Originally published May 7, 2008
Keywords: Vietnam, draft legislation, foreigners, purchasing, owning, residential housing, eligible foreign entities, National Assembly, direct investment
On 14 April 2008 the National Assembly issued a draft resolution on foreigners purchasing and owning residential housing in Vietnam (the "Resolution"). The Resolution provides details and guidance on eligible foreign entities, individuals, conditions, procedures and periods of ownership of residential housing in Vietnam.
This month, the National Assembly is scheduled to work with the authorities of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Ba Ria-Vung Tau province to improve the Resolution. These localities, home to the majority of expats in Vietnam, will be most affected by the Resolution.
The National Assembly Standing Committee will consider the latest draft regulation to allow foreigners to own residential housing in Vietnam in a meeting in the middle of this year.
Under the Resolution, groups eligible to buy residential housing include:
- A foreign individual entering Vietnam for a direct
investment in Vietnam in accordance with the law on
investment or hired by an enterprise currently operating in
Vietnam in accordance with the law on enterprises (including
both domestic enterprises and enterprises with foreign owned
capital) to hold a managerial position in such
- A foreign individual whose contribution to Vietnam has
been rewarded with a decoration or medal from the President
of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; or who has been
recognized by the State as an honorary citizen of Vietnam; or
who was once an ambassador or the consul general of a foreign
diplomatic representative office; or who was once the head of
an international group (international governmental
organization or United Nations organization) in
- A cultural activist or scientist awarded with an academic
title by Vietnam or by a foreign country and working in
Vietnam in the field of science-technology, education,
medical health, sports, culture or the arts;
- A foreign individual married to a Vietnamese
- In special cases foreigners shall be permitted to
purchase residential housing pursuant to a decision of the
- A foreigner not in a category prescribed in clauses (a)
to (e) above but who is currently living and earning his or
her living in Vietnam and has done so for a period of 5
consecutive years or longer; and
- An enterprise with foreign owned capital that is not
licensed to conduct real estate business in Vietnam as
stipulated in the law on investment which purchases
residential housing as a residence for foreigners and
Vietnamese working at such enterprise.
According to the Resolution, the above eligible groups must meet the following conditions:
- Individuals prescribed in clauses (a) to (e) above must
be currently living and earning their living in Vietnam, and
must have permission from the competent body of Vietnam to
reside in Vietnam for a period of one year or longer.
- Individuals prescribed in clause (f) must have
certification from the competent body of Vietnam in the
location where they are living and earning their living that
they have resided in Vietnam for a period of 5 consecutive
years or longer.
- Enterprises prescribed in clause (g) must have an
investment certificate or investment licence issued by the
competent body of Vietnam.
The Resolution also provides that foreigners purchase an apartment in an apartment complex from projects for the development of commercial residential housing and which is not within an area in which residence and movement of foreigners is prohibited or restricted.
Foreign individuals entitled to purchase and own residential housing in Vietnam shall have the following rights:
- To own one apartment in an apartment complex of a project
for the development of commercial residential housing.
Honorary citizens of the State of Vietnam shall have the
right to own residential housing and to exercise the rights
and discharge the obligations attached to such residential
housing ownership the same as Vietnamese citizens residing
and earning their living in Vietnam;
- To sell or donate the purchased apartment to people
eligible to own residential housing in Vietnam at the expiry
of one year from the date of issuance of the certificate or
upon expiry of the term of residence and exit from Vietnam to
- To bequeath the purchased apartment. If the legatee is an
entity eligible to own residential housing in Vietnam then
such legatee shall be issued with a certificate by the body
authorized to issue certificates; and if the legatee is not
an entity eligible to own residential housing in Vietnam then
the legatee shall only be entitled to the value of such
- To mortgage the purchased apartment with a credit
institution operating in Vietnam;
- To lend or to allow others to stay in the purchased
apartment, or to authorize others to manage the purchased
- To maintain and to improve the residential housing in
accordance with the law of Vietnam; and
- To be paid compensation for loss if the apartment must be
dismantled and the site cleared in accordance with a decision
of a competent State body of Vietnam.
Enterprises with foreign owned capital in the category of entities entitled to purchase residential housing in Vietnam shall have the right to purchase and own one or a number of apartments in an apartment complex (or complexes) in projects for the development of commercial residential housing to enable people working at such enterprise to live in the apartment(s).
Foreign individuals entitled to purchase residential housing in Vietnam must correctly implement the regulations on ownership of residential housing in Vietnam, shall not be permitted to purchase residential housing in order to conduct real property business, and shall not be permitted to own a number of apartments within the same one period of residence in Vietnam.
In addition, the Resolution provides the period of ownership of residential housing in Vietnam, whereby, the entities eligible shall be permitted to own an apartment for a maximum of 70 years as from the date of issuance of the certificate; this period may be extended but only once and for a maximum extension of 70 years. On the expiry of the period of ownership of the residential housing in Vietnam (including any extended period) the owner must sell or donate such apartment to an entity eligible to purchase residential housing in Vietnam. If at the end of 6 months from the date of expiry of the period of ownership the owner has failed to sell or donate the apartment, then such apartment shall belong to the State of Vietnam.
The above period shall not apply to a purchaser being an honorary citizen of the State of Vietnam.
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