5 in-demand products that are difficult to import into Vietnam

Vietnam’s customs and importation procedures are complex; find out how you can import products into Vietnam when even the most stringent requirements are in place.


The number of firms and enterprises seeking to import products into Vietnam grows every year. However, most who explore the possibility are unfamiliar with the licensing process and import regulations, finding the guidelines too daunting to navigate or time-consuming to complete. 

Let’s take a look at some of the most challenging import licensing requirements and how using Emerhub’s importer of record service can help you deliver your product to Vietnam.

Telecommunication Equipment – Civil Cryptography Products

According to data from the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the importation of telecommunication equipment is on the rise in Vietnam. In the first four months of 2021, the import value of computers, electronic products, and components were USD 22.23 billion, 25.8% higher than in the corresponding period for 2020.

Many types of telecommunication equipment, including routers, switches, firewalls, servers, and gateways, contain civil cryptography made by a host of major brands like Cisco, Juniper Networks, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Check Point Software Technologies, Dell, Fortinet, Silver Peak, and Palo Alto Networks.

Obtaining the necessary licenses for cryptography products is a challenge due to the strict regulations relating to information security systems. It is a long and difficult application process requiring many technical documents and there is the potential for further delays due to government inspections. 

An enterprise that wishes to import civil cryptographic products into Vietnam must obtain a Trading License (stage 1) and an Import License (stage 2) from the Government Cipher Committee.

Vietnamese Trading License Requirements

  • Having managerial, administrative and technical staff who meet professional requirements on information confidentiality and security.
  • Possessing equipment and physical foundations suitable for the scale of provision of civil cryptographic products and services.
  • A technical plan in place conformable with the standards and technical regulations.
  • Having a cyber information confidentiality and security plan relating to the management and provision of civil cryptographic products and services.
  • Providing an appropriate business plan.

Timeline: 3 to 6 months to satisfy all the requirements.

By engaging Emerhub to act as the importer, you will gain a team with experience of successfully importing cryptography products into Vietnam and one that is familiar with the licensing requirements. Our IOR service will make sure your dossier is completed on schedule, giving you access to one of the fastest growing consumer markets in Asia.

As we already have trading licenses for a large number of these products, in most cases, you will only need to apply for stage two. The application for the import license is much less costly and time-consuming than that of a trading license. It should take the Ministry 10-14 working days from the date of our application to appraise and release the import license, allowing you to ship your products to Vietnam.


The biggest obstacle to importing laptops into Vietnam is the strict testing guidelines. Both the laptop and lithium batteries must undergo various quality and conformity tests, where you will need to supply 15-20 lithium batteries, most of which will not be usable afterward. This is a costly process and can take several weeks to complete.

You can avoid this cost and cut the lead time in half by using Emerhub’s existing report, requiring only one laptop for testing, where we will measure the parameters and then return it intact.

Obtaining a License to Import Laptops into Vietnam

  • Laptop Quality Registration and Minimum Energy Performance Standards: (04 working days)
  • Laptop Testing: (14 working days counting from the date that the lab receives the sample)
  • Type of Approval and Declaration of Conformity: (14 working days after the issue date of the testing result)

Timeline: 28 working days from receipt of the sample for testing. 

Medical Devices

Medical devices are one of Vietnam’s main imports, but the government sets strict licensing requirements for these products. The Ministry of Health classifies products according to their risk and then issues an applicable standard certificate or a circulation regulation certificate.

Medical Device Registration in Vietnam

  • Business Registration Certificate (a company in Vietnam)
  • Quality management certificate (ISO 13485 certificate)
  • Warranty eligibility certificate
  • Label of product
  • Certificate of Free Sale
  • Power of attorney
  • Product catalogue

Technical documents include the classification result, technical brief, and instructions for use.

In addition, a summary of clinical trial data is required for medical device classes C and D (invasive in the human body). You must legalize the following documents in their country of origin; Certificate of Free Sale, Power of Attorney, Warranty Eligibility Certificate, and Quality Management Certificate.


