New Law Makes it Easier to Enter Vietnam and Stay Longer
The National Assembly of Vietnam recently adopted the Law on Entry, Exit, Transit and Residence of Foreigners in Vietnam (“Immigration Law”) which took effect as from 1 January 2015. Accordingly, a number of noteworthy changes have been introduced in the Immigration Law as follows:
New and Expanded Classes of Visas
Visas are particularly classified via different categories in accordance with the relevant foreigner’s immigration purpose. For example, ĐT visa for foreign investors and lawyers, LĐ visa for those coming to Vietnam to work, TT visa for spouse/ children under 18 years of age of said foreigners. The Immigration Law stipulates 20 different types of visas in comparison with 10 types of visas under the repealed regulations. The Immigration Law does not allow changing the purpose of the visa, so there is now a risk that a foreigner may be requested to exit Vietnam in order to obtain a new visa if applicable.
The term of each type of visa is different under the Immigration Law. The maximum term of ĐT, LĐ and TT visas is 5 years, 2 years and 1 year respectively.
Temporary Residence Card for Longer Durations
A foreigner issued with a ĐT, LĐ or TT visa will be issued with a temporary residence card according to the type of the visa he/she is holding.
The term of each type of temporary residence card is different under the Immigration Law. Accordingly, the maximum term of ĐT and LĐ and TT temporary residence cards is 5 years, 2 years and 3 years respectively.
Permanent Residence Card Now a Possibility?
Previously, approval of the Prime Minister was required in certain cases of issuance of permanent residence cards. This requirement is no longer applicable under the Immigration Law. That decision-making power is now under the Ministry of Public Security, which may mean an increase in the success of obtaining such card in practice.
Under the Immigration Law a permanent residence card is now valid for 10 years instead of 3 years as under the former regulations.
Please note that visas, temporary residence cards and permanent residence cards issued prior to 1 January 2015 are valid until their expiration date.
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