In continuing our coverage of most-asked legal and business questions in Vietnam, Ken Duong from Duong Global Business Consulting shares his team’s insights about how to get a Vietnamese passport and what makes someone eligible to apply for one.

We previously covered some of the top reasons to get a Vietnamese passport.

The three main requirements to get a Vietnamese passport, with some exceptions, are:

  • The applicant must be whole or partially of Vietnamese descent.
  • The applicant was born in Vietnam.
  • The applicant can show substantial ties to Vietnam.

Exception: If the applicant was not born in Vietnam, then one of the parents would need to have a Vietnamese passport in order for the person to get a Vietnamese passport.

Here is the process to get a Vietnamese passport:

  1. Gather all documents related to life in Vietnam, such as a birth certificate, old national identification card, old passport, family book, tax returns, and other documents showing life in Vietnam prior to living Vietnam. Note: if a person is a refugee after the Vietnam War, immigration paperwork to the foreign country to establish date and place of birth is permissible.
  2. Gather all documents related to life in the foreign country outside of Vietnam, such as passport, national identification card/driver’s license, certificate of naturalization, and any name change petitions.
  3. Fill out the Vietnam Passport Request Application or To Khai from the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate in the foreign country. This application requires information in points 1 and 2 above.
  4. Fill out the Personal Information Biography Form or So Yeu Ly Lich. This form requires historical information about your place of birth, time period living in Vietnam, family history, current family ties to Vietnam, and other information contained in 1 above.
  5. Once all of the documents in 1 and 2 are collected and forms 3 and 4 are filled out, the entire package is sent to the nearest Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate in the foreign country of residence for processing.
  6. During the processing stage, the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate will send the entire package back to the Vietnam Border Patrol and Police to determine all the information contained in the application package are true and correct. Such verification includes making phone calls, in-person visits, cross-checking with national databases with family members and friends to verify the connection to the place of birth or former residence. This verification process can take up to 6 months to complete.
  7. Once the verification is successfully completed, then the Vietnamese passport is issued and sent to the requesting Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate in the foreign country to deliver to the applicant.
  8. After getting the Vietnamese passport, the applicant would have to go through a separate process to get a national identification card (chung minh nhan dan) and family book (ho khau gia dinh), which requires residence in Vietnam and contact with the Vietnamese police and border patrol.

What are some top reasons for the denial of a Vietnamese passport?

  • The Vietnamese authorities could not locate or contact family or friends to verify the information and ties to the birth location, thus failing the verification process.
  • The applicant could not provide enough supporting evidence to show substantial ties to Vietnam.
  • One or both of the applicant’s parents refuse to get a Vietnamese passport, if the applicant was not born in Vietnam.
  • The applicant has committed some crime in the foreign country or Vietnam to be precluded from getting Vietnamese citizenship and passport.