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Official Gazette

Friday, August 7, 2020

Procedures simplified for foreign home buyers

Updated: 09:39’ - 25/12/2009

Overseas Vietnamese and foreign organizations and individuals that legally own homes in Vietnam will now have their ownership certified at a shorter time and with simpler procedures under a government decree which takes effect this month.

Decree No. 88/2009/ND-CP of October 19, 2009, seeks to simplify procedures for the grant of certificates of land use rights and house and land-attached asset ownership.

Under the decree, applicants for certificates of land use rights and house ownership now only need to carry out procedures once at a single agency. Overseas Vietnamese owning houses in Vietnam will submit application dossiers and receive certificates at district-level land use right registries while foreign organizations and individuals and overseas Vietnamese that carry out investment projects in Vietnam will carry out such procedures at provincial-level land use right registries under provincial-level Natural Resources and Environment Departments. In localities where land use right registries have not been set up, district-level Natural Resources and Environment Divisions will grant certificates.

Phung Van Nghe, acting general director of the Land Administration, said this provision not only saves time for applicants but also reduces waste in dossier compilation and management.

The certificate under the new decree fully and clearly indicates land use rights and asset ownership even when the applicant has different assets such as houses, construction works, perennial trees and planted production forests. Under previous regulations, only certification of land use rights and house ownership is allowed.

The decree categorizes applicants for land use right certificates into four groups: those without land-attached assets or with assets which do not require ownership certification or are owned by others; those with land-attached assets owned by others; land users and concurrently owners of houses and construction works; and land users and concurrently owners of planted production forests.

Dossiers, order and procedures for the grant of certificates of ownership of houses, land-attached assets and construction works on residential land to overseas Vietnamese, and foreign organizations and individuals implementing investment projects are basically the same as for domestic ones. A dossier includes an application for a certificate; a report on the current land use status; one of the papers on land use rights under the land law (if any); copies of papers proving the applicant’s fulfillment of financial obligations under law (if any); one of the papers on ownership of the house or construction work; and the plan on the house or construction work.

Differences lie only in dossier receiving agencies and specific papers proving applicants’ ownership. Specifically, foreign organizations and individuals must possess one of the papers on projects to build houses for lease, such as project approval decisions, investment decisions or investment licenses or certificates.

An applicant that owns a house by purchasing or receiving it as a donation or inheritance must possess the paper on such transaction.

An applicant that owns a construction work through new investment must have the project approval decision or project investment decision or investment license or certificate or construction permitted granted by a competent agency and papers on land use rights or the land lease contract signed with the land user.

Within three days after receiving a dossier, a land use right registry must notify the applicant of any necessary modifications of the dossier.

The decree limits the time for the grant of new certificates at 50 working days (35 days less than previous regulations) and for the renewal of certificates or re-grant of lost certificates at 30 working days (10 days less). For other cases, the time is limited at 20 working days (eight days less).

Under the decree, land use right certificates, house ownership certificates, house ownership and residential land use right certificates and work ownership certificates granted before December 10, 2009 (the effective date of the decree), remain valid. Owners of these certificates who wish to apply for new certificates under this decree may do so without having to pay fees.

Those having submitted application dossiers before December 10, 2009, but have not received certificates will have their dossiers transferred to Natural Resources and Environment agencies for processing under the new decree.

Guiding the decree, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment issued Circular No. 17/2009/TT-BTNMT of October 21, 2009, which provides new certificate forms and detailing applicants’ registration of changes in land use rights and asset ownership after certificates are granted. The changes include sale, inheritance, donation, lease, contribution as capital, settlement of mortgage contracts, attachment and auction of assets and changes in owner names, limitations of rights, financial obligations and details on assets such as use area, number of stories, structure and category of houses and works.

Decree No. 88 replaces Decree No. 95/2005/ND-CP on grant of certificates of house and work construction ownership, and amends some other legal documents on land, including Decree Nos. 181, 197 and 198 of 2004, Decree No. 90 of 2006, and Decree No. 84 of 2007.

It is another move of the State to complete its legal framework to promote foreign investment in Vietnam after the introduction of a series of documents allowing foreigners and overseas Vietnamese to buy and build houses in Vietnam, including the Housing Law, National Assembly Resolution No. 19/QH12 of June 3, 2008, Government Decree No. 51 of June 3, 2009, and Construction Ministry Circular No. 01 of February 25, 2009.(VLLF)-

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