Vietnam Work Permit

In order to work in Vietnam, foreigners need to have a work permit. A Vietnam work permit is also one of the most important documents for foreigners to get a work visa or a temporary residence card in Vietnam.

What is Vietnam work permit

A work permit is a legal certificate issued by the Ministry of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs to allow a foreigner to work in Vietnam for a period of time. The maximum validity of a work permit is 02 years and can be extended only once with another 2 years.

Work permits allow foreigners and their families to apply for a Vietnam temporary resident card and save much time and money in getting or extending a visa in Vietnam.

Foreigners cannot apply for a work permit by themselves but must have the involvement of their employers or Vietnam service agencies.

Many people decide to move to Vietnam to work (Photo: Shutterstock)

Who is eligible?

A work permit is only available for foreign passport holders who are employed by a company/enterprise with a legal status in Vietnam. Regarding Article 2 - Decree 152/2020/ND-CP, Vietnam Government allows foreigners to work for multiple jobs such as performing labor contracts; moving within the enterprise; commerce, insurance, sports, education, contracted service providers; offering services; working for a foreign non-government organization, managers, executives, experts, technical workers, etc.

However, there are currently 4 job positions prioritized for work permits including managers, executive directors, experts, and technical workers due to the lack of qualified labor. There are attached conditions to these positions to be eligible for a work permit as follows:

  • For managers/executive directors:
    • At least 03 years of experience certificate in the relevant position.
  • For experts:
    • Having a bachelor’s degree or higher
    • Having at least 3 years of experience working in the trained field, or
    • Having  at least 5 years of experience and a practicing license relevant to the job position expected to work in Vietnam
  • For technical workers:
    • Been trained in technical or other major for at least 1 year and been working for at least 3 years in the trained field, or
    • Having at least 5 years of working experience relevant to the job position expected to work in Vietnam

Conditions to apply

In regard to the Labor Code No. 45/2019/QH14, foreigners must comply with the following conditions to be able to work and apply for a work permit in Vietnam:

  • From 18 years old and have full civil act capacity
  • Having adequate professional qualifications, techniques, skills, and working experience, have a good physical condition as prescribed by the Minister of Health
  • Not obliged to a penalty, have a criminal record, or examined for penal liability
  • Having a work permit issued by a competent Vietnamese agency

How to apply


Dossiers for work permit application must include an approval of the need to use foreign workers and other documents related to foreign employees. The process must be conducted by the employers and all documents issued abroad or foreign diplomatic representatives in Vietnam must be consular legalized and notarized translated into Vietnamese.

Documents for approval of foreigner’s employment are:

  • Registration form for using foreign workers by employers (Form No. 01/PLI, Decree 152/2020/ND-CP).
  • A notarized copy of business registration.

Other documents for work permit application are:

  • An application form for a work permit by employers (Form No. 11/PLI, Decree 152/2020/ND-CP).
  • A health examination certificate if issued in Vietnam or a legalized health examination certificate issued abroad with a validity of 12 months upon the application time.
  • Original foreigner's criminal record if issued in Vietnam or legalized record if issued abroad to check if foreign workers are currently subject to a penalty, not yet expunged or examined for penal liability (at least 6 months valid prior to the application date).
  • Documents and papers proving that foreigners are managers, executive directors, experts, technical workers and a number of occupations and jobs (*).
  • 02 color photos (4x6cm size, taken within 06 months, white background, straight looking, not wearing colored glasses, hat, or headscarf).
  • A certified copy of a valid passport.
  • Legalized documents proving that foreigners are eligible for applying for a work permit.

(*) Document and paper requirements to prove foreigners’ employment:

Applicant types Procedures

Managers or executive directors

A document proving foreigners are managers or executive directors that is valid for at least 03 years.

Experts or technical workers

Diplomas, certificates, written certifications about the years of experience of experts and technical workers by agencies/organizations/enterprises in Vietnam.

Workers moving within the enterprise

- Documents of foreign enterprise sending foreigners to work at the representative enterprise in the Vietnamese territory

- Documents proving foreign worker has been recruited by that foreign enterprise before working in Vietnam for at least 12 consecutive months.

Service providers under a contract

- Service provision contract between Vietnamese enterprise and foreign partner 

- Document proving the foreigners have worked for foreign enterprises without a commercial presence in Vietnam for at least 02 years.

Foreigners offering a service

A document of the service provider sending the foreigner to Vietnam to negotiate service provision.

Foreigners working for foreign non-governmental organizations or international organizations in Vietnam

- Documents sending foreigners to work for foreign non-governmental organizations or international organizations in Vietnam.

- Operation licenses of foreign non-governmental organizations and international organizations in Vietnam.

Football players

Document proving years of experience or an international transfer certificate (ITC), or a temporary or official confirmation from the Vietnam Football Federation.


