We have helped hundreds of foreigners over the past twelve years successfully live and work and Vietnam. Below are some of the most common questions a newcomer may have. Once the decision has been made to move to Vietnam, let one of our many programs and services help you obtain your immigration documents, find your house and your children’s school and get you settled quickly and happily with the least amount of worry.
It is recommended to have at least some introductory Vietnamese lessons in order to grasp basic words and phrases. Knowing a bit of Vietnamese goes a long way in helping to break the ice, create relationships with co-workers and also makes getting around much easier. Compared to somewhere like China, it is much easier to get by with only some knowledge of the language as many (especially younger) Vietnamese have some kind of basic grasp of English language and writing.
Vietnam is a relatively safe and stable country, especially for foreigners. Crime against foreigners is very low and is usually limited to petty theft or scams. Violent crime against foreigners is also quite low. Foreigners should be aware though that living in a city in Vietnam has many of the same issues any urban area might have (like residential theft or dangerous parts of town) and sensible precautions need to be taken.
VND (Vietnam Dong) is the official currency of Vietnam. USD is accepted for some transactions and is accepted (along with other major currencies) at banks. At the updating of this FAQ in 2017, the exchange from 1 USD to VND is 22,800 VND. The largest bill in Vietnam is 500,000 VND. One million VND is equal to about 50 USD, so for very little money, you can easily call yourself a millionaire once you arrive in Vietnam!
Credit cards are becoming more and more common every year in Vietnam. We recommended that foreigners still rely on cash for everyday transactions. Visa / Mastercard are widely accepted but other companies like American Express are not as popular yet. If you intend to use your foreign credit card in Vietnam, be sure to notify your home bank prior to arrival.
Both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have a wide range of excellent schooling options from pre-school to 12th grade and the majority have internationally recognized programs. Primary and secondary school tuition can range between 10-15,000 USD per year and there can be a waiting list depending on the schools and grades. Please view our Partners Page for a list of some of the top schools we work with.
In general, the foreigners in Vietnam can be well cared for due to the presence of international clinics like International SOS and Family Medical Practice. General healthcare, pediatrics, dental and much more can be found in the major cities and all are staffed by highly qualified international doctors with modern, reliable equipment. Large foreign hospitals are such as VinMec International Hospitals are now available but not as common yet. Highly respected hospitals are nearby in Thailand and Singapore in case of a major emergency. Click on our Partners Page to find a list of some of the top clinics and hospitals.
Yes provided that you hold an international driving license or a Vietnamese driving license after having converted your foreign driving license. However, it is not recommended to drive oneself in Vietnam, especially motorbikes. Traffic is very chaotic and quite dangerous. There are thousands of motorbike accidents every year in Vietnam with unfortunately many deaths. The safest options are taxis or hiring a car with a driver. Taxis are in abundance in major cities. Hiring a car and driver is also a common option for foreigners and can usually be had for under 1,200 USD a month. Public transportation is limited and not recommended.
In the middle and South of Vietnam there are basically two seasons, the dry season and the rainy season. The climate is tropic and normally quite hot and humid throughout the year. The North of Vietnam will see seasons more familiar to Western foreigners. Hanoi has a fall and a mild winter (no snow) as well as very hot and humid seasons.
Most foreigners who are coming to Vietnam to work will initially enter under a three month, multi-entry DN visa. There is a relatively straightforward, easy process to obtain this visa that allows the foreigner to enter Vietnam while their work permit and residence card are in progress. The three month multi-entry DN visa should be obtained at the Vietnamese embassy in overseas with a pre-authorization letter and can also be converted in -country once work permit has been granted to a LD visa. It is however recommended that the official assignment only start after your work permit is granted. Click here to learn more about visa options.
All working foreigners in Vietnam must have a work permit and a visa or temporary Residence card. They are separate processes to obtain each.
We recommend allowing at least three months for the Work Permit process due to the coordination of multiple offices both in Vietnam and your home country. Click here to see our overview of requirements for obtaining a work permit.
There are several steps and documents required to obtain a work permit. The first step is to make sure there is a company registered in Vietnam that will sponsor your work permit (host entity). Beyond that, there are various other requirements such as a health check, police record from home country, working experience letter and/or educational degree paperwork, etc. To view more info about work permits, click here.
There are a wide variety of housing options for individuals and families in the major cities in Vietnam. Prices range greatly and much of the pricing depends on the area in which you choose to live. Villas, serviced apartments, non-serviced apartments and others are available for lease. It is recommended to not look for properties yourself online as much of the information is not reliable. Click here to see how Resident Vietnam can help you with your search.
Both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh have dynamic expat communities made up of Japanese, Koreans, Americans, French, Australians, Canadians, etc. Although exact official numbers are not known, we estimate that more than 100,000 foreigners live in Vietnam.
Major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh have many expat groups and activities for all interests of adults and children. Everything from expat women’s organizations to theatre clubs, cinema, children’s play groups and rugby clubs and even ice rink (in Hanoi) are all available. There are online communities and expat magazines from which one can connect to fellow foreigners.
Drinking tap water should be avoided however brushing your teeth and using boiled tap water to cook is normally safe. Bottled drinking water is always recommended and unless one is in a known, well-established hotel, restaurant or bar, ice should be used cautiously. There are many reliable bottled water companies in Vietnam who can install and service water coolers in homes and workplaces.
Vietnam now has a great variety of international restaurants, bars and clubs for the foreigner. Besides excellent Vietnamese food, foreigners can enjoy everything from Brazilian steak restaurants to Spanish tapas to Japanese. Although Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi are not yet comparable to places like Bangkok or Singapore, one will never be at loss for eating, drinking and socializing options.
Maids/cooks in Vietnam can be hired by expats either on a full or part time basis. It is common for most expats to have some kind of help for their home. This can range from a maid who simply comes to clean once a week and do laundry to a maid who lives with the family full time, cooks, cleans etc. In general, it is relatively inexpensive to have help in the home and there are a few established service providers that can be contacted. In most cases, the maid will come through a personal recommendation by friends or work colleagues. It is always important to spend a good deal of time and energy at the beginning to find and train a maid. One must also manage their expectations as many maids most likely have not had a great deal of experience working in a foreign home.
It takes a good deal of time and effort to find a quality nanny who will understand you and your families needs so be prepared. Most nannies will be found through recommendation of colleagues or friends and most, although usually reliable and well meaning will have limited language skills and an incomplete understanding of foreign standards. With time and effort though, your nanny can become a very valuable part of your family life in Vietnam.
We are a dedicated Relocation and Immigration company that focuses only on those areas to deliver only the best service possible to our clients. Although we do not offer moving services, we are able to connect our clients with highly reliable, international movers.
We have many different services for both immigration and relocation and tailor every program to the exact needs of the client. Some services are charged by the day and others depending on the project or case. We work with all of our clients at the beginning to first assess what exactly their requirements are and how exactly we can help fulfill their needs at the very best price. Contact us today for a quote!