New Immigration Law Comes into Effect on 01/01/2015

  * Recently, the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam has promulgated the law on entry, exit, transit and residence of foreigners in Vietnam (Law No. 47/2014/QH13 passed by the 13th National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam during the 7thsession on June 16, 2014).

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.

* Below are 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. Purpose of any Vietnamese visa is unchangeable (Clause 1, Article 7).

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

4. 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).

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

6. 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).

7. Heads of the overseas visa issuing authorities of Vietnam [Vietnamese Embassies or Consular Posts abroad] shall issue a visa that is valid for not more than 30 days to foreigners who come to Vietnam for the purpose of market survey, tourism, visiting relatives or medical treatment (Clause 3, Article 17).

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

9. 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.

10. 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).

11. The law gives provisions on both temprary 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).