Vietnam opened its doors to international travelers only 10 years ago. Since then, this destination has been steadily growing in popularity among digital nomads, and so it’s no surprise that many want to stay long term in Vietnam. However, doing so is not so simple.
One of the reasons is that, at this moment, Vietnam does not have an official digital nomad visa. Instead, there are other attractive visa options that can help you live and work in Vietnam legally, with various benefits. Keep reading to learn what are the best visa options to choose from for digital nomads.
Vietnam digital nomad visa alternatives
Presuming your goal is to stay as long as you can in Vietnam, and at the same work remotely from the country, there are some visa options that can assist you in that objective.
Most Vietnam visas can be extended up to a year, or in some cases, five years. Another alternative is to apply to become a resident in Vietnam.
Visa options for remote workers in Vietnam
Basic Vietnam tourist visa options are quite easy to obtain. The ones we’ve listed below are tailored to different needs and nationalities of applicants, and they include:
- A visa exemption – There are 23 countries exempted from requiring a visa, and citizens of those countries can stay for 14 or 30 days, depending on their nationality
- An E-visa – 46 nationalities can apply for an E-visa, which allows a 30-day stay
- A visa on arrival – This is applicable for most nationalities, which allows a 90-day stay
- Visa required – Certain nationalities require a pre-approved visa from the consulate before arriving in the country
What are the best visa options for digital nomads in Vietnam?
The best option would be a visa exemption. Individuals from 23 countries can get this visa and extend it to up to five years by doing a border run every 6 months. However, this is only reserved for people who are either Vietnamese citizens overseas, foreigners who are spouses of citizens, children of Vietnamese overseas or Vietnamese citizens. For other groups, the best options are:
- Visa on arrival
Both of these options can be extended multiple times. While applying, you can choose between single or multi entrance options. The visa fees will depend on the length of stay and the type of entry.
Just beware of scammers!
Since there is no official digital nomad visa yet in Vietnam, many agencies, legitimate and illegitimate, offer alternatives. This can be dangerous, especially for a foreigner who isn’t in the know about laws and procedures in Vietnam.
To avoid getting scammed, always use information from official government websites, consulates and embassies.
Everything you need to know about the Vietnam E-visa
Th E-visa is a tourist visa that is obtained before entering Vietnam. It is approved with just a couple of steps.
Here are some basic facts about the Vietnam e-visa:
- It is valid for 30 days or 90 days.
- It is single entry only.
- It costs $25 USD for card payments.
- It requires three full working days to process.
- One can apply for the e-visa on the national website.
- It is available for nationals of 80 countries.
Countries eligible for the E-Visa
Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China (including Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR passport holders, not applicable to Chinese e-passport holders), Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Myanmar, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, Salomons Islands, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Timor Leste, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, and Western Samoa.
What are the requirements for applying for the E-visa?
- A passport valid for at least six months
- A photo in .jpg format of your full passport data page
- A passport photo in .jpg format (4×6, white background, without glasses)
- A valid international credit or debit card
- An email address for support purposes
- A temporary address within Vietnam
- Your entry and exit dates and entry and exit points/airports
When you register, you will receive a registration number. In case your visa approval doesn’t arrive at your e-mail address in three days, contact the support center.
Can you extend your E-Visa?
Yes! Your E-Visa can be extended once you are in Vietnam. The process is similar to applying for the first time. The difference is that the extension is done in person at an immigration office in Vietnam at any of the following locations:
- Hanoi Immigration Office— 44-46 Tran Phu, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
- Da Nang Immigration Office— 78 Le Loi, Thach Thang, Hai Chuang, Da Chang
- Ho Chi Minh City— 196 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
If you find yourself outside of the country, you can repeat the process of applying for an E-visa, since the number of applications is not limited.
How much is the fee for extending my tourist visa?
To extend your visa for another month, the fee is 85 USD in order to get it in eight working days, and 150 USD to get it in four working days in North Vietnam. The price for applying to get your visa extended in South Vietnam is $135 USD if you choose a wait period of eight working days for approval. An approval wait period of four days is $200 USD.
Do I need to queue at the “visa on arrival” section at my entry point in Vietnam?
No, you do not. Your passport and E-visa are enough to get you through the border check at the airport or other entry points in Vietnam.
Obtaining a Vietnam visa on arrival
Even though it is called “visa on arrival,” you do need to prepare beforehand to get the visa.
If you are applying for a Vietnam visa upon arrival, you will need a pre-obtained letter of approval.
