What is the pink book in Vietnam?

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Before you buy property in a foreign country, you should have a good understanding of the buying process and the documents involved. This is especially true for developing countries in Southeast Asia, like Vietnam.

Many readers have a little knowledge about the “pink book”, what it’s used for, and how important it is when buying a property in Vietnam.

In this article, we explain what the pink book is, which authority that issues the pink book, how much it costs, what documents you need to provide, and more. Let’s start and review what the pink book is.

What is the pink book used for?

The pink book is a legal document that you should secure as proof of ownership when buying real estate in Vietnam.

The document is legally called the “Certificate of Land Use Right and Ownership of House and Other Assets on the Land”, but most people just refer to the document as the “pink book”.

As you can hear by its name, this certificate of ownership allows homeowners to fully perform the rights from buying the property. For example, you have the right to lease your property or affirm information related to inheritance.

It also allows you to:

  • Use the house for your own personal intentions
  • Rebuild, demolish, renovate, and more, as approved by the law of construction
  • Allows you to sublet, mortgage, or sell the unit


Which authority issues the pink book?

The pink book is issued by the Ministry of Construction. Your agent or developer should help you to receive the pink book.

How much does it cost to get the pink book?

To get the pink book, you have to pay a registration tax of 0.5% of the property’s sales price and an administration fee for the issuance of the book (generally around VND 3 million).

What documents do I need to apply for the pink book?

To apply for the pink book, you have to prepare the following documents:

  • Passport (with valid visa, permanent resident card, or temporary resident card)
  • Sale & Purchase Agreement (SPA)
  • Marriage certificate (if you’re married to a Vietnamese citizen or if the foreign married couple have both of their names in the SPA)

Be sure to discuss this with your agent to make things right from the start.

Why did foreigners have issues to receive the pink book?

It’s widely known that foreigners have had issues receiving their pink books in Vietnam. Some real estate businesses even claim that not a single foreigner has received their pink books so far.

The underlying issue here is related to the national security. Foreigners aren’t allowed to own property in locations that play play a risk to national security, according to the director of the HCMC Department of Construction.

The Ministries of Public Security and Defense should have issued a list of the areas that are considered sensitive to national security, but such lists haven’t been made yet. Ho Chi Minh City, for example, is still waiting for further instructions and has contacted the PM.

The next step would be for the authority to create such lists and announce where foreigners are allowed to own property.

Can I prove ownership of property without having the pink book?

At the moment, there is no 100% guarantee for foreigners to receive the pink book. Instead, most buyers keep the Sales & Purchase Agreement as evidence, for now.

According to Rudy Bui at Bui & Brothers, owning a property by having a Sales and purchase agreement (SPA) also guarantees the buyer’s ownership. Yet, the pink book (certificate of ownership) is not an ultimate condition to be overlooked when buying property and you should do your utmost to get it.

Questions & Answers

Below you can find commonly asked questions and our replies.

What property types is the pink book used for?

The pink book is used for physical structures such as condominiums and houses, but not land.

What property types is the red book used for?

The red book is, on the contrary to the pink book, used for land purchases. Thus, foreigners rarely see this document.

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