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Knowing the key local Vietnamese laws that can affect your life is essential

Every country has its own set of laws and regulations, and while most of them are there to ensure the country doesn’t descend into chaos, there are some laws that are highly questionable. Vietnam is no exception to this, with some laws that are similar to most other countries in the world, but also a select few that may seem strange to some.

Before we delve into this, take note that Vietnamese society operates on the Confucian concept of ‘Asian values’ and some of these laws run parallel with this ideology. So what may seem strange to an American or European may be very normal to an Asian. With that in mind, let’s move on to the list.

1. Register Yourself!

Whether you’re an ex-pat or just a tourist, as long as you’re a foreign citizen, you are required to register with the local police when you move into a residence. As a tourist, your hotel/hostel usually takes care of this for you. (That is why they ask for your passport.) But for ex-pats who are here for the long haul, your landlord is required to do it.

Why? Simply so they know you live in that place and that you’re accounted for. Also, stay out of trouble. If you’re the only foreigner in the neighborhood, you’ll stick out like a lighthouse in a dark sea in the middle of the night.

2. Having More Than Two People on a Bike

This should be more of a common sense entry than anything, but if you’re walking down the street and see a motorbike with an entire family of four (and their dog) on it, it is illegal. According to Vietnamese law (and common sense), it is illegal to have more than two people sitting on a bike. Plus, you also need a license to be able to drive or ride a bike on the road, just like in every other country in the world.

3. Stay Away from Funky Balls

Nitrous oxide, or N2O, should only be allowed to be traded and produced for industrial production and not be licensed for human use, the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. The ministry said N2O was not included in the list of banned and restricted chemicals for medical use. At the same time, it was yet to receive any registration for drugs or medical equipment that required this gas.

Nitrous oxide is capable of inducing feelings of euphoria due to its impact on the neurological system, so can be used as a recreational stimulant. But overuse may lead to memory or sleep disorders and a tingly sensation at the extremities, among other effects.

At the moment, nitrous oxide is still listed as a chemical regulated by the Ministry of Industry and Trade with practical applications such as anesthesia in medicine among its uses. Violating regulations relating to its production or sale could result in fines of VND12-25 million ($515-1,070).

Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually technically illegal to work in Vietnam on a tourist visa. You’ll need a full-fledged work permit if you’re a foreign employee, and the maximum validity of one is two years. The work permit is usually handled by the company that hires you. To aid your application, you’ll need a degree, a letter of referral from a respected company, proven experience in your field, and a valid health check.

5. You Need Money for a License to Start a Business

Of course that goes without saying for all businesses, but we’re not just talking about start-up capital here. According to Vietnamese law, you will need at least US$30,000 in the bank before you can get a license to start your own business.

Now this will be a major issue for start-ups and online retailers who don’t need so much money, to begin with, but that’s just the way it is here. Of course, there are some who start their business before registering and then pay once they have that amount sorted out, but this is playing with fire. All it takes is a jealous business rival and you’re in trouble.

When planning your business, it’s highly recommended to make sure you are in contact with a lawyer well-versed in Vietnamese law who can advise you on what to do and, if possible, speak to a CEO in the same field about his/her experience. For more helpful information, check out this site.


6. You Can Buy Property but Not Land

Ever dreamt of buying a nice plot of land to build a house, or a three-story mansion so you can sit on your verandah sipping wine and reflecting on life? You can’t do it here.

According to Vietnamese law, you can buy a house but not land. So you can still live that dream to buy a house or a mansion, but the land wouldn’t belong to you and you will have to lease it. Land leases in Vietnam last a maximum of 50 years, after which you can renew the lease without the rent being increased. So yes, you can own the property as long as you lease the land but you can’t own the land.

