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PROCEDURES FOR GRANT OF INVESTMENT REGISTRATION CERTIFICATES IN VIETNAM

When implementing an investment project, in some cases, investors must have an investment registration certificate. An investment registration certificate is a basis for the government to manage investment activities and capital sources effectively, which is also a basis for investors to clearly define their legitimate rights and interests and requirements for the project to implement investment activities conveniently.

I. About investment registration certificates

According to Article 3 of the Law on Investment 2014, “Investment registration certificate means a paper or an electronic document acknowledging information on an investment project registered by an investor.” Contents of an investment registration certificate include code of the investment project, name, and address of the investor, title of the investment project, project implementation site and to-be-used land area, objectives, and scope of the project, investment capital of the project, and schedule of capital contribution and raising, operation duration of the project, project implementation schedule, investment incentives and supports and bases and conditions for application thereof, conditions on the investor implementing the project.

Previously, according to the Law on Investment 2005, foreign investors with investment projects associated with the establishment of economic organizations, investment certificates are also business registration certificates. Currently, these two contents have been separated, the investment contents will be acknowledged in the investment registration certificate (implemented in accordance with the Investment Law), and the contents of enterprise registration will be shown in the enterprise registration certificate (follow the adjustment of the Law on Enterprises). For example, foreign investors investing in Vietnam in the form of establishing an economic organization (which is a case where an investment registration certificate is required), investor must carry out the procedure for grant of investment registration certificates and then carry out enterprise registration procedures after the project is granted an investment registration certificate.

II. Projects for which investment registration certificates are required

According to Article 36 of the Law on Investment 2014, cases for which investment registration certificates are required as following:

- Investment projects of foreign investors;

- Investment projects of the economic organizations must meet the conditions and shall carry out investment procedures according to regulations applicable to foreign investors. Specifically,  these are projects that fall into one of the following cases:

(i) Having 51% or more of their charter capital held by a foreign investor(s), or having a majority of their general partners being foreign individuals, for partnerships;

(ii) Having 51% or more of their charter capital held by an economic organization(s) described in case (I);

(iii) Having 51% or more of their charter capital held by a foreign investor(s) and an economic organization(s) described at case (i) and case (ii).

Cases for which investment registration certificates are not required:

- Investment projects of domestic investors;

- Investment projects of the economic organizations must meet the conditions and shall carry out investment procedures according to regulations applicable to domestic investors;

If wishing to have investment registration certificates for these investment projects, investors shall carry out the procedures for grant of investment registration certificates.

- Investment in the form of a contribution of capital to, or purchase of shares or capital contributions at, economic organizations.

III. The agency competent to grant investment registration certificates

- Investment projects located in their industrial parks, export-processing zones, hi-tech parks, or economic zones: Management boards of industrial parks, export-processing zones, hi-tech parks, or economic zones shall grant investment registration certificates.

- Investment projects located outside industrial parks, export-processing zones, hi-tech parks, and economic zones: Provincial-level Planning and Investment Departments shall grant investment registration certificates.

- Investment projects implemented in more than one province or centrally run the city and investment projects implemented both inside and outside industrial parks, export-processing zones, hi-tech parks or economic zones: Provincial-level Planning and Investment Departments of the localities where investors locate or intend to locate their head offices or executive offices to implement investment projects shall grant investment registration certificates.

IV. Procedures for grant of investment registration certificates

- For investment projects subject to investment policy decisions by the National Assembly, by the Prime Minister, or by the provincial-level People’s Committees, investment registration agencies shall grant investment registration certificates to investors within 5 working days after receiving investment policy decisions.

- For investment projects not subject to investment policy decisions, investors shall submit investment project dossiers to the investment registration agency. Then, within 15 days after receiving a complete dossier, the investment registration agency shall grant an investment registration certificate. In case of refusal, the investor will receive a written reply clearly stating the reason.

The above are some overviews of procedures for granting investment registration certificates in accordance with the Law on Investment. Depending on the type of investment project, the requirements of the dossier and steps to implement procedures for granting investment registration certificates will be different.

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