Coming soon!

We're visiting Jan-Feb 2020 to scout early retirement digs.

I'd planned to retire in Thailand since 1992 but visa requirements have changed and neither my Thai wife nor I want to bother. We'll visit friends & family. Cambo business visa not easy either now.
I though about setting up a building inspection business but returned to reality pretty quick.

Looking at basing out of Da Nang and Nha Trang. We're stopping in HCMC/Saigon first though.
We'll travel out of VN to wherever.

Our plan is to rent hotels and shop housing. Numbeo reports NT as cheaper but either are cheaper than where we want to live in Thailand.

MealsDavis :

We're visiting Jan-Feb 2020 to scout early retirement digs.

I'd planned to retire in Thailand since 1992 but visa requirements have changed and neither my Thai wife nor I want to bother. We'll visit friends & family. Cambo business visa not easy either now.
I though about setting up a building inspection business but returned to reality pretty quick.

Looking at basing out of Da Nang and Nha Trang. We're stopping in HCMC/Saigon first though.
We'll travel out of VN to wherever.

Our plan is to rent hotels and shop housing. Numbeo reports NT as cheaper but either are cheaper than where we want to live in Thailand.

Good luck.

Be aware there is no such thing as a retirement visa here in Vietnam.

Thailand is definitely more expensive, but at least there you can get what amounts to a retirement visa, IF you qualify.

Setting up your own business here may be the best route to gaining a Temporary Resident Card.

There's lots of info about that in these forums.

As a U.S. citizen, you can currently get a 1 Year Tourist Visa requiring border runs (exiting and reentering the country) every 3 months.

You can also obtain a 1 Year Category DN Business Visa if you have a business sponsor here OR if you are "exploring business opportunities".

You can now apply totally online with the Vietnam Consulate in San Francisco:

https://vietnamconsulate-sf.org/en/2019 … -by-fedex/

Another option is to use a trustworthy Visa On Arrival (VOA) agency and pick up your visa at the airport when you arrive in Vietnam.

Most of us agree that using a Consulate or the Embassy in the U.S. is the safest and least expensive way to get your initial visa.

However, the VOA agencies still prove useful to some people (me included) especially when it comes time to "renew" a 1 year visa.

Actual "renewal" of a 1 year visa HERE is very expensive for the applicant and difficult for a VOA agent.

So instead you apply for a NEW visa when your current visa is within 6 weeks of expiration.

The Consulate in the U.S. will not mail a new visa to you here in Vietnam, so the better option is to use a VOA agent here to apply for your NEW visa, then exit the country and pick up your NEW visa at the point of entry when you return to Vietnam.

ALSO BE AWARE:

There are a number of anecdotal reports of people using DN business visas being "blacklisted" by immigration for reasons including a failure to have a work permit relationship with their visa sponsor.

In the end, you'll need to decide what works best for you.

Thank you OceanBeach92107.

That was extremely useful and I'm grateful for all your contributions here. I've saved your reply as a reference. Much of it I've 'picked up on' here and there but that was a concise all-encompassing bunch of info.

Picking up the new visa VOA at the airport on return is my next research task. Good tip.

May I ask what the expat community is like there? Are folks as welcoming and helpful as it seems? A PM may be more appropriate.

We plan to travel every 3 months or so but don't want to "have to" leave if possible. I'll research "exploring business opportunities"...   as we age we wont want to travel as much.

IF we must go with a DN business visa I'll likely rent a shophouse or rent an office os some type and open a construction inspection service. I'm an ICC certified building inspector and electrical inspector of many years. Not sure there's an actual niche market but it would be interesting if so.

In any event, I refuse to get involved in visa deception, it's just not how I live. I decline pizza and donuts on jobsites to avoid the appearance of an ethical breach, deminimus or not.

MealsDavis :

I'll likely rent a shophouse or rent an office os some type and open a construction inspection service. I'm an ICC certified building inspector and electrical inspector of many years. Not sure there's an actual niche market but it would be interesting if so.

At first read through I thought "no way" due to lack of speaking Vietnamese limiting your customer base, but then I thought it could have some benefit to expats looking to buy a house and wanting some assurance of quality.  But really, how can you inspect to a code when they don't build to a code you are familiar with?  It won't be to any sort of code you have ever seen.

That said, I am extremely confident that you would not pass any single dwelling for electrical in Vietnam, LOL

Pretty much everything is two wire, rarely a ground, no Romex, but two individual conductors that are usually the same color.  I've never, ever seen a wire nut.  Twisted and electrical taped is the rule of the day.  Wire is pulled through holes drilled in the concrete and brick without conduit (or even the benefit of the jacket on Romex).

On demand water heater in our bathroom has two wires sticking out of the concrete wall, through the tile, twisted and taped, without ground.  Taped section of wires is out in the open in the shower.

What SteinNebraska says is very true.

Outside of large construction projects, the electrical installations are just negligent.
Everybody's tinkering with electric installations.
There is no acceptance test by an inspector.

The regulations are not comparable with the regulations in the West.