7. It’s Illegal to Overwork Yourself

According to Vietnam’s Labour Code introduced in 2013, you are officially not allowed to work for one employer for more than 48 hours a week. This amounts to a maximum of 8 hours a day, or if you don’t work every day, a maximum of 10 hours a day without being paid overtime. If you are reading this now at 8:00 p.m. on a weekday on your office desktop, there’s a high chance you’re breaking the law. In other words, you should go home now.

8. Yes, the Legal Drinking Age Is 18

This entry was made to clear any confusion about the legal drinking age in Vietnam. Yes, it is 18.


9. Know Your Probationary Period

Speaking of work, if you have just taken up a new job, your probationary period cannot exceed 30 days of employment with a position that requires professional or vocational qualifications and 60 days of employment with a position that requires a college-level qualification or above and just six days for all other cases.


You will be paid a minimum of 85 percent of that position’s official wage, so if you’re reading this and realize you’re being short-changed at your current job, you know what to do!

10. You’re Not Allowed to Gamble

Gambling, except in government-licensed casinos, is illegal in Vietnam. Anyone found to be in violation of this law is subject to steep fines and/or a severe prison sentence. Access to licensed casinos is restricted to holders of foreign passports. Alternatively, you could use that money for other not-so-illegal things.

11. Don’t Bring Your Pornography Over

It is illegal to import pornographic materials into Vietnam as pornography itself, including its production, distribution, and possession, are all illegal in this country. Enforcement of this law really depends on your luck and the punishment varies between fines and detention. To be on the safe side, it’s better not to be walking around lugging DVDs of the dubious variety. The rationale behind this law is that pornography harms traditional Vietnamese values.


12. You’re Not Allowed to Export Antiques

Fancy that vase that you saw in Da Nang that has been around for about 200 years? Bad news: you can’t bring it back home. Well, not unless you get a permit from the Ministry of Culture. It is illegal to export antiques from Vietnam without a permit, so your best course of action is to speak to the ministry to get further advice on what you can do if you really like that vase and can already picture it in your living room back home.

13. Don’t Do Drugs, Not Even in Vietnam

There seems to be a rather relaxed and nonchalant attitude toward drug usage in Vietnam. After all, it’s not uncommon to catch a whiff of marijuana smoke wafting in the neighborhood. But don’t be fooled – penalties for drug offenses in Vietnam are severe!

Under the Vietnamese penal code, a person caught in possession of even a small amount of heroin can be sentenced to death. There are actually foreigners in prison now serving life sentences or facing the death penalty for drug trafficking, and Vietnamese authorities have tightened their stand recently against drug-related offences.

14. Prostitution Is Illegal

This might surprise a number of you, but prostitution is actually illegal in Vietnam! It’s very common to see ladies of the night canvassing for customers, though – usually male tourists walking alone – and sometimes you’ll get the occasional shady-looking middle-aged man on a bike asking you if you want a massage. Yes, all those are illegal and chargeable offenses.


On a more serious note, the Government is trying to crack down on sex trafficking, especially when it involves the underaged. Although it will take time to eradicate this due to the numerous syndicates around, it is still a work in progress.


On a side note, I’ve discovered a simple trick to brush away those pesky bikers who keep harassing me for a massage – just yell “I’m gay” and watch them scoot off into the night immediately. You’re welcome.


15. Maternity Leave Entitlements

If you become pregnant, you are entitled to up to six months of maternity leave, with two of these months marked as compulsory. You will get 100 percent of your salary paid during that time and if you are carrying more than one baby, you are entitled to take an extra month of leave per child.


Imagine having quadruplets – you’re pretty much not going to the office for almost a year.

16. No Drugs, No Weapons, No… Used Car Parts

There exists a list of prohibited items that you should avoid bringing into the country. Some are straightforward like drugs and pornography as I mentioned earlier, but there are also some other additions to that list, and some are strange.


