, and nudity are greatly frowned upon in the Vietnamese society
Discussion of politics and religions: Vietnam is a one-party government with strong political dogma while the people have deep-rooted religious beliefs, so be mindful of these topics. Sharing materials or judgments against the national political and cultural values can lead to legal problems.
Don't talk and laugh loudly in religious sites, or pointing at objects that considered sacred.
The Vietnamese have rich religious and spiritual lives
Though it is undeniable that Vietnam is one of the most hospitable countries in Asia with ample opportunities for foreign nationals to build their careers, there are still particular distinctions in the rules and regulations that you need to get used to. Having said that, just pay a little bit of attention to how the locals and your international colleagues go about their daily lives and you’ll soon adapt to this wonderful country just fine.
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© Written by Kim Hoang for itourvn.com
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