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TOPIC: Questions and Answers for VietNam

Questions and Answers for VietNam 5 years 4 months ago #10707

  • BMT
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VietNam has many things in common with other countries. The biggest challenge is language.

The other challenge is knowing who to ask.

This new sticky is designed to get you answers for serious questions that might be iteresting to others - but it does take time.


1. If I apply for a permanent residence card, will I lose my rights as a citizen of my home country?

2. Is the permanent residence card like an Identity card?

The following answers were provided by a VN lawyer:

1. You should acknowledge that applying for a permanent residence card and a Vietnamese citizenship certificate are two different procedures.

– The issuance of a permanent residence card to foreigners in Viet Nam does not require them to give up their citizenship.

– Under Article 19 of Viet Nam's Citizenship Law, foreigners obtaining a Vietnamese citizenship certificate must give up their citizenship, except for the following circumstances:

a) They are the spouse, offspring, or parent of a Vietnamese citizen residing in Viet Nam.

b) They have a meritorious contribution to the cause of building and defending the Vietnamese Fatherland.

c) They bring benefits to the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.

d) They are granted Vietnamese citizenship by the State President.

You meet the circumstance A so even when you get a Vietnamese citizenship certificate, you are not required to give up your original birth citizenship.

2. The registration procedure of a Vietnamese citizenship certificate includes the following preparation materials:

– Registration form for Vietnamese citizenship published by the Ministry of Public Security's Immigration Department

– Copy of birth certificate

– Copy of passport or another kind of document proving that you are a foreigner

– Legal curriculum vitaes stamped by a relevant UK agency within a 90 day period after applying for documents.

– Copy of Permanent Residence Card

– Documentary proof of Vietnamese language level

– Documentary proof of financial status in Viet Nam (such as salary granted by an office, property possession rights or income tax payments granted by the tax office)

– Copy of marriage certificate

The registration procedure for a Vietnamese citizenship certificate then requires:

– All the documents mentioned above be translated into Vietnamese, notarised and made into three copies.

– All the documents must be handed out at the Immigration Office of the provinces and central-level cities' Police.

3. A permanent residence card is different from an ID card:

– A permanent residence card is written proof that you are legally and permanently residing in Viet Nam.

– An ID card is written proof that you are a Vietnamese citizen. It functions as administrative management of individuals in the country.

A foreigner who holds a permanent residence card in Viet Nam is allowed to enter the country multiple times and has the right to make permanent residence in the country. However, he /she has no rights as a Vietnamese citizen, such as the certificate of land use or the right to vote.


I am Vietnamese citizen and my husband is a Foreigner. I would like to ask about the registration procedure of permanent residence for my husband. Is he eligible for registering to be a permanent resident? If yes, what should we do?


A lawyer we consulted gave the following answers:

Under the Provision No.13 of the Ordinance No.24/1999/PL-UBTVQH passed by the National Assembly Standing Committee in 2000, foreigners temporarily residing in Viet Nam under one of the following circumstances shall be considered for permanent residence:

a) They are people who have struggled for freedom and national independence, for socialism, for democracy and peace or for the cause of science, but have been subject to suppression.

b) They have a meritorious contribution to the cause of building and defending the Vietnamese Fatherland.

c) They are spouses, offspring, or parents of Vietnamese citizens residing in Viet Nam.

Your husband meets the circumstance C of this article so he is eligible for registering for permanent residence.

According to the joint Circular No.01/2007/TTLT-BCA-BNG released in 2007, your husband should follow the following procedure:

1. Preparation:

– Two copies of the registration form for permanent residence published by the Ministry of Public Security's Immigration Department.

– Two portrait photos (3cmx4cm)

– Two legal curriculum vitaes (police report) stamped by a relevant home country agency

– The diplomatic note of a relevant home country agency asking for your husband to permanently reside in Viet Nam

– A marriage certificate

– Two copies of passports

2. Implementation:

– All the documents mentioned above must be translated into Vietnamese and notarised by a legal Notary Public.

– All the documents must be handed out at the Immigration Office of the provinces and central-level cities' Police.

– The department will review and verify these documents to report to the Minister of Public Security for his decision in a six-month period.

In the case of more legal documents being necessary, the period will last a maximum nine months.

– The Immigration Office of provinces and central-level cities' Police will issue the permanent residence card in the five-working day period after the day of getting the minister's decision.

– During a two-month period after getting information from the Immigration Office, foreigners must go to the office to get the permanent residence card.

If not, the card becomes invalid.

– The card holder must attend at the Immigration Office every three years to renew their card.

If not, the card will be revoked.


