Overview of Work Permit in Vietnam

Q1 – Cases of work permit exemption

There are a number of cases of work permit exemption under Labor Code 2019 and Government’s Decree 152/2020/NĐ-CP dated 30 December 2020 (Decree 152).

We would like to generally summarize as below. We are pleased to comment and advise on a case by case basis subject to the comprehensive review of your specific circumstance.

Cases of work permit exemption;

Q2 – How to get work permit exemption certificate in Vietnam

We would like to summarize the step by step procedure to obtain a work permit exemption certificate as below.

How to get work permit exemption certificate in Vietnam;

Q3 – If a foreigner is investor, how to get investor visa in Vietnam. please inform required documents and process.

Pursuant to the Law on Entry, Exit, Transit, and Residence of Foreigners in Vietnam, dated 14 June 2014 (as amended and supplemented from time to time), there are four (4) types of Investor Visa in Vietnam:

We would like to generally summarize the licensing process as below.

We are pleased to comment and advise on a case by case basis subject to the comprehensive review of your specific circumstance.

how to get investor visa in Vietnam;

Q4 – What to do after the issuance of work permit?

Employer and Expat to enter into Vietnam-law labor contract.

Term of labor contract must be in line with the term of the issued work permit.

The employer shall send the signed lab or contract to the competent authority that issued that work permit. The labor contract shall be the original copy or a certified true copy. Penalty of up to 6M VND (equivalent to US$ 250) shall apply in case of failure to follow this obligation.

Q5 – Is there an indefinite-term labor contract for expat employees?

Local employees: First fixed-term labor contract of up to 36 months -> Second fixed-term labor contract of up to 36 months -> Indefinite-term labor contract.

Expat employees: Multiple fixed term labor contracts. Term of labor contract must be in line with term of issued work permit.

Q6 – If the foreign investor is retired (> 60 years old), can he/she legally live in Vietnam by investor visa?


The term ‘foreign investor’ as defined in clause 19 Article 3 of the Law on Investment dated 17 June 2020, are individual who are holding a foreign nationality or an organization established under foreign laws and carrying our business investment activities in Vietnam.
As far as our awareness, there are no statutory restriction on age of foreign investor. As such, a foreign individual investor who is beyond the statutory retirement age can legally reside in Vietnam provided that he/she manages to obtain (i) a validly effective investor visa or (ii) a validly effective temporary resident card (TRC) marked with symbol ‘ĐT’.

Please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com if you have any questions or want to know more details on the above. Dr. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.


Foreigners with bachelor’s degrees and at least three years of experience working in their respective fields are no longer required to obtain work permits in Vietnam, according to a decree approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, IF they work in Vietnam for less than 30 days and less than 90 days in total in a year (Decree No. 11/2016/ND-CP).

The decree contains implementation guidelines for some items related to the management of foreign employees under the Law on Employment.

Under the new decree which was released recently, the following foreign employees are exempted from work permit:
1. Capital contributing member or owner of a limited liability company;
2. Member of the board of management of a shareholding company;
3. Head of a representative office or of a project of an international organization or non-governmental organization in Vietnam;
4. Entering Vietnam for a period under three (3) months in order to offer services;
5. Entering Vietnam for a period under three (3) months in order to resolve an incident [breakdown] or technically or technologically complex situation arising and affecting, or with the risk of affecting production or business with which Vietnamese experts or foreign experts currently in Vietnam are unable to deal;
6. A foreign lawyer issued with a certificate to practice law in Vietnam in accordance with the law on lawyers;
7. A student studying in Vietnam is permitted to work in Vietnam, but the employer must provide seven (7) days advance notice to the provincial State administrative authority for labour;
8. Intra-corporate transferee and within the scope of the eleven (11) services on the List of Commitments on Services of Vietnam with WTO namely business services; information services; construction services; distribution services; education services; environment services; financial services; medical health services; tourism services; culture and entertainment services; and transportation services;
9. Coming to Vietnam to provide expert and technical consultancy services or to undertake other tasks servicing the work of research, formulation, evaluation, monitoring and assessment, management and implementation of a program or project using official development aid (ODA);
10. Being issued with an operational licence in the information and press [sector] in Vietnam by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
11. Being appointed by a foreign agency or organization to come to Vietnam to teach or to conduct research in an international school managed by a foreign diplomatic office or organization in Vietnam, or certified by the Ministry of Education and Training to come to Vietnam to lecture or conduct research in an educational and training establishment in Vietnam;
12. Volunteers with certification from a foreign diplomatic office or international organization in Vietnam;
13. Coming to Vietnam to work as an expert, manager, executive director or technician for a working period under thirty (30) days and for a total cumulative period not exceeding ninety (90) days in any one (1) year;
14. Coming to Vietnam to implement an international agreement signed by a central or provincial level agency or organization in accordance with law;
15. A student currently studying at a school or training establishment overseas and who has an agreement on practical training at an agency, organization or enterprise in Vietnam;
16. Relations of members of a foreign representative agency in Vietnam who are working, after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has so permitted, except where an international treaty of which Vietnam is a member contains some other provision; and
17. A person with service passport working for a State agency, political organization or socio-political organization.

The local Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs will be the in-charge authority to certify foreign employees to be exempted from work permit upon request by the employers within at least seven (7) working days from the work commencement of the foreign employees (except for employees under points (4)-(5) and (13) above.

The Decree will be in full effect from 01 April 2016.


Please contact Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com in case you have questions on the above. Oliver Massmann is General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

© 2009- Duane Morris LLP. Duane Morris is a registered service mark of Duane Morris LLP.

The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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