An aircraft pilot license or professional certificate issued by a competent agency.

Aircraft maintenance workers

Certificate of professional competence in the field of aircraft maintenance.


Certificate of professional competence.

Sports coaches

Certificate of high achievement in the field of sports and certified by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism or one of the qualifications as prescribed.

Education workers

Diploma as prescribed in the Law on Education, the Law on Higher Education, the Law on Vocational Education, etc.


Step 1: Apply for approval of foreigner’s employment

Employers submit approval application form No. 01/PLI in regard to Decree 152/2020/ND-CP and a notarized copy of business registration via one of two ways: 

  • Submit directly to the Ministry of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs or the People’s Committee of the province. The process takes around 15 days.
  • Submit online via The process takes 12 days. If the application is approved, employers submit the original dossier to the approval agency in person or by post. The original approval result will be provided within 08 hours since the agency receives the original dossier.

Step 2: Submit documents for work permit

After getting the approval document in Step 1, you submit all documents mentioned above to a competent agency. In detail:

  • In Hanoi: Employment Department, Ministry of Labor - War Invalids and Social Affairs - Address: 75 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Dong Da, Hanoi.
  • In Ho Chi Minh City: Ho Chi Minh Ministry of Labor - War Invalids and Social Affairs - Address: 159 Pasteur, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City.
  • In other provinces: Department of Labor - War Invalids and Social Affairs of the province where the foreigners will work.

Step 3: Get the result

After around 05 working days, the competent agency will issue a work permit via email if the application is sufficient. After that, the employer submits the original dossier and gets the original work permit.

Processing time & fee

Work permit registration takes around 15 business days for the approval of demand on employing foreign workers and around 5 business days for the work permit application. The fee is varied based on each province where the foreigners are about to work.

Questions and Answers (02)

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George Boesger
United States on July 05, 2023

My work visa has been submitted. I am awaiting its approval. Once it is approved do I need to do a visa run to Cambodia to activate it? What other paperwork should I present to border patrol? Thank you.

Your Reply
No more than 2,000 characters, please.
A Lina Tran Answered on July 05, 2023

@George Boesger, To answer your question, may we know how and where did you apply for your work visa?

3 people found this helpful
Marc Gallifa Giraldo
Spain on April 23, 2023

I'm moving to Vietnam in late October of 2023. I'm from Barcelona (Spain) and I will be flying from Barcelona to Ho Chi Minh City. I have a job offer accepted by a Vietnamese company and I'm trying to apply for a work permit VISA, I would like to know more details about getting the work permit. What steps I have to do? In case, I'm not able to apply for a work permit from Spain, I will apply for a Tourist VISA with multiple-entry for 3 month at least. I'm asking you because Vietnam's Embassy in Spain is not giving so much information to me.

Your Reply
No more than 2,000 characters, please.
A Lina Tran Answered on April 23, 2023

@Marc Gallifa Giraldo, As a Spanish passport holder, you are exempt from visa for Vietnam for 15 days. You can enter Vietnam under visa-free entry, then apply for a work permit once you are in Vietnam.

4 people found this helpful

Frequently asked questions

1. How long does a work permit last?

A work permit lasts for 2 years at maximum and can be extended for further 2 years.

2. If I intend to work in Vietnam for more than 4 years, what do I have to do?

Since a work permit can only be extended once. After the extended work permit expires, you have to apply for a new one to be able to continue to work in Vietnam.

3. Is a work permit obligated for everyone?

No. According to Labor Code 2019 and Decree 152/2020/ND-CP, there are up to 20 cases are exempted from a work permit in Vietnam such as foreigners being the owner or capital contributor of a limited company with contributed capital of 3 billion VND or more, foreigners being licensed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to operate information and press in Vietnam, foreign volunteers working without pay to implement international treaties, foreigners married to Vietnamese and living in the Vietnam territory, etc.

4. Can I use a work permit as a business visa?

No. A business visa is granted for foreigners to enter, exit and stay in Vietnam for business-related activities and has a validity of 1 month up to 1 year. A work permit or a work permit exemption is needed to obtain a business visa with a validity of more than 3 months. On the other hand, a work permit is issued to legalize a foreigner’s employment in Vietnam and is valid for a maximum of 2 years.

5. I am a technical worker and will work in Vietnam for 20 days. Do I have to ask for a work permit?

No. Foreigners entering Vietnam to work as a manager, executive director, expert, or technical worker for under 30 days and no more than 3 times per year are not required for a work permit.

6. When should I submit an application for a work permit?

It takes an employer around 15 days to obtain approval for foreigners’ employment and the other 5 days to be granted a work permit. However, according to Decree 152/2020/ND-CP, the applicant has to submit a work permit application at least 15 days before the start working date of the foreign worker. Therefore, you should submit the application no later than 30 days prior to the start working date in Vietnam.

Contact sales if you have additional questions.

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