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Vietnam has become one of the hottest markets for overseas real estate investors and many are drawn by its quality of life, business opportunities, and economic growth.
Before you invest in Vietnam property, or in any foreign country for that matter, you must understand what visa options you have and for how long you can stay in the country.
In this article, we list the most common visa options that are available to foreign property buyers in Vietnam, might it be for persons who want to rent out units or use a unit for retirement or leisure purposes.
What visa options exist for foreign property buyers in Vietnam?
1. Visa Waiver
A common misapprehension is that foreigners can only buy real estate if they have a valid visa in Vietnam.
Anyone who’s legally allowed to enter the country can buy as many units as he or she wants in branded commercial projects, as long as the foreign ownership quota of 30% isn’t filled. In short, this means that you cannot buy land, ‘local’ flats, and commercial property as an individual buyer.
At the moment, nationals from ASEAN countries (excluding the Philippines) can stay in Vietnam visa-free for 30 days. Nationals from Chile are the only ones that can stay in Vietnam for up to 90 days visa-free.
Nationals of many European countries can stay in Vietnam for 15 days visa-free as long as they have a return ticket, including:
Besides, nationals from Japan, South Korea, Russia, and Belarus can go to Vietnam for 15 days visa-free.
2. Tourist Visa (DL)
If you’re not a citizen of a country that’s part of the visa waiver program, you have to apply for a tourist visa or a business visa. You can apply for a 1 or 3-month single or multiple-entry tourist visa.
To apply for a tourist visa, you have to provide the following documents:
- A passport which must be valid for at least 6 months from the arrival date
- Passport must have two blank pages for visa stamp
- Two Passport size photos (4 x6 cm)
You can get a tourist visa if you apply for the visa on arrival at the airport, at one of the Vietnamese embassies abroad, or if you apply for an e-visa online. Generally speaking, the first or the last options are most convenient.
The costs are usually as follows:
- 1-month single entry: USD 18 (+USD 25 as a stamping fee)
- 3-months single entry: USD 28 (+USD 50 as a stamping fee)
- 1-month multiple entry: USD 23 (+USD 25 as a stamping fee)
- 3-months multiple entry: USD 43 (+USD 50 as a stamping fee)
US citizens also have the option to apply for 12-months multiple-entry tourist or business visas. The service fee is around USD 60 and the stamping fee USD 135. The stamping fee is paid upon arrival at the airport or the embassy.
3. Business Visa (DN, LV, DT)
The Vietnam business visa, which is categorized as visa DN, LV or DT, is granted to those who visit Vietnam for business purposes. That might be if you sign contracts or attend meetings.
This is not a preferred option if you only plan to go to Vietnam for leisure purposes and to visit your unit. The reason is that business visas are more expensive compared to tourist visas.
And why would you apply for a business visa if you only visit Vietnam for leisure?
To apply for a business visa you have to provide the following documents:
- Passport, which must be valid for at least 6 months from the departure date
- Two blank pages for visa stamp
- Sponsorship letter from a licensed company in Vietnam
The cost is generally as follows:
- 1-month single-entry: USD 90 (+USD 25 as a stamping fee)
- 1-month multiple-entry: USD 95 (+USD 50 as a stamping fee)
- 3-month single-entry: USD 110 (+USD 25 as a stamping fee)
- 3-month multiple-entry: USD 125 (+USD 50 as a stamping fee)
- 6-month multiple-entry: USD 200 (+USD 95 as a stamping fee)
- 12-month multiple-entry: USD 280 (+USD 135 as a stamping fee)
Keep in mind that only US citizens are eligible to apply for 6 / 12 months business visas. Non-US citizens, such as European citizens, can only apply for 1 / 3 months business visas.
4. 5-year visa-exemption if you’re married to a Vietnamese
Of course. If you are married to a Vietnamese citizen you can apply for either a visa exemption for 5 years or a temporary residence card (TRC).
You can apply for the 5-year visa exemption inside Vietnam, just keep in mind that you have to exit Vietnam every 180th day. Thus, you cannot stay continuously in Vietnam for 5 years.
To apply for the 5-year visa exemption, you have to provide the following documents:
- Your original passport
- ID or passport copy of Vietnamese spouse
- Vietnamese spouse’s house registration book (also called “Pink Book”)
- Marriage certificate
- Two passport-sized photos in (4 x 6 cm – white background, taken within 6 months)
The process when applying for the visa is as follows:
- Submit your documents to a visa agency, by post or in-person
- Let the Vietnam Immigration Department manage the application
- Get your passport and the 5-year visa exemption card
5. Temporary Residence Card (TRC)
If you manage to obtain a temporary residence card, you can stay in Vietnam for 2-3 years at a time and without the need of leaving the country. Foreigners married to Vietnamese citizens can apply for a TRC.
Persons that have Vietnam work permits, valid for at least 12 months at the time of applying for TRC. Besides, foreigners who are granted with LV1, LV2, DT, NN1, NN2, DH, PV1, LD, TT visas are granted temporary residence cards with symbols similar to the visa symbols.
The requirements to apply for a TRC are:
- You must have a temporary residency of 1 year or more in Vietnam
- The passport is valid for at least 13 months
Does Vietnam have any retirement visas?
No, Vietnam doesn’t have any retirement visas, like Thailand and the Philippines do.
Can I get permanent residency in Vietnam if I buy real estate in Vietnam?
No, you cannot get permanent residency like in some other countries just by investing in real estate.