Foreign ownership of Vietnamese property: recently opened up to foreign investment
Foreigners can now buy property in Vietnam. But ownership of this property is limited to 50 years, renewable once. Some questions answered by our Vietnamese lawyer:
Can I buy property as a foreigner in Vietnam?
The law on land ownership in Vietnam was amended in 2014, favouring an open real estate market. Now, Viet Kieu (Vietnamese citizens who live abroad), foreigners holding a visa, and foreign legal entities can purchase land in Vietnam, in the same way as Vietnamese citizens.
What properties can I acquire as a foreigner in Vietnam?
The law on land ownership in Vietnam is valid for all types of property. A foreign owner can purchase an apartment, house, villa or land.
Foreign individuals and foreign entities cannot hold more than 30% of the shares of a building or more than 250 properties in the same district. The 2014 law on land ownership in Vietnam has therefore changed the legal status of foreigners considerably, since previously a foreigner could not buy property in Vietnam.
Is there a difference between a foreign owner and a Vietnamese citizen?
In Vietnam, the land belongs to the people who entrust its management to the state. So, private property does not really exist, and this is really only a right to use a property, belonging to the State, for a limited period.
The main distinction that persists between Vietnamese citizens and foreigners is the duration of the deed. Indeed, although it is no longer necessary to have a work permit or to be married to a Vietnamese citizen to have the right to buy property, the duration of property ownership is limited to 50 years, for a foreigner. However, foreigners married to a Vietnamese citizen or a Viet Kieu may own property almost indefinitely. Nevertheless, the law now provides the option to renew the deed for 50 more years by submitting an application to the People’s Committee of the province where the property is located.
Another distinction is the notification to the administrative authorities is the wish to put the property up for rent. Foreigners married to Vietnamese citizens do not need to notify an administrative authority of their decision to rent their property, unlike unmarried foreigners.
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