For example, no weapons, ammunition, and explosive materials; no military equipment; no reactionary and “depraved” cultural products which could include T-shirts with a beer brand’s logo on it; no fireworks; no second-hand consumer goods (yes, apparently); no second-hand electrical and electronic household appliances; no goods that can cause environmental damage; no second-hand spare parts; no waste and disposable materials; no money amounting to more than US$5,000 without declaration; and, my personal favorite: no children’s toys that can detrimentally influence a child’s personality, education, social order, safety or disturb the peace.


However, you are allowed to bring no more than 400 cigarettes, no more than 100 cigars, no more than 500 grams of tobacco, no more than 1.5 liters of liquor at 22 percent of volume and above (spirits), and no more than 2 liters of liquor below 22 percent volume (beers and wine). So it’s not all that bad, I guess.


17. Be Careful What You Shoot

For those of you into photography, or just like taking pictures in general, do take note that photography of, or near, military installations is generally prohibited. You might get your camera confiscated and be subjected to some serious questioning. Also, why would you be taking pictures of military installations in the first place?


Another big no-no is taking pictures during demonstrations. If you’re taking a picture of a non-state-sanctioned event, you’re unwittingly putting yourself into a situation of being part of the demonstration which can get you in serious trouble, especially if you’re a foreigner; we’re looking at potential detention or deportation. So just stay away from demonstrations, let alone take pictures of one.

Now that you know what not to bring in, here’s what you can’t bring out of Vietnam: weapons, ammunition, explosive materials, military techniques equipment and effects; antiques; drugs of all kinds; toxic chemicals; wood, logs, timber, preliminarily processed wood of all kinds; rotten materials (why would you even?); wild, or precious, and rare animals and plants; and money amounting to more than US$5,000 without declaring it.


19. Legal Age for Marriage Is…

Twenty for men and eighteen for women. Of course, this information was added just in case…

20. Don’t Linger Too Close to the Border

Earlier I mentioned that you’re not allowed to hang around near military installations. This law also applies to an area that is close to the border. If you’re planning to visit a village, commune, or ward that is close to one, you may need to get permission from the provincial police department. Also always ensure that you have an ID with a photograph of you. This is not a suggestion, it’s an actual law.


So there you have it – 20 Vietnamese laws that every foreigner in this country should know. Always remember to err on the side of caution when dealing with any of these issues. There have been cases where foreigners got detained and their passports confiscated, and prisons in Vietnam aren’t exactly the best environment for one’s physical or mental well-being. So stay safe and stay out of unnecessary trouble. adv


Identifying the type of policeman we face in Vietnam can be tricky

One of the first things a newcomer to Vietnam will notice is the number of police officers around the country. They’re dressed in various colors ranging from blue, tan to green with various kinds of headgear, badges, and epaulets dealing with issues from traffic flow management to work-permit registration to riot control situations so it is normal to get confused trying to understand who they are and what they specialize in.

I, too, had the same problem when I first got here. Whenever I saw a policeman on the street, I resisted the urge to grab the nearest local person, point towards the officer, and ask him what “that uniformed man in dark green” is supposed to be. But I figured it would not be the best idea so I decided on an alternative. After some searching, I found out for myself what the various forces are, how to identify them and what exactly they do.

Here are the three most common police forces in Vietnam that you might encounter, how you can tell them apart, and what exactly they do. Let’s start with the most visible one.

Traffic Police (Canh Sat Giao Thong)

Whether you’re riding a bike whizzing around a busy roundabout or sitting comfortably in a taxi with bikes darting past you, you may have noticed an officer or two in tan uniforms wearing similarly colored helmets labeled ‘CGST’ directing the flow of traffic. These are the traffic police who are under the jurisdiction of both the People’s Public Security Force and the Ministry of Transport.

They deal exclusively in matters pertaining to traffic safety, which include traffic law enforcement and facilitating traffic flow. Do take note that all traffic police officers are required to display their blue ID cards on their chest, which contain information such as their name, rank, department, and police identification number. This allows the public to know who they are and, should the need arise, to provide feedback to a higher authority.

