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On October 19, 2019, the National Assembly of Vietnam approved amendments to the Law on Entry, Exit, Transit, and Residence of Foreigners in Vietnam (“Law”). The amended Law was formally issued on 25 November 2019 (Law 51/2019/QH14 on amending and supplementing a number of articles of the Law 47/2014/QH13 on entry, exit, transit, residence of foreigners in Vietnam) and will come into effect on 1 July 2020. In this article, we highlight key changes and updates.

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Client Alert, December 2019 - Changes to Immigration Laws for Foreign Individuals in Vietnam

 

KEY CHANGES AND AMENDMENTS TO THE IMMIGRATION LAW FOR FOREIGN INDIVIDUALS IN VIETNAM:

  • The law now permits the changing of a visa purpose for foreign individuals under specific conditions without needing to leave and re-enter Vietnam.
  • Vietnamese authorities will implement new visa types for foreign investors into Vietnam, based on the value of their contributed investment. The main impacts include:
  • Updating the definition and process for electronic visa applications and their legal implications, and
  • Amending the validity of Temporary Residence Cards for foreign individuals.

Significant impacts from the above include:

  1. Reducing the maximum term of visas and temporary residence for small investors (less than VND3 billion) to one year,
  2. Increasing the term of temporary residence for large investors to up to 10 years, and
  3. Permitting foreign corporate investors to nominate a representative, who will be entitled to temporary residence or visa based upon the capital of the foreign investor.

  

1. Changes to Visa Purposes

In order to facilitate situations where foreign individuals enter Vietnam for the purpose of sightseeing/tourism, and then seek a visa conversion for other purposes, the Government supplemented Article 7, allowing the change of a visa purpose under certain conditions, namely:

  1. Evidence of being an investor or a representative of a foreign organization investing in Vietnam according to the provisions of Vietnamese law;
  2. Foreign individual has a document proving a direct family relationship with a Vietnamese citizen – father, mother, spouse, child;
  3. Foreign individual is invited or guaranteed by agencies or organizations and has a work permit/certificate of work permit exemption in accordance with the Labour Code of Vietnam; oe
  4. Foreign individual enters by an electronic visa and has a work permit/certificate of work permit exemption in accordance with the Labour Code of Vietnam.

 

Current Law New Law

“Article 7. Uses and formats of visa

1. A visa may be for single or multiple entries and its purpose must not be changed.

2. Each person shall be issued with a separate visa, except for children under 14 who will be issued with visas in the same passports of their parents or guardians.

3. Visa shall be issued in the passport or issued separately.”

To amend and supplement Article 7 as follows:

“Article 7.- Forms and uses of visas

1. Visa shall be issued in the passport or issued separately or via electronic transactions. Visas issued through electronic transactions are electronic visas.

2. Each visa is granted individually, except for the following cases:
a) Granting visas to either parents or guardians for children under 14 years old sharing passports with their parents or guardians;
b) Issuance of a visa according to the list of personnel approved by the immigration authority for foreigners visiting or travelling by sea or transiting by sea who wish to visit the inland with a program organised by an international travel business in Vietnam; members of foreign military ships accompanying an official program of activities where ships and boats are moored.

3. The visa is valid for single or multiple entries; e-visas and visas issued for the cases specified at Point b, Clause 2 of this Article are valid for single entry.

4. Visas may not be converted for another purpose, except for the following cases:
a) Have proof of being an investor or a representative of a foreign organization investing in Vietnam in accordance with Vietnam’s laws;
b) Having documents proving that a relationship of father, mother, wife, husband or child of an inviting or guaranteeing individual;
c) Being invited or guaranteed by agencies or organizations and having a work permit/certificate of work permit exemption in accordance with the Labour Code of Vietnam;
d) Entering by an electronic visa and having a work permit/certificate of work permit exemption in accordance with the Labour Code of Vietnam.

5. Where there is a change of visa purpose according to the provisions of Clause 4 of this Article, a new visa shall be granted with a symbol and time limit suitable to the purpose of conversion. The process and procedures for granting new visas will comply with Article 19 of this Law”.

 

 

2. Changes to Visa Types for Foreign Investors

Vietnamese authorities will implement new visa types for foreign investors into Vietnam, based on the value of the investment capital.

Visa types Subject Validity period
ĐT1 Issued to foreign investors in Vietnam and representatives of foreign organisations investing in Vietnam, with total investment capital of VND100 billion ($4.35 million) upwards or investing into sectors and professions with incentives and geographical areas with priorities determined by the government. 5 years
ĐT2 Issued to foreign investors in Vietnam and representatives of foreign organisations investing in Vietnam, with total investment capital of between VND50 billion and VND100 billion ($2.17-$4.35 million), or investing into sectors and professions with encouragement determined by the government. 5 years
ĐT3 Issued to foreign investors in Vietnam and representatives of foreign organisations investing in Vietnam, with total capital of between VND3 billion and VND50 billion ($130,500-$2.17 million). 3 years
ĐT4 Issued to foreign investors in Vietnam and representatives of foreign organisations investing in Vietnam, with total capital of less than VND3 billion ($130,500). 12 months
LĐ1 Issued to foreign individuals who work in Vietnam using work permit exemption certificates. 2 years
LĐ2 Issued to foreign individuals who work in Vietnam using work permits. 2 years
LS Issued to foreign lawyers practicing in Vietnam. 12 months
EV Electronic visas 30 days

 

In addition, the new Law clarifies the visa status for foreign individuals, depending on their purpose in Vietnam, issuing specific types of visas such as LV1, LV2, DN1, and DN2. 

