Overseas property

Living as an expat in Vietnam

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In recent years, Vietnam has become an increasingly popular destination among expats and digital nomads. The small Asian country is famous for its natural beauty, incredible culture and delicious cuisine. Besides, over the past 10 years, Vietnam has emerged as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, and a safe place to live and work.

More and more expats are moving to Vietnam, attracted by Vietnamese companies in search of investors and highly-skilled workers. In this article you will find out what to expect if you are moving to Vietnam and information about what Vietnam visa you need to apply for.

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How is life in Vietnam?

Currently, more than 100.000 expats are living in Vietnam, mostly in major urban hubs like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. Most expats are attracted by the nice weather, beautiful beaches and rich culture of this country, but also by its dynamic, fast-growing economy. This might be a good moment to become an expat in Vietnam. However, starting a new life in a faraway country is not an easy decision. Before you do, read our complete guide to moving to Vietnam as an expat.

Is Vietnam a safe country?

Yes, Vietnam is a safe country to live in. Natural disasters, like earthquakes or tsunamis are rare, and the crime rate is relatively low. Travelling by road can be dangerous, however. Vietnam is well-known for its bad traffic conditions, and it has one of the highest road fatality rates in the world. You should also consider that Vietnam is a socialist republic, so certain freedoms that you would take for granted in western countries are limited in Vietnam.

Peggy Anke / unsplash

Cost of living

Vietnam is one of the most affordable countries in the world. Even in cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, the cost of living is very reasonable. Expat families can therefore expect to have a very good standard of living and enjoy a comfortable life.


Most expats live in urban areas, in cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) or Da Nang, where life is quite similar to that of European cities, with a wide offer of restaurants and leisure activities. Housing in Vietnam is not expensive. As an expat, you will find a large selection of upscale yet reasonably priced properties.


Vietnam has a good healthcare system, based on prevention rather than cure. Although there are both public and private healthcare centers, expats typically choose private hospitals, as the chances are higher to be assisted in English. For this reason, it is always a good idea to subscribe to a private medical insurance, especially if you will not live in an urban area, as healthcare quality is lower in rural areas.

Visas and work permit

If you are planning to move to Vietnam as an expat, you cannot apply for the popular e-visa for Vietnam, as this type of visa is only intended for touristic or business trips with a maximum length of stay of 30 days. Also, it is not recommended to arrive in the country without a job offer if your intention is to stay in the country for more than three months, as you could run into problems with the Vietnamese authorities. You will need a working visa to live and work in Vietnam, as well as a residence permit.

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