Regulations on Homeownership of foreigners in Vietnam

The Law on property was issued by the National Assembly of Vietnam on 2014. Foreigner have legal right to buy houses in Vietnam. The law specifies detailed regulations on entities who have rights to buy houses in Vietnam.
 – Ownership period written ( total 100 years)  : it is up to 50 years from the date of issue of the Certificate. When the house ownership period written on the Certificate expires, if the owner wishes to have this period extended. Such extension must not exceed 50 years from the original expiration date of the time limit for house ownership written.
–  In case the foreign organization or individual sells or offers the house before the expiration of the ownership period, the buyer or recipient may own the house as follows:
a) If the house is sold or gifted to a domestic organization, household, individual, or a Vietnamese citizen residing overseas, the buyer or recipient will acquire a long-term ownership of the house;
b) If the house is sold to a foreign organization or individual eligible to own housing in Vietnam, the buyer or recipient may own the house for the remaining period. When this period expires, if the owner wishes to have this period extended, the State shall consider granting an extension.
Detail of related law
Article 7. Entities eligible for the homeownership in Vietnam

1. Vietnamese organizations, households or individuals (hereinafter referred to as Vietnamese entities).

2. Overseas Vietnamese.

3. Foreign organizations and individuals (hereinafter referred to as foreign entities) prescribed in Clause 1 Article 159 of this Law.

Article 159. Foreign entities eligible for the homeownership in Vietnam and forms of the homeownership in Vietnam relating to foreign entities

1. Foreign entities eligible for the homeownership in Vietnam include:

a) Foreign entities who invest in project-based housing construction in Vietnam as prescribed in this Law and corresponding regulations of law;

b) Foreign-invested enterprises, branches, representative offices of foreign enterprises, foreign-invested funds and branches of foreign banks operating in Vietnam (hereinafter referred to as foreign organization);

c) Foreign individuals who are allowed to enter Vietnam.

2. The foreign entities eligible for the homeownership in Vietnam if they:

a) Invest in project-based housing construction in Vietnam as prescribed in this Law and corresponding regulations of law;

b) Buy, rent and purchase, receive, or inherit commercial housing including apartments and separate houses in the project for housing construction, except for areas under management relating to national defense and security as prescribed in regulations of the Government.

Article 160. Requirements pertaining foreign entities eligible for the homeownership in Vietnam

1. The foreign entity prescribed in Point a Clause 1 Article 159 of this Law is required to have an Investment certificate and have houses which are built under a project as prescribed in this Law and corresponding regulations of law.

2. The foreign entity prescribed in Point b Clause 1 Article 159 of this Law is required to have an Investment certificate or a Permission to run business in Vietnam (hereinafter referred to as Certificate of investment) issued by the competent agency in Vietnam.

3. The foreign entity prescribed in Point c Clause 1 Article 159 of this Law is required to have a permission to enter Vietnam and he/she is not granted diplomatic immunity and privileges as prescribed.

4. The Government provides guidance on documentary evidence for entities or requirements pertaining to foreign entities qualifying for the homeownership in Vietnam.

Article 161. Rights of foreign entities as homeowners

1. The foreign entity prescribed in Point a Clause 1 Article 159 of this Law is entitled to exercise rights of homeowners as prescribed in Article 10 of this Law, if his/her house is built on a piece of leased land, he/she is only entitled to lease that house.

2. The foreign entity prescribed in Point b and c Clause 1 Article 159 of this Law is entitled to exercise rights of homeowners similarly to Vietnam citizens provided that he/she comply with following regulations:

a) He/She may not buy, rent and purchase, receive, inherit and own more than 30% of apartments in an apartment building; or more than 250 houses regarding separate houses including villas, row houses in an area whose population is equivalent to a ward-administrative division.

