Vietnam Police Check (Criminal Record Certificate) for foreigners in 2024

Vietnam Police Check (Criminal Record Certificate) for foreigners in 2024

Foreigners applying for a work permit in Vietnam, or foreigners who used to reside in Vietnam when applying for a job or residency in other countries, might be required to provide a Vietnam Police Check Certificate, or Vietnam Criminal Record Certificate,

In this Article, Nova Law focuses only on the relevant regulations and realistic procedures (as of May 2024) how to apply a police check certificate in Vietnam for foreigners.

1. What is a Vietnam Police Check (Criminal Record Certificate)?

Vietnam Police Check, or Vietnam Criminal Record Certificate, is a official document issued by the Vietnamese competent authority, validating whether an individual has a criminal record in Vietnam or not.

Vietnam Criminal Record Certificate No. 1 (Phieu Ly Lich Tu Phap so 1)
Vietnam Criminal Record Certificate No. 1 (Phieu Ly Lich Tu Phap so 1)

A foreigner who has resided in Vietnam or is currently residing in Vietnam may request the issuance of a Vietnam Criminal Record Certificate. Currently, Vietnam issues 2 types of certificates to foreigners:

  • Criminal Record Certificate No. 1 is a certificate that records unexpunged convictions and does not record expunged convictions. For foreigners with no convictions, it will show the statement: “no criminal record during residence in Vietnam”. This certificate is widely accepted in Vietnam and other countries, and is easier to obtain compared to Certificate No. 2.
  • Criminal Record Certificate No. 2 is a certificate that records all convictions, including both expunged and unexpunged convictions. Currently, obtaining Certificate No. 2 is difficult for foreigners. They are required to be present in Vietnam and submit the application in person.

In the next section, Nova Law will guide you how to apply for a Vietnam Criminal Record Certificate as a foreigner.

2. How to apply as a foreigner currently staying in Vietnam

Foreigners currently staying in Vietnam or those who can come to Vietnam may apply for a Vietnam Criminal Record by following 3 steps below:

Step 1. Prepare required documents

If the foreigner wishes to authorize a Vietnamese to apply, you need to prepare:

  • An application form No. 04 instead of the form No. 3
  • An authorization letter made in a Vietnamese public notary office 
  • A copy of authorized person’s ID card 

Step 2. Submit the applications

The application will be submitted to the Provincial Department of Justice where the applicant resides. The applicant pays the state fee and will receive a Receipt Slip from 1-door department.

  • In Hanoi City, applicants must fill out the application form (in Vietnamese language) on the Hanoi Public Service Portal first, print it, and then submit in person the application form + required documents to the Hanoi Department of Justice, located at: 221 Tran Phu Street, Ha Dong District, Hanoi City. The queues there can be very long, so it’s advisable to arrive early to obtain a queue ticket number before the opening hour. You also should go with a Vietnamese assistant as all working procedures will be in Vietnamese language.
Process of issuing criminal record certificates for foreigners in Hanoi
Process of issuing criminal record certificates for foreigners in Hanoi
  • In Ho Chi Minh City, applicants may submit the application to issue a Criminal Record Certificate via online submission, however, the applicant needs to have an identity account granted by Ministry of Public Security Vietnam. Alternatively, they can submit their application in person to the Ho Chi Minh Department of Justice, located at: 143 Pasteur street, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City Department of Justice
Ho Chi Minh City Department of Justice

Step 3. Receive your Vietnam criminal record certificate

You should receive your Criminal Record Certificate after 15 working days from the submission date, although processing times may be longer in reality. 

3. How to apply as a foreigner who used to reside in Vietnam

Foreigners who used to reside in Vietnam may apply for a Vietnam Criminal Record through the Vietnam National Center for Criminal Records. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1. Prepared required documents

  • An application form No. 03 provided in Circular 16/2013/TT-BTP
  • The applicant’s certified true copy of passport (all pages), including pages with Vietnam entry visa stamps.

If the foreigner cannot come to Vietnam and wishes to authorize a Vietnamese to apply, you will also need to prepare:

  • An application form No. 04 instead of the form No. 3
  • A consular legalized authorization letter prepared by a public notary office in overseas
  • A notarized translation of the authorization letter into Vietnamese
  • A copy of the authorized person’s ID card

Important note: If you request for a Criminal Record Certificate No. 2, you cannot authorize another person to apply on your behalf. You must submit the application yourself.

Step 2. Submit the application

The application will be submitted in person at the Vietnam National Center for Criminal Record from Monday to Friday. Address: No. 9 Tran Vy Street, Cau Giay District, Hanoi City. The applicant pays the state fee and will receive a Receipt Slip from 1-door department.

Step 3. Receive your Vietnam criminal record certificate

You should receive your Criminal Record Certificate after 15 working days from the submission date.

4. Frequently Asked Questions

A valid criminal record certificate for a Vietnam work permit application must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Being a certificate issued by a competent authority either in Vietnam or overseas, certifying that the foreign applicant is not currently serving a prison sentence, does not have an uncleared criminal record, and is not undergoing criminal prosecution.
  • Being issued no more than 06 months as of submission date for a Vietnam work permit application.

Option 1: Using criminal record certificates issued in Vietnam

Option 2: Using criminal record certificates issued abroad

Foreigners can use criminal record certificates issued abroad to apply for a work permit in Vietnam. This option is suitable for foreigners who have never been resided in Vietnam.

  • This document may have various names depending on each country, such as: Police Check Certificate, Certificate of Clearance, National Police Certificate, Police Clearance Certificate, and so on. Please contact the competent agency issuing criminal records in your home country for further guidance, such as in Australia, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia.
  •  Moreover, for criminal record certificates issued by foreign agencies to be legally recognized in Vietnam, they require consular legalization and notarized translation into Vietnamese.
Certificate of Criminal Record Japan
Certificate of Criminal Record issued in Japan

For foreigners, the processing time for evaluating and approving the application for a Vietnam criminal record card shall not exceed 15 working days from the date of receiving valid documents. If opting to receive results by delivery, an additional 1-3 days should be allowed for the document to reach the registered address.

The official government fee for a criminal record certificate is VND 200,000 for the first two certificates per application. For any additional certificates requested at the same time, there is a fee of VND 5,000 per certificate beyond the first two. Additionally, foreigners choosing to submit documents and receive results by mail within Vietnam will incur a separate delivery fee.

The Vietnam Criminal Record Certificate itself doesn’t show an expiration date. However, its validity depends on who needs it. For example, if you’re applying for a work permit in Vietnam, it might only be valid for 6 months. If you’re applying for a US visa, it might be valid for 1 year.

Conclusion

The criminal record certificate is an important document for employers and authorities to review the criminal backgrounds of foreign applicants before approving them to work or reside.

In practice, obtaining a Vietnam criminal record certificate could be a daunting process. If you encounter difficulties or you wish to save your time and effort by using our services, Nova Law can help! We offer services specifically designed to simplify this process for you.

Service Proposal 1 – Applying for a Criminal Record Certificate No. 1 for foreigners staying in Vietnam or able to visit Vietnam.

Service Proposal 2 – Applying for a Criminal Record Certificate No. 1 for foreigners who used to reside in Vietnam and are unable to visit Vietnam currently.

Upon receiving your inquiry, Nova Law will get back to you within 1 business day.

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