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How to Apply for a Work Permit in Vietnam


Vietnam, especially Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, is the up-and-coming commercial hub of South East Asia. The country’s remarkable growth created a thirst for highly-skilled workers and a wave of expats. Coupled with affordable living costs and enjoyable entertainments, we are sure that you will have an amazing time working and living in Vietnam.

In order to stay and work legally in Vietnam, a valid work permit (or Giấy Phép Lao Động) is required.

Basics on How to apply for a Work Permit in Vietnam

  • Employers and workers can submit electronic documents through or directly to the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs or the President of the People’s Committee of provinces.
  • After receiving a work permit, a copy of the contract must be sent to the Ministry within 5 business days after signing.
  • All documents must be translated into Vietnamese and notarized.
  • Expats working without a work permit or with an expired work permit will be fined and expelled from the country. Companies employing such workers will also be fined.

work permit in vietnam

work permit example

An example of a Vietnam work permit

Work Permit in Vietnam Exemptions


  • Workers with a Bachelor's Degree and 3 years of experience working under 30 days at a time. The cumulative time must not exceed 90 days a year.
  • Employees being transferred to Vietnam by their company if that company operates in business, information technology, construction, distribution, education, environment, finance, health, tourism, entertainment, and transportation.
  • Teachers at international schools under the supervision of foreign embassies.
  • Members of a Limited company with 2+ members.
  • Owners of 1 member Limited companies in Vietnam.
  • Members of the Board of Directors at a joint-stock company.
  • People doing sales activities for a foreign company in Vietnam.
  • Lawyers with a practice license in Vietnam.
  • Authorized volunteers.
  • Foreign students with an internship in a Vietnamese company.


Application package:

  • A request for a work permit exemption.
  • Employee’s detailed information, including name, DOB, passport information, job description, etc.
  • Proof of eligibility for work permit exemption translated to Vietnamese
  • Valid passport copy 


  • The application must be submitted at least 7 days prior to employment.
  • Processing time: 7 - 10 working days.
  • Valid for 2 years.

Work Permit in Vietnam New Issuance


  • Being at least 18 years old.
  • Certified specialists with at least a Bachelor's Degree and/or a certification from an authorized organization.
  • Managers, heads, directors, chairperson, etc. with at least 5 years of experience.
  • Technical workers with at least 1 year of training and at least 3 years of experience.

work permit in vietnam professionals

Work permits are usually granted to professionals


Step 1: Employers (other than contractors) must file a report explaining the demand for foreign workers 30 days before the recruitment. Processing time: 15-20 working days.

Step 2: Prepare an application package:

  • Work permit in Vietnam issuance request form.
  • An appointment letter from employers.
  • Health check certification.
  • Criminal records (issued within 180 days), if applicants have been staying in Vietnam for more than 6 months, they must provide both Vietnamese and their home country’s criminal records.
  • Relevant professional documents eg. university degrees, specialist certificate, working experience confirmation, etc.
  • 1 valid passport copy
  • Approval document from authorities allowing employers to use foreign workers.
  • Employer’s Business certification.
  • 2 passport photos.


  • The application must be submitted 15 days prior to employment.
  • Processing time: 7-10 working days.
  • Valid for 2 years.

Work Permit in Vietnam Re-issuance


  • Changes in personal information, employers, or job positions, etc.
  • Expiration of current permits or labor contracts.
  • Lost of current permits.

Procedures: The re-issuance procedure is similar to applying for a new work permit, with similar required documents and progress.


  • The application must be submitted 5-15 days prior to the current permit’s expiration.
  • Processing time: 20 business days
  • Valid for 2 years.

After Applying for a Work Permit in Vietnam:

- Change your visa status (if you've already been in Vietnam prior to receiving the work permit): Normally when you enter Vietnam, you'll receive the DL visa stamp which stands for a tourist visa. In order to work and stay legally in Vietnam, you must change the status to work visa, marked as LĐ1, LĐ2, LS, etc. depending on your occupation and other conditions. Since July 1st, 2020, foreigners no longer have to exit and then re-enter the country to change the visa purpose, but only have to apply to the Immigration office instead.

More on How to Obtain a Vietnam Visa

- Apply for a Temporary Residence Card (TRC): To legally stay in Vietnam, you have to register yourself, and for expats, it is the TRC. The duration for a TRC varies from 2 - 10 years depending on your visa type. Generally, a temporary residence card for LĐ visa (work visa) can last up to 2 years. According to the No. 47/2014/QH13 Law, a TRC's validity will be 30 days shorter than the remaining validity of the applicant's passport.

Vietnam Work Permit Termination:

- When the work permit is expired

- When the labor contract with the company registered in the permit is terminated

- The labor contract is not aligned with the work permit

- The operation of the company is terminated

What Happened if You Work in Vietnam Without a Work Permit:

- Foreigners working in Vietnam without a work permit (except for the permit exemption cases) will be deported from the country.

- Companies employing foreign employees without work permits will face a fine between VND 30,000,000 - 75,000,000 depending on how many employees are working without valid permits. The manager also faces suspension of his/her operation.

Other Notes on Applying for a Vietnam Work Permit:

- You should always keep your original passport.

- Most of the documents submitted to the authority are in Vietnamese or must be translated into Vietnamese, so having a local friend may help you navigate through the application process better.

Conclusion on How to Apply for a Work Permit in Vietnam

work permit in vietnam hcm

Ho Chi Minh City is a commercial hotspot in South Vietnam, with the highest population of expats in the country

It will generally take a month to acquire a work permit before you can officially start working in Vietnam. However, the process has been greatly simplified over the years, and chances are your company will aid you along the way, or you can find a trustworthy agency to help you with the paperwork process. Get the needed documents ready to save you some time and you should be able to acquire the permit effortlessly.

Related articles:

- Information for Expats in Ho Chi Minh City

- Expat Tours in Ho Chi Minh City

- Where to Seek Legal Advice


© Written by Chau Tran for

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Guest - Dana Zimmerman on Saturday, 26 October 2019 14:49

The only place I can find clear information, thanks a lot

The only place I can find clear information, thanks a lot
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