How to live in Vietnam permanently – over the years, the country gained immense popularity from digital-nomads and expats as it offers an affordable cost of living.
Vietnam offers a low cost of living especially if you’re working remotely. High-speed WiFi is available in most places and is reliable like many places in Europe or North America.
Aside from this, the country is considered a safe place to live with lower crime rates than France or Greece (and significantly lower than the US).
How to live in Vietnam permanently? Most of the semi-permanent expats living in Vietnam started with a tourist visa, which can be acquired easily via any number of online services.
While tourist visas used to allow visitors and expats to stay for three months at a time, the rules were recently changed to limit visa duration to one month, “temporary resident” status, which can be extended every 30 days for a small fee.
Most expats take this as an opportunity to visit one of the many other great countries in the region. A “visa run” to Thailand or Cambodia, for example, can be fast and affordable. In other words, travel is built into your lifestyle and you can count on getting to know the wider SE Asia region well while on a travel/visa/repeat cycle.
Expats seeking a bit more stability should look for a local job, which varies in difficulty based on the field you’re in. Many companies—especially those in the tech industry—are seeking outside experts, but first must prove that they’ve sought Vietnamese employees before seeking applications from abroad.
If you do secure employment, however, all you’ll need is a letter from the company, a health check, and a copy of your criminal record to receive a year-long, renewable visa.
Obtaining permanent residency status is ideal if you’re looking to settle in Vietnam, but it certainly isn’t easy.
First, you must have already secured your temporary resident status, which is easily obtained by anyone who has a temporary work visa (often provided by teaching and tech jobs.
Then—according to the Immigration Department of the Ministry of Public Security—you can file for permanent residency if you are:
Foreigners who are residing in Vietnam in the following conditions will be considered for permanent residence:
a) Being unjustifiably oppressed while fighting for people’s freedom and independence, socialism, democracy, and peace or for a scientific cause.
b) Having contributions in building and protecting the fatherland of Vietnam
c) Being the wife, husband, child, father or mother of a Vietnamese citizen residing permanently in Vietnam.