COVID-19 in Vietnam: Consequences on work permit and travels

Since the start of the emergency, Vietnamese government has imposed several entry-ban and restriction to travels, with direct consequences on work permit release. Within all the measures and relief policies to contain the emergency, Vietnamese government has also provided guidelines for work-permit in order to contain the spread of disease.

Work permit for Experts: how it worked before COVID-19

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the process to allow foreign employees to enter Vietnam included only two steps as follows:

Step 1: Obtain Entry Approval issued by the Department of Immigration (“DI”).

The company submits an application to the DI for its approval. The DI grants the Entry Approval within five working days as of receiving the application.

Step 2: Issuance of Visa by the Consulate/Embassy of Vietnam overseas.

Once received the Approval, the foreign employee can apply for the Visa at the Consulate/Embassy of Vietnam in his/her country. Within the following three or five working days, the Visa is granted.

Find more about Investing in Vietnam here.

Work permit for Experts: step-by-step guide with covid-19

Considering the global sanitary emergency, the process has become more complex and uncertain. It may be summarized in the following steps:

Step 1: Apply for the approval issued by the People Committee (“PC Approval”)

Companies have to file a set of documents to the Labor Department, including the following materials:

  • An official letter;
  • The list of foreign employees and their dependents (if any);
  • A quarantine plan indicating the hotel where each foreigner will stay during the quarantine period. The chosen hotel must be among those approved by the Authorities;
  • Documents specifying the relationship between employees and their dependents respectively, such as the spouse and children under 18 years old.

The Labor Department consolidates all the requests and sends the submitted applications to the HCMC People’s Committee for its consideration on a regular basis. Thereafter, the People Committee decides whether to grant the approval to the applicants or not.

Timeline: Around 2 or 3 weeks as from the date of submission.

Step 2: Apply for Entry Approval

Upon having PC Approval, the company shall submit an application to the Immigration Department and provide documents proving the sponsorship of the company to its employee (i.e. the labor contract, ID card and business card). The application must include the flight details and the related booking confirmation.

Timeline: 05 working days

Step 3: Apply for Visa

Upon receiving the Entry Approval, the foreign employee can apply for the visa at the Consulate/Embassy of Vietnam in his/her country. However, due to the epidemic, Vietnamese embassy/consular in the host countries are temporarily closed or opened for a few days per week with very limited operations.

Step 4: Apply for approval of the Health Department

Upon receiving the Visa, the sponsor company must submit an application to the Health Department in order to obtain its approval.

The application must include the confirmation of the hotel reservation, flight ticket, quarantine plan, plan for arranging and hiring ambulance and medical staff as well as Covid-19 test upon arrival, etc.

Entering to VietNam: what to consider

Currently, non-stop flights from western countries to Vietnam are not allowed. Therefore, foreign employees have two options:

  • Contact the Chamber of Commerce of which their company is a member so that the Chamber itself gathers all foreigners and organizes a special aircraft to bring them to Vietnam. This special aircraft must have a permit of the two governments (Vietnam and the country from which the flight departs).
  • Booking commercial flights. Accordingly, the foreign employee shall book at least 2 flights. However, due to COVID- 19, flights and transit arrangements are still subject to changes and cancellations at the last minute.

The airline is likely to request travelers to obtain a medical certificate issued by a medical institution in their home country confirming that they have been tested negative for Covid-19 before the travel date.

All travellers authorized to enter Vietnam shall be escorted directly to the hotel for the mandatory quarantine period. The transportation from the airport to the hotel should be arranged by the hotel in liaison with the Health authorities. Quarantined guests are requested to stay in-room with room service (breakfast, lunch and dinner) for a minimum duration of 14 days if they are not tested positive for COVID-19.

Health monitoring tests will be conducted by the Vietnamese Health authorities during the quarantine. All related costs will be borne by the company/organization.

The procedure might be changed from day to day. Requirements may also vary depending on various factors such as the province, company/organization, hotel, airline etc.

Fidinam (Vietnam) Ltd

If you are looking for assistance, do not hesitate to contact us: Fidinam (Vietnam) Ltd can help in guiding you through the process.

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