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Work permit for foreign laborers working in Vietnam

Work permit for foreign laborers working in Vietnam

Purpose To manage the recruitment of foreign laborers by enterprises and organizations in Vietnam
What is it License
Who should apply 00

All enterprises and organizations recruiting foreign laborers to work in Vietnam, except:

  • Foreign laborers entering Vietnam to work for a period of less than  03 (three) months; and those entering Vietnam to resolve and emergency situation such as a breakdown or a technically or technologically complex situation which suddenly arises and which affects, or has the risk of affecting production or business and which Vietnamese experts and foreign experts in Vietnam are not able to resolve
  • Foreigners who are members of the Board of Management or member’s council (in the case of a limited liability company) established under Vietnamese laws with legal status
  • Foreigners who are head of representative offices or branches in Vietnam
  • Foreign lawyers to whom Ministry of Justice has issued a certificate to practice in accordance with laws 
Where to apply

Department of Labor, War Invalid and Social Affair in the locality where enterprises locate their headquarters

Validity of the License and application fee


  • Fees on granting a working license: 400.000 VND/permit
  • Fees on re-granting a working license: 300.000 VND/permit
  • Fees on extension of a working license: 200.000 VND/permit


  • Same duration as the duration of the labor contract or as set out in the decision of the foreign party on appointment, but shall not exceed 36 months.
Application conditions and documents

Eligibility of Applicants

  1. Being 18 years of age or older
  2. Being physically fit to the work requirements
  3. Must have highly technical skills or highly professional qualifications (including: engineers and persons of a standards similar to or higher than engineers; traditional trade artisans) and be very experienced and be senior professionally in the direction of production or business operation or in management work which Vietnamese employees are not yet able to perform.
  4. Have no previous conviction or criminal record and must not currently be subject to criminal prosecution or any criminal sentence in accordance with Vietnamese and foreign laws
  5. Foreign employees engaged in private medical or pharmaceutical practices or directly carrying out disease examination and treatment in Vietnam must satisfy all conditions stipulated by the Vietnamese laws in relation to private medical or pharmaceutical practice.

Application dossiers, which should be prepared in 2 copies, shall consist of the following:

  1. Application for issuance of work permit of the labor users;
  2. Application for working in Vietnam;
  3. Form of criminal record issued by the competent authority from the foreign countries they lived. In case where the foreigners have resided in Vietnam for over six months, they should also submit the Form of criminal record issued by the Department of Justice in the locality where they are living.
  4. CV of the foreign laborer’s resume, made according to a form set by the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, including an attached photograph of the foreigner.
  5. Medical certificate issued in the foreign countries; if the laborer is residing in Vietnam, health certificate must be granted under the regulations of the Health Ministry
  6. Legal copies of certificates on professional skills such as: bachelor, master, doctor and certificates on qualifications granted under the existing law of the foreign countries. If foreigners are craftsmen of traditional crafts or are persons having experience, but no formal certificates, shall provide written documents provided by competent authorities of their country attesting to their qualifications and experience.
  7. 3 (three) color photos (size 3cm x 4 cm) with bare head, taken frontally, showing clearly the face and 2 ears and no glasses
The process
  1. Labor users take responsibility of making preparation for a dossier under provisions of laws and submit to Department of Labor, War Invalid and Social Affair.
  2. Within 15 working days as from the date of receipt of a valid dossier, the competent authority shall grant the work permit.
How long it will take to process the application? 15 working days
Inspecting authorities

Department of Labor, War Invalid and Social Affair in centrally run cities and provinces.

Non-compliance penalty
  • A fine between 5.000.000 VND to 10.000.000 VND is applied to employers using foreign laborers who have no work permit.
  • Sanction of expelling foreign laborers is applied when foreigners working in Vietnam for over 3 months have no work permit or use the invalid work permits as stipulated in Clause 1, Article 133 of supplemented and amended Labor Code
Legal texts regulating this license
Code of Labor
Circular No. 09/TT- BLDTBXH dated March 18, 1997 of the Ministry of Labor, War Invalid and Social Affair guiding the implementation of issuance of Working Licenses (for foreign laborers working in Vietnam)
Decree No.105/2003/ND-CP of September 17, 2003 detailing and guiding the implementation of a number of articles of the Labor Code regarding the recruitment and management of foreign laborers working in Vietnam
DECREE No.93/2005/ND-CP on amendment of and addition to a number of articles of Decree No.105/2003/ND-CP of the government dated 17 September 2003 providing detailed regulations and guidelines on implementation of a number of articles of the labour code with respect to employment and administration of foreign employees working in Vietnam
Circular 04/2004/TT-BLDTBXH dated 10/3/2004 guiding the implementation of some articles of Decree 105/2003/ND-CP dated 17/9/2003 detailing and guiding the implementation of a number of articles of the Labor Code regarding the recruitment and management of foreign laborers working in Vietnam
Circular 24/2005/TT-BLDTBXH dated 26/9/2005 of the Ministry of Labor, War Invalid and Social Affair amending and supplementing a number of points of Circular 04/2004/TT-BLDTBXH dated 10/3/2004
Decree No, 113/2004/ND-CP dated April 16, 2004 of the Government sanctioning administrative violation on labor
Decision No.54/2005/QD- BTC dated August 04, 2005 of the Minister of Finance stipulating fees on issuance of working license for foreign laborers working in Vietnam
Other useful information
  • Enterprises, agencies and organizations (hereinafter called employers) having the right to recruit foreign labors consist of:
  1. Enterprises operating under the State Enterprise Law, the Enterprise Law or the Law on Foreign Investment in Vietnam;
  2. Foreign contractors (principal contractors, sub- contractors) performing contracts in Vietnam;
  3. Representative offices and branches of economic, trade, financial, banking, insurance, scientific- technical, cultural, sport, education, training, and medical organizations;
  4. Social professional organizations;
  5. Non-business units of the State;
  6. Medical, cultural, educational, training and sports establishments (including those set up under the Enterprise Law, the State Enterprise Law or the Law on Foreign Investment in Vietnam)
  7. Vietnam- based offices of foreign or international projects;
  8. Vietnam- based management offices of foreign parties to business cooperation contracts;
  9. Vietnam - based organizations practicing law under the provision of Vietnamese law;
  10. Cooperative set up and operating under the Cooperative Law
  • Employers listed in item 1 above (state owned enterprises, enterprises under Enterprise Law and foreign invested projects operating under the Foreign Investment Law are allowed to recruit foreign laborers not exceeding 3 (three) percent of the number of their current employees. A minimum of 1 person may be recruited.
  • The regulation on the ratio of foreign employees that may be employed by employers listed in items 2-10 above shall not apply; however, they must obtain approval from the Chairman of the People’s Committee of the province or city under central authority to recruit a larger number of foreign laborers.
  • Where enterprises or organizations (items 1-10 inclusive) have obtained an approval of a project or an operating license by a Vietnamese authorized State body in which the number of foreign employees is specified, the approval from the Chairman of the People’s Committee shall not be required.

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Work permit for foreign laborers working in Vietnam

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