Vietnam is a very open and welcoming country. Warm hospitality is evident everywhere, and the vibrant culture seemingly embraces anyone wandering in its territory. But unlike the easygoing aura it emanates, Vietnam is actually a tough country in terms of immigration laws.
Tourism industry experts and foreigners alike have continuously voiced concerns about Vietnam’s complicated and confusing visa policies, especially for those coming or staying for work. From securing several documents to going back and forth to the Immigration office, the entire process is a test of patience.
Some try to avoid the complications through visa agents who use “ghost” companies to expedite the work visa process; many, unfortunately, end up staying illegally.
Foreigners who dream of staying in Vietnam for a long-term career or maybe eventually building a family here should avoid violating any of the immigration laws and risk being placed on the Vietnam Immigration blacklist.
What can get foreigners blacklisted?
Being on the immigration blacklist can be a nightmare. No matter how puzzling the visa policies and processes could be — Vietnam will never accept this as an excuse to break the rules.
Here are some of the most common reasons a foreigner may get blacklisted by immigration:
Visa violations: Overstaying visa, working without a valid work permit, or violating other visa regulations, such as not following one’s visa purpose (entering as a tourist but ending up working).
Criminal activities: Engaging in criminal activities, such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, or fraud
National security concerns: Posing a threat to national security or engaging in activities deemed harmful to the state
Public disturbances: Participating in public disturbances, protests, or other activities that disrupt public order
Violation of immigration laws: Violating immigration laws or regulations, such as providing false information
Play by the rules
Getting blacklisted by Vietnamese immigration have serious implications that can greatly restrict one’s ability to travel, work, or conduct financial transactions in the country.
A foreigner may need to pay a hefty fine, get deported, get sent to jail, be banned from entering Vietnam for up to five years, or face other legal consequences. And even after one has paid the penalty, getting a new visa or entry letter may become more difficult than it already is.
Foreigners bear the sole responsibility to ensure the validity of their visas and to get the appropriate documents to be deemed legal in the country. It’s also important to always follow immigration rules, including reporting to the local immigration office and extending visa or obtaining a new one if necessary.
Note that there are 21 main types of visas in Vietnam, each with different requirements and varying policies holders should adhere to.
Most common visa types:
- Tourist visa (DL) — Maximum of 30 days
- Business visa (DN1, DN2) — Maximum of 12 months
- Student/internship visa (DH) — Maximum of 12 months
- Investor Visa (DT1, DT2, DT3, DT4) - Maximum of 5 years
- Working visa (LD1 – LD2) — Maximum of 12 months
Furthermore, foreigners intending to get employed here need to work with reputable organizations that follow Vietnamese labor laws. An organization’s legal pitfalls may have a domino effect on its workers.
The whole immigration process in Vietnam can be very strenuous — and may often take months to get completed and approved, if at all — but there’s really only one way to do things correctly.
Once you’ve fully understood and followed local laws, you’re guaranteed a meaningful and remarkable experience of the warm hospitality and true charm of Vietnam.