A Step-by-Step Guide to Working Legally
in Vietnam with APAX Leaders
An Important Note
We will help you with most of steps at each stage, but there will be independent administration for you to complete in terms of having documents go through various national bodies e.g. embassy or foreign affairs entities.
Depending on your nationality, and from which country you obtained your degree and TEFL certificates, you may have to ensure this is done prior to entering Vietnam. Each country has its own process, and by now you will have had your individual circumstances and pathway to getting the admin completed explained to you. If you have any remaining questions about legalization or notarization, please let us know. Please note: exact monetary figures are subject to change.
This is a brief rundown of the process of obtaining a work permit, which is provided during the interview. Steps may differ in order depending on where you are.
Legalization, notarization, or certification of your documentation, including affidavits for any name differences
Obtain the business letter from APAX as an invitation into Vietnam
After a minimum of 5 business days, fly into Vietnam
Pay for visa upon arrival at the airport
Submit documentation to APAX, complete health check & successfully pass training
Receive work permit within 1-2 months of submissions
Receive residency card 7 days thereafter
Step 1: Document Authentication
For most nationalities with certificates from your country of origin, you can take copies of your university degree, teaching certificate, and home country criminal background check (CBC), along with the originals, to your embassy in Vietnam, for certification.
If you have different names on any of your documents which do not match your passport, you’ll need an affidavit (see page 5) If you do not have a CBC from your home country, we can obtain a local Vietnamese police check (please see page 7).
UK & RSA If your degree and/or TEFL certificates are from the UK or RSA, there are specific steps you must follow and will have been provided with before and during interview. These steps must be completed before you arrive in Vietnam to begin working with APAX English. You can use a company with consular ties. Currently, we recommend using Vital Consular if you are in the UK, and we have provided a list of recommended companies for RSA separately on the website, so please check this out. You can let whoever you use know that APAX sent you!
Step 2: Business Invitation Letter
In order to begin working with us in Vietnam, you must enter (or re-enter) the country with a business invitation letter provided by APAX English.
For most nationalities apart from UK and RSA or those with a certificate from UK or RSA, this is the first step you must complete. In order to get the letter, you need to take note of the following:
Noi Bai Airport (Hanoi) WILL NOT stamp the business letter as normal.
To apply for your business visa letter, you’ll need to request via email from FMD.
North: Send request to:
South: Send request to:
Please allow 5-business days to receive the letter via email. The agent and government fees are between 700,000 – 900,000 VND which is payable on your first day of training.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Currently, no scheduled flights have reached Vietnam. If a flight does reach Vietnam, a 14-day quarantine is inevitable. Please ensure you check in with APAX throughout the hiring process before booking any flight, and always ensure you have fully refundable flights and / or travel insurance in case events take a turn.
Step 3: The Affidavit
If you have different names, including middle names, on any of your documentation or passport, you need an affidavit.
You must take into account the following for affidavits:
- All documents must display your full name exactly as stated on your passport, or you will need an affidavit;
- An affidavit can be signed at your national embassy to correct names on official documents;
- Most embassies will provide this service from within Vietnam, but contact your embassy prior to arriving in Vietnam to work with APAX in order to ascertain whether you can do so or will need to make alternative arrangements;
- Generally, you will need to book an appointment in advance with your embassy;
- If you do need to make alternative arrangements or your embassy denies your request for an affidavit, please contact us for guidance;
- The RSA Embassy will not assist with this process.
Step 4: Training Week
You must attend and successfully pass as part of the work permit process.
During training week you will:
- Submit your completed documentation from the last step, along with two 4x6cm sized photos on a white background and with no glasses and wearing collared shirt, at headquarters;
- Undergo a health check with the rest of the training group (this will be organised with you);
- Bring one 4x6cm sized photo on a white background and with no glasses and collared shirt for the health check form;
- Submit scans of the picture page and the most recent visa in your passport;
- Register with the Vietnamese police and, if you do not have a CBC, obtain a Vietnamese police background check (see page7).
Step 5: Vietnamese Police Registration
You need to obtain a Criminal Background Check in your home country. You must register with the local police, the process for which depends on the location from which you are applying.
You should give your resident registration form provided during contract signing to your landlord for your landlord to register your place of residence. If a new resident registration form is required, you should send an email request to FMD. For those without a CBC, a local Vietnamese police check can be obtained for 200,000 VND. This takes approximately 2 weeks to process.
Getting the Check
You must attend the Department of Justice.
- Northern Teachers: 1B, Tran Phu, Van Quan, Ha Dong, Hanoi (Room 106)
- Southern Teachers: 141-143 Pasteur, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh
You must bring two copies of the police resident registration, copies of the picture page and the most recent visa in your passport. Email FMD for translation of the application form. You will need to fill out the application form and photocopy in the room. Please note: it is not necessary to obtain the Vietnamese police check if you have a home CBC stamped by your country according to the previously explained procedures.
