Age Limit for English Teachers in Vietnam?

by Alan
(Manila, Philippines)

What is the Real story for an experienced, qualified (DELTA, MSc) 60+ year old British Chap teaching business English in Vietnam? I'm 66 (nearly 67), look 50 (so people tell me!) and fit. But other countries, even China these days, seem to limit visas to 60.

I need to work but read conflicting stories about Vietnam. Many say there is no limit, but others there is now (2011). I know from experience the truth is not what's written down or said, but can anybody shed light? There must be many other 'grey hairs' out there.

Are salaries reduced, as in Korea I believe?


Reply from

Alan. Do you need work or do you need money?

Just so everyone knows, A Volunteer Visa would solve all your problems. I have a feeling that you prefer a paycheck and the largest one possible at that (Doesn't Everyone?).

You have a couple of problems though. You are above the legal retirement age of Vietnam and schools in Vietnam prefer to hire the youngest and most attractive people over very highly qualified "Old-Guys" (Not my words).

The fact is you are older than 60, which is the retirement age for Vietnamese people. Vietnam does not issue work Visas to people older than their own mandatory retirement age.

This is happening throughout Asia. Every country in the Asia Zone is starting to restrict work visas to people at minimum 6 months less than the age of 60.

Having said that Vietnam is an old age retirement home compared to Thailand, Korea, Cambodia and well ... everywhere. I am 38 but I have 2 friends still in Saigon that are collecting retirement checks from back home.

So, they are both over 65. Great Guys so I don't care their age.

They just never bothered to apply for their work visas. They avoid them at all cost.

"Work Visa?" They'll say if you ask them "Never heard of it."

As with all of Asia, it is a double edged sword. I can't blame them for limiting work visas to the legal retirement age but that is now just a pain in the butt leaving few options to those over 60.

You know. The ones that beleive there is life in human Beings long after the tender age of just 60.

Just accept that you will never posses a work Permit or Work Visa, Alan. So, don't apply for them. You can still get a 6 month Vietnamese Visa. As long as it is a 'single entry' visa then it is not a work visa but a 'tourist' visa.

Schools will still hire you but will take every opportunity they can to use your age and visa status against you. I do think that the Koreans are much worse for this. Vietnamese still hold some respect for age and wisdom

If you get caught by the immigration Police the penalties will be soft. The laws are so new that they are not very sure of themselves. I doubt that they want to stifle the flow of tourists into Vietnam with bad Publicity.

Despite what the average Vietnamese person tells you, they have a problem with a very high 'Turnover Rate'. Teachers come for 3 months and are gone. If the owner still sees you standing there, you'll get more and more hours.

It's been real hard keeping up with the changes in laws, procedures and practices since Vietnam began its attempt climb out of chaos and corruption and in line with the rest of the world.

How You Should Find Work Teaching English In Vietnam

If you are 66 and want to work in Vietnam then just get the 30 day tourist Visa to get in Vietnam and then see if you can upgrade your visa for longer.

Corruption is good for some people but not for others.

The problem is that you are asking to work when you are past the mandatory retirement age for most countries. You may have to start putting an income ahead of getting the right visa and a work permit.

I told you of my 2 friends in Saigon. They are all over 60 and working 20-25 hours a week @18/Hr. They are all good and happy today but if the boss asks them to get a work permit application underway, it all ends for them and they move on to a new school and new work.

If you are not in need of the money but love to teach then you would not get bothered about a visa as long as you were a volunteer.

I don't know how to get you working entirely within the perameters of the law. I don't see how you could obtain a work permit in Vietnam. I know how you can get a paycheck every month, though.

Get the visa first. Then go to see the private schools because they are allowed to hire anyone they want. You will get work but you will sometimes get the long end of the stick. You may have to work at it harder than others.

You should give it a shot. Unless you're a little frightened of the challenge? Somehow I know You are not.


Comments for Age Limit for English Teachers in Vietnam?

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Jun 03, 2020
Working over 60 in Vietnam
by: Philip

In Vietnam, It's completely up to the individual school whether they keep you on after the age of 60 or not. A friend of mine is 69 and he's still working.

I said that the retirement age in Vietnam is 60 because that is the law in Vietnam. Once 60, you are able to declare retirement.

