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Getting a TRC , a business Visa or Work permit in Vietnam; starting 2022 the Resident cards requirements are tougher. Expats who need a TRC Temporary Resident Card in Vietnam will find it difficult.
Since march 2022, re-opening of Vietnam, the common thinking was open bar as the country was strictly closed to tourists and new expats or employees for 2 long years, since March 2020. Unfortunately, the door is half opened due to various immigration visa abuses during Covid therefore, business visas and TRC Temporary resident card requirements are tougher.
The current joke between expats goes ‘How much does it cost to get a TRC in Vietnam: zero or 50%+ of your assets! As the options are #1 find a Vietnam-based employer who will pay for the TRC or #2 marry a Vietnamese in a hurry…”
Who and what is the procedure to apply? What do you need submit to get a TRC?
Repeat abuses renewing 90-day tourist visa as Work permit and TRC
A TRC is the continuation of a Work permit visa.
At the moment, a TRC is granted for foreigners with work permit or work permit exemption certificate, those being the spouse or child of a Vietnamese citizen, foreign investor, etc. As such, the documents to apply for TRC may vary.
In the past, many foreigners used Visa 90-days and extensions to work, enjoy life in Vietnam or retire. Let alone completely illegal trades of all sorts as pinpointed at the 31-march-2022 Min of Interior congress.
Daily bus loads of Expats visa runs to the Moc Bai, were organized to ‘renew’ their visa to continue whatever they were doing ‘illegally’ on an immigration police standpoint.
Some even mistake the business visa for a work permit.
Using 90-day visa as a TRC is illegal
Since the opening of Vietnam, for many reasons, foreigners have wanted to stay and work, for its ‘cheap dolce vita’, without working or TRC resident card, simply using a tourist or business visa.
From 1995-to-2020, it was left to tourists, visa agencies, provincial immigration offices and Embassies to ‘check’ and issue TRC and visas; with the Ministry of Interior stamping what was supposed to be legit demands.
A trade of visa, visa renewals were used instead of a legal work contract and permit/visa. Of course the state budget was missing undeclared workers, social security contributions and income taxes. But more importantly the lack of control of foreigners’ presence and activities (ponzi schemes, illegal migrant workers etc…)
Recent TRC traffic for fake investors and experts visa during the pandemic
During the pandemic, especially the lockdown, there was a dearth of visitors. In 2020 and 2021, only investors and experts were allowed to enter Vietnam.
Due to high demand to re-enter Vietnam, many agencies and companies faked documents to get the suitable investor or expert visa. Thus distorting the forecasts of post-Covid business recovery due to much lower foreign investors and factories in the making.
Changes in TRC procedure in Vietnam since April 2022
30-day tourist e-visa only via e-visa or agents/embassies
Extensions, all 90-day visas, Visa exemptions and TRC are processed by the Hanoi Vietnam central office by the Ministry of Interior.
The 3 main restrictions for visa are:
- no more agent/embassy for visas over 30-day
- the sponsor is responsible for their ‘invited guest’ Entry and Exit of Vietnam
- Vietnam Immigration will list your history of visa purpose and usage
NB. Since 2015, visa issuance and renewal are computerized but not used much.
Hanoi immigration centralized checks of 90 day Visa renewal reasons and frequency Vs TRC issuance
E-visa has been implemented for tourism
90-day renewals are now the exception rather than the norm.
TRC and work permit renewals will be scrutinized if legitimate with the invitational sponsor/company.
NB. Due to the economic windfall of renewals in visa runs at the border still the 1-month extensions are still possible.
The sponsor is responsible TRC or business visa Entry and Exit in Vietnam
When Vietnam immigration checks the Expat Work permit or the TRC expiry date and the resident is still in Vietnam, then they turn immediately to the ex-sponsor company or the new sponsor. Before a blind eye to this by the immigration police allowed an ecosystem of lucrative traffic across the layers of ‘processors’.
What are the current requirements for TRC or Work permit?
A TRC replaces your visa once you need an extension of the initial expiry duration of 1-to12 months). The main confusion with TRC is there are 2 types of TRC:
- LD1 can work with Work permit exemption (based on your type of visa)
- LD2 delivered Work permit holders
There are more TRC for Exempted Foreigners than Expat Workers employed.
There are 20 types of foreigners who can receive a work permit exemption, where as obviously work permit holders must be employed by a company.
Vietnam visa is classified into about 21 main types by the purpose of visit, namely DL, DN1, DN2, NG, DT1, DT2, DT3, DT4, LS, DH, LV, LD1, LD2, HN, PV1, TT, SQ, etc.
Who is eligible for a TRC?
- TRC LD1 work permit exempted: list in 20 categories foreigners:
- Investors in LLC company of at least VND 3 billion
- Board of Directors of a JSC capital above VND 3 billion
- head of representative office
- Service provider less than 3 months/year
- Experts helping a company less than 3-months
- Married to a Vietnamese citizen
- Workers assigned by WTO to help Vietnam
- Workers on ODA projects
- Journalists appointed by Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- teachers for diplomatic mission schools
- Volunteers for Vietnam approved NGO
- CEO and experts for less 30-day and 3 visits/year
- International organization workers to implement agreements
- Students and Interns
- Relatives of members of a foreign diplomatic mission
- Official Passports holder of state or political agencies
- Head of representative offices
- Researchers for Min of Education
- Managers of International Treaties
- TRC LD2 Work permit: list in 3 categories:
- Experts with a bachelor with 3 years experience,
- Workers at same position 5-years experience
- CEO directors
How to apply for a TRC
The Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs or Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs is the agency authorized to certify foreign workers exempt from work permits.
After your work visa expires, the TRC application is fairly simple if the conditions of your continued employment or exemption are still in validity.
The application is straightforward and done this time by the immigration office, not the Ministry of Labor.
Now if you look for your first Work permit, the best advice would be:
- to do your research and preliminary job search with various employers and interviews online.
- Then spot one company to send you an invitation for a 3-month business visa
- Upon completion of the recruitment process, ask whoever is the successful employer to arrange your work permit and visa or à TRC for an employment period of more than 12-month.
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