Public Security Force (Cong an Nhan dan)

The second most common force you will encounter is the Public Security Force officers, who wear a distinct pine-green uniform which includes a green and red cap. This force is the biggest of the three, manpower-wise, and deals directly with the population in various administrative levels structured in a “ward-district-city” hierarchy system with the ward-level being the lowest and the most easily-accessible precinct for residents and the district and city-level precincts for more complicated cases within their respective jurisdictions.

They deal with the various aspects of civilian life from household and transportation registrations to criminal background checks to work-permit licensing. Their job also includes dealing with complaints, warnings, and crime reports from citizens, and they also have the authority to handle civil and penal prosecution.

For foreigners living in Vietnam who are required to register their residency, this is the force that handles your registration. They are generally friendly and helpful, and it would be a good idea to get to know them better, especially if you’re living in an area with few foreigners or if you’re just generally feeling unsafe at some point.

Mobile Police Force (Canh Sat Co Dong)

Also known as the “CSCD”, they are a new addition to Vietnam’s police force, created due to an initiative by the authorities in response to rising crime levels and a rising threat of terrorism. They are also the most intimidating-looking force with their all-black uniforms, CSCD helmets, bullet-proof body armor, riot shields, and ubiquitous assault rifles.

While under the jurisdiction of the People’s Public Security Force, their operating procedures are slightly similar to the army’s. Operating in a militaristic structure, you won’t see them patrolling the streets. And unlike the Public Security Force officers, they specialize in planned missions against organized crime and time-sensitive cases like the kidnapping of public officials and terrorist attacks.

The CSCD is the only force that has the authority to perform spot-checks for contraband or dangerous items on individuals and their property without a warrant, and they are allowed to use lethal force if necessary. Do comply with them if you ever encounter them.

The Others

The less common forces which you may also encounter are youth volunteers, who are dressed in dark green uniforms with green ball caps and who generally aid in marshalling duties for vehicular and human traffic.


Private security forces, who usually wear light blue shirts and dark pants with black ball caps, guard buildings, and shops. Traffic inspectors wear blue shirts with a black peaked caps and look out for parking and vehicular violations. adv


What happens when caught speeding, without a helmet or seatbelt, or using a phone while driving, plus, parking fines in Vietnam?

You break the law and you are arrested

If you are caught red-handed — for instance, if you have forgotten a turn signal or crossed into the wrong lane — in the sight of a policeman, they will walk into the street, the point at you with their brightly colored torch, and motion for you to pull over. Beautiful girls and owners of brand-new motorcycles have the reputation of being arrested more often.


Good to know: Traffic policemen are obliged by law to salute you when they stop you.


Do not try to escape

Some ex-pats will advise you to pretend not to see the policemen and ignore them or run away. We think you shouldn’t. Trying to avoid them could possibly lead to an accident with another motorist or worse, the police getting on their bikes to chase you down. This will almost definitely lead to your bike being impounded on top of a hefty fine.


Pay a fine or pay a bribe?

Once you have been pulled over, the amount you pay will depend on how much Vietnamese you speak and what paperwork you have. If you pretend to not know Vietnamese, English, or even French, you might be able to get away without paying anything in some cases.


Another trick that seems to work is to talk gibberish and gesticulate: If they feel they are losing their time with you, they might let you go. This will only be an effective way to dodge a fine if the infraction you committed is minor.


If you are not a good actor/actress, then you will have to pay.

If your paperwork is in order (valid license, vehicle registration, insurance, passport), the only right and legal way to follow is to take the ticket and pay it within a couple of weeks at the tax office. However, if you choose this solution, the police officer has the right to confiscate your vehicle’s registration. He may also take your license for extreme cases (read Tips for Buying or Renting a Motorbike in Vietnam for more information).