Current Law New Law

Article 8.7
“7. ĐT - Issued to foreign investors in Vietnam and foreign lawyers practicing in Vietnam.”

“7. LS - Issued to foreign lawyers practicing in Vietnam. “
7a. ĐT1 - Issued to foreign investors in Vietnam and representatives of foreign organizations investing in Vietnam with a capital contribution of one hundred (100) billion or more or invested in the field and area priority given by the Government’s decision
7b. ĐT2 - Issued to foreign investors in Vietnam and representatives of foreign organizations investing in Vietnam with the contributed capital of from fifty (50) billion dong to less than one hundred (100) billion dong or into domains and areas where investment is encouraged under decisions of the Government.
7c. ĐT3 - Issued to foreign investors in Vietnam and representatives of foreign organizations investing in Vietnam with the contributed capital of from three (3) billion to under fifty (50) billion.
7d. ĐT4 - Issued to foreign investors in Vietnam and representatives of foreign organizations investing in Vietnam with contributed capital of less than three (3) billion”.

Article 8.8
“8. DN - Issued to individuals who enter Vietnam to work with companies in Vietnam.”

“8. DN1 - Issued to foreigners who work with other businesses and organizations with legal status in accordance with the laws of Vietnam.
8a. DN2 - Issued to foreigners who offer services, establish a commercial presence or perform other activities under international treaties to which Vietnam is a signatory. “

Article 8.16 “
16. LĐ - Issued to individuals who enter Vietnam to work.”

“16. LĐ1 - Issued to foreigners who work in Vietnam with certification not subject to issuance of work permits, unless otherwise provided for by the international treaties to which Vietnam is a contracting party.
16a. LĐ2 - Issued to foreigners who work in Vietnam with work permits. ”

Article 8.18
“18. TT - Issued to foreigners that are parents, spouse, children under 18 years of age of the foreigners issued with LV1, LV2, ĐT, NN1, NN2, UNIVERSITY, PV1, LĐ visas, or foreigners that are parents, spouse, children of Vietnamese citizens.”

“18. TT - Issued to foreigners who are spouses, children under 18 years of age of the foreigners issued with LV1, LV2, ĐT1, ĐT2, ĐT3, LS, NN1, NN2, DH, PV1, LĐ1, LĐ2 or Foreigners are fathers, mothers, spouses and children of Vietnamese citizens. “

 

“21. EV- Electronic visas.”

 

3. Issuing Electronic Visas

The Vietnamese authorities have put together a list of countries that allow foreigners to enter and exit Vietnam with electronic visas, where foreign individuals are able to apply for electronic visas via the website: https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn/. The prescribed processing time for electronic visas is 3 working days from the date of registration and visa fee settlement. 

Current Law New Law

Not Mentioned

Clause 18, 19 are added after Clause 17 of Article 3 as follows:
“18. Electronic transaction means a transaction made by electronic means via the Immigration Portal.
19. The Immigration Portal is the portal of the Immigration Department of the Ministry of Public Security, which has the function of publishing information, providing online public services, supporting searching and linking, storing information and guiding procedures, answering questions related to the field of immigration management”.

Article 16a. Procedures for issuing electronic visas at the request of foreign individuals Article
16b. Procedures for issuing electronic visas at the request of agencies or organizations (See in detail at Article 16a and Article 16b of this Law)

 

4. Temporary Residence Cards

One of new elements of Law is regarding the duration of temporary residence cards (“TRC”), particularly for TRC with symbols ĐT. Accordingly, TRC with symbols ĐT1 is valid for not more than 10 years, ĐT2 is valid for not more than 5 years, ĐT3 is valid for not more than 3 years. 

Current Law New Law

Article 38. Duration of temporary residence cards
1. The duration of a temporary residence card is at least 30 days shorter than the remaining duration of the passport.
2. The duration of a NG3, LV1, LV2, ĐT or DH temporary residence card shall not exceed 5 years.
3. The duration of a NN1, NN2, TT temporary residence card shall not exceed 3 years.
4. The duration of a LĐ or PV1 temporary residence card shall not exceed 2 years.
5. Expired temporary residence cards may be extended.

Article 38. Duration of temporary residence card
1. The validity of temporary residence cards is shorter than the remaining validity of the passport by at least 30 days.
2. Temporary residence card with the symbol ĐT1 is valid for not more than 10 years.
3. Temporary residence cards with symbols NG3, LV1, LV2, LS, ĐT2 and DH are valid for not more than 5 years.
4. Temporary residence cards with symbols NN1, NN2, ĐT3, TT are valid for not more than 3 years.
5. Temporary residence cards with symbols LĐ1, LĐ2 and PV1 are valid for not more than 2 years.
6. Expired temporary residence cards are considered for granting new cards.

 

 

The amendments of the Law on Foreigners’ Entry into, Exit from, Transit through and Residence in Vietnam are intended to assist foreign individuals and investors remove difficulties in applications, simplify the administrative procedures and create a framework to better assess the implementation of foreign policies and the commitments to the free-trade agreements signed by Vietnam.

 

Amendments to the Law come into effect on 1 July 2020.

 

 



For further information contact:

 

Matthew Lourey, Managing Partner

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Huynh Thi Bao Tran, Head of Payroll Services

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Vo Thi Thanh Phuong, Head of Licensing

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