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If your company is sending employees to Vietnam — Fragomen is here to help. Working closely with our Local Advisors in Vietnam, we provide the immigration strategies and support you need to get your employees on the ground as quickly as possible.  If you have any questions, please click here to contact us.

In Vietnam, the rules around the employment of foreign nationals are complex because of a bifurcated system.  While the Immigration Department has jurisdiction over the individual's mode of entry (i.e., visa status), the Labor Department has jurisdiction over work authorization (i.e., work permits) and what activities the foreign national is authorized to undertake in the country.  In addition, officers may have differing views about the visa or work authorization rules. 

Foreign nationals who intend to conduct business activities in Vietnam should obtain a business visa.  This visa is usually granted for up to three months, depending on nationality and the issuing Consulate.  Entry on a tourist visa or in visa-waiver status is not appropriate for business activities. 

The primary category of work authorization in Vietnam is the Work Permit. While it can be granted for up to two years, it has a relatively lengthy lead time (over 100 days, due to the usual time required to prepare the specific documentary requirements).  The Work Permit process itself is finalized in-country, but the applicant does not need to enter the country until the final stages of the process.  After all documents are prepared and gathered, the final Work Permit application is lodged with the Labor Department.  Upon the issuance and collection of the Work Permit, the foreign national can officially start work in Vietnam in line with the validity dates of the Work Permit booklet.

Some categories of assignments and work activities are exempt from the Work Permit requirement.  In many cases, depending on the nature and duration of the visit(s), foreign nationals may not be required to apply for a work permit and may not even need to notify the authorities of their visit/activities.  In other cases, while foreign nationals may be exempt from the Work Permit requirement, they may still need to request a Work Permit Exemption (WPE) certificate prior to commencing work in the country.  For those cases, once the Labor department has certified that the foreign national does not require a work permit, he/she may begin the assignment.

Certain documents require certification, legalization/apostille, and/or notarization, as part of the work permit and WPE certificate processes.

Detailed Immigration Snapshots, Document Lists and Process Guides are available to clients on request.