work visa for business

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george (not verified)
work visa for business

Hi all, Im interested in starting a business in vietnam or just having an active hobby, is the government in vietnam as anal as the thai government in relation to work permits. I recently read that if you don't have a work permit in vietnam and immigration approaches you that you tell them the paperwork is in progress, I believe if you don't have work permit in thai for whatever reason then you face jail or massive payout to immigration.
I enjoy working with tools and like doing car /motorcycle restorations or building things, from my understanding this would be classified as working in thailand, I cant go drinking all day or playing golf.
Is there anyone out there thats clued up on this subject?Glaserei

Edited by Anonymous on 2012-05-05 23:25

hi all,
i am 30 years old and my girlfriend is 34.
i have an income about 2.000$ and some cash in the bank.
these are in my name.
we want to relocate in vietnam.
do you know how we can live there longterm?what should we do with the visa?


You guys can first arrange a tourist visa to enter the country. Then you can just keep renewing the tourist visa every 3 months until the limit is reached. It depends on whether you have a C2 visa (unlimited renewals to visit family) or a B-type tourist visa, in which case you must leave the country after 6 or 9 months. You can easily travel overland to Cambodia to get a new visa. You can have an invitation letter waiting for you at the Bavet border crossing which will get you a new tourist visa.

Business visas which were once easy to come by are much harder now.

Eventually, you should get a company to sponsor you for a work permit.


The government in Vietnam does make it difficult to get a work permit. In general, you need a foreign company in Vietnam to sponsor your work permit and then it should be easy. Of course you'll need to fill out paperwork, make certified copies of your diplomas, and other such documents. I assume you do have a college degree because it is more difficult if you don't.

However, plenty of foreigners live and work in Vietnam without a work permit. If you open a business in Vietnam, that's a different case as you aren't working for a company other than yourself.

Restoring old cars or motorcycles would either be a hobby or a business.

When you come into the country on a tourist visa, just say you are coming for tourism or to visit friends or family. There's no need to say you plan to do this or that kind of work.


hi tomo, thanks for your reply, so if i understand correctly if i work for myself i wont need a work permit? and if i employ viet staff?? I don't want to make problems for myself when I decide to relocate there.
I hear great things about vietnam and by all accounts seems to be a far greater place to live than thailand where I currently am.
I was recently told to get a business visa from bangkok vietnam embassy, the same guy told me his friend has a very successful business in hanoi and he operates from his business visa


Correct. There is a business visa and there is a work permit and they have different requirements and are appropriate for different people. To get a work permit, you basically need a foreign company (it's more complicated for a Vietnamese company to hire and sponsor a foreigner's work visa) to hire you. It is possible to basically work for your company I think, but anyways, if you register a company or representative office here and you are doing work for that company.. you're not a foreign worker.

But to open a company here as a foreigner, there are other requirements like a minimum investment (with some or all of it required as a deposit in a bank account).

But there are actually quite a lot of foreigners living and working in Vietnam without a work permit. Technically, they are working illegal. This includes both English teachers (as many schools are reluctant to provide their teachers with proper paperwork) as well as people working in seemingly professional positions at well-known global corporations. They are all staying in Vietnam as tourists!


hi tomo, thanks for your replies.
I have a company I started in thailand, does that help? but thats all I have.
What would you recommend me to do based on me wanting to open up shop, restoring and or manufacturing motorcycles, trikes, boats, campers ??
If I didn't have a work or business visa and got found out what would likely happen to me?


Having the business already in Thailand might help, you can set up a rep (representative) office here.

I would recommend visiting some of the existing shops run by foreigners or Viet Kieu that deal with special needs for motorcycles and see how they are run. I would not recommend running a business illegally of course.

If you got the attention of some economic police in Ho Chi Minh City, there would be some fines involved. At least there would be some money exchanged.

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