• Mon - Fri : 08:30 - 18:30
  • (+84-028) 6276-9900
  • (+84) 916 545 618

Starting a business in Vietnam

Starting a business in Vietnam

Starting a business in Vietnam is ranked as the first of all investment opportunities amongst the myriad of investors desiring to relocate their businesses or to settle in this beautiful S-shaped country.

Gateway to Vietnam has become a hub in which micro or solo investors – around the globe – can rely on. We endeavor to provide investors with one-stop legal services to satisfactorily meet every desire of each and every investor starting a business in Vietnam.

Our services include those that are relative to setting up a foreign-invested company, setting up companies in Vietnam, investments through the nominee structure, establishing foreign language centers, establish a restaurant in Vietnam, obtaining operational permits, corporate services, and/or licenses for the provision of practicable legal solutions.

Gateway to Vietnam's core servicesGateway to Vietnam’s core services

How should foreign investors start a business in Vietnam

To intelligently start a business in Vietnam, foreign investors are advised to completely and comprehensively research all their legal inquiries to address various legal aspects of starting a business in Vietnam well before making any investment decision.

Typical legal inquiries with respect to starting a business in Vietnam include these common questions:

Enterprise registration's typical questionsEnterprise registration’s typical questions

Market entrance

First things first, the Client needs to know whether or not, a specified business line (the area in which the foreigner is allowed to do business) is open to foreigners. If it is, then there’s the question of restrictions or limitations, such as minimum capital requirements, experience of directors, operational licenses/approvals? If not, then investors must find another way to enter Vietnam’s market.

In fact, there are about (i) 25 business lines which prohibit investors from entering the market; and (ii) 59 restricted business lines that allow foreign investors to carry out business at a certain limited level.

Market entrance to start a business in VietnamMarket entrance to start a business in Vietnam


Foreign investors typically encounter the following procedures to start a business in Vietnam:

Step 1: Obtain an Investment Registration Certificate

Step 2: Obtain an Enterprise Registration Certificate

Step 3: Post-Enterprise Registration procedure

Seal sample

Order token

Submit initial tax dossier.

Open a bank account.

Order electronic invoices.

Submit License tax.

Step 4: Obtain operational permit & licenses.

Procedure to start a business in VietnamProcedure to start a business in Vietnam

Document preparation

Although Vietnam has introduced a national portal system that allows applicants to submit applications online, there are some mandatory requirements. Every single application must be in writing and wet-signed (signing a document with a pen and ink). This is the most tedious and time-consuming part of the process for foreign investors.

Document preparation could be very much different depending on three dynamics – legal status of the applicant, the physical residence of the applicant, and step within which the document is required.

Some require copies that are notarized and legalized. Some will certainly never know or understand the legalese (legal terms) with which to prepare the documents entirely, thus making it very difficult for anyone to do it themselves.

Even we (my associates and I) – on a daily basis – work through this overwhelming document preparation process and it is always a challenge, nevertheless, a challenge we have much experience with.

Some even ask us to share the fee to re-prepare the documents should they not satisfy the planning and investment department officer.

Therefore, serious and through consultation with experienced lawyers is definitely a must upon at the inception of the services engagement otherwise, the preparation and procedures would be inhibited.

Forms of business

Vietnam recognizes several forms of businesses, such as:

joint stock companies

single-member limited liability companies

multi-member limited liability companies


sole proprietorships

Just to name a few.

The first three (e.g., joint stock companies, single-member limited liability companies, and multi-member limited liability companies), however, are forms of businesses recommended to foreign investors because those forms of business are more likely to benefit foreign investors in various ways.

As such, each form of business has the status of a recognized legal entity and a member (the owners) of each form of business is only liable for the debts and liabilities based on the exact amount of capital that such member has contributed or committed to contribute to the enterprise.

Another important aspect that can benefit the owners of such a form of business is that it has more of a tendency toward the flexibility to either convert into another form of business and/or to raise capital if and when required.

Total investment

A single correct answer to the question of how much total investment would be ideal does not exist, however, there are some tid-bits of advice that foreign investors will definitely want to consider while preparing a proposal to start a business in Vietnam:

Any amount of investment equal to or exceeding what is required by law as the “minimum capital requirement”, such as banking, marine, insurance, airline, etc. is best.

A sufficient total investment is necessary to cover those initial costs, such as legal fees, rental fees, outsourcing fees, operational costs (prior to realizing the return on investment), and/or miscellaneous costs incurred as a result of the business establishment.

As a matter of fact, competent authorities may scrutinize any investment amount that is too low (lower than $20,000.00 USD).


Of course, the above-mentioned issues are not exhaustive – each situation is unique. No one can really answer or provide a sufficient amount of information for every aspect of the company registration in Vietnam.

Gateway to Vietnam may not have all the information available at the time of consultation, but our team of experts will work diligently to find the information in an effort to help investors effectively and efficiently open their business in Vietnam.

The following are some things that foreigners/expats need to think about:

Place of business registration

Nominee structures


Startup and micro enterprises

Considerations when starting a business in VietnamConsiderations when starting a business in Vietnam

Challenges to starting a business in Vietnam

Recent years revealed that the effort of the Vietnamese Government to boost international economic integration through participation into many free trade agreements/communities such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Eurasian Economic Union, the European Union, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The above led to a significant increase in FDI year on year, Vietnamese law, however still significantly differentiates between domestic investors and foreign investors.

There are several reasons preventing Vietnam from becoming one of the world’s most investment friendly destinations. Complicated procedures for registering a foreign-invested company; technical barriers specifically applicable to foreign investors; low tech application in company registration in Vietnam; law changes at a faster pace; and high initial start-up costs just to name a few issues that concern investors the most.

Challenging to start up a business in VietnamChallenging to start up a business in Vietnam

Therefore, it is worth comprehensively researching all of your investment/legal inquiries prior to investing in Vietnam.

Gateway to Vietnam will not cost you at the first instance

Fortunately, Gateway to Vietnam has experienced challenging and extensive situations with varying issues and outcomes since its establishment in 2013.

Our initial and thorough consultation is not only highly recommended, but also free.  Yes, you read that correctly, it’s FREE – absolutely and without a doubt, FREE!

So, prior to accepting any investment opportunity, please consider it carefully, and take advantage of our tailored, hands-on experienced legal associates available to help you a lot.

a boutique law firm dedicated to providing one-stop legal services to foreigners in Vietnam.