Wednesday, December 31st, 2014 - 1:19 AM

This law is to come into effect on January 01, 2015. The Ordinance No. 24/2000/PL-UBTVQH10 on entry, exit and residence of foreigners in Vietnam is annuled as from the effective date of this law.

We would like to list some notable points of the law:

1. A foreigner holding various passports is forced to use only one of his/her passport for all his/her entry in, exit from, transit and residence in Vietnam. (Clause 4, Article 4).

2. Visa symbols are changed and more specific in accordance with the purposes of immigration (Article 8). 

The Immigration Law stipulates 20 different types of visa.

3. Foreigners who enter Vietnam to work are able to obtain a visa up to 02 years maximum (Clause 5, Article 9), while foreigners who enter Vietnam to invest are able to obtain a visa valid up to 05 years maximum in accordance with the law on investment (Clause 6, Article 9).

The validity of each visa type differs under the Immigration Law. For example, the maximum duration of an investor visa will be five years; the maximum duration of working visas will be two years which corresponds with the maximum duration of work permits.

The duration of temporary residence granted can be canceled or shortened where foreigners violate the Vietnam law or stay in Vietnam with a purpose different from the initial registered purpose.

4. Foreigners who enter Vietnam to work must obtain a work permit before applying for a Vietnamese entry visa (Section c, Clause 4, Article 10).

 To legally enter Vietnam, foreigners must apply for a suitable type of visa. For example, foreigners entering Vietnam for investment purposes must submit documents as proof of investment in Vietnam; foreigners working as lawyers in Vietnam must present their permit for practicing law in Vietnam; foreigners working in Vietnam must have a work permit in the visa application dossiers.

5. The law describes specific cases of Vietnamese visa-free entry, including the case of foreigners who enter Vietnam at the checkpoint of economic zones or special administrative – economic units (Clause 3, Article 12), and unilateral visa-free entry, in which the validity period of a decision to unilaterally grant visa-free entry shall not exceed 05 years and may be extended (Clause 2, Article 13).

6. The law broadens up to 06 cases of entities that are qualified to apply for visas at international border checkpoints (Clause 1, Article 18).

7. Cases of suspension from entry are also stipulated expressly in this law including children under 14 years of age without accompanying adult(s), persons expelled from Vietnam for less than 03 years, and persons deported from Vietnam for less than 06 months (Article 21).

Moreover, foreigners may be suspended from exit in one of the following cases:  (Article 28)

- Tax obligation is not fulfilled.

- Implementing a judgement or decision of a court.

- Implementing a decision on penalties for administrative violations, ect.

8. The law has a separate Chapter to describe the conditions for transit, transit passenger area, and transit by air/sea (Article 23, 24, 25 and 26).

9. The law gives provisions on both temporary and permanent residence of foreigners in Vietnam. Any stateless person who has had temporary residence in Vietnam from 2000 or earlier will be considered for granting permanent residence (Article 39).

Besides, duration of temporary residence cards is from 02 to 05 years and subject to visa types (Article 38).

10. The sanctions for administrative violations related to entry, exit, residence and travel of foreigners are still being applied in accordance with existing regulations. According to these regulations, the maximum penalty for violation is 40 million dong (US$2,000). Depending on the violation, foreigners may also be deported from Vietnam.