VIETNAM – New Immigration Law Will Take Effect 1 January 2015
The National Assembly of Vietnam approved a new immigration law on 14 June 2014. The new law is expected to come into effect on 1 January 2015. Key changes include :
- A complete new structure of visa types;
- New duration for visas and temporary residence cards;
- Visas may not be converted from one type to another in-country;
- The introduction of new prohibited conditions for entry and exit.
New Visa Types and Durations
A complete new structure of visa types has been approved, with 20 different categories including a work visa (LĐ), a business visa (specifically defined as for attending meetings (HN)), and a dependent visa (TT).
No In-country Change of Status
According to article 7, point 1 of the new law, a visa may not be converted from one purpose to another. For instance, someone entering Vietnam with a tourist visa (DL) may not be able to convert it to a work visa in country (LĐ).
New Prohibited Conditions for Entry and Exit
Prohibited conditions for entry
- Any person that was deported from Vietnam within the last three years;
- Any person that was compelled to leave Vietnam within the last six months;
- Any person Presenting forging paper or providing false information to obtain entry/exit/residence permit;
- A child under 14 years of age traveling without an accompanying parent or custodian.
Prohibited conditions for exit
A foreign national’s exit will be suspended (for up to three years) in the following cases:
- Their tax obligations have not yet been fulfilled;
- They are obliged to comply with an administrative sanction;
- They have been criminally charged or must serve a criminal sentence;
- They are a defendant or a person with related rights and obligations in a civil, economic, labor, administrative or marriage litigation case.
- Note that the visa application process will change in January 2015.
- Note that, after the changes come into effect, an applicant will need to obtain the correct visa at a Vietnamese consulate before travelling, as they will not be able to change status in country.