This visa is only valid for air travel. Once you are onboarded, you will receive an entry and exit form, also referred to as the Vietnam Visa Application Form.
Once you land, you need to go to the Officers office at the port of entry.
You will then need to pay in cash for the visa stamping fee of 50 USD.
The whole process to apply for Vietnam’s visa on arrival has three simple steps:
- Complete an application form online and pay the service fee
- Get an approval letter via email
- Get your visa stamped upon arrival at one of Vietnam’s international airports
This visa can be approved for one to three months.
This is a more “relaxed” way of getting your tourist visa compared to the E-visa. It can also be extended or renewed once you are in the country. However, it can take longer to get the actual visa paper, since the lines at the immigration office at the airport could be crowded, and thus require longer waiting times.
Do I need a visa to work remotely from Vietnam?
The short answer is yes. Both the visa on arrival and E-visa can be extended and valid for up to a year, but they do not cover working remotely after six months. Also, it is good to know that you become a tax resident after spending more than 183 days in the country. This milestone makes you subject to tax and social security laws.
The Vietnam business visa, also known as a DN visa, is issued for those who want to remain in Vietnam for a maximum of one year. The purpose of issuing this visa is for working with Vietnamese enterprises or conducting business activities such as meetings and signing business contracts.
To get the business visa, you must:
- Provide a passport with at least six months validity, at least two blank pages and two passport photos.
- Obtain a sponsorship letter from a licensed company in Vietnam.
- Apply for the visa through a form which can be filled out online here.
How to get a sponsorship letter?
The sponsorship letter can be written by a Vietnamese company, enterprise or a partner. It can even be obtained from a visa service agency. However, be careful with the last option since some agencies can be unreliable.
How much does the Vietnam business visa cost?
It is unclear how much it costs to get the business visa. The price depends on whether you get it through an embassy, consulate or an agency.
Since a visa on arrival can cost between $25 to $135 USD, you can expect the price to be around that amount, plus the stamping which can cost from $20 to $50 USD.
Can I extend my Vietnam business visa?
Yes! You can extend your business visa, starting from one month prior to its expiration.
Do I pay taxes in Vietnam as a remote worker?
As a non-resident, the only income that will get taxed is income that you earn in Vietnam. This means that income that non-residents acquired abroad will not be subject to personal income tax, also known as PIT.
Non-residents are subject to pay a flat rate of 20% of their personal income that is acquired in Vietnam only, while the income from abroad is not subject to tax.
You become a tax resident after you’ve spent 183 consecutive days within 12 months in the country. For residents, the income tax is progressive and goes up to 35%.
Tax residents are subject to PIT on their worldwide employment income, regardless of where the income is paid or earned.
As stated above, a typical monthly salary package in Vietnam will include gross salary and mandatory social security. PIT is levied on the balance after deducting mandatory social insurance contributions. Companies conduct PIT finalizations on behalf of their employees at the beginning of the year for taxable income arising from the previous year.
How much tax do I pay as a tax resident in Vietnam?
Progressively, the tax rates go from 5% to 35%. For reference, look at the table below:
Are there any tax exemptions and reductions?
Yes, there are!
The following types of income are exempt from PIT:
- Transfer of residential houses (only by individuals who possess only one residential house or land plot);
- Interest on a deposit from a bank or from life insurance contracts;
- Overseas remittance, retirement pension, scholarship;
- Income from compensation for insurance contracts or from charity funds;
- Wages paid for night shifts or overtime work, which are higher than those paid for day shifts or prescribed working hours in accordance with the law;
- Income from governmental or non-governmental foreign aid for charity or humanitarian purposes approved by competent state agencies.
Personal income tax rates can be deducted for dependants as follows:
- Disabled adult children (18 and above) without working capability
- Adult children who are still in school
- Adopted children/Illegitimate children/Stepchildren
Learn more about paying taxes in Vietnam as a foreigner here.
How to stay in Vietnam long term
You can apply to become a resident using the “temporary residence” option. This grants you the longest stay in Vietnam and it is the option that pays off the most, as it doesn’t require extensions or renewals.
A temporary residence allows you to live and work in the country for the period of a year or two years. To get the temporary residence permit, you will need to have the work permit first.
The work permit can be obtained from a company in Vietnam or a visa agency. Follow this link to the government official website to get more information and to apply!
Do you want to get hired as a remote worker?
Here at Support Adventure, an expat-operated outsourcing company, we are constantly hiring talented individuals for mostly tech support roles or admin assistance. If you are interested, apply here for one of our open positions.