Junction boxes for outdoor use do not really exist.
When it rains, the outdoor junction boxes are wet inside (you will also find insects and geckos inside). This usually works because the connections wrapped with tape are better insulated than with connectors. But as soon as you install a RCBO it does not work anymore.

As already mentioned, grounding conductors are only available in industrial and residential projects.
Air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, kettles, etc. require grounding, but it is simply not connected.
The house supply line is only 2-core. If you want to have an earth conductor you have to bury an earth electrode in the ground. I doubt very much that the electricians here know about this project.

Although there's a color code for the wires, virtually no one here adheres to it. It can also happen that a wire goes into an electric pipe in one color and comes out the other end in a different color.

These are just a few examples of the quality of the electrical installations and their final inspection.

An ordinary electrical installation shop is certainly not interested in an expensive electrical inspector.
In industrial or residential projects they will hire a cheap local specialist who knows the Vietnamese electrical regulations.

And for expats?
I am an electrical engineer and know practically everything about electricity.
But the problem is that you won't find an electrician who can do everything you ask for.
Lack of knowledge, motivation and material is the problem.
And very important is the problematic communication. Or can you transmit technical details in Vietnamese?

I think if you don't work for a foreign company here it is practically impossible to find a job in the technical field or to build up your own business in this area.

MealsDavis :

• • •

May I ask what the expat community is like there? Are folks as welcoming and helpful as it seems? A PM may be more appropriate.

We plan to travel every 3 months or so but don't want to "have to" leave if possible. I'll research "exploring business opportunities"...   as we age we wont want to travel as much.

IF we must go with a DN business visa I'll likely rent a shophouse or rent an office os some type and open a construction inspection service. I'm an ICC certified building inspector and electrical inspector of many years. Not sure there's an actual niche market but it would be interesting if so.

In any event, I refuse to get involved in visa deception, it's just not how I live. I decline pizza and donuts on jobsites to avoid the appearance of an ethical breach, deminimus or not.

I did send you a PM; check your inbox.

Not sure what you mean about "visa deception", especially if you are connecting that phrase with "exploring business opportunities".

For instance, I'm in the music business.

I regularly check out local talent, using my music publisher and producer ears to look for promising local talent performing original compositions which they have written.

Nothing deceptive about that, since that's exactly what I do in Nashville, Austin, New York, Los Angeles and everywhere I travel back in The States.

Simply being here "looking for work" or investigating the requirements for opening a shop such as the one you describe fits with "exploring business opportunities".

However, be cautioned:

If you actually start a business here, you'll then be required to legally change your status here in ways that others such as SteinNebraska can best describe.

In your particular case, it would seem to be sufficient for you to simply walk around an area and observe the state of construction here, with the idea being that you MIGHT very well open such a shop.

If that's ok with you and the man in the mirror, there's no deception involved at all.

Side note: There are unfortunately a lot of stories here in Vietnam about people (especially private teachers) getting into visa trouble because a local Vietnamese citizen felt that the foreigner was taking business away from them through unfair competition.

I know of at least one case where the foreigner wasn't even generating income, but was seen as unwelcome potential competition by a souvenir shop owner after the foreigner began outfitting the ground floor of his rental house to display local woodworking items.

I'm saying there is a difference between "exploring" and "establishing", and the latter can easily get you in trouble with the law here when you are using a DN Business visa.

Very useful yet again. Thanks for all replies.
I'm not looking to make the world safe, not that naive. Been going to SE Asia since early 90's. OMG that wiring !

I 'm primarily looking at making a life in a SE Asian country that wants us and our clean. If there's an odd need for NFPA level safety at a resort, high-rise or casino, that's a bonus.

Developing vs establishing- a distinction with a difference. Well noted and appreciated.

In-shower 240V ungrounded systems are fun, huh? There are cord-body style protection and these I just googled up;

https://www.hubbell.com/wiringdevice-ke … /p/1724970

https://www.steinerelectric.com/Product … 0VA-914081

Need a NEMA 3R enclosure or raintite of some sort...

In a skyscraper of about 8 years in which we had lived until about a year ago, there was a grounding conductor and an RCD in front of all MCBs.

I think this is the standard for newer housing complexes in Vietnam as well. In the shower the water heater was also connected as SteinNebraska explained. But the whole installation was protected with a 30mA RCD.
This is treally necessary because the electrical installations such as air conditioning and flow water heater are installed by the buyers of the condominiums. The buyers' botch-up should not endanger the safety of the whole complex.

In our house I also protected everything RCD or RCCB. If it rains heavily, such a RCCB for outdoor installations sometimes triggers because the wiring is sometimes really negligent. But it is worth it to me.

Just changed the service (electrical panel) in my house and added Dual Function (Arc Fault Ckt Interrupter & Ground Fault Ckt Interrupter) breakers for all my 120V branch ckts.

I'm counting on rental income from the old place and want to keep the guys in red trucks away while we're in SE Asia!

I've never heard of someone getting shocked from those in-shower water heaters... maybe because dead men don't talk?

:/

It's a good for me thing I don't actually need a job or income there. Just looking at a business visa as an option.
Better to "explore business" options, or better still just be a retiree and jet out yearly as long as I'm not too frail.

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