Vietnam tightens local police clearance rules on recent arrivals

8 Apr 14



What is the change? A new rule mandates that foreigners who arrive in Vietnam before filing a work permit application must submit a local police clearance certificate, in addition to an overseas police clearance certificate.

What does the change mean? The rule will encourage foreign nationals to have their applications ready to submit as soon as possible after arriving, or to obtain work permits overseas before arrival whenever possible.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits, Business Visa extensions, Temporary Residence Cards.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals applying for work permits, especially those arriving in Vietnam before lodging their applications.
  • Impact on processing times: A local police clearance will take an average of 20 business days.
  • Business impact: When required, the local police clearance will significantly delay applications.
  • Next steps: Foreign assignees should, whenever possible, apply for work permits before arriving or apply immediately after entering.

Background: In newly-published Circular #3, the Vietnamese authorities stated that if a foreign national has stayed in Vietnam before filing a work permit, he or she must submit a local police clearance certificate in addition to an overseas police clearance certificate. The circular does not specify how long a foreign national can stay in Vietnam before triggering the new requirement. In the past, local police clearance was only required for foreigners living in Vietnam for six months or more. The labor departments in Hanoi and Bắc Ninh provinces are beginning to enforce the rule in cases where a work permit application is filed several weeks after the date of the arrival stamp in an applicant’s passport.

BAL Analysis: Because of the ambiguity of the rule and the discretionary nature of police clearance requests by provincial departments of labor, foreign work permit applicants are strongly advised to complete their applications for immediate filing after arrival or complete the work permit process before entering Vietnam to avoid lengthy delays. When caught by the new requirement, those who have been in Vietnam for just a few days may be able to obtain a police clearance certificate from the Justice Department in Hanoi.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Vietnam. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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