On 3 June 2008, Resolution No. 19/2008/QH12 Pilot Scheme Permitting Foreign Organizations and Individuals to Purchase and Own Housing in Vietnam ("Resolution 19") was issued granting the right to eligible resident foreigners to purchase one residential apartment in Vietnam. On 3 June 2009, the Government of Vietnam issued Decree No. 51/2009/ND-CP ("Decree 51") which provides Guidelines on the Implementation of Resolution 19. Decree 51 sets forth evidentiary requirements and conditions that must be met for foreign organizations or individuals to purchase and own apartment units in Vietnam. Decree 51 also prescribes procedures to deal with breaches of provisions set out in Decree 51 and Resolution 19.

Documentary proof of eligibility and conditions

Documentary proof of eligibility for foreign individuals purchasing, inheriting or owning apartment units or receiving them as gifts

Foreign individuals must have a passport issued by competent foreign authorities along with one of the following:

  • If the foreign individual is a person directly investing in Vietnam:

    • her name must be stated in an investment certificate issued by competent Vietnamese authorities. However, that investment certificate must have a remaining duration of at least one year; or
    • she is a management council member of a company operating in Vietnam.
  • If she is a general director, director or deputy employed by a company operating in Vietnam, she must have an employment contract signed between her and the company or an appointment decision in Vietnamese;
  • If she has made a contribution to Vietnam, she must have a decoration or medal awarded by the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam;
  • If she has made a special contribution to Vietnam, she must have letter of confirmation from a ministry responsible for the sector in which she has made that special contribution. Such letters of confirmation must be sent to the Prime Minister for his consideration;
  • If she is working in the fields of economics, science, technology, environment, education and training, culture, information, physical education, sports, medicine, sociology or as a lawyer, she must have a diploma proving that she has an engineering or bachelor-level or higher degree issued by Vietnamese or competent foreign authorities along with one of the following:

    • a work permit issued by a competent Vietnamese authority; or
    • a professional certificate issued by a competent Vietnamese authority.
  • If she has a special skill, she must have a letter confirming that skill as issued by a Vietnamese association or ministry relating to her profession. Additionally, she must have a professional certificate or work permit issued by a Vietnamese authority;
  • If she is married to a Vietnamese citizen, she must have a marriage certificate issued by a Vietnamese or foreign authority along with her spouse's Vietnamese passport or resident registration and identification card.

Conditions relating to foreign individuals purchasing and owning apartment units

To purchase and own apartment units, foreign individuals must have a permanent resident card, temporary resident card or documentation proving that she has been permitted to reside in Vietnam for at least a year. She cannot be a person who enjoys consular or diplomatic immunity and privileges.

Conditions relating to foreign-owned enterprises purchasing, inheriting or owning apartment units or receiving them as gifts

To purchase, inherit or own apartment units or receive them as gifts, the foreign-owned enterprise must be operating in Vietnam and have an investment certificate issued by a competent Vietnamese authority with a remaining duration of one year or more.


Various penalties from administrative fines to criminal prosecution may be imposed for breaches of the provisions of Decree 51 and Resolution 19 depending on the nature of the breach. Decree 51 takes effect as from 1 August 2009.

For inquiries related to this Client Alert, please contact:

David Lim (lim.david@mayerbrown.com)

Learn more about our Vietnam offices and Real Estate practice.