That does not preclude you from working.


Jun 02, 2020
Working over 60 in Vietnam
by: Anonymous

Work permit extensions for teachers over 60 already in employment is not at all unusual in Vietnam provided the school you work for process them.

Apr 25, 2019
Vietnam Work
by: burkey

I am 62 and had couple of interviews with international schools in Vietnam. I am also a registered teacher in Oz, and would have liked to experience Vietnam but was told by the schools via email they had their over 60 quotas. I live in Thailand a lot with my Thai wife and kids, so Vietnam would have been handy particularly on 4 grand a month and housing allowance. It borders on ridiculous these visa restrictions in Asia given the huge number of vacancies. I do indigenous teaching in Oz and am on 100,000 plus a year but would like a change. I have also taught in Asia 3 times, with great references. Taiwan is till good, as is Cambodia and Laos, I think. Thailand is very hard, and it wasn't that long ago my email account would be full of Asian job offers. I am in great nick, have a wife of 34 and 3 kids under 10. The world is mad of course.

Apr 04, 2019
Age limits for working visa in Vietnam
by: Angel

Can someone tell me what is the maximum age to get a working visa in Vietnam? I am already 70 .

Jan 18, 2019
Correct info
by: Anonymous

This info is totally incorrect. You can obtain a work permit at 60 in Vietnam - we currently have two teachers over 60 who are legally employed.


Anything is possible in Vietnam. I know people with no degree and 65 years old that are working "Legally" in Vietnam.

That doesn't mean that they conform to the written rule in the legal system, yet somehow they are working legally.

The mandatory retirement age in Vietnam as of 2019 in 60 years of age. But any school can skillfully "Pay your way around that".

But, according to Vietnamese Law, 60 is the maximum age to work.

Jun 09, 2018
by: Anonymous

Can i teach in school even im not yet A board passer?

Aug 21, 2015
by: Anonymous

..."tanks" for the info. Very helpful...

Sep 23, 2011
Realistic Pay for Older Teachers in Vietnam
by: Alan

Thx again for your excellent comment Philip.

One final point, if I may.

Presumably then, although you say Vietnam is better for the money, the figures of $1000+/mon saved quoted by anonymous in 'English Teaching in Vietnam - and no other jobs' were unrealistic, especially for a 66+ year old?

Unfortunately, I still have to think of money (don't we all!) with a new family started in Manila.

(I won't monopolise this board any more)


Reply from

Earning $1,000USD a month and $1,000USD a month saved are 2 different things (Just to clarify). Being able to save (in the bank) $1,000USD a month is a reflection of the person more than a reflection of their salary.

I can easily save $1,000USD a month (In the bank) on a Salary of $2,200USD a month. I have a 2 bedroom house, a motorbike, a dog, and a wife that has taken 3 years off to go back to school.

We eat in but we eat very well. We do everything we want and go wherever we want. Weekend trips to Mui Ne and Nha Trang are monthly at least. But we are not people that buy frivolous things or hit the bars every night and carry diamond studded mobile phones.

I think you can expect a salary of between $800USD and $1,400USD a month. It depends on how much you think you are worth, how long you hold out from crappy first offers and if you can make people smile a few times during the class.

Good Luck,


Sep 22, 2011
High Turnover of Teachers in Vietnam
by: Anonymous

I had to say thanks for your comments Philip.

Just why are teachers leaving after only 3 months? It's unlikely to worry me as I lasted 25 years in the ME including Iraq and Saudi Arabia.


Reply from

Thanks for the reply. Workers leave Vietnam because it is noisy, stressful, polluted and the people are not always friendly.

Not to mention the Vietnamese desire to see all your money in their pockets.

I will not return to Vietnam. It is just not a place that people return. Even tourists say that it was worth the visit but they wouldn't return.

While Thailand and Cambodia see huge revisiting tourist numbers, Vietnam has by far the lowest number of returning visitors.

Very close to none but Vietnam counts people doing flight transfers as returning visitors. Even if that visitor is just changing planes in any of the airports in Vietnam.

That is the sign of a nation desperate to show growing numbers of tourists and returning tourists.

Very few people return to Vietnam. Fact. Why? Better options just a few kilometers away. More money in Vietnam for a teacher, though.


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