Work permit exemption certificate in Vietnam

As a foreign national, before you can work in Vietnam, you must first find a Vietnamese company who is willing to hire you. Afterward, your employer has to apply for a Vietnam work permit on your behalf.

However, in specific cases (listed in Clause 1 of Article 8 Decree No.11/2016/ND-CP), a foreigner may work in Vietnam without a working permit, but with a work permit exemption certificate. This certificate is equivalent to the work permit, could be valid for up to 2 years and also could be used to apply for a long term visa.


Who are required to get a Vietnam work permit exemption certificate?

The Decree No.11/2016/ND-CP establishes a number of cases where foreign workers do not have to apply for work permits. They rather must apply for a Work Permit Exemption certificate in order to work legally in Vietnam.
Those who are exempt from applying for work permits and must apply for work permit exemption certificate are:

  1. Being a capital-contributing member or owner of a limited liability company.
  2. Being a member of the Board of Directors of a joint stock company.
  3. Being the Chief of representative office or project of an international organization or non-governmental organization in Vietnam.
  4. Other cases as stipulated in the Decree 11/2016/ND-CP.

Click here for more information in the Decree 11/2016/ND-CP.

What are the consequences if you work without Vietnamese government permission?

Vietnamese government can deport any foreigner who is working in Vietnam without a permission (even an expired one). A fine, ranging from 5,000,000 VND to 75,000,000 VND will occur if Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs doesn’t receive any report about employment of foreigners in Vietnam.
Business owner could also be suspended from operating for up to three months.

How to Obtain a Vietnam Work Permit Exemption Certificate?

The Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs is the administration authorized to certify foreign workers exempt from work permits. The application for work permit exemption certificate for foreigners eligible for it should be submitted by the employer to the Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs at least 07 working days prior to the date when the foreigner is expected to start working.

What documents are required for a Work Permit Exemption Certificate?

1- The written request for certification that the foreign worker is exempt from a work permit

2- Notarized copy of documents proving that the foreign worker is exempt from a work permit

3- Notarized copy of passport and visa of foreigner

4- Company stamp and signature of the legal representative have to appear in work permit exemption forms

Processing time: 10-15 working days after receiving all documents required.

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