Foreigners and housing in Vietnam

If you are an expat working or living in Vietnam for an extended period of time, and you do not have a clear understanding of the legal procedures pertaining to housing matter here in Vietnam, this article Vietnam law on foreign ownership of property – key changes will definitely help you.

A summary of key changes

This article will summarise some of key changes in Vietnam law pertaining to

persons who are eligible to own a house in Vietnam

properties that are available to foreigners

methods to purchase

procedures to comply, and

restriction or limitation that need to bear in mind.

Who are eligible

Law of Vietnam now allows 5 catergorised persons to own a house in Vietnam which are

individual including foreign citizen, no nationality who permanently or temporarily residing in Vietnam having valid documentation permitted to enter Vietnam, except diplomatic immunity and privilege.

foreign organisation (including foreign-invested enterprises - an organization established and operated under Vietnamese law whose members or shareholders are foreign investors

branches and/or representative office of foreign enterprises - a dependent unit of the foreign enterprises which is established under the Vietnamese law

foreign investment fund and branches of foreign banks in Vietnam - a fund formed from capital contributed by investors for the purpose of earning profits and a foreign bank’s subsidiary without legal entity status respectively, and finally

overseas Vietnamese (Vietnamese citizens, original Vietnamese who are now currently residing or living for a long time in a foreign country)

Which Form of Housing Is available

Commercial houses, including apartments and detached houses - (includes villas, row houses) of commercial housing constructed project are available for foreigners.

No other type of houses, including an individuals separate house is available to foreigners.

What are the methods

Foreigners can own a house by

investing in project-based housing construction in Vietnam, including development of commercial housing invested by a real estate enterprise for lease, lease purchase or

sale, and renovation and reconstruction of old housing areas and/or apartment buildings, or

purchase, lease-purchase, receive or inherit commercial housing in the project for housing construction

What Are procedures

Depending on the methods to own a house in Vietnam, foreigners shall have to choose either the following procedures to comply with.

Investment in Project-Based Housing Construction

Step 1 - Obtain a decision/approval on investment policies

Step 2 - Planning appraisal, housing construction project approval

Step 3 - Developing the housing construction project

Step 4 - Contract for lease, lease purchase or sale conduction

Buy, Rent and Purchase, Receive or Inherit

Step 1 - Sign contract at notarized office or authenticated by competent authorities for the agreement on housing sale, lease, lease purchase, gift

Step 2 - Apply for a certificate for the change in ownership at competent authority

What Are limitations or restrictions

There are a number of limitations and restrictions that apply to foreigners if they intends to own a house in Vietnam which include the (total) number of house to be entitled, which is now

up to 30% of the total number of an apartments in a building;

up to 250 houses regarding separate houses including villas, or row house; and

up to 10% of the houses of a project having less than 2500 houses in an area whose population is equivalent to a ward-administrative division.

Foreigners are unable to purchase or own a house that is within national defense and security requirements. It is worth however noting that these areas were not publicly announced by the authorities.

In addition, foreign individual is entitled to lease house for lawful purpose provided that s/he notifies the agency.

the term which is only 50 year lease which can be extended or transferred prior to its expiration in the event purchase, lease-purchase, inherit or received as a gift.

Last but not least, foreign organization(s) is/are only provided for their employee but it is not allowed to use their houses for lease, offices or other purpose.

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