Can foreigners inherit real estate in Vietnam?

QUESTION:

Hi lawyer, I am married and living with my husband in Taiwan. I have applied for renunciation of Vietnamese nationality and naturalization in Taiwan. My mother made a will to leave me a house in Binh Duong. So I want to ask the Lawyer if I have applied for renunciation of my Vietnamese nationality, can I still receive that estate? Thank you.

ANSWER:

According to the provided information, you have given up your Vietnamese nationality and now you’re a naturalized Taiwan citizen, so under the law, you are a foreigner.

Article 3.1 of the Law on Vietnamese nationality 2008 stipulates:

 “Foreign nationality is the nationality of other countries, not Vietnamese.”

And Article 3.1 of the 2014 Law on entry into, exit from, transit through, and residence in Vietnam of foreigners provides:

1. Foreigners are those who carry papers identifying foreign nationality and stateless persons who enter, exit, transit or reside in Vietnam. “

The civil law on inheritance defines will as an expression of wishes of an individual to bequeath his/her property to others after his or her death (Article 624 of the Civil Code 2015). The law respects the will of the testator, but no regulations are showing the distinction between making wills and inheritance for foreigners. Therefore, your mother has the right to make a will and You can also receive the inheritance as long as the will is valid.

However, related to the inheritance that you mentioned being real estate, and you also have foreign nationality so the inheritance, in this case, will be different between you and a Vietnamese citizen. Vietnamese citizens are entitled to own the real estate they inherit. Foreigners are only entitled to the value of the real estate, not to have their names on the certificate as the owner.

* For housing:

The law on housing only allows foreigners to inherit housing in Vietnam in the form of apartments; Separate houses in housing construction investment projects, except for areas ensuring national defense and security, and must satisfy the following conditions:

  • Being allowed to enter Vietnam;
  • Not entitled to diplomatic and consular privileges and immunities.

It can be seen that based on Articles 7 and 159 of the Law on Housing 2014, you are not eligible to own housing in Vietnam.

* For residential land:

Pursuant to Article 5 of the Land Law 2013, foreigners shall NOT be subject to land allocation or land lease, recognition of land use rights by the State, or transfer of land use rights.

Besides, Article 186 also stipulates the case where the heir of the real estate is a foreigner as follows:

“3. In case all the heirs of land use rights, ownership of houses, and other land-attached assets are foreigners or overseas Vietnamese who are ineligible to own houses in Vietnam as prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article, the heir shall not be granted the Certificate of land use right, ownership of houses and other land-attached assets but may transfer or donate the inherited land use right in accordance with the following provisions:

a) In case of transfer of land use rights, the heir may act as the transferor in the land use right transfer contract;…”

Thus, from the above provisions, it can be understood that, in the event that your mother leaves you a house as an inheritance, you will only be entitled to the VALUE of the house, and neither own houses nor use residential land. In other words, You do not have the right to use as well as directly put your name on the certificate of land use rights, ownership of houses, and other land-attached assets, but You can exploit and enjoy the value obtained from the house. For example, You can donate, or transfer it to another person to convert the value into money and transfer that money abroad in accordance with the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Ordinance.

  • The above-mentioned consulting opinions are based on the provisions of the law and information provided by the client. Any legal opinions expressed (unless cited) are our own and for reference only.
  • At the time you read this article, the laws we refer to may have expired, or have been amended or supplemented. Therefore, we do not guarantee that the above information can be applied to all cases, to all subjects, at all times.
  • For accurate and specific consultancy, please contact PL&Partners lawyer via call center 093.1111.060 or email: info@pl-partners.vn.
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