There are many options of business entities for foreign investors when they decide to tap into Vietnam markets, the key of which is a limited liability company in Vietnam that is widely chosen.
In this article, we cast light upon key features and requirements of a limited liability company in Vietnam that foreign investors should know!
An overview of a Limited Liability Company in Vietnam
Among all types of companies in Vietnam, a limited liability company allows local and foreign investors to own and carry out business pursuant to Vietnam’s Law on Enterprise.
A limited liability company (LLC) is a legal entity formed by the capital contributions of each member to the company. The number of members in an LLC in Vietnam cannot exceed 50 members.
Remarkably, the liability of an LLC member for the financial obligations of the company would depend on this person’s capital contribution, not his/ her personal assets.
Depending on the certain business sector, the foreign investor can choose either one of the following business forms of an LLC in Vietnam:
- A 100% foreign-owned enterprise in which all members must be foreigners; or
- A partially foreign-owned enterprise (aka a joint venture enterprise) in which members must include foreign investors and at least one Vietnamese member.
There are two types of limited liability companies under Law on Enterprise in Vietnam: one-member LLC and multi-member LLC. In what follows, we will delve into the key features of each one.
Key features of a Limited Liability Company in Vietnam
A limited liability company in Vietnam is formed based on the capital contributions of its members. Capital contribution refers to the total assets contributed to constituting the company’s charter capital.
Therefore, a limited liability company’s members are only responsible for the liability and financial obligations of the company corresponding to the amount of capital they contributed to the company’s charter.
Similarly, in the case of a one-member or single-member limited liability company, this structure has only one member who is also the company owner.
For this reason, this person must be liable for all relevant debts and obligations of the company to the extent of his/ her capital contribution to the company.
Right to issue shares and bonds
Unlike a joint-stock company in Vietnam, a limited liability company, whether a one-member LLC or an LLC with two or more members, is NOT allowed to issue shares.
Under Law on Enterprise 2014, there is also no provision to allow the right for bond issuance of a Vietnam limited liability company.
However, under Articles 46 and 74 under the amended Law on Enterprise 2020, which will come into force in 2021, an LLC in Vietnam can issue bonds providing that it abides by Vietnam laws.
A limited liability company in Vietnam with two or more members is typically structured by the following components:
- Member’s council
This is the body with the highest position for making decisions for the company. It is mandatory that the Member’s council must hold at least one meeting per year.
- The chairperson of the Member’s council
An LLC must select a member to become the council’s chairperson who can be the director or general director of the company. Note that the applicable tenure of the chairperson is within 5 years.
- Director/ Director General
The main responsibilities of the director/ director general are to manage daily business operations of the limited liability company, as well as hold the liability for his/ her exercise of rights to the Members’ Council.
- Supervisory Board
If your multi-member LLC in Vietnam is a state enterprise or a subsidiary of a state enterprise in Vietnam, then you must establish a Supervisory Board as stipulated by Article 54, Law on Enterprise 2020. Other circumstances on whether this Board should be formed or not are at the discretion of the LLC itself.
As for a one-member limited liability company, the corporate structure can be one of two following models (roles and duties of each component are similar to the above-mentioned features of multi-member LLCs):
- Company president and Director/ Director General (applied for the one-member LLC of both individual owners and organizational owners)
- Member’s council and Director/ Director General (only available for the one-member LLC of organizational owners)
Requirements for setting up a Limited Liability Company in Vietnam
To set up a limited liability company in Vietnam, you need to take into account the following requirements:
Naming requirements for a Vietnam LLC
Choosing an appropriate name for your intended LLC is of vital importance. Some of the key criteria for an eligible LLC name include:
- The name in Vietnamese of an LLC must have two parts: the type of company which must be written as “công ty trách nhiệm hữu hạn” (or its abbreviation as “công ty TNHH”), and a proper name using the Vietnamese alphabet, the letter F, J, Z, W, numbers, and symbols
- The name of an LLC must not be identical or similar to other already existing names, overlap with the name of a state agency or other social organizations without consent for use from such units, or contain symbols or words marking a contrast to Vietnam culture and customs
- An LLC’s foreign name should comply with the provision prescribed in Article 39, Law on Enterprise 2020
Documents required for registering a Vietnam LLC
Obtaining an Enterprise Registration Certificate is the key step to starting a limited liability company in Vietnam. Below are the documents that you should prepare before the application:
- The application for LLC registration
- The company charter
- List of LLC members
- Copies of identification documents like passports, and ID cards (for individual members)
- Copies of the establishment decision, business registration certificate, or other equivalent documents (for organizational members); identification documents of the authorized representatives
- Copies of registration documents of the organizations which have been legalized by the consular (for foreign organizations)
- Investment Registration Certificate (for foreign investors)
Capital contribution and Business license application
Note that a limited liability company incorporated in Vietnam can be subject to the submission of a business license to legally operate in Vietnam. Depending on your business sector of choice, you may be required to apply for a license from the relevant authority.
Regardless of conditional or unconditional business lines, the business license if required, can only be obtained after the IRC and ERC applications have been successfully issued.
Furthermore, an LLC in Vietnam must make its capital contribution as stated in the company registration process within 90 days after the receipt of its Enterprise Registration Certificate.
Other necessary considerations while setting up Vietnam LLCs
Like other types of business entities, a limited liability company in Vietnam is subject to basic forms of tax, including corporate income tax, business license tax, and many others.
To give an example, an LLC shall be taxed at a standard CIT rate of 20%. Note that companies engaging in certain industries like oil or gas exploitation may be levied higher CIT rates under Vietnam laws.
The good news is that the Vietnam government does offer tax incentives for investment projects of LLCs if specific conditions are met.
There is no withholding tax levied on profits that foreign corporate shareholders received.
Length of the registration process
The whole process for registering an LLC in Vietnam can be not less than one month. In particular, it takes a foreign investor around 15 days to obtain the Investment Registration Certificate and 3 working days for the Enterprise Registration Certificate application.
If your intended LLC is going to engage certain “conditional” business sectors as regulated by Vietnam laws, then you may need to wait longer to complete further licensing procedures before getting approval.
A limited liability company can be established in the form of either a wholly foreign-owned company or a partially foreign-owned company in Vietnam. This is one of the most popular business structures for foreign investors that want to expand to the Vietnam market.
We hope you find useful information about a limited liability company in Vietnam and what you need to prepare to set up this type of company.
If you have more questions about Vietnam LLCs and need to consult a professional expert, feel free to drop us a message or get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org for detailed solutions.
Disclaimer: While BBCIncorp strives to make the information on this website as timely and accurate as possible, the information itself is for reference purposes only. You should not substitute the information provided in this article for competent legal advice. Feel free to contact BBCIncorp’s customer services for advice on your specific cases.
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