Demystifying the Hanoi Work Permit Process: A Comprehensive Guide for Expats

Demystifying the Hanoi Work Permit Process: A Comprehensive Guide for Expats

Hanoi, Vietnam's vibrant capital, beckons with its rich culture, exciting opportunities, and growing economy. For expats landing a job in this dynamic city, securing a work permit is the key to unlocking a smooth transition and legal employment. While navigating the process can feel daunting, understanding the steps involved empowers you to collaborate effectively with your employer and settle into your new life with confidence.


Not everyone requires a work permit. Exceptions exist for short-term business visits, specific roles like language teachers with limited contracts, and volunteers working for non-profit organizations. If your position involves a longer-term commitment or falls outside these exemptions, a work permit becomes crucial.

The Employer's Role:

The primary responsibility for obtaining your work permit rests with your employer. They initiate the application process by submitting your qualifications and necessary documents to the Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (DOLISA) in Hanoi. These documents typically include your passport, a certified copy of your educational degrees, a medical certificate, and a criminal background check.

Breakdown of the Process:

  1. Application Preparation: Your employer liaises with DOLISA to ensure all required documents are in order. This might involve translations and notarization depending on the origin of your qualifications.
  2. Submission and Review: Once complete, the application is submitted to DOLISA for review. Processing times can vary, so factor this into your planning with your employer.
  3. Work Permit Issuance: Upon successful review, DOLISA issues your official work permit. This document specifies your authorized position, company, and validity period.

Additional Considerations:

Temporary Residence Card (TRC): Your work permit is an essential step to obtaining a TRC, which allows you to legally reside in Vietnam for the duration of your employment.

Work Permit Validity: Work permits are usually issued for a fixed term, often aligned with your employment contract. Extensions can be requested before the expiry date.

Fees and Costs: While the employer typically covers the application fees associated with the work permit, it's good practice to clarify this beforehand.

Visa Considerations: Don't forget about your visa! Depending on your nationality and length of stay, you might require a specific work visa to enter Vietnam. Consult your employer or a visa agency for guidance on obtaining the appropriate visa type.

Seeking Assistance:

The work permit process can involve complexities with regulations and documentation. Don't hesitate to seek help from your employer's HR department or a reputable visa agency in Hanoi. These professionals can guide you through the process, ensuring a smooth and efficient application.

Proactive Steps for Expats:

  • Early Communication: Discuss the work permit process with your employer during the job offer stage. This allows ample time for preparation and avoids delays.
  • Gather Documents: Start collecting required documents like educational certificates and any necessary translations well in advance.
  • Learn the Basics: Having a rudimentary understanding of Vietnamese demonstrates your commitment to living and working in the country.


Securing a work permit in Hanoi might seem like a hurdle, but by understanding the process and collaborating with your employer, you can navigate it successfully. With your work permit in hand, you're ready to embrace the exciting opportunities that await you in Vietnam's captivating capital.

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