Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I start to do business in Vietnam?
What sorts of investment projects are currently being promoted?
What are the procedures for investment licensing?

How do I start to do business in Vietnam?

Sooner or later your organisation will need representation in Vietnam. You will need to visit the country to make key contacts and identify potential partners. You will need to ensure that your counterparts clearly understand your objectives and what you offer. You then need to know what your counterparts can achieve for you and evaluate time scales. Also, as always, follow-up will be crucial. Vietnam Business Services can help you at all stages.

What sorts of investment projects are currently being promoted?

The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) of Vietnam wishes to encourage:

  1. Making and processing of products with at least 80% of the bulk for export
  2. Processing of farm produce and forest products, excluding timber, seafood from domestically available raw materials and with half of the bulk for export
  3. Producing of highly qualified and economically efficient plant and animal strains
  4. Breeding of aquatic products and planting of agricultural and forest products
  5. Production of new and rare materials, application of new bio-technology; new technology in making information and telecommunications equipment
  6. Hi-tech industries
  7. Investment in research and development
  8. Production of waste treatment equipment
  9. Production of antibiotic materials
  10. Treatment of pollution and waste and environmental protection
  11. Investment in build-operate-transfer (BOT), build-transfer-operate (BTO) and build-transfer (BT) projects

What are the procedures for investment licensing?

Projects documents forming the investment license application must be prepared in Vietnamese and another popular language in accordance with the guidelines issued by the MPI and submitted to the competent investment licensing body.

Application documents can be prepared by investors themselves or an investment consulting company on their behalf. Depending on the forms of investment, documentation should include:

  1. An application for an investment license;
  2. A business co-operation contract or a joint venture contract;
  3. A charter for the enterprise (in the case of a joint venture enterprise or a 100% foreign owned enterprise);
  4. Evidence of the legal and financial status of the investing parties;
  5. An economic and technical feasibility study; and
  6. Documents on the technology transfer (in the case of capital contribution in form of technology transfer), and environmental impact report (in the case of projects requiring an environmental impact report), land leasing application file (if the project requires land use), certificate of zone planning and preliminary design indicating the proposed architecture of the project (in the case of projects involving construction).

The Ministry of Trade is responsible for issuing licenses for representative offices of foreign companies, except for foreign banks and credit organisations, whose licenses are issued by the State Bank of Vietnam. The license fee is US$5,000 for a representative office and US$4,000 for a branch of the representative offices.

In detail, the documents required for licensing should include:

  1. an application letter (in the form designated by the Ministry of Trade or State Bank);
  2. a notarised copy of the certificate of incorporation or operation license;
  3. a brief introduction to the company or copies of its brochures;
  4. a copy of the company's charter;
  5. recent financial or annual reports with an auditor's signature;
  6. summary reports on past business conducted in Vietnam and copies of documents to this effect;
  7. any other letters or documents explaining the necessity of an office in Vietnam.

By law, the Ministry of Trade and the State Bank must notify the applicant of the result within 30 days of the receipt of proper documents, although in practice this deadline is not always observed.

From: "Doing Business in Vietnam" published by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Where do I begin? Contact Vietnam Business Services.