Globalization and integration have created many opportunities for people travelling around the world, working in foreign countries, and even owning property in those countries. Vietnam is putting its name on the map as a fertile land for many foreign investors because of its strategic geography and its stable economic growth.
Currently, more and more foreigners are living and working in Vietnam, therefore they will often have a need and desire to own a house in Vietnam. So, according to current Vietnam law, can foreigners own houses in Vietnam? If so, what conditions must they meet? Let’s find out through this article of Phuc Cau Law:
Key words: property rights, housing ownership, foreigners
- Vietnamese Law on housing 2014 (LORH 2014)
- Decree No. 99/2015/ND – CP dated 20/10/2015 on guidelines for the law on housing (amended by Decree No. 30/2021/ND-CP dated 26/3/2021)
- Circular No 19/2016/TT-BXD dated 30/6/2016 on guidelines for implementation of some content of the law on housing and the government’s decree No. 99/2015/ND – CP
The promulgation of the 2014 Law on Residential Housing (LORH) opens the door for foreigners to purchase and enjoy ownership over property in Vietnam.
1. Foreign entities (organizations and individuals) eligible for home-ownership in Vietnam:
Accord to Clause 1 Article 159 of LORH 2014, foreign entities allowed home-ownership in Vietnam in the following cases:
• Foreign entities investing in housing construction projects in Vietnam, as prescribed in this law and relevant legal regulations…;
• Foreigners who are allowed to enter Vietnam. Accordingly, conditions for owning houses in Vietnam for foreign individuals include:
(1) Foreigner who invest in project-based housing construction in Vietnam (is required to have an Investment certificate and have houses which are built under a project as prescribed in LORH 2014 and corresponding regulations of law);
(2) Foreign individuals who are allowed to enter Vietnam (when they have valid passports with entry verification stamp of the Vietnam immigration authorities and not given diplomatic immunity and privileges according to Ordinance on diplomatic immunity and privileges of diplomatic agencies, consular offices, and representative authorities of international organizations in Vietnam – according to the provisions of clause 3, Article 60 of the 2014 Law on Housing and clause 1, Article 74 of Decree No. 99/2015/ND-CP).
2. Types of home-ownership of foreign entities in Vietnam
According to Clause 2, Article 159 of LORH 2014, the foreign entities eligible for the homeownership in Vietnam if they:
• Invest in housing construction projects in Vietnam, as prescribed in this law and relevant legal regulations;
• Buy, purchase and rent, receive or inherit commercial houses including apartments and separate houses in housing construction projects, except for projects in the areas of national defense and security as prescribed by the Government.
⭕ From the above regulations, it can be seen that: Foreign individuals can own houses in Vietnam through the following forms: (i) investing in housing construction projects in Vietnam or (ii) Buy, purchase and rent, receive or inherit commercial houses (including apartments and separate houses in housing construction projects, except for projects in the areas of national defense and security as prescribed by the Government).
3. House ownership duration
According to Clause 2, Article 161 of LORH 2014, Foreigners may own housing for up to 50 years from the date of issue of the Certificate. When the house ownership period was written on the Certificate (Certificate of land use right, ownership of houses and other land attached assets – Pink book) expires, if the owner wishes to have this period extended, the State shall consider granting an extension according to law. House ownership duration must be specified in the Certificate. There is no provision for the issuance of Certificate to the Foreigners in the case of a foreigner renting an apartment for a definite period;
- In case a foreign individual married to a Vietnamese citizen or a Vietnamese citizen residing overseas, he/she is entitled to own stable and long-term housing and the rights of the owner like Vietnamese citizens.
- In case the foreign individual sells or offers the house before the expiration of the ownership period, 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;
- In case the foreign individual sells or offers the house before the expiration of the ownership period, 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;
- The seller or giver must pay tax and other amounts to the state budget as prescribed by Vietnam’s law.
4. Summary of requirements for foreigners to buy houses in Vietnam:
From the general regulations on homeownership for foreigner above, to buy a house in Vietnam you need to meet the following requirements:
Firstly, Foreigners are required to have permission to enter Vietnam and are not granted diplomatic immunity and privileges.
Accordingly, Foreigners must have a valid passport with a stamp of entry verification of the Vietnam Immigration Department. (Article 74 of Decree No. 99/2015/ND-CP)
Concurrency, Foreigners must have full civil capacity to enter into transactions in housing, qualify for the homeownership in Vietnam and are not required to register temporary or permanent residence in the place where the house under transactions is located. (according to Clause 2, Article 119 of Decree 99/2015/NĐ-CP)
Especially, according to Clause 2, Article 76 of Decree 99/2015 /ND-CP, Foreigners are only allowed to buy houses from investors of housing projects that are not in the security and defense areas, or to buy houses from foreign organizations and individuals that have already owned houses in Vietnam. Decree 99/2015/ND-CP does not stipulate that foreigners can buy apartments from Vietnamese individuals. Therefore, foreigners are not allowed to buy apartments from Vietnamese citizens.
Moreover, the government also points out some regulations for foreigners in property ownership regarding the number of apartments that a foreigner can own or buy:
According to Clause 2 Article 161 of LORH 2014, Foreigners are only allowed to buy, rent and purchase, receive, inherit and own less than 30% of apartments in an apartment building; or less than 250 houses regarding separate houses including villas, row houses in an area whose population is equivalent to a ward-administrative division.
In additon, according to Article 76 of Decree 99/2015/ND-CP, in case population’s area is equivalent to a ward-level administrative unit which has an investment project on construction of commercial houses, including separate houses for sale, foreigners may own a number of houses according to the following provisions:
- In case there is only one project with a number of separate houses of less than 2,500 houses, foreign organizations and individuals may own no more than 10% of the total number of houses in that project;
- In case there is only one project with the number of separate houses equivalent to 2,500 houses, foreign organizations and individuals may own no more than 250 apartments;
- In case there are two or more projects where the total number of separate houses in these projects is less than or equal to 2,500 units, foreign organizations and individuals may own no more than 10% of the dwelling houses of each project.
You are a foreigner and want to buy a House or Condominium in Vietnam?
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