Published: 10 Jan 2023
Updated: 13 Jan 2023
Category: Entrepreneurship , Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur's Guide to Doing Business in Vietnam: Introduction to Investor Visa

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With its poverty rates declining and economy quickly growing, Vietnam is becoming a very business-friendly nation. In 2022, the Southeastern country approved a national strategy for increasing foreign investment and improving the business environment by 2030. In this strategy, the government also declared its goal to place among the top three countries for positive business environment in the World Bank ranking.

Vietnam’s strategic location near China and new generation Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with the EU and UK are helping the country to modernise the economy for entrepreneurs. This entrepreneur’s guide to Vietnam will detail the pros of doing business in Vietnam and explain how to apply for the Vietnam business and investor visa.


Why do business in Vietnam?

Vietnam is actively working towards developing pro-business conditions and improving ease of doing business by reforming labour laws, making paying taxes easier, and reducing the cost of business registration. Besides these, the following conditions also make Vietnam an entrepreneur-friendly country:

Excellent location

Vietnam’s main geographical advantage is its position in the middle of the Asia-Pacific, next to influential neighbours such as China and Thailand. Its long coastline beside the Pacific Ocean, stretching 3,260 kilometres from North to South, gives it preferential access to global freight routes. Indeed, the Southeast Asian country has 44 seaports.

Because of its proximity to China and the cost-effectiveness of shipping materials from the manufacturing giant, global manufacturers are starting to look to Vietnam as an extension of China’s supply chain.

Tax incentives

One of the most attractive advantages of starting a business in Vietnam is the tax breaks. Both foreign and local investors can enjoy corporate income tax (CIT) incentives. 

Companies are eligible to pay lower CIT at 10%, 15% or 17% compared to the standard 20%. Enterprises in certain sectors also qualify for tax holidays, which are usually a four-year period when they are exempt from paying CIT.

The government prioritises some industries for receiving tax incentives, including:
●    High-tech industries
●    Software products
●    Infrastructure development
●    Renewable energy
●    Healthcare

Young, large labour force

Vietnam has the 15th largest population in the world at 98 million, which is expected to grow to 109 million by 2054. About 45% of the population is aged 25 to 54, making up the majority of the workforce.

Combine this with Vietnam’s literacy rate, among the highest in the world, and the low labour costs, and you have the ingredients for building a start-up or remote operations team within an affordable budget.

young Vietnamese man on the phone

Start-up support

Local and overseas entrepreneurs interested in opening a start-up in Vietnam have access to SME assistance programmes such as:
●    SME Development Fund
●    Credit Guarantee Fund

These entrepreneur support programmes are part of creating a pro-start-up system attracting overseas firms to establish or expand their businesses in Vietnam.


Introduction to Vietnam business visas

What is the Vietnam business visa?

The DN visa is for foreigners working with Vietnamese companies or entrepreneurs conducting business activities who have an established legal entity in Vietnam. It is valid for up to 12 months. There are two types of DN visas:
●    DN1: For foreigners working with businesses and organisations;
●    DN2: For foreigners offering services, establishing a commercial presence, or performing activities under international treaties of which Vietnam is a member.

If you plan to work in Vietnam for more than three months, business visa requirements state that you must obtain a work permit and temporary residence card (TRC). You must apply for the work permit 30 days before your start of work. The work permit has a validity of up to two years.

How to obtain the DN visa?

You can apply online through the Vietnam Immigration Portal, at a Vietnam embassy in your own country, or on arrival at certain international airports.

Alternatively, you can apply for an investing visa by investing capital in a firm in Vietnam. This works well if you have a business partner already in the country.

What is the Vietnam investor visa?

The Vietnam investor visa, also called the DT visa, is a business visa for foreign investors and lawyers. The DT visa is valid for up to 10 years. There are four DT visa types (DT1, DT 2, DT3, and DT4); holders of the first three types can also apply for their spouse or children to reside in Vietnam.

How to obtain the DT visa?

To apply for a Vietnam investor visa, you must meet the following requirements:
●    Be an overseas investor or representative of foreign organisations invested in Vietnam;
●    Be over the age of 14 and holding your own passport;

The four types of visas relevant to entrepreneurs are:
●    DT1: Capital contribution of at least VND100 billion. Valid for up to five years.
●    DT2: Capital contribution of at least VND50 to VND100 billion. Valid for up to five years.
●    DT3: Capital contribution of at least VN3 to D50 billion. Valid for up to three years.
●    DT4: Capital contribution of under VND3 billion. Valid for up to one year.

Foreign investors or representatives, if not meeting these requirements, can also be investing in business areas eligible for investment incentives as determined by the Vietnam government.

professionally dressed business person in Vietnam holding a suitcase

What documents are required to apply for DT visa?

Next, the application process differs slightly depending on whether you’re already in Vietnam or applying from abroad.

Located in Vietnam

Prepare the following documents for submission to the Immigration Management Department of the police office in the city of the invested company:
●    Original passport (i.e. not a copy);
●    Temporary residence registration form;
●     Visa application/visa extension (Form NA5);
●    Registration form for seal and signature of legal representative of the invested company (Form NA16);
●    Business Registration Certificate and Investment Registration Certificate of the invested company in Vietnam;
●    Seal specimen registration certificate OR notice of publication of information on the seal specimen of the invested company on national enterprise registration portal.

The application will take approximately five business days to process, after which you can receive your investor visa stamp in your passport.

Located abroad

If applying for the Vietnam business visa from overseas, prepare the following documents for an agent to submit to the Vietnam Immigration Department in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or Da Nang:
●    Photocopy of investor’s passport;
●    Registration form for seal and signature of legal representative of the invested company (Form NA16);
●    Business Registration Certificate and Investment Registration Certificate of the invested company in Vietnam;
●    Seal specimen registration certificate OR notice of publication of information on seal specimen of the invested company on national enterprise registration portal;
●    Pre-clearance request for entry into Vietnam (Form NA2).

After approximately five business days, your agent will receive a visa approval letter. Along with a physical copy of this letter, the investor must prepare the following to receive their business visa stamp (either upon arrival in Vietnam or at a Vietnam embassy/consulate general, depending on the location declared in Form NA2):
●    Original passport (i.e. not a photocopy);
●    Two 4x6cm passport photos;
●    A completed Vietnam visa application form.


Find an office in Vietnam

After you obtain your Vietnam business or investor visa, the essential next step is finding an appropriate workspace. Compass Offices has two business centres in Ho Chi Minh located in prime commercial buildings: Vincom Landmark 81 and Bitexco Financial Tower. We offer a wide range of office solutions, ranging from private serviced offices with flexible monthly leases and cost-effective shared offices to customised enterprise solutions.

As a leading office solutions provider in Asia Pacific, we are proud to offer short-term contracts and included services like shared meeting rooms, pantries, furnished workspaces, printing, scanning, and high-speed broadband Wi-Fi. Message our team to learn more.

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