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Registration of stay in Vietnam

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So you’ve made the big move to Vietnam. Congratulations! Now that you’ve settled in, it’s time to take care of some important legal requirements. One of the first things on your list should be police registration. As an expat living in Vietnam, you are required to register your temporary residence with the local police. Once approved, your temporary resident card will be issued on the spot. Keep this card on you at all times, as police officers and immigration authorities may ask to see it. Failure to register can result in heavy fines, so best get it done ASAP.

Overview of Police Registration in Vietnam

As an expat living in Vietnam, one of the first things you'll need to do is register with the local police. This is required for all foreign visitors staying in Vietnam for over 15 days.

What documents will you need?

To register, you'll need:

  • Your original passport

  • A photocopy of your passport ID page

  • A visa page photocopy (if you have a visa)

  • A 4x6 photo

  • The registration fee (around $10 USD)

  • Accommodation confirmation (if staying in a hotel)

  • House rental contract (if renting an apartment)

How does the registration process work?

  1. Go to your local police station within 15 days of arriving in Vietnam. In major cities, there are dedicated offices for foreigner registration.

  2. Fill out the registration form with personal details like your name, passport number, occupation, address in Vietnam, etc.

  3. Pay the registration fee. Fees vary in different areas but are typically around $10 USD.

  4. Provide two copies of your 4x6 photo.

  5. Submit your registration form, copies of required documents like your passport and visa, photos, and receipt of payment.

  6. Your registration card will be issued on the spot. This will include details like your name, date of birth, registered address in Vietnam, and card expiry date.

Police registration needs to be renewed if you change your address or visa type. As an expat, keeping your papers in order is important. With the right documents and following the proper steps, police registration in Vietnam should be a straightforward process.

Who Needs to Register With Police in Vietnam?

If you’re planning to stay in Vietnam for more than 15 days, you’ll need to register with the local police. This applies to pretty much anyone entering the country, whether you’re coming for business, tourism, or to live and work as an expat.

Who exactly needs to register?

  • Tourists staying longer than 15 days

  • Those entering on business visas

  • Expats on work permits or long-term residence visas

  • Family members of expats also need to register, regardless of age


Stay registration is an important document to apply for TRC for example.

Extend or cancel registration

If you extend your Vietnam visa, you will need to extend your police registration as well, following the same steps. When leaving Vietnam, cancel your police registration to avoid potential issues when exiting the country or returning in the future.

Registering with the police in Vietnam, while bureaucratic, is an essential requirement for legally staying in the country, even for a short trip. Follow these steps carefully within the required time period to avoid potential legal trouble, fines or even deportation.

Not registering with the local police in Vietnam can lead to legal consequences that disrupt your stay. As an expat living in Vietnam, it's important to understand your responsibilities to avoid potential issues.


If caught without proper registration, you may face monetary fines. The amounts can vary but may be 500,000 to 1,000,000 VND for first time offenses. For repeat offenses, fines increase substantially to deter non-compliance.


In some cases, you could be detained for a short time if unable to provide proper ID and residency registration. Although rare, detention is meant to verify your identity and immigration status. Cooperation and politeness with officials can help resolve the situation efficiently.


For serious or repeat violations, deportation is possible as a last resort. Failure to register altogether or overstaying your visa for extended periods are examples that could ultimately lead to deportation from Vietnam. Deportation will make re-entry to Vietnam difficult and should be avoided.

Limited Mobility

Without proper registration, you may face restrictions traveling within or leaving Vietnam. Police checkpoints are common, and you'll need to provide registration to pass through. Some expats have reported issues obtaining/renewing driver's licenses or vehicle registrations without first registering their residency.

Trouble Accessing Services

Lack of registration can impact your ability to access healthcare, banking, housing, and other services in Vietnam that require an ID or proof of residency. Many expats find certain luxuries like gym memberships or entertainment venues also request registration for admission or membership.

Tips for a Smooth Police Registration Experience

Most of the times, the hotel staff or your landlord can handle all of this for you. If you plan to stay in Vietnam for a while, this is a mandatory process. Remind your landlord to do so and ask for the approval letter. You may need this copy when you apply for visa extension or work permit.