Step 6: The Work Permit
FMD submits for you. Once received, it lasts for 12-24 months.
The validity depends on the government and the province(s) in which you are and/or will be working throughout your time with APAX. All application documents are translated to Vietnamese, and submitted to the Ministry of Labour for approval. Email notification will be sent when the application is submitted with an ETA of work permit receipt. You’ll be contacted once it is ready, and you can expect to have it within around 30 days.
Please note: to be eligible for the 25,000,000 VND startup bonus, you must have submitted all documentation within 14 business days of signing the contract.
Step 7: The Resident Card
The resident card (RC) allows you to avoid the hassle of visa runs every 3 months or whenever your visa expires, and is valid for 12+ months
To obtain your resident card:
- You must have completed the work permit process through APAX;
- You must submit your original passport, two 2x3cm (passport-size) photos with no glasses and wearing collared shirt;
- You must pay 4,500,000-6,000,000 VND for the RC and agency processing fees, which can be submitted during the work permit application; the exact price depends on the government;
- Once in receipt of the above, FMD will complete and submit the RC application form on your behalf;
- You will be emailed on the date of submission and of an ETA;
- Processing time is approximately 7 business days.
- If you are from UK or RSA, legalization before you come out to Vietnam is priority number one;
- Bring mainly VND and some USD to pay for the visa;
- You must have booked your flight to get the business letter, and have your business letter to get the visa at the airport;
- Bring mainly VND in cash, and some USD to pay for the visa; USD can also be easily exchanged for VND in Vietnam;
- The Work Permit will be issued within 1-2 months of submission of all documentation;
- The Resident Card will be issued 7 days after the WP and you have made payment at headquarters.
Startup Cost Estimates
Health Check Fee
Work Permit Fee
Resident Card Fee
These are a list of fees (in Vietnamese Dong) that will be required of you once you start training. Work Permit & Resident Card costs are subject to change depending on your placement in Vietnam. We recommend you bring at least 1000-2000 USD to live comfortably while you get set up in Vietnam.
- APAX Covers (Taken Out of Salary): Health Check Fee, Work Permit Fee
- APAX Covers & Teacher Re-imburses: Business Letter
- Teacher Out of Pocket: Government Fees, Resident Card Fee
Healthcare in Vietnam
When it comes to healthcare in Vietnam, there’s a variety of options. APAX does have a 50/50 contribution plan, but there are important considerations:
- It is mandatory and provided by the Vietnamese government.
- Neither APAX nor the teacher has any control over payment for this.
- It is deducted from your salary automatically each month (as with taxes).
- We strongly recommended not relying on this and instead choose a healthcare provider independent of the company.
Please explore the links below to learn more about health covering while working with APAX Leaders in Vietnam.
Before Arrival in Vietnam
What do I need to do before I arrive?
First and foremost, you must ensure you have completed the legalization process in your home country if you are from the UK or RSA, including obtaining an affidavit if necessary. For AU, CA, IRE, NZ, and US passport-holders, ensure you have your original documentation with you and that an appointment has been booked with your embassy to have your documentation stamped. The documentation is:
- Bachelor’s degree certificate from an accredited university
- TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate from an accredited institution
- Criminal background check, national in most cases, but state for US candidates
For Irish candidates beginning in HCMC, please bear in mind that you will have to travel to Hanoi to stamp your documentation at the embassy, so you’ll want to factor this into your journey.
How do I get my business invitation letter?
To organize your visa-on-arrival, and obtain your business invitation letter, you need to email us the following:
1. Your flight information
2. Your TEFL and degree certificates
3. A scan/photo of your passport photo page
You must ensure you have allowed at least 5 clear business days for the processing of the business invitation letter, which is your invitation into Vietnam to work with APAX. Please reread the work permit steps if you are unclear on this. As such, you’ll need to book your flight for at least a week in advance. We strongly recommend applying for your business letter at least two weeks before you fly to allow for any delays or complications.
How much is the visa on arrival?
Your visa will be a 3-month multiple entry business visa. Take account of the following costs:
- $50 stamp at airport (paid directly)
- 550,000 VND in visa agent fees (paid at training)
- 200,000 VND in government processing fees (paid at training)
Please take note that:
→ It will take approximately 5 business days to process* the business invitation letter, so plan accordingly; and
→ Once requested, APAX covers the visa fees up front. By requesting, you are agreeing to pay the fees back to us at your earliest convenience.
*In some cases, the 5 business day requirement can be reduced at an increased cost for the agent fee (subject to governmental procedure outside of APAX English’s control), roughly 1-2 million VND.
What if I don’t have original documents?
