Vietnam - Country Commercial Guide
Import Requirements and Documentation

Includes import documentation and other requirements for both the U.S. exporter and foreign importer.

Last published date: 2021-09-15

Authorized Importers

Vietnamese traders are entitled to (I) export goods of all kinds, except goods on the list of those banned from export, and (II) import goods according to the business lines stated in their business registration certificates. Foreign-invested enterprises and business cooperation parties, apart from the exportation of their own products, may export goods of other kinds, except those on the list of goods banned from export and several goods categories restricted by MOIT. (See Prohibited and Restricted Imports section for further details.) The goods imported by foreign-invested enterprises and business cooperation parties must comply with the provisions of their granted investment licenses, the Law on Foreign Investment in Vietnam, and other relevant legal requirements. Traders that wish to import or export goods subject to import or export permits must obtain permits of related ministries or sectors. Imports and exports must comply with relevant regulations on quarantine, food safety, and quality standards and regulations, and must be inspected by competent and appropriate agencies before customs clearance. 

Import Licensing System

Business entities, including foreign invested enterprises with a legally registered business license, may be engaged in direct import and export activities. However, foreign invested enterprises can import materials, equipment, and machinery only for establishing production lines and producing goods in accordance with their investment licenses. Under Vietnam’s WTO commitments, trading rights are now open to all foreign invested enterprises. Vietnam facilitates an automatic import licensing system that requires importers of a wide category of goods to obtain a license from MOIT to get their goods through customs. Distribution rights for these entities are opened to joint venture investment with no limit on capital contribution, and since 2009 have been opened to wholly foreign invested enterprises. (See Trade Barriers section for further details.)

Special Import/Export Requirements and Certifications

Seven ministries and agencies are responsible for overseeing a system of minimum quality/performance standards for animal and plant protection, health safety, local network compatibility (in the case of telecommunications), money security, and cultural sensitivity. Goods that meet the minimum standards can be imported upon demand and in unlimited quantity and value.