Work Permit Exemption

To work legally in Vietnam, foreigners need to apply for a work permit from the local labour authorities of the province or city where their employer is located before signing an employment contract. Based on regulations of the Labor Code of Vietnam, all of cases the foreign citizens wishing to work in Vietnam must apply for Vietnam work permit. However, persuant to Article 7 of the Decree No 11/2016/ND-CP issued on 3 February 2016 detailing on the implementation of Labor Code regarding to the foreign labor working in Viet Nam, there are cases of foreign workers exempt from work permits.


Foreign workers specified in Clauses 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 of Article 172 of the Labor Code.

  1. Capital-contributing members or owners of limited liability companies;
  2. Members of the Board of Directors of joint-stock companies;
  3. Chiefs of representative offices and directors of projects of international organizations or non-governmental organizations in Vietnam;
  4. Those who stay in Vietnam for under 3 months to offer services for sale;
  5. Those who stay in Vietnam for under 3 months to deal with complicated technical or technological problems that adversely impact or are at risk of exerting adverse impacts on production and business activities and these problems cannot be handled by Vietnamese and foreign experts who are currently in Vietnam. 

Other cases of foreign workers exempt from work permits, including

  1. Foreign workers who are internally transferred within an enterprise operating in the 11 service sectors in the list of Vietnam’s commitments on services to the World Trade Organization, including: business, communication, construction, distribution, education, environment, finance, healthcare, tourism, cultural entertainment and transport;
  2. Foreign workers enter Viet Nam to provide advisory services and technical expertise or perform other tasks serving research, construction, appraisal, monitoring and evaluation, management and implementation of programs/projects funded with official development assistance (ODA) as specified and agreed in international agreements on ODA between competent authorities of Viet Nam and other countries;
  3. Foreign workers who are issued with a license for the practice of journalism in Viet Nam by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in accordance with the law;
  4. Foreign workers who are teachers of foreign organizations that are sent to Viet Nam by such organizations to teach and research in international schools under the management of foreign diplomatic missions or international organizations in Viet Nam or permitted by the Ministry of Education and Training to teach and research in Viet Nam’s education and training institutions;
  5. Volunteers certified by foreign diplomatic missions or international organizations in Viet Nam;
  6. Foreign workers coming to Viet Nam to work as experts, managers, executive directors or technical employees within a period of less than 30 days and no more than 90 cumulative days in 01 years;
  7. Foreign workers entering Viet Nam to implement international agreements to which central and local state agencies are signatories as prescribed by the law;
  8. Students studying in foreign schools and institutions having agreements on internship in agencies, organizations and enterprises in Viet Nam;
  9. Family members of diplomatic agents of foreign diplomatic missions in Viet Nam permitted for working by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, except where international treaties to which the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam is a signatory that contains provisions different from this;
  10. Foreign workers who have official passports to work for state agencies, social organizations and socio-political organizations;
  11. Other cases decided by the Prime Minister at the proposal of the Ministry of Labor - Invalids and Social Affairs.



  • Foreign worker transfers within an enterprise must provide an appointment letter of the foreign enterprise assigning the foreign worker to work in the commercial presence of the foreign enterprise within the territory Viet Nam and proof of employment for the enterprise for at least 12 months prior to working in Viet Nam;
  • Foreign worker who is performance of any of the following types of contract, namely economic, commercial, financial, banking, insurance, scientific and technical, cultural, sports, educational, vocational training or medical health contracts must provide a contract or agreement between Vietnamese and foreign partners, which must include an agreement on the foreign worker working in Viet Nam;
  • Foreign worker provides services under contract must provide a service contract between Vietnamese and foreign partners and proof of employment for the foreign enterprise which does not have a commercial presence in Viet Nam for least 02 years;
  • Foreign worker offers services must provide an appointment letter of the service provider assigning the foreign worker to come to Viet Nam to negotiate on service provision;
  • Foreign worker works for a foreign non-governmental organization which is permitted to operate pursuant to the law of Viet Nam must provide a certificate of the foreign non-governmental organization and international organization permitted to operate in accordance with Viet Nam law;
  • Foreign worker takes responsiblity for establishing commercial presence must provide a written appointment letter of the service provider assigning the foreign worker in Viet Nam to establish a commercial presence of the service provider;
  • Foreign worker is Manager, executive director, expert or technical engaging in activities of the foreign enterprise, which have established a commercial presence in Viet Nam, must provide proof that the foreign worker has engaged in activities of the foreign enterprise;



  1. Request for exemption from work permits;
  2. Profile of the foreign worker comprising full name, age, gender, nationality, passport number, start date and end date of employment, job placement of the foreign worker;
  3. Proof of eligibility for work permit exemption;
  4. Proof of eligibility for work permit exemption include 01 photocopy to be collated with the original or 01 certified copy. Foreign documents are exempt from consularization, but must be translated into Vietnamese and certified in accordance with regulations of Viet Nam.


For further information please contact:

Discovery Indochina Travel Co., Ltd
5th Floor | Avenis Building | 145 Dien Bien Phu Street, District 1 | Ho Chi Minh City | Vietnam
Tel: 028 39102358 | 028 39102359  Mobile: 0938228856 | 0906640505
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