A driver with a European Category A (unrestricted motorbike) licence wanted to drive a large motorbike in VietNam. He had previously held a Vietnamese driving licence and been a fully participating member of the TP HCM District 10 Motorbike Club. It was never possible for a Foreigner, at that time, to own a large capacity motorbike.

Now there are large motorbikes with NN number plates, suggesting that Foreigners may own large motorbikes. If this is so, do I have the right to import mine into VietNam for my personal use without becoming liable to the ultra high import taxes that one frequently hears of being discussed amongst Foreigners?

VietNam Customs gave the following answers:

– Pursuant to Governmental Decree 12/2006/ND-CP, issued on January 23, 2006, detailing the implementation of the Commercial Law concerning international trading activities and activities in franchise, purchase, sale, export-processing and transit of goods with foreign partners and the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Circular 06/2007/TT-BTM, issued on May 30, 2007, guiding the import of motorbikes of a cylinder capacity of 175cm3 or higher, all used high-cylinder capacity motorbikes are banned from import for personal use or business.

Those who enjoy diplomatic immunity, foreign experts working on ODA projects in VietNam and Vietnamese who reside abroad and come back for work under invitation are allowed to import a used high-cylinder capacity motorbike for re-export purposes only under Government decree.

– Staff at Viet Nam Customs said that working for embassies, consulates or NGOs would make you more preferential. In such cases, you can import your vehicles, both new and used, without tax.

– An ordinary person can only import a brand new bike at import taxes from 79 to 80% (depending on the vehicle capacity), VAT of 10% and excluding special consumption taxes. The procedure is relatively uncomplicated. All you need is an automatic import license granted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade before applying to customs.

You will be allowed a NN number plate after having imported your bike into the country.

Based on our contact with Duong Tu Luc, head of the driving license issuing section at the HCM City Department of Transport, according to Decision 258/2010/QD-TTg, issued in January last year, you can obtain a driving license for a high capacity motorbike dependent on the following requirements:

– Ownership of your motorbike

– Your national driving license for high capacity motorbikes

– Membership of the VietNam Cycling Federation. To find out more please phone (04) 38230574. Luc noted that all other memberships outside that of the central government office is not valid.


In respect to Viet Kieu (Overseas Vietnamese) owning houses here, could you please tell me what is needed to obtain a land-use certificate and housing title?

My understanding of the Decree covering the issue is that you must have a VietNam exemption certificate in your passport and a valid stamp from Immigration Office for three months or more, which we have.

So why do local authorities say that is not enough and they require a temporary residence card and proof of Vietnamese citizenship in addition?

A lawyer specialising in real estate replied:

In terms of eligibility, overseas Vietnamese with the right to own a house in VietNam are defined in the amended Law on Housing, Article 126. Here are the details:

1. Overseas Vietnamese (defined below) who are permitted by competent Vietnamese agencies to reside in VietNam for three or more months may own houses for their own and their family's residence:

a. Persons having Vietnamese nationality;

b. Persons of Vietnamese origin who return to VietNam to make direct investment under the investment law; persons with meritorious contributions to the country; scientists, cultural scholars and persons with special skills who are needed by Vietnamese agencies or organisations and working in VietNam; and persons who have Vietnamese spouses living in the country.

2. Persons of Vietnamese origin not defined at Point ‘b' who are issued visa-exemption papers by competent Vietnamese agencies and are permitted to reside in VietNam for three or more months may each own a separate house or a condominium apartment in VietNam as their own and their family's residence in VietNam.

In terms of required papers, you will need papers showing your eligibility to own a house in VietNam and papers proving residence in the country.

Papers to show evidence of the eligibility of Overseas Vietnamese to own a house in VietNam are stipulated in Decree 71, Article 66 as below:

a. Those with Vietnamese nationality must possess a valid Vietnamese passport. Those holding a foreign passport must produce one of the papers evidencing their Vietnamese nationality under the nationality law;

b. Those of Vietnamese origin must possess a foreign passport together with a written certification of their Vietnamese origin issued by a competent Vietnamese authority.

Papers to prove that an Overseas Vietnamese has residence in VietNam are stipulated in Decree 71, Article 67 as below:

1. Overseas Vietnamese holding a Vietnamese passport must possess either of the following papers issued by the police of the ward, commune or township (below referred to as ward-level police) in which they reside:

a. Temporary residence book;

b. Written certification of temporary residence registration in the locality.

Overseas Vietnamese holding a Vietnamese passport must file an application and produce their passports at the ward-level police when requesting issuance of the papers specified in this clause.

