Vietnam Work Permit Without a Degree

by Michael

Hi I've been teaching in HCMC for a year and a half and my school is finally getting persistent about me getting a work permit. (The ostrich approach probably isn't an option anymore). The problem is I don't have a degree. I have a teaching certificate and could provide all the other paper work.

I've heard it is possible to get a work permit without a degree and since I want to live and teach in Vietnam this is something I'm willing to pay for. Any advice would be greatly appreciated about where and how much?

And before you comment that it's disgraceful that someone should be allowed to teach without a degree I am actually in the process of taking a distance learning degree because teaching is something I love and hope to make a career out of.


Reply from

Some of the best, most enthusiastic teachers I have ever met did not have a degree. You won't get people judging you on this website, Michael. I delete comments that don't provide people with real answers.

Officially, you need a degree to obtain a work permit in Vietnam. You even need your Embassy to verify its legitimacy. However, there is a clause in the official rules for obtaining working status in Vietnam that accepts documented experience in lieu of a degree or diploma.

Here is the official word from the Labor Department of Vietnam;

For foreigners who are artisans of traditional trades or experienced in their professions, production execution and management but have no certificate or diploma of recognition, a written certification of at least five years experience in their profession, production execution and management issued by a competent foreign agency is required.

You can find the official rules and regulations for acquiring a work permit on our Vietnam Work Permit Information page.

Most people I know without a degree got their work permit based on experience. Their schools even provided them with the documented proof of experience. Others pay a man to get them their work permit and others submit fake degrees.

The best thing for you is just to tell them the truth. If you are currently enrolled in a distance learning program then just tell them that. It will be enough right there as long as you can provide documentation proving that you are currently enrolled in school. You should not lie because you do not need to.

If the school currently employing you asks you to obtain a work permit then it means that they value you and are willing to sponsor your work permit application. They rarely ask unless they are certain that you would qualify. My advice is to be honest and watch it happen without any worries.

No one is going to put you in Jail for teaching English without a degree. You can always use the 5 years experience clause to get out of any hot water. Be creative. I know a guy who was a fitness instructor back home. He claimed that he had 5 years experience teaching English because he had to communicate certain new words to people on a daily basis.

They accepted a letter of recommendation from that employer in lieu of a degree.

You have no worries at all, Michael. You should be celebrating. Teachers with Vietnamese work permits make a lot more money than those without.

IPS is my favorite example. $15USD an hour to those with no work permit and $22USD an hour for those that have one.

Be happy,


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Nov 24, 2015
Competent foreign agency
by: Anonymous

What's a competent foreign agency,

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