Circular No. 48/2014/TT-BGTVT, state that foreigner or Vietnamese citizens residing overseas that wishes to drive in Vietnam shall:

a) Follow procedures for replacing an equivalent driving license in Vietnam if that person already has a national driving license;

b) Be permitted to operate the types of vehicles written on the international driving license without having to replace it with a Vietnam driving license if that person already has an international driving license issued by a competent authority of a member state of the Convention on Road Traffic 1968;

c) In case an international agreement on driving licenses to which Vietnam is a signatory prescribes otherwise, the such international agreement shall apply.

Even though it is the correct way to do things, it is usually a hassle for both the policemen and you. To exacerbate the situation, the place to pay your fine might not be where they are keeping your registration license.

Because of these complications, most people choose to pay the fine directly to the cop and get on with their day. These ‘fines’ can range from VND100,000 – 200,000 for motorbikes and VND500,000 – 1 million for cars. Beware that they can be higher than the actual cost of the ticket.

The amount will vary depending on your language proficiency, the type of vehicle, and the condition that it is in. Please note that only police wearing brown uniforms are allowed to issue fines and handle traffic violations. Without it, they cannot legally pull you over.

The Consequences: How much will you be fined?

Concerning fines, below is a breakdown of what you can expect to pay if you’re fined according to Decree No. 171/2013/NĐ-CP

Behavior or violation

Fines (VND)

Temporary keeping your motor (day)

Taking away driving license (day)

Excessive speed from 5 – under 10 km/h

100,000 – 200,000



Excessive speed from 10 – 20 km/h

500,000 – 1,000,000



Excessive speed over 20 km/h

2,000,000 – 3,000,000



Passing at the prohibited area

500,000 – 1,000,000



Driving in prohibited area, opposite side

200,000 – 400,000



Driving in wrong path of road or lane

200,000 – 400,000



Non-compliance with the signal of traffic lights

200,000 – 400,000



Non-compliance with the command of traffic controller

200,000 – 400,000



Changing direction without reducing speed

200,000 – 400,000



Changing direction without the signal informing turning direction

200,000 – 400,000



Level of alcohol in the blood over 0.25mg – 0.4mg/l

500,000 – 1,000,000



Level of alcohol in the blood over 0.4mg/l

2,000,000 – 3,000,000



Non-compliance with checking for the levels of alcohol in the blood

2,000,000 – 3,000,000



Not carrying Registered Certificate of motor, Driving License

80,000 – 120,000



No carrying insurance Certificate of Motor

80,000 – 120,000



Not owning a driving license

800,000 – 1,200,000



Not owning a Registered Certificate of motor

300,000 – 400,000



Driving a motor with capacity over 175 cm³ without driving license

4,000,000 – 6,000,000



No wearing helmet

100,000 – 200,000



Using phone when driving

60,000 – 80,000



Pulling or pushing other vehicles

200,000 – 400,000



Taking off 2 hands while driving

5,000,000 – 7,000,000



Weaving when driving

5,000,000 – 7,000,000



Driving on one wheel (to 2-wheel vehicle)

5,000,000 – 7,000,000



Driving self-assembly or self-produced vehicles

800,000 – 1,000,000

confiscating vehicle


Overall, after several years living in Vietnam, policemen have only stopped me a few times. Unlike some other Asian countries, it does not seem that the local police are targeting foreigners in particular. If you have all your documents in order and follow the traffic rules, you don’t have to worry about being arrested or harassed. If you’ve had a different experience to me, please let us know by posting a comment below! adv


A notary agent offers a range of services including:
- Witnessing the signing of documents
- Transferring of company capital
- Payout to beneficiaries from an estate

Most notaries in HCMC offer translations but cannot notarize these documents. For that, you will need to source a translation company or your district’s Department of Justice (DOJ) office. However, if you have legal documents that need translating, it’s best to have a law firm do the work. The ward People Committees can notarise and certify copies of Vietnamese documents, while the district People Committees provide a similar service for foreign language documents.

