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Open coffee shop in Vietnam

Q: I am a USA citizen and would like to open coffee shop in Vietnam, please advise legal procedure?
A: This is Lawyer of SB Law. We know that you now intend to setup 100% foreign owned company in Hanoi for coffee shop, we therefore would like to send herewith several information regarding to establishment of foreign invested company (FIC) in Vietnam for your reference.
The establishment of a FIC in Vietnam requires an Investment Certificate from the licensing authority.
Depending upon the location of the company, the licensing authority may be the Provincial People’s Committee (for companies located outside industrial or export processing zones) or the provincial Industrial and Export Processing Zones Management Authority (for companies located in industrial or export processing zones).
We would like to clarify that the procedure for establishment of a FIC in Vietnam generally takes a rather long time in comparison with other countries in the region. Our practical experiences show that although the total time for establishment of a foreign invested company as stipulated under Vietnam Investment Law 2005 is only 45 days, the actual process may take a longer time due to that the competent authority must consult other relevant offices to evaluate the investment project.
With respect to Investment Project, total investment capital of which is from 300,000,000,000 VND upward, Investor is required to prepare Feasibility Study for the Investment Project.
Generally, the relevant licensing authorities shall evaluate the legitimacy and the feasibility of such Investment Project to determine on granting of the Investment Certificate on the following basis:

a. the legal framework including Vietnam’s WTO Commitments, Vietnam Investment Law, Vietnam Enterprise Law, Regulations applicable to specific industries as well as the master economic development plan of the city or province that the FIC shall register its head-office.
b. Your financial ability, investment capital to put in the Investment Project, facilities and human resources serving the implementation of such investment project in Vietnam.
By the way, we also would like to note that in the year of 2014, Vietnam National Assembly adopted a new law on Investment and Enterprise which shall become effect from 1st July 2015.
Accordingly, the licensing procedure for setting up FIC shall have to undergo two following steps:

- Step 1: Obtainment of Investment Certificate. The Law requires that within 15 working days from submission of the application dossier the competent authority shall have to issue the Investment Certificate for Foreign Investor. However, having preliminary discussed with the Licensing Authority, we do not much expect that the licensing authority can comply with this requirement in practice, especially, those relating to conditional investment sectors

- Step 2: After obtainment of Investment Certificate, Client shall be required to obtain the Certificate of Business Registration. The Law requires that within 05 working days from submission of application dossier, the competent authority shall have to issue the Certificate of Business Registration for forming the Foreign Invested Company.

In this case, we understand that you intend to setup a coffee shop in Hanoi.
Regarding to Coffee shop, it is classified to F&B Industry. According to our practical experience, in the year of 2015, licensing authorities in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi licensed several foreign investors to run F&B Business in Vietnam.
From 1st January 2015, when the accompanying requirements imposed on F&B are officially removed, it seems that Vietnam Licensing Authority keep an opened mind to Foreign Investor running F&B Business in Vietnam.
We can only comment in detail upon receipt detailed information of your business plan on this.
We do hope that the above information is helpful for you. If you have any further inquiry, please feel free to contact us.

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