The ultimate guide to visas and work-permits in Vietnam
For those that have never worked outside of their own country, the process of obtaining the right documents and legal status in Vietnam can seem daunting. Anyone trying to figure out what applies to him/her quickly gets bombarded with terms such as CBC’s, residency cards, work-permit, and work-visas. In this guide, we will provide you with a complete overview of all the required steps to legally work in Vietnam as an English teacher
Start with Vietnam visas
To visit the country of Vietnam, you’ll need to obtain a visa. There are different versions and some might not be applicable to you.
Tourist visa, this is a visa you receive when you intend to travel to Vietnam, but not necessarily work. The normal duration of a tourist visa is 90 days and costs roughly $25.
To obtain a tourist visa, you’ll require an invitation letter from the Vietnamese embassy in your home country.
Single entry vs. multiple entry visas. It is possible to receive a 90-day visa which allows you to leave Vietnam for days in between, a multiple entry visa.
Some countries are exempt from obtaining a visa for a short amount of days, normally between 15-30 days, read more here.
For those that want to work in Vietnam, a tourist visa might be a starting point, but you will have to do a visa run before your work visa expires. Only a work-visa allows you to work legally in Vietnam.
Work visa, this particular visa can only be obtained at the border or at the gate of an international airport in Vietnam. The normal duration of a work visa is 90 days.
To obtain a work visa, you’ll need an invitation letter from the company you work for/are going to work for.
Most companies require the following documents before they can provide an invitation letter.
Notarized bachelor/master degree (Can be done at the Vietnamese embassy in your home country)
Notarized teaching degree, such as a TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA. A notarized copy is most of the time sufficient too.
A criminal background check obtained in your home country (issued within a 6-month period.
I got my Vietnamese work visa, now what?
Once you have obtained a work visa, you’ll need to apply for a work permit. Normally the company you work for can assist or simply do this for you. A work permit is valid for 2 years and allows you to work in Vietnam. Work-permits are assigned to particular professions. So, if you work as a teacher you can easily work at a different English language center, but you will need a new work-permit to start as an investment banker.
To obtain your work-permit, you need to provide all your legalized documents, passport pictures, and photos of your visa pages. Normally it takes up to two weeks before the work permit is issued.
The final step – residency card instead of work visa
Once your work-permit has been processed, you can apply for a residency card. This is a simple looking piece of laminated paper that allows you to stay in Vietnam for up to 2 years without having to obtain a new visa. Remember that your work-visa was only valid for 90 days. Be wary though, a residency card is depended on your employment with the company that you work for. This means that if you quit, you might have to hand in your residency card and do another visa run, to obtain legal status in Vietnam.
Vietnamese work visas, cost overview
Costs will vary upon the country of origin, fees at consulates and embassies and personal preference between single and multiple entry visas. We provide an overview to illustrate that obtaining legal work status in Vietnam comes with a price tag!
· Tourist visa, single entry $25
· Legalizing TEFL $25
· Legalizing University degree $25
· CBC and notarization $25
· Visa run (plane to BK) $100
· Work visa, single entry $25
· Work permit process $150
· Residency card $275
· Total cost $650