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Work permits for foreign employees can no longer be extended;passports reissuance is required since November 2013. Reissuance requires almost the same amount of paperwork as an initial application, except for a criminal record and certain supporting documents. New regulations now also require approval from the Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee regarding the annual demand for foreign employees. The People’s Committee approval must be submitted with the work permit application. However, compared to extensions in the past, a reissuance does not require a training contract with a Vietnamese national.

Work permit applications are submitted to the local Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (DOLISA). There is a tight window of only ten days to apply for reissuance. Employers and foreigners working in Vietnam are advised to be aware of the number of days remaining on their work permits.

The maximum term of a work permit is now two years (previously three years) depending, among other factors, upon the length of the labor contract, letter of appointment and validity of the passport. The new Immigration Law scheduled to take effect in June 2014 is likely to expressly provide for the first time that work permits must be issued before the foreigner obtains a visa and enters Vietnam.

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