Through the years, Vietnam has been gaining popularity as a top destination for tourists and even for retirees. It is not very difficult to retire in Vietnam but most of the time there are some restrictions if you are a complete foreigner. However, if you are a Vietnamese person who is living or migrated abroad or what is called as “Viet Kieu”, then it is definitely easier. This will also help you get closer to your roots and be surrounded by your culture during your golden years.

In this article, we will cover the basics of returning to Vietnam as a Viet Kieu, from visas, vietnamese citizenship, how viet kieu buying property in vietnam or make investments. So if you are thinking about spending your retirement there, please read on.

💡 To go deeper on the subject of real estate investment in Vietnam, we made a full report about it: invest in real estate in Vietnam. This second article dig in more detail on the different investment opportunities in apartments, land and houses in Vietnam for foreigners.

🤑 The country presents many opportunities for those who can speak Vietnamese. A Viet Kieu is hunted in Vietnam by headhunters because he is usually fluent in the language and has been trained or has experience abroad which gives him the international perspective. If you are looking for a job in Vietnam, check out our in-depth guide about finding a job and work in Vietnam as a foreigner or Viet Kieu 🚀.

Who are considered as Viet Kieus?

The term Viet Kieu is usually used to refer to people of Vietnamese descent or who grew up in Vietnam but moved overseas. Viet Kieu is a Sino-Vietnamese word which literally means “Vietnamese Overseas”. Most of the time, Vietnamese people still living in Vietnam are the ones who use this term and not the Viet Kieus themselves.

Get retired, open a business and investing in vietnam

The largest population of Viet Kieus are in the United States with over 2 million people of Vietnamese descent. This makes sense since most Viet Kieus were political refugees who left the country after the pro-US Saigon was captured in 1975.

I’m interviewing two Viet Kieu friends in Vietnam

In this video, you will discover the feedback and opinions with no bullshit from Nicolas and Tue Si: both overseas vietnamese who decided to return to Vietnam:

  • What is the current taboo that nobody talks about when it comes to the Viet Kieu?
  • They share with an open heart 💔 about the challenges, racism and what are the deep reasons why they moved to Vietnam,
  • Personal reasons, opportunities, … everyone will learn from them about the future of Vietnam.

Q&A – Viet Kieu : answers to the main questions ?

🇻🇳 Viet Kieu, who and what is it ? Việt kiều là gì ?

Viet Kieu is the term for overseas Vietnamese. This is often the case of generations of Vietnamese who have gone into exile / born abroad:

  1. just before the Vietnam War
  2. those who left as refugees during the Vietnam war

Over the years and new generations, a number of :

  • More than 2 million in the United States
  • 600,000 in Cambodia
  • 350,000 in France
  • 350,000 in Japan
  • 300,000 in Australia
  • 250,000 i Canada
  • 200,000 in Taiwan
  • 170,000 in Germany

✈️ Viet Kieu returning to Vietnam ?

Many overseas Vietnamese (whose parents fled after the war), who have been adopted by families abroad, or just spent part of their lives abroad, many wish to return to Vietnam. The reasons are diverse:

  • personal reasons : to spend time in the country, to immerse themselves in the culture and traditions of the country, to learn about the country’s culture and traditions,
  • business and work opportunities : to take advantage of the booming economy and the many professional opportunities available on the market,
  • sentimental : to go back to their roots and search for answers about their past.

More and more retired people (couples in which one of the spouses is Vietnamese) are also choosing to return home in order to find a different life, a certain quality of life or simply for the love of their native country.

🛂 Vietnamese citizenship, passport for Viet Kieu ?

Many overseas Vietnamese wish to return home: whether it is for personal reasons, career opportunities or a deeper desire to return to the roots of their lives, then enjoying Vietnamese citizenship is a step that some wish to take. If you were born abroad to Vietnamese parents, you benefit from a 5-year visa exemption as soon as you are able to prove (birth certificate, family record book) that one of your parents is Vietnamese. The acquisition of a Vietnamese passport or identity card is more delicate and it means that you were born in Vietnam. Depending on the province, city and papers in your possession, the steps can take more or less time to finally succeed in obtaining one.

