The Ministry of Construction has recently issued Official Letter No. 59/BXD-QLN dated 1 June 2009 ("Official Letter 59") in response to Official Letter No. 143/CV-SCR dated 27 April 2009 of Sacomreal with regard to the entitlement of private enterprises owned by Vietnamese residing overseas to own residential houses.
Pursuant to Article 9.2 of Law No. 56/2005/QH11 dated 29 November 2005 of the National Assembly on Residential Houses (the "Law"), the following entities are entitled to own residential houses in Vietnam:
- Domestic organizations and individuals
- Vietnamese residing overseas in accordance with Article 126 of the Law
- Foreign organizations and individuals in accordance with Article 125 of the Law
Official Letter 59 clarifies that a domestic private enterprise owned by a Vietnamese or a Vietnamese residing overseas ("VRO") who is liable for all activities of the enterprise to the extent of all of their assets, is entitled to purchase and own residential houses in Vietnam pursuant to Article 9 of the Law. The name of such private enterprise shall be the name of the owner on the residential housing ownership certificate.
Official Letter 59 also states that if VROs wish to purchase and own residential houses in Vietnam, they must fall into one of the categories listed in Article 126 of the Law as modified by Law No. 34/2009/QH12 dated 18 June 2009 which shall be in force and effect from 1 September 2009.
Under the Law and its amendments, a VRO who is permitted by the competent Vietnamese authority to reside in Vietnam for a duration of three months or more shall be entitled to own houses in Vietnam for themselves and their family members to live in if they fall into one of the following categories:
- A person of Vietnamese nationality
- A person of Vietnamese origin who has a direct investment in Vietnam
- A VRO who has contributed to the country, or who is a scientist or activist or has special skills in a field for which Vietnam's bodies and organisations have demand and is working in Vietnam
- A VRO whose spouse is a Vietnamese citizen living in Vietnam
Additionally, a VRO who is not eligible under the above categories but has been granted a visa exemption and permitted to reside in Vietnam for a duration of three months or more shall be entitled to own one house or apartment unit for themselves and their family's residential purposes.
Official Letter 59 took effect from 1 June 2009.