  • Classification: 05 working days
  • Notification of Applicable Standard Certificate: 25 working days
  • Circulation Registration Certificate: 01 month
  • Import license: 01 month

Health Supplements 

To import health supplements to Vietnam, you must satisfy much stricter requirements than those relating to everyday foodstuffs. The Vietnam Food Administration, under the Ministry of Health, is the competent authority and they enforce strict food safety and hygiene standards.

Vietnam’s Health Supplement Labelling Requirements 

  • The label must show specific phrases for the product’s sub-group, such as health supplements, food supplements, or special foods for dietary or medical purposes.
  • The labelling must display nutrient contents, including the quantity of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, biological substances, enzymes and fatty acids. 
  • The following statement must be printed at least 1.2mm high, with a contrasting font to the label’s background colour; ‘This product is not a medicine, nor effective to replace a medicine.’
  • If the supplement’s product name is the same as one of the main active ingredients, the quantity of the ingredient must be listed on the product’s label.

There are some common pitfalls in the application for these licenses that can cause delays. It can be difficult to import the product samples to Vietnam without the registration certificate. Then, there is the need to understand which test criteria are mandatory and specific to the product. You need to monitor the appraisal closely and make adjustments as needed if the ministry identifies any problems with the application.

Enlisting the help of a team familiar with the licensing laws can speed up and simplify the process. You can avoid unnecessary delays when it comes to testing or knowing what amendments to make to satisfy ministry requests.

Timeline: Product registration takes between 2 to 4 months to complete upon submission. 

Cosmetic products

Before importing cosmetic products to Vietnam, you must register each piece via a Cosmetic Product Proclamation. There are specific requirements unique to Vietnam and many different ways to fall foul of the guidelines if you do not have experience with the regulatory process.

Registering Cosmetic Products in Vietnam 

  • Every SKU requires a separate registration.
  • Vietnamese classifications for cosmetic products often differ from other countries. Vietnam’s authorities consider cosmetic products to be for pharmaceutical or medical purposes.
  • The products must adhere to the ASEAN cosmetic claims guidelines, meaning cosmetic products must not declare themselves a preventive or curative means to treating diseases in human beings.
  • Should not contain any statements that overstate the properties of the product with unacceptable claims.
Product TypeUnacceptable claims
Hair Care products· Eliminates dandruff permanently· Restores hair cells· Reverses hair loss· Arrests hair loss· Stimulates hair growth
Depilatories· Stops/retards/prevents hair growth 
Nail products· Reference to growth resulting from the nourishment of nails
Skin products· Prevents, reduces or reverses the physiological changes and degeneration conditions brought about by aging· Removes scars· Causes numbing effect· Prevents, heals, treats or stops acne· Treats cellulite· Reduces centimeters· Firms the body/chest· Reduces/controls swelling/edema · Reduces/burns fat· Acts against fungi· Acts against viruses· Reduces allergy. Body firming/bust firming. Bust lifting. Treatment of melisma/burnt. Treatment of pigment/melanin. Pink nipple (except for makeup products). Wound cleansing
Oral or dental hygiene products· Treats or prevents dental abscess, gumboils, inflammation, mouth ulcers, periodontitis, periodontal disease, stomatitis, thrush, or any oral diseases or infections· Whitens tetracycline-included stains
Deodorants & antiperspirants· Completely prevents sweating/perspiration
Perfumes/fragrances/colognes· Emotional attraction· Hormonal attraction

Required documents:

  • Power of Attorney (legalization)
  • Certificate of Free Sale (legalization)
  • Data of each product:
  • Brand and product name
  • List of variants or shades
  • Product type
  • Intended use
  • Manufacturer information
  • Exporter information

How Emerhub’s Importer of Record Service Can Help

For many businesses, engaging in such time-consuming and complex processes distracts from their other core operations. In some cases, products require the importer to obtain multiple licenses, which only lengthens the timeline. There is no guarantee that the application will even end up being successful. 

By employing Emerhub’s IOR service, you will not have to deal with the customs and import procedures and instead, Emerhub will act as the importer on your behalf. 

Using an IOR is a cost-effective and proven method of importing products into Vietnam. Emerhub has vast experience in successfully importing products from a range of sectors and can do so at competitive rates. 

Our team is highly responsive, providing regular updates to our clients regarding their applications. Contact Emerhub today to find out how our IOR service can help bring your product to the Vietnamese market.

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