What are the prices for notarization services in HCMC?

The People’s Committee instituted a blanket fee for notarization services in the city. Fees are as follows:

– Real estate auction contract: VND100,000/set
– Guarantee contracts: VND100,000/set
– Custody of testaments: VND100,000 /set
– Authorization contracts: VND40,000/set
– Cancellation of contracts or transactions: VND20,000/set
– Other documents: VND40,000/set
– Translation from/to a foreign language: VND45,000-200,000/page
– Issue copies of notarized documents: VND5,000/page, from the third page VND3,000/page

What about translation services in HCMC?

Translation services are plentiful in HCMC both to and from Vietnamese, and between many international languages. Payment structures vary from hourly rates to per-page rates. Instead of using a notary (as they cannot notarise translated documents), hire a translation agency to both translate and notarise your documents. You can also have documents translated and notarised at the Department of Justice of HCMC, along with each district.

What notary offices or translation service providers in HCMC you should know?

Asia Notary
44 Võ Văn Tần, D3, HCMC, Vetnam; +84 28 3930 0903

Bến Thành Notary Office
97-99-101 Nguyễn Công Trứ, D1, HCMC, Vetnam; +84 28 3821 4999

Central Notary Office
454 Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai, D3, HCMC, Vetnam; +84 28 6291 5485 / +84 9 0375 2525

Việt Úc Châu
20 Trần Cao Vân, D1, HCMC, Vetnam; +84 28 3825 6420 / +84 9 8350 8611

DOJ branch for District 1
47 Lê Duẩn, D1, HCMC, Vetnam; +84 28 3822 3404

DOJ branch for Thu Duc City
249 Lương Định Của, Thu Duc City, Vietnam; +84 28 3740 0509

DOJ branch for District 7
7 Tân Phú, D7, HCMC, Vetnam; +84 28 3785 0612

DOJ branch for Other Districts
185 Cách Mạng Tháng Tám, D3, HCMC, Vetnam; +84 28 3834 2441
5 Đoàn Như Hài, D4, HCMC, Vetnam; +84 28 3940 2388 advertisement


Vietnam is modernizing its administrative procedures, finally

Probably one of the most important decisions by the Vietnamese government this year has been the promise to replace the old residence books and national ID cards with a new system of personal identification numbers linked to a national database, making the identification information of any person access to all government agencies. This has been dubbed “a breakthrough in management mindset” by local media.


The change was announced on 30 October when Resolution 112 was signed into effect by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. The Resolution seeks to simplify administrative procedures and documents regarding residency management, under the authority of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS).


Through the use of the National Database of Residence, it should make things easier in eight areas: migration, businesses subject to MPS approval such as house and office leasing, vehicles, government workers, social security policies including health insurance, fire prevention, and fighting, national ID cards, and residency registration.


Particularly, the abolishment of paper residence books has received widespread attention and applause.


To prevent expectations from going overboard, the MPS held a media conference on 7 November to explain that the national database will not be ready until 2020, and will cost VND3,000 billion (US$132 million) to build.


What is a Residence Book?

Similar to other family register systems in East Asian and Southeast Asian countries, the Vietnamese hộ khẩu is a method to control residency by issuing each family a residence book, with the permanent address and basic information of household members living at the same address.

As such, all family members have to share one legal document as their proof of residence, which is required in many procedures. Changes to the information in the residence book, including births, deaths, marriages, divorces and moves, involve cumbersome processes.

Take the example of Ms. Nghia, who became the head of a household in Hanoi after her husband passed away. When Ms. Nghia’s family recently moved from Thanh Xuan District to Dong Da District, she had to go through many doors over six months to make changes to the residence book in order to sell the old house and settle in the new one.

Things are even more difficult for people from other provinces migrating to the city. For instance, Ms. Thuy, after getting married to a man in Saigon, had to register her address in the same residence book as her husband’s family, with written approval from the head of the household.