In case in an area whose population is equivalent to a ward-administrative division has multiple apartment buildings or regarding separate houses in a street, the Government shall provide guidance on number of apartments or number of separate houses that a foreign entity is entitled to buy, rent and purchase, receive, inherit and own;

b) In case the foreign entity receives or inherits house(s) not in accordance with Point b Clause 2 Article 159 of this Law or exceeding the number of houses prescribed in Point a of this Clause, he/she only receives the value of that house(s);

c) The foreign individuals are eligible for the homeownership as agreed in agreements on housing sale, lease purchase, gifting, or inheritance for not more than 50 years, from the day on which they are granted the Certificate and they may be also granted extension as prescribed in regulations of the Government; the duration of the homeownership must be stated in the Certificate.

If a foreign individual marries to a Vietnamese citizen or an oversea Vietnamese, he/she qualifies for stable and long-term homeownership and has all rights of homeowner similarly to Vietnamese citizens;

d) The foreign organization are eligible for the homeownership as agreed in agreements on housing sale, lease purchase, gifting, or inheritance for not longer than duration stated in their Certificate of investment, including extension duration, the duration of the homeownership shall be determined from the day on which the organization is granted the Certificate and stated in such Certificate;

dd) Before the time limit of the homeownership prescribed in this Law expires, the homeowner is entitled to gift or sell their house(s) to entities eligible for the homeownership in Vietnam; if not, their house(s) shall be under ownership of the State.

Article 162. Obligations of foreign entities as homeowners

1. The foreign entity prescribed in Point a Clause 1 Article 159 of this Law has obligations of homeowners as prescribed in Article 11 of this Law.

2. The foreign entity prescribed in Point b and Point c Clause 1 Article 159 of this Law has obligations of homeowners similarly to Vietnamese citizens provided that he/she comply with following regulations:

a) If the homeowner is a foreign individual, he/she is entitled to lease house(s) for lawful purposes provided that he/she notifies the agency of district in charge of housing where the house is located of housing lease as prescribed in regulations of the Minister of Construction and pays taxes on housing lease as prescribed before leasing houses.

If a foreign individual gets married to a Vietnamese citizen or an oversea Vietnamese, he/she qualifies for stable and long-term homeownership and has all rights of homeowner similarly to Vietnamese citizens;

b) If the homeowner is a foreign organization, its house(s) is/are only provided for their employees but it is not allowed to use their house(s) for lease, offices, or other purposes;

c) They pay off the total amount through credit institutions operating in Vietnam.

Article 7. House ownership duration

3. Foreigners mentioned in Point c Clause 1 Article 159 of the Law on Housing may own housing for up to 50 years from the date of issue of the Certificate. When the house ownership period written on the Certificate expires, if the owner wishes to have this period extended, the State shall consider granting an extension according to Article 77 of this Decree.

4. In case the foreign organization or individual sells or offers the house before the expiration of the ownership period, the buyer or recipient may own the house as follows:

a) If the house is sold or gifted to a domestic organization, household, individual, or a Vietnamese citizen residing overseas, the buyer or recipient will acquire a long-term ownership of the house;
b) If the house is sold to a foreign organization or individual eligible to own housing in Vietnam, the buyer or recipient may own the house for the remaining period. When this period expires, if the owner wishes to have this period extended, the State shall consider granting an extension according to Article 77 of this Decree.
c) The seller or giver must pay tax and other amounts to state budget as prescribed by Vietnam’s law.

Article 77. Extension of time limit for foreign entities’ ownership of houses in Vietnam

1. With regard to a foreign individual that owns a house as set out in Point c Clause 2 Article 161 of the Law on Housing, the extension of time limit for house ownership is specified below:
a) 03 months before the expiration of the time limit for house ownership, if the owner wishes to have the time limit extended, he/she must file an application for extension which specifies the extension length and enclose it with a certified true copy of the certificate of the house, then send it to the People’s Committee of the province in which the house is located;
b) Within 30 days from the receipt of the owner’s application, the People’s Committee of the province shall consider and issues a written permission for one extension of the time limit for house ownership at the request of the owner. Such extension must not exceed 50 years from the original expiration date of the time limit for house ownership written on the certificate, except for the case specified in Clause 3 of this Article;
c) According to the written permission given by the People’s Committee of the province, the Certificate issue shall write the extension on the Certificate, and send a copy of the Certificate to the Department of Construction of the same province for monitoring.

