Freelancer Visa In Vietnam: The Ultimate Guide

Are you a freelancer eyeing Vietnam for your next adventure? Navigating the visa requirements can be as challenging as it is exciting.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll unravel the complexities and unveil the secrets to obtaining your Freelancer Visa hassle-free. Now embark on this visa journey together!

Let’s dive in!


How Does Freelancing Work In Vietnam

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Anyone can engage in freelance work in Vietnam – residents of Vietnam as well as non-residents. It is important to note that the conditions for both are different. Non-residents require a work visa if they want to work in Vietnam, legally. 

Outsiders cannot work in Vietnam on a tourist visa (for companies in Vietnam). 

As a legal requirement you are obliged to apply for a work visa. You are eligible for a Vietnam Work Visa if you comply with the following conditions:

  • You are at least 18 years old
  • You will be working in Vietnam in a managerial or executive position or as an expert who has the necessary technical skills and knowledge for the job
  • You are in good health
  • You do not have any previous or current criminal charges
  • You have the necessary academic and work qualifications to fill the position
  • Have been trained in a technical field or other fields for at least one year and have worked for at least three years in the trained field overseas
  • You have at least three years of working experience overseas in corresponding with the job position that you shall be appointed in Vietnam as an executive-level or higher
  • Having at least five years of experience and having a practicing certificate from overseas suitable to the position in which the foreign worker is expected to work in Vietnam as an expert.
  • You have a work contract with a company in Vietnam
  • You will need a recruitment letter or request letter from a company/business in Vietnam.

Companies hiring outsiders also have to provide proof and reasons for recruiting outsiders. Only those vacancies that cannot be filled by Vietnamese nationals can be filled by non-residents.

What Are Some Cases Where You Are Exempt From Requiring Work Visa

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To be able to work as a freelancer in Vietnam (with Vietnamese companies or individuals), you have to apply for a work visa. Some cases that are exempt from this are a as follows:

  • You will work in Vietnam for a period shorter than three months within one year. In this case, you can work under a Vietnam Business Visa.
  • You are a member of a limited company that hires more than one member
  • You are the owner of a limited company in Vietnam with one member
  • You are a board member in a joint-stock company
  • You are a lawyer and have received a professional permit in Vietnam by the Ministry of Justice
  • You are an internal transferee
  • You are a volunteer certified by a foreign diplomatic mission or an international organization in Vietnam
  • You will work in service sales for a foreign company in Vietnam

On top of this, in situations where an independent contractor works online, they can continue doing so without a work visa. 

For example, a person from Turkey visiting Vietnam for a couple of months working remotely for a company in Turkey can quietly work without worrying about having to pay taxes in Vietnam or the need for a work visa.

What Are Some Requirements From Freelancers Working In Vietnam

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The workers can be classified as business managers, experts, or high-skilled laborers (technicians).

The minimum wage for a freelancer is VND 460,000-570,000. These hourly rates can fluctuate depending on the years of experience and technology profile of the employee.

As a freelancer, you are obliged to generate invoices monthly for any payment. In addition to this, you have to file for your tax returns.

It is important to note that E-invoices with verification codes are compulsory for freelancers and certain businesses. 

If you provide goods or services in Vietnam, you must charge VAT, regardless of your level of income. You must submit and pay your VAT declarations through e-invoices on the General Department of Taxation website.

How To Register With The Tax Office

If you do opt for the sole proprietor model, you will need to register your business with the Department of Planning and Investment (DPI). 

You can do this in person at your local business registration office, or online through the DPI’s Business Registration Portal. This process should take around 3 to 10 working days.

You must also acquire a tax code from your local district tax office, if you don’t already have one. Non-resident independent contractors have to pay taxes on their Vietnamese-sourced income only.

In Vietnam, you pay tax on your business income of between 0.5% and 5%, depending on your business activity. You only need to pay personal income tax if your annual business income exceeds VND 100 million

Personal income tax rates are progressive, ranging from 5% to 35%, depending on your level of income.

You must also make monthly contributions to the social, health, and unemployment insurance systems. The amount you pay depends on your level of income. Note that it’s possible to claim tax deductions on these payments.

You must file your annual tax return by the end of April each year. According to PwC, business income must be declared and paid on a receipt basis.

If you do opt for sole proprietorship, you do not have to pay corporate taxes.

If the taxpayer is a household, household business or individual business directly registered with the tax authority, the taxpayer registration application shall include:

  • The registration form or tax return;
  • Copy of the identity card or passport;
  • Other relevant documents.

Why Are You Recommended To Hire Income Tax Experts While Freelancing

Listed below are some benefits of hiring income tax experts for freelancers:

  • They help freelancers save a lot of time, which they can use on other important business-related tasks.
  • They help freelancers navigate complex tax codes and ensure that they are fully compliant with all tax laws.
  • They help freelancers avoid huge penalties by accurately filing taxes on time.
  • They identify deductions and credits that freelancers are eligible for, which can help them save money on their taxes.
  • Hiring an income tax expert for freelancers gives them peace of mind, knowing that their taxes are being handled correctly and filed on time.

What Tasks Do Income Tax Experts Do For Freelancers?

Income tax experts can help freelancers in a variety of ways. Listed below are some of the tasks they can assist you with:

  • Tax Preparation
  • Tax Planning (developing a tax strategy that optimizes your tax deductions and reduces your tax liability)
  • Audit Support
  • Compliance with relevant tax laws and regulations
  • Estimated tax payments

What Are The Documents Required For The Work Visa In Vietnam

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It is recommended to be fully prepared with all the documentation at the time of visa application to avoid repeated trips and complications in the application process:

  • Request form for Vietnam work permit
  • Health certificate
  • Criminal records (issued within 180 days)
  • Certified copy of your certificate/degree
  • Working experience confirmation document from former employers;
  • A copy of passport and valid visa
  • Approval certificate which allows the employer to use foreign workers from the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs or the People’s Committee where the employer resides. This certificate should be applied for at least 20 days before the expected date of recruitment of foreign workers by the employer
  • Certified copy of the Employer’s Business Registration Certificate
  • Passport size photo
  • Employment contract
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How To Start Freelancing After Arriving In Vietnam

After arriving in Vietnam, you must legalize yourself as a freelancer. Follow these instructions before freelancing as a foreigner:

  • Register your living address
  • Open a bank account in Vietnam
  • Register with Tax Registration Office
  • Apply for health insurance
  • Start implementing your freelance plan. 

You may want to start by contacting the awaiting clients to inform you about your availability to work.

It is recommended to apply for a residence permit for freelancing. To apply, you need to provide a completed application form for a residence permit and the required evidence supporting such application.

Currently, work permits for foreigners are valid for a maximum of two years and may be extended once for up to two more years.


With the bustling streets of Hanoi and serene bays of Halong awaiting your exploration, you’re now primed with the visa knowledge to kick-start your freelance journey in Vietnam.

Here’s to thriving amidst the dragons and lanterns!

Dream On!

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