If there are no relatives in the city, however, they have to apply for a temporary residence document showing their current address. Since residency documents are a prerequisite for recruitment, housing, education, and social welfare, it has become a vicious circle for many families.

The Importance of Change in Vietnam’s bureaucracy

The 12-digit personal identification number (PIN) was introduced in the Citizen Identification Law effective from 1 January 2016. This number includes coded information about gender and the year and place of birth.

Each person will be assigned a PIN from birth to death. The PIN will be identical to the number displayed on the citizen identification card, issued from age 14, which will replace the old 9-digit ID card. The PIN is linked to the person’s information on the National Database of Residence, including their permanent and current addresses.


According to Resolution 112, this will spell the end of residence books and temporary residence documents, once the national database and related legislation are completed. Thirteen procedures dealing with the residence book, in particular, will be abolished.


As Ms. Thuy observed, the Resolution does not address people’s concerns with policies that tie their government-subsidized schooling and healthcare options to their permanent address. However, it shows that the Vietnamese government is open to change.



An expatriate worker must have a work permit to work in Vietnam (although there are some exceptions). Also, if an expatriate works with a contract of longer than three months, they must have statutory health insurance. All local workers are subject to social, health, and unemployment insurance.

Has the increase in foreign businesses and workers affected labor laws?

The government has made it harder for expatriates to obtain work permits and work visas. The process is generally longer than it used to be, too. Theoretically, ex-pats are only supposed to be doing jobs that Vietnamese people wouldn’t be able to do.

What’s the biggest issue employers face when it comes to labor laws?

Most labor disputes are centered around wrongful termination. In other countries, like the United States, it’s easier to fire an employee for poor performance. In Vietnam, if an employer gets angry at an employee and fires them on the spot, that’s unlawful termination. There’s a specific set of procedures that needs to be followed. It’s always best if both parties agree to amicably part ways if possible. If you’re an employer and want to terminate a labor contract, it’s safest to discuss it first with a lawyer.

If an employee believes he or she has been wrongfully terminated, what can they do?

Generally, when a labor contract is breached by an employer, the employee may directly send his or her contract-related demand to the employer for remedy or request help from the trade union. The employee may also terminate the labor contract, make a complaint against the employer to the labor authorities or bring the dispute to a labor mediator or to the court. An employer who breaches a labor contract will be, depending on the seriousness of the situation, subject to paying compensation and reinstatement of the rights and benefits of the employee and may face an administrative penalty.

What advice would you give to somebody starting a new company in Vietnam?

The most important thing is to have a good labor contract that clearly outlines the rights of both the employee and the employer. And how well do you really know someone when you hire them? If the business relationship doesn’t work out, the legal ramifications can be severe. It’s best to start with a probationary period and then a one-year fixed-term contract before signing a permanent contract.

Labor Law in

Just the Facts

Working Hours

– Usually 8 hours per day, 48 hours per week.


– Should not exceed 50 percent of regular working hours per day.

– The worker is paid 150 percent of salary on normal working days,

200 percent on scheduled days off, and 300 percent on public holidays.

Minimum Wage

– Depends on the region. As of 1 January 2017, the minimum wage in HCMC is VND 3.75 million per month.

Vacation Time

– An employee in normal working conditions is entitled to at least 12 vacation days per year.

Sick Leave

– A local employee is entitled to sick leave allowance from the social insurance fund if the employee provides documentation from the healthcare provider proving just cause.

Maternity Laws

– The mother is entitled to six months of maternity leave.

– If she gives birth to more than one child at a time, she can take one additional month for each additional child.

– If a woman is in her third trimester of pregnancy, she is not permitted to work at night, work overtime or take business trips.

– A female employee can’t be subject to labour discipline while pregnant, during maternity leave or while nursing a child under 12 months old.

As with most laws and regulations, loopholes and exceptions abound. Be sure to consult a lawyer before making any legal decisions. adv