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Criminal Checks (also known as Police Checks, Police Clearances or Criminal Record Certificates) are required documents in Vietnam for a number of purposes, including for most Work Permit applications. This document looks at process and requirements in detail to help those needing this document in Vietnam.

Guide to Obtaining a Vietnam Criminal (Police) Check/Clearance


1. What is a Criminal Record Certificate?

A Criminal Record Certificate is a certificate issued by an agency managing the judicial record database and valid to prove whether or not an individual has a previous criminal conviction, or is banned from holding certain posts, establishing or managing enterprises or cooperatives where enterprises or cooperatives have been declared bankrupt by a court.

Foreign individuals who reside in Vietnam, no matter how long they actual reside in Vietnam, have the right to request the Department of Justice to issue a Criminal Record Certificate.


2. Types of Vietnam Criminal Record Certificates

Accordance with Article 41, Law on Criminal Records, there are 2 types of Criminal Record Certificates: Criminal Record Form No. 1 And Criminal Record Form No.2.

The differences between these two types is that he Criminal Record Form No.1 only records sentences that have not been removed. If the case has been deleted, it will state “no criminal record”. Criminal Record Form No. 2 records all previous criminal convictions regardless of whether it was deleted or not.

Depending on the purpose of use, either Criminal Record Form No. 1 or Criminal Record Form No. 2 would be required. Criminal Record Form No. 1 is commonly required for the issuance Work Permits for foreign individuals to work in Vietnam.


3. How to obtain a Criminal Record Certificate:

a. Authority:

Individuals who are, or have been, temporarily residing in Vietnam have the right to request the Department of Justice of the Province or City where they are residing to issue a Criminal Record Certificate. The current address of the Department's of Justice in the two largest cities in Vietnam are:

• Ho Chi Minh City: 141-143 Pasteur, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City

• Hanoi: 221 Tran Phu, Van Quan Ward, Ha Dong District, Hanoi

b. Lodgement:

Item In Person Online
Submission Bring all required documents to the Provincial Department of Justice. Lodgement should be undertaken in the morning as offices are often closed or cannot accept applications in the afternoon. Online submission is an alternative if unable to submit it in person. Click for Online Lodgement Link: After completing required information, an address is required where a courier can collect the original documents. *Note: Record the application code displayed on screen before clicking the “FINISH” button.
Required documents • An original copy of the completed application form
• A photocopy of applicant’s passport with a valid visa. The original is also required for the authority to check.
• The photocopy of temporary residence confirmation from the ward-level police, along with the original for the authority to check (or a notarized copy)
As it is required to send applications by courier/post, applications submitted this way is slightly different from the in person submission:
• 1 original application form (printed from the online application and signed)
• A notarized copy of the applicant’s passport with valid visa
• Either 1 notarized copy or 1 original copy of the temporary residence confirmation from the ward-level police
Timeline 15 working days from the date the authority receives the application from the applicant. The timeline for online submission can result in additional days for couriering. 
Statutory Fees VND200,000 per criminal record, excluding any courier fees for online submissions.
Document Collection Applicants can choose to collect results at the Department of Justice, or receive them by post.


4. Guide to Preparing Required Documents

a. Application Form:

If submitting the application at the Department of Justice in person, the form is required to be completed in Vietnamese. (note: we happily to assist our clients with completing the application form, and have an English translation available).

The online application form, on the other hand, is presented in both on English and Vietnamese on the website. As such, this can be completed more easily.

Note: in the “residence process” section, the current temporary residence should be in Vietnam per the Authority’s requirements.

b. Temporary Residence Confirmation:

Landlords will usually assist with the temporary registration confirmation. It may be possible to obtain a signed letter from your Ward Police confirming your residence should your landlord have registered someone correctly, but is unwilling or unable to provide the "housebook".

c. Notarized Documents:

Where applications are submitted by post, a notarized copy of the passport with a valid visa and a notarized temporary residence confirmation are required.

Originals and a photocopy of the documents should be taken to a People's Committee in any District in Vietnam to be notarized.


5. Expiry of the Criminal Record Certificate.

The current Vietnamese Law on Criminal Records does not have regulations on the duration of use the Criminal Record Certificate. However, depending on specific authority and purpose of use, the expiry date of the Criminal Record Certificate will differ.

For the purpose of a Work Permit, pursuant to clause 3, Article 10 of Decree 11/2016/ND-CP, the Authority requires the Criminal Record Certificate to be issued not more than 6 months before the date of submission of the application.

In some certain circumstances, such as ceasing or renewing Vietnamese nationality, the Criminal Record Certificate is required to be issued within 90 days pursuant to articles 20, 24 and 28 of the Nationality Act of 2008, amended and supplemented in 2014.


You can download our earlier PDF Quick Guide on Obtaining a Criminal Check: Click here



Please contact us for further information:

Matthew Lourey, Managing Partner, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phuong Vo, Head of Licensing, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tran Huynh, Head of Payroll Services, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


This alert is general in nature, and is not intended to be relied upon as professional advice.

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