🏡 Viet kieu buying property in vietnam ?

Vietnamese abroad have some advantages in terms of possible ownership compared to other foreigners. Indeed, if they have to be able to prove that they were born on Vietnamese soil, some are able to obtain a Vietnamese identity card which gives the right to buy land in Vietnam. With the real estate boom and rising land prices, property in big cities and even in more remote areas, taking the steps to buy property in Vietnam can be a great investment idea for the future.

What are your benefits as Viet Kieu?

Visa-Free Certificate

As a Viet Kieu, you, your spouse, and your children are entitled to enter the country without a visa and you can stay for up to 90 days. Of course, if you are planning to retire in Vietnam you would not want to keep on exiting and re-entering the country just to reset the 90 days, so it would be best to get a five-year visa-free certificate.

As a Viet Kieu you have the benefit of obtaining up to a five-year visa-free certificate. This can be easily obtained through the consulate in your country of residence. If you are married to a non-Vietnamese, they may also apply for the five-year visa-free certificate but the requirements are different.

How Long is the Validity of the Visa Certificates?

Visa certificates can last up to five years or six months before the expiration of your passport or residence permit. Although the visa is valid for five years, you are only allowed to stay in the country for 180 days and can extend this for another 180 days when you arrive in Vietnam.

What are the requirements?

  1. As an Overseas Vietnamese
    • Online visa application form for Visa Exemption Certificate (you need to fill out the form here then you need to print it out and sign)
    • Two (2) recent 2×2 photographs (one photo is glued to the form the other is stapled to your form)
    • Foreign issued residence permit or passport which is valid for at least six months from the date of entry in Vietnam
    • One (1) copy of at least one of the following
      • Vietnamese birth certificate
      • Certificate of Vietnamese Citizenship
      • Expired Vietnamese Passport
      • Vietnamese Identity Card
      • Family/Household Registration book
    • Payment (cash or credit card if submitting the application in person)
  2. As a spouse or child of an Overseas Vietnamese
    • Online visa application form for Visa Exemption Certificate (you need to fill out the form here then you need to print it out and sign)
    • Two (2) recent 2×2 photographs (one photo is glued to the form the other is stapled to your form)
    • Foreign issued residence permit or passport which is valid for at least six months from the date of entry in Vietnam
    • One (1) copy of at least one of the following
      • Marriage Certificate
      • Birth Certificate
      • Certificate of Relationship for Child/Parent
      • Decision on adoption
    • Payment (cash or credit card if submitting the application in person)

Processing Time

The processing time and even the requirements may be different from country to country so make sure to check with your local consulate. The usual processing time is five (5) working days upon completion of all requirements. You can either pick up your certificate from an agent who will do the papers for you or pick it up by yourself from the consulate.

Ownership and Investment Rules

To protect the interest of Vietnam, the government has placed safeguards which makes it harder for foreigners to own businesses and properties. Although they have removed the 49% cap on business ownership and property buying is laxer now, foreigners still have a harder time compared to locals. However, your Viet Kieu status allows you to have the same ownership and investment rules as Vietnamese citizens. This means that you would not need a Vietnamese co-owner and you can be a sole-proprietor.

Buy to rent an apartment or condominium as an investment

Like most things, you cannot just buy a property or set-up a business just by claiming your Vietnamese descent. You would first need to have the certificate mentioned in the previous section. This gives you the same rights as a Vietnamese. This privilege is actually a new rule and which just started in 2015.

Learn more about investing in Vietnam : receive my private and tailored advice by e-mail

How to get started?