Within three days of receiving an application, ward-level police shall grant either of the papers specified in this clause to overseas Vietnamese.

2. Overseas Vietnamese holding a foreign passport must possess either of the following papers issued by the Vietnamese Immigration Management Agency:

a. Temporary residence card;

b. Passport stamped with a mark showing temporary residence in VietNam for three months or more.

Therefore, depending on which categories you belong to, the authorised agencies will require equivalent papers to prove your eligibility to own a house in VietNam and your residence in the country.


How to get a driving licence? There are many Foreigners in VietNam, but to my knowledge none seem to have a Vietnamese motorbike or car licence.

And, the odd thing is, there seems to be no pressure on them to get one, from police or employers or society as a whole.

Police almost never pull over a Foreign driver, but if a Foreign-driven vehicle hits someone – even if the Foreigner is the innocent party – the lack of a licence can cost heavily in financial and social terms.

It is not uncommon to hear of Foreigners being deported after paying out tens of millions of dong in compensation. So, in the name of justice for all, would someone please explain how one goes about getting a licence?

Is it similar to the endless "run-around" one has to go through to get a visa extension? One would hope not.

We believe everyone is equal before the law. There is no biased arbitration on who should be blamed for an accident, no matter who he or she is, a Vietnamese or a Foreigner. However, Foreigners in VietNam should be well-prepared when driving since you can be fined about VND200,000 (US$9.5) and have your vehicle seized temporarily without a driving licence.

You can be sure that all Foreigners living and working in VietNam, who are at least 18 years of age and hold a visa for at least three months, can obtain a driver's licence by completing an application form and satisfying certain requirements.

If you hold a valid international or national driver's licence to operate an automobile and motorcycle, you can obtain a similar driver licence without a test.

In the case that you are a holder of a valid international or national driver's licence eligible of operating automobiles only, you can obtain a motorcycle driver's licence after passing a driving test.

If you do not have a driver's licence of any kind, you have to pass both theory and driving tests. The theory test is in Vietnamese and you are not allowed to have an interpreter or translator. It is a 10-minute computer-based test with 15 questions, including traffic laws and signs. If you pass both the theory and driver's tests you can get a "forever" licence to drive a motorcycle in VietNam.

Please note that for motorcycles, Foreigners can only get an A1 licence for motorcycles with an engine size of 50cc -175cc. Also all photocopies must be notarised by an authorised government office. Applicants must present their original passport, visa, diplomatic ID card and driving licence when the application is submitted. Also prepare some 3x4 passport photos and have your application signed and sealed by your embassy, general consulate, company or representative office.

The application will be submitted at your local department of transport. Since you are living in Ha Noi, please go for your application to 2 Phung Hung, Ha Dong District or 16 Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh District. The good news is that your application will be submitted at the one-stop-shop section as posted on the department's website.


Have a legal question - please post here!


In VietNam, never leave home without toilet paper.
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Re: Questions and Answers for VietNam 4 years 10 months ago #12320

  • vctor
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- Im Eu resident - Can I drive in Vietnam with Hong kong licenceplate car? If yes, how long? (I have viet.driver licence too)

- Is there any way to buy house in Vietnam for foreigners? I have local wife, but d like to keep my controll of the property.
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Re: Questions and Answers for VietNam 4 years 10 months ago #12322

  • BMT
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No one can legally drive in VietNam without a VN licence;

No NON-ASEAN citizen can drive an 'imported' car without registering it in VietNam. This means that vehicles owned by ASEAN country citizens can drive across the border.

All other vehicles have to be registered and insured in VietNam. Even vehicles on 'world tours' have to leave the vehicle at a border point, go to Ho Chi Minh complete a mountain of paperwork, get a licence plate, return to the border, attach the plate and cross.

Importation duty on vehicles is generally in the order of 100% of the vehicles value as determined by VN customs!

Define what a 'local' wife is.

No one an own land n VN, the land is owned by the people and administered for them by the government. People can acquire User Certificates which are similar to long-term freehold leases.

Foreigners can own structures on the land.

Foreign spouses should demonstrate that they paid for a property by having a separate bank account from the VN spouse.

The Land User Certificate is only one part opf a transaction, the transfer of any 'real property' is done in conjunction with the LUC transfer (and subject to tax). Stipulations an be made on the LUC and property such as VN spouse appoints Foreigner spouse as the agent and the owner of the property and that neither can be pledged or sold without the Foreigner spouse consent which can only be given in writing and witnessed by a (named) lawyer.

VN, BTW, is a 50-50 divorce country, bur getting these conditions inserted adds to your protection.
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