In most cases, original documents are an absolute necessity, so you must ensure that you request a hard copy of your TEFL* if your embassy or CG requires it, and that you have your original degree with you when you arrive in Vietnam. Different embassies have different requirements (e.g. UK and South Africa do not do legalization in Vietnam). You need to check with your national embassy in Vietnam to see what will be accepted. A local police check from Vietnam can stand in for your home background check if you cannot obtain the latter (quickly enough or at all), but a home check is always preferable.
For UK and RSA citizens, there is no need to worry about the original documents if you have your legalized copies of your TEFL, degree and background checks with you. It is the latter set of documents that you will be bringing with you. There is no need to bring originals as well.
*Check with your embassy whether this will be accepted. If not, you will have to request a hard copy from your provider, to be couriered to you immediately by DHL, using the express delivery to avoid any delays with training and in beginning working with us.
Do I need anything else before I fly?
Please carefully read the work permit steps to make sure you haven’t missed anything. You will need at least 2 passport photos (4x6cm) and the visa stamp fee in USD for the visa-on-arrival application at the airport.
Bring as much money as you can in a variety of currencies to cover any eventuality and to prepare for set-up costs. Bring mainly VND, but also ensure you have access to your home bank accounts (more than one if possible). Exchange for VND, and a small amount of USD, at home as soon as you can.
In terms of clothing, you can buy everything you need here for reasonable prices, but shoes beyond size US 9 / UK 8 / EU 42 can be hard to find. If you are training soon after you arrive, bring business casual clothing, for both training and teaching. Finally, when it comes to toiletries, these are easily bought in every city but your favorite brands won’t always be available. Some cities may have specialized expat shops, which are becoming increasingly more common given the size of the English teaching market in Vietnam.
Where do I go when I arrive in the airport?
1. Go to the visa-on-arrival area, located next to immigration.
2. Submit to the counter:
- Your business invitation letter
- 2x photos
- Visa stamp fee (USD)
3. Wait for visa-on-arrival to be processed and passport to be stamped.
4. Pass through immigration.
After Arrival in Vietnam
How do I get my documents stamped?
You should do this as soon as you can, in Vietnam, at your national embassy (unless you are a UK or RSA passport-holder). Ideally, this should be before you begin training. There will be time during training if you are unable to make it to your embassy or CG beforehand, but you should make all efforts to ensure your documents (bachelor’s degree, TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate, and criminal background check/basic disclosure) are stamped as soon as possible.
You should check with your embassy or CG in advance as to whether it will be able to stamp copies or not. We suggest remaining on the safe side and bringing your original documents to avoid any complications further down the line. Delays in processing of documentation can result in a delay in starting your contract with us, and may mean you forfeit eligibility for the 25,000,000 VND startup payment.
Please be aware of your need for an affidavit if any of your names do not match your name exactly as it is stated on your passport, including middle names. Get this done at the same time as sorting your documentation.
I forgot/lost an original document
A stamped bachelor’s degree certificate from an accredited university, TEFL certificate, and background check are required by the Vietnamese government for the APAX English work permit application. All of our teachers are required by law to obtain the work permit and residency card in order to teach within our schools. As such, it is crucial that you provide these as soon as possible; without them, the work permit application would fail. If you need to send for a document, we advise you courier this by DHL or FedEx using the most expedited service possible. In terms of the background check, there are options once you’ve arrived in Hanoi, so don’t worry too much. Try to obtain a home check if you can as it is the preferred option.
Bank accounts & transferring funds
APAX will assist you in opening a bank account during training week. Once a work permit is obtained, funds are easily transferred back to your home country in a variety of ways.
Who are reliable taxi companies?
‘Grab’ will be your #1 choice for getting around until if/when you decide to get a motorbike of your own.
As far as taxis go, Mai Linh Group covers all of Vietnam and is a reliable option whichever part of the country you’re in. There’s also Taxi Group for the north of Vietnam, and Vinasun for the south.
What about trusted bike rentals?
Phung Motorbike in Hanoi is worth checking out, with Saigon Motorcycles with servicing the south. There many other options too in both cities. For other cities around Vietnam, ask expats what they think is most reliable and go with that!
Where can I take Vietnamese lessons?
Your best bet is to look on the Facebook forums – Hanoi Massive for the north, and any of the Saigon pages for the south. LSV provides some reasonable options here, for beginners and – if you’ve been to Vietnam before and need to sharpen your skills – more advanced learners alike.
Salary & Benefits
How is my salary calculated?
You can expect fluctuations in the first part of your contract based on a number of factors. Thereafter, it should settle to a fairly consistent figure.
Work permit costs are deducted in months two, three and four, to be reimbursed after twelve months.
Please see below for tax rate information.
Social security and health insurance payments, over which APAX has no control, are deducted by the government.
Overtime taken by a teacher can also cause fluctuation.