Starting a business anywhere is hard but knowing the right things to do and the actual process will make it easier for you. The first thing you need to do is to make sure that this is really what interests you this way you will be motivated to manage your business and property. If you will be buying a property, make sure that it is in an area you like especially if you will be living there in the future. If the property will be for rentals, make sure that it is in a desirable area and that price is right for what you will get. Now, if you are planning to set up a business, you should also be interested in the industry this will motivate you to manage it well.

how to invest in vietnam in 2019 in District 7 of Ho Chi Minh as a foreigner

Once, you have decided you should now try to reach out to professionals. Since you might have not been in Vietnam for a while you would need someone who knows the ropes. Look for a great real estate agent and a lawyer who specializes in working with Viet Kieus. This allows you to be protected from all fronts. Of course, research well and make sure you are paying the right price.

Managing your Cash-Flow vs Loan

Another thing you need to do is make sure your cash flows. Make sure that there is a paper trail when you make your payments. This is because by law, the banks need to see the origin of your money before your purchase can be ratified. It would also be better if you make bank transfers from a foreign account since Vietnamese banks usually have fluctuating rates and could be unreliable.

This goes without saying, but you should keep everything legal. Make sure that the purchase you make is legal as well as all the people you are talking to. Do not be blinded by “bargains”; these usually have a catch and most of the time they do not have the proper documentation. This will just cost you more in the end and may even affect your status in the country. You should also see to it that you have the “Pink Book” of the property you are buying. This is the only document which the government accepts as a proof of ownership. Make sure that you are handed this document before transferring the full amount.

Why Should You Return in Vietnam?

Vietnam is a developing country with an economic growth of almost 7% each year. It has been tagged as part of the N-11 or the next 11 economies that have the potential to be the economic leaders in the next decade. The growth they are experiencing seems to not be slowing down any time soon. This is the reason why it is so popular with investors and why you should seriously consider investing here.

Buy a land in Vietnam as a viet kieu : benefits for investment

The boost in the economy also boosts the spending power of the middle class, ensuring great returns to your investments.

Cost of Living

It is no secret that Vietnam is more affordable than any western country and is even more affordable than most of its neighboring countries. The retirement pension you receive will certainly go a long way in Vietnam. Even the more expensive cities like Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi costs only around 1000 USD to live each month. You will definitely be living more comfortably here especially if you are looking into investing and opening a business.

Rent, transportation, and of course food is cheaper in Vietnam. You will also be able to go around and travel to nearby countries for a cheaper price. Traveling to nearby cities would also be cheaper.

Working, getting on a project or just going back to the roots ?

More and more projects are being launched in Vietnam and are attracting young Vietnamese from abroad who wish to return home. Whether it is to make investments, set up an entrepreneurial project or just find a job to come and learn the language.

Others wish to connect much more deeply with the culture and be able to immerse themselves in the codes, rules and go deep into the discovery of their history with the country.  Many overseas Vietnamese realize this dream that they have kept in their minds sometimes for years before deciding to return to Vietnam.

So what are you waiting for?

Foreigners from western countries have been flocking Vietnam to retire. There is no retirement visa in Vietnam so it is definitely harder for them compared to Viet Kieus like you. You should, therefore, take advantage of this special privilege you have with the visa. You can stay longer than most foreign citizens and you will get the same privilege as someone with a Vietnamese citizenship.

Viet Kieu who move abroad after the war come back vietnam for investing and open a business

Aside from the economic aspect, a lot of Viet Kieus choose to retire in Vietnam to get reconnected with their culture. Most of them fled the country due to the previous unrest that the country experienced but they still consider Vietnam as their home country. Because of this, retiring there is more comfortable for them. They can be closer to relatives still in Vietnam and they are closer to the culture they grew up in.

We hope that this article helped you in your plan to retire in Vietnam. If you have any more questions, feel free to download the step-by-step e-book to prepare your investment and live in Vietnam. Feel free to ask my any question by e-mail.

Need more information on this subject? Join my private newsletter and get in touch with me

× How can we help you?