Providing Security Services in Vietnam for Foreign Firms
Security services are a conditional business line in Vietnam. In this article, the Vietnam Briefing looks at the conditions that must be met in order to establish a security services firm in Vietnam.
As the accumulation of wealth intersects with the prestige and status associated with owning high-value assets in Vietnam, the imperative to safeguard these possessions becomes increasingly evident.
Moreover, various business sectors in Vietnam are obligated to adhere to security and order regulations to obtain establishment approval.
In this context, the demand for security services in Vietnam remains constant, presenting foreign security firms with a potentially lucrative market in this rapidly developing nation. However, it is essential to note that providing security services in Vietnam is subject to specific conditions outlined in Decree 96/2016/ND-CP, supplemented by Decree 56/2023/ND-CP, which are detailed below.
Joint ventures only
Foreign security service providers are permitted to establish a company in Vietnam only through a joint venture. Additionally, their involvement is limited to contributing capital and providing technical assistance. Those intending to invest in this sector must adhere to the following conditions:
- The foreign security service provider must have a track record of offering security services for a minimum of five consecutive years.
- The individual representing the firm in Vietnam should not have faced charges anywhere in the world for violating security service regulations.
- Capital contributed by the foreign security service provider is exclusively earmarked for the acquisition of machinery or technical equipment.
- A minimum capital contribution of US$1 million is required.
- The purchased equipment must undergo valuation by the authorities (the specific authority is not specified), with the security service provider responsible for covering the associated valuation fees.
Note that security service providers with foreign investment are obligated to submit a list of machinery and technical facilities acquired by the foreign party, along with valuation records, to the relevant police authority within 20 days of commencing operations.
Security and order certificates
In several business sectors in Vietnam, such as accommodation services and karaoke bars, business owners, including those in security services, must fulfill specific security and order conditions.
To obtain a security and order certificate, security services firms need to submit an application form along with any of the following documents:
- Business registration certificate;
- Enterprise registration;
- Investment registration;
- Operation registration of enterprise’s branch or affiliate;
- Registration of cooperative or cooperative union;
- Registration of branch or business location of cooperative or cooperative union; Operation License of competent authority of Vietnam;
- Registration of household business; or
- Written approval for the firm’s establishment or operations with a written tax code notice for for-profit administrative units.
It is important to note that if the submitted documents do not explicitly detail the firm’s business lines, a separate official document specifying the business lines must also be provided.
Furthermore, security services firms are required to furnish the curriculum vitae and a criminal record statement or an individual declaration for the person responsible for security and order within the business. In the case that this person is not Vietnamese or holds a foreign passport, they must additionally submit a copy of their passport, along with one of the following:
- Permanent Resident Card;
- Temporary Resident Card; or
- A valid visa for Vietnam,
For security services with foreign investors, the following additional documents are necessary:
- A diploma confirming the qualification of the person in charge of security and order; and
- Documents verifying that the foreign enterprise meets the minimum capital requirements and investment limits, duly notarized by Vietnam’s diplomatic mission where the head office of the foreign enterprise is located.
Employing security guards
Security service providers must ensure that their security guards meet the following requirements:
- They must not have a criminal record for murder, deliberate infliction of injuries, or property offenses.
- A background check, validated by the People’s Committee of the commune, ward, or town where their permanent residence is registered, is required.
- They must hold a health certificate issued by a medical center or hospital at the district level or higher, certifying their fitness for work.
- Possession of a secondary school diploma or a higher qualification is mandatory.
Note that individuals in charge of security and order, directly managing the business, and those employed as security guards cannot be foreigners or Vietnamese residents living overseas.
While this article provides an overview of key considerations for foreign security service firms contemplating entry into the Vietnamese market, it is crucial for foreign entities to address corporate establishment requirements, handle tax obligations, and navigate visa processes for their foreign staff.
That said, managing the minutiae of establishing a security services firm in Vietnam can be challenging and is best done with the support of a professional boots-on-the-ground consultancy like Dezan Shira and Associates.
Vietnam Briefing is published by Asia Briefing, a subsidiary of Dezan Shira & Associates. We produce material for foreign investors throughout Eurasia, including ASEAN, China, India, Indonesia, Russia & the Silk Road. For editorial matters please contact us here and for a complimentary subscription to our products, please click here.
Dezan Shira & Associates provide business intelligence, due diligence, legal, tax and advisory services throughout the Vietnam and the Asian region. We maintain offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, as well as throughout China, South-East Asia, India, and Russia. For assistance with investments into Vietnam please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at www.dezshira.com
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