As such, there is no straight answer for how much you would receive each month after tax, but you should use these points as guidelines for making your own rough calculation.
At what % will my income be taxed?
Vietnamese tax law is incredibly complicated and quite frequently subject to arbitrary change. However, as a rough outline, before you receive you work permit, it is 20%. This will apply for the first month or so if you are organised and have all your documentation in order.
After you receive your work permit, it is slashed down to 11-13%, which is determined based on monthly income. The fluctuation takes account of any overtime paid, and governmental policy changes, but is rarely noticeable. APAX will always try to ensure you are paid the most you possibly can be under Vietnamese tax law.
Are employees paid for training?
Employees are not paid for the first five days of training. After you pass the training, you then sign your official contract, and the date from which your contract is signed is the first date from which your pay will be calculated. The usual calculation is from the first to the final day of the month, with payment on the tenth day of the following month (or, if this falls on a weekend date, the Monday following the weekend, due to the bank’s operations).
What about health insurance?
We strongly recommend you obtain independent, private healthcare. There is a compulsory government insurance plan, payment for which will come directly out of your salary payment each month. This is a small payment of a few dollars. However, this is not comprehensive and relying on this as your sole source of medical coverage is not advised. Payment for this is entirely out of the control of APAX English. Please visit our healthcare section for more information.
What are the dates of annual leave?
These are provided during interview. However as an overview – there are 6 fixed paid days determined by APAX, 12 paid lesson blocks which need to be pre-approved by your Head Teacher, and approximately 1.5 weeks paid holiday during TET.
If I have a pre-planned holiday booked?
You should contact your headteacher as soon as you are placed in your center to ensure a plan is formulated in advance. Please note that pre-booked time off is never guaranteed before you have this approved by your branch, and you should remain as flexible as possible when beginning working with us.
Training & Housing
Can you tell me about housing options?
Housing prices in most cities range from $120 – $600 per month depending on lifestyle choices (shared cheaper, penthouse expensive, all generally very good).
Be prepared for relocation to a smaller city at a later point in your contract if you start in Hanoi or HCMC, as this is not the norm for new teachers. We would advise aiming for a rolling contract, which is very easy to get. APAX will help to ensure a smooth transition when the time comes.
We strongly recommend not obtaining housing or getting a contract prior to being placed. Demand for certain centers far exceeds availability, and if you choose to live somewhere before placement you may have to accept a much longer commute time than if you had waited. Indeed, a commute may actually be impossible. However, if you want to get an idea of what’s available once you’ve been placed, we have included some helpful information for the larger cities.
For Ho Chi Minh City, we recommend booking a hotel or Airbnb in D1, D2, D3 or Binh Thanh District for the two week training period. Only once you receive your placement, do we recommend looking for permanent housing and the recruitment team can assist with this process if need be
For Hanoi, have a look at Viet Long Housing. Tay Ho is where most expats like to stay. Ba Dinh district is the most central and touristic. Additionally, you’ll find many options in the centrally-located Dong Da district.
For Hai Phong, you can take a look at Tan Long Real Estate.
What about housing during training?
For HCMC, candidates are expected to independently organize accommodation.
For Hanoi, it is easiest if the candidate arranges accommodation, but there are very limited spots available for around 7 USD / 150,000 VND per night close to the training center in an APAX apartment. Please inquire about these before arrival.
When it comes to areas, in both cases, please check the earlier question about housing.
When will I receive training information?
Training information comes out to you between Wednesday and Saturday prior to the first week of training. You will have at least a weekend to prepare for the first day of training (almost always on the Monday, unless the Monday falls on a public holiday, e.g. New Year’s Day, in which case you will be informed).
The information will be sent by email and will outline everything you need to know before you begin, including where, when, and whether it will be a morning or afternoon training session. You may therefore have time during the week to complete administration for your documents (TEFL, degree, and CBC).
Suggested housing for training in Hanoi
Lotus House is APAX preferred housing partner in Hanoi.
A Calm & Convenient Space
The house is conveniently situated at the juncture of the city’s major districts – Tay Ho District and Cau Giay District.
- 15 minutes by motorbike or car into the city center
- 7 – 10 minutes to office building area
- 3 minute walk to the West Lake – the biggest lake in Hanoi
- 20 minutes to Noi Bai airport.
Services & Benefits
24/7 Reception, 24/7 Security, WiFi, Cable TV, Studio room, in-house cooking is allowed, house keeping, motorbike parking, public washing machines and dryer, 1 queen bed, flexible rental scheme at discounted APAX price, check-out whenever.
Combo 1: One week stay + Free Airport pickup $99
Combo 2: Ten Day stay + Free Airport pickup $129
Phone: 0934 68 9977
Email: i[email protected]
Address: No.2 lane 245 Lac Long Quan Street Nghia Do, Cau Giay , Ha Noi