2. With regard to a foreign organization that owns a house for a limited period of time as set out in Point d Clause 2 Article 161 of the Law on Housing, the extension of time limit for house ownership is specified below:

a) 03 months before the expiration of the time limit for house ownership, if the owner wishes to have the time limit extended, he/she must file an application for extension which specifies the extension length and enclose it with a certified true copy of the certificate of the house, investment registration certificate that is granted an extension by a Vietnam’s competent authority, then send it to the People’s Committee of the province in which the house is located;
b) Within 30 days from the receipt of the owner’s application, the People’s Committee of the province shall consider and issues a written permission for one extension of the time limit for house ownership at the request of the owner. Such extension must not exceed the time limit written on the investment registration certificate that is granted an extension by a Vietnam’s competent authority;
c) According to the written permission given by the People’s Committee of the province, the Certificate issue shall write the extension on the Certificate, make a copy of the Certificate and send it to the provincial Department of Construction for monitoring.

3. Upon the first expiration of the house ownership period, if the foreign organization or individual is compelled to leave Vietnam or shut down the operation in Vietnam, no extension as set out in Clause 1 and Clause 2 of this Article shall be granted; their housing shall be dealt with in accordance with Clause 3 Article 8 of this Decree.

Article 8. Expiration of house ownership period

1. Upon the expiration of the house ownership period as agreed between the initial buyer and seller prescribed in Clause 1 Article 7 of this Decree, the house ownership and land use right shall be settled as agreed by both parties in the initial house purchase contract. If such agreement does not exist, the house ownership and land use right shall be transferred to the initial owner or his/her legal inheritor.If the initial owner is an organization that goes bankrupt, is dissolved, or shut down, its housing shall be dealt with in accordance with regulations of law on bankruptcy, dissolution, or shutdown, and the house ownership shall be transferred to an eligible organization or individual as prescribed by regulations of law on bankruptcy, dissolution, or shutdown. While the house owner is being determined, the organization or individual managing the house shall keep managing it and must not sell, lease under a lease-purchase agreement, offer, bequeath, pledge, or contribute the house as capital. The house shall be transferred within 03 months from the day on which its owner is determined.
In case a foreign organization has its investment registration certificate or license to operate in Vietnam revoked by Vietnam’s government, the owner must sell or offer the house to an entity eligible to own housing in Vietnam.
2. In case the initial buyer and seller mentioned in Clause 1 Article 7 of this Decree does not have an agreement on disposal of the Certificate upon the expiration of the house ownership period, the issuer of the Certificate shall revoke it from the current owner and issue it to the initial owner as prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article. If the Certificate cannot be retrieved, the issuer shall issue a decision to annul the Certificated issued to the current owner and reissue it to the initial owner. Procedures for issuing the Certificate shall comply with regulations of law on land.

3. Before the expiration of the house ownership period prescribed in Clause 2 and Clause 3 Article 7 of this Decree (including extended period prescribed in Article 77 of this Decree), the foreign organization or individual may directly or authorize another organization or individual to exercise their right to sell or gift the owner under their lawful ownership as prescribed in Clause 4 Article 7 of this Decree. If the foreign organization or individual fails to sell or offer the house by the deadline, such house shall be passed into public ownership. The Department of Construction shall request the People’s Committee of the province where the house is located to issue a decision on establishment of public ownership, expropriate the house, use it, sell it, or lease it out in accordance with regulations on management of state-owned houses.
In case a foreign individual is expelled from Vietnam or a foreign organization is forced to stop operating in Vietnam by a competent authority of Vietnam because illegal use of housing under their ownership, the house shall be dealt with under a decision of a competent authority of Vietnam.

