As a country with a growing economy, a young and well-educated workforce, and business-friendly policies, operating a business in Vietnam has become easier than ever. As a result, Vietnam is an appealing option for firms looking to establish a presence in Southeast Asia. Operating a company in Vietnam is a straightforward process but having a good understanding of Vietnamese licensing law is particularly essential, especially for new business owners and investors. Licensing laws is an area of law under which a license or authorization is granted by a relevant authority to officially allow a firm to practise an occupation or carry out an activity. These laws are designed to protect businesses and consumers. By requiring firms to obtain a license, the government can better monitor activities to ensure that companies operate responsibly and provide fair and honest services. Through licensing laws, businesses are also legally safeguarded and appear more credible to consumers. When firms familiarise themselves with Vietnamese licensing laws or engage a professional to assist them with legal affairs, they can ensure that their businesses run smoothly and avoid costly mistakes.

What are Licensing Laws Like in Vietnam?

Based on the licensing law in Vietnam, it is mandatory for all businesses to have a license to operate legally. The price and validity period of the granted licenses may vary based on the type of business you run. Generally, licenses are classified based on the five types of business models as follows:

  • Business cooperation: This type of business provides foreign investors with the chance to invest in large-scale projects in Vietnam and the flexibility to transfer income earned back to their home country. Partners in this business model are jointly and severally liable for debts and share profits.
  • Joint Venture:Foreign partners own 30% or above of the company’s capital in a joint venture.
  • Company with 100% wholly owned foreign capital
  • Foreign company branch: Branch offices operating in Vietnam by a foreign company are all subjected to licensing laws.
  • Representative office: Unlike a foreign company branch, a representative office is an office belonging to a foreign company not involved in business operations or transactions resulting in direct revenue in Vietnam.

Apart from these main licenses, different sub-licenses may be required for individual lines of business, such as those classified under conditional investment. These stricter regulations stem from the need for these businesses to meet specific requirements on national defense and security, social order, and morality, as well as public health. These sub-licenses usually have an exhaustive list of requirements, with their application procedures spread across various laws, decrees, and circulars. Consequently, companies can experience challenges in accurately identifying the correct steps to take and documents to submit for their application. To ensure an efficient application process that enables you to commence your operations quickly, it is always advisable to seek counsel from a knowledgeable attorney of a licensing law firm in Vietnam, such as Le & Tran Trial Lawyers.

Which Industries Do Le & Tran Lawyers Provide Licensing Legal Services for?

While companies commonly believe that legal services for licensing are only required when they first register their operations, diverse industries can benefit from engaging these services even after incorporation. These industries include those under conditional investments, such as the following:

  • Labour export industry
  • Tourism industry
  • Print, media, and advertising industry
  • Real estate industry
  • Security industry
  • Food and beverages (F&B) industry
  • Medical industry
  • Beauty industry
  • Retail industry
  • Chemical industry
  • Transport industry
  • Education industry

Due to the sensitive nature of the goods produced in these industries, they are often subjected to stringent controls. As such, failing to apply for the necessary licences and sub-licenses or comply with the relevant laws and regulations can cause businesses to incur severe penalties, including criminal charges. At Le & Tran, helping companies navigate the legal landscape throughout all stages of their operations is at the heart of our business. That is why our lawyers offer legal services on licensing affairs in these industries to ensure that all the needs of our clients can be met.

What Products and Services do Le & Tran Attorneys Provide Licensing Legal Services for?

As industries are broad categories comprising various products and services, companies may also be concerned with the specific types of commodities or services Le & Tran’s licensing legal services cater to. Below are some of the common products and services that our licensing attorneys can render their services for:

1) Tourism

With the Vietnam tourism sector expected to grow by 13.38% between 2022 to 2026, it presents a significant investment opportunity. To start a business in this sector, potential areas requiring licensing legal services provided by our lawyers include:

  • Enterprises offering international travel services.
  • Hotel and tourist accommodation establishments.

2) Medical

As emerging diseases increase the demand for health services and medical products, the health industry can appeal to new investors. At Le & Tran, our lawyers can guide on licensing applications for the following:

  • Trading and manufacturing of veterinary medicine
  • Medical establishments
  • Import of medical devices

3) F&B

Another popular industry is F&B, whose appeal is reinforced by Vietnam’s reputation for its food and beer. If you are seeking to venture into the F&B industry, you may require the services of Le & Tran’s licensing lawyers for the services listed as follows:

  • Food establishments: Sub-licenses proving that food safety conditions are met, and adequate fire protection and fire safety measures are in place are needed.
  • Food, bottled water and alcohol production, manufacture and trading: Sub-licenses proving food safety conditions and quality requirements are fulfilled are required. For alcoholic beverages such as wine, applying for specific wholesale, retail and production licenses is mandatory.

4) Commerce

For many other organizations, the bulk of your activities would usually involve retail distribution. At Le & Tran, our lawyers can assist with licensing matters for the areas listed below:

  • Sales promotion and multi-level sales.
  • Advertising for more sensitive goods relating to public health, such as medicine, cosmetics and supplements.
  • Website operation.

Why Engage Licensing Lawyers from Corporate Counsel?

The list of industries and products or services requiring licensing legal services is non-exhaustive. Often, licensing matters also involve multiple disciplines. As such, the importance of having the guidance of an experienced professional with expertise and a profound understanding of legal complexities can never be understated. That is where engaging a licensing lawyer with a corporate counsel background can be a better option for your organization. A corporate counsel is an attorney who works in-house in a single company, and these individuals offer legal advice, protection, and legal interpretation services for their employer. With the rich corporate experience to support their solid legal background, these attorneys have a deeper appreciation of business intricacies. This added advantage enables them to make decisions that consider the business context more comprehensively and offer better business practicality.

At Le & Tran, our team of attorneys have extensive experience working in law firms and in-house and a proven track record for managing licensing matters for clients across a broad spectrum of industries in Vietnam and abroad. This diverse legal exposure has enabled us to understand the unique challenges of each sector and how best to assist our clients with their legal needs. Whether you are a new investor or a business owner looking to renew your license, we are confident that our background can value-add to your legal experience. If you have any questions concerning licensing affairs, our attorneys are always happy to answer your queries. Reach out to our team today, and let us assist you in determining the best course of action for your business.