Article 74. Documents proving eligibility for owning houses in Vietnam.

1. A foreign individual must have an unexpired passport bearing the entry seal of the Vietnam’s immigration authority and not given diplomatic immunity and privileges according to Ordinance on diplomatic immunity and privileges of diplomatic missions, consular offices, and representative authorities of international organizations in Vietnam.

2. A foreign organization must be an entity specified in Article 159 of the Law on Housing which has investment registration certificate or a permission issued by a Vietnam’s competent authority for operation in Vietnam which is still unexpired at the time of housing transaction (hereinafter referred to as investment registration certificate).

Article 75. Areas in which foreign entities may own houses

1. Foreign entities may only own houses (including apartments and detached houses) of commercial housing construction projects, except for those in areas having national defense and security requirements prescribed by Vietnam’s regulations of law.2. The Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Public Security have the responsibility to specify the areas having national defense and security requirements in each province and send a written notification to the People’s Committee of the province as the basis for directing the provincial Department of Construction to compile a list of commercial housing construction projects whose houses must not be owned by foreign entities.
Article 76. Permissible quantity of houses owned by foreign entities

1. According to the notification sent by the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Public Security, and the direction of the People’s Committee of the province as specified in Clause 2 Article 75 of this Decree, the provincial Department of Construction shall make the following information publicly available on its web portal:
a) A list of housing construction projects in the province which are located inside the areas in which foreign entities are not permitted to own houses;
b) The quantity of houses (including apartments and detached houses) of each housing construction projects that foreign entities may own, provided they are not those specified in Point a of this Clause; the quantity of apartments of each apartment building, the quantity of detached houses of each project that foreign entities may own;
c) The quantity of houses that has been purchased, leased under a lease-purchase agreement by foreign entities, provided they have been granted certificates for each of the housing construction projects;
d) The quantity of apartments that foreign entities may own in case there are more than one apartment buildings in an area whose population is equivalent to that of a ward; quantity of detached houses that foreign entities may own in case, in an area whose population is equivalent to that of a ward, there is one or more housing construction projects but the total quantity of detached houses does not exceed 2,500.2. Foreign entities eligible to own houses in Vietnam may only purchase, lease-purchase houses from owners of housing construction projects, or purchase houses of the foreign entities specified in Point b Clause 4 Article 7 of this Decree, and may only receive houses as inheritance of gifts from households or individuals, or receive houses as gifts from organizations provided the quantity does not exceed the limits specified in Clause 4 and Clause 4 of this Article of the housing construction projects whose houses they may own. Where a foreign entity who is not eligible to own houses in Vietnam receives a house in Vietnam as a gift or inheritance, provisions in Article 78 of this Decree shall apply.

3. Foreign entities may own up to 30% of the total number of apartments of an apartment building. In an area whose population is equivalent to that of a ward, if there is more than one apartment buildings for sale or lease-purchase, foreign entities may own up to 30% of the number of apartments of each apartment building, and up to 30% of the total number of apartments of all these apartment buildings.

4. In an area whose population is equivalent to that of a ward, if there is a commercial housing construction project for sale or lease-purchase, the quantity of detached houses that may be owned by foreign entities is specified below:

a) Where the quantity of detached houses of an project is fewer than 2,500, foreign entities may own up to 10% of the houses of such project;
b) Where there is only one project whose quantity of detached houses is equivalent to 2,500 houses, foreign entities may own up to 250 houses of them;
c) Where there are two or more projects where the total quantity of detached houses does not exceed 2,500 houses, foreign entities may own up to 10% of the houses of each project.

5. The Ministry of Construction shall provide specific instructions on determination of quantity of housing that foreign entities may own in accordance with Clause 3 and Clause 4 of this Article.

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