Vietnam’s cosmetic industry is thriving. The country’s overall development and the rapidly growing number of middle-class Vietnamese have brought along an increasing demand for beauty and personal care products.
Imported cosmetics grab the lion’s share of Vietnam’s cosmetic market. In this guide, we will explain the key things you need to know about importing and registering cosmetic products in Vietnam.
Cosmetics regulations in Vietnam
To start selling cosmetics products in Vietnam, you first need to register your products and get government level approval. Note that only the holder of the product registration can import the products to Vietnam.
Vietnam follows the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive. The government body that regulates cosmetic product registration in Vietnam is the Drug Administration of Vietnam (DAV) under the Vietnam Ministry of Health (MOH).
Which cosmetic products need registration in Vietnam?
Every cosmetic product imported to and sold in Vietnam must be registered first, and every stock keeping unit (SKU) needs a separate registration.
In other words, if there are any differences in a cosmetic product’s shape, color, or ingredients, all variations need to be registered as separate items. For example, different shades of lipstick require separate registration.
Who can register cosmetic products in Vietnam?
Cosmetics registration in Vietnam can be done by an organization or an individual who is the brand owner or appointed by the brand owner. However, either must have the function of cosmetics business in Vietnam.
Therefore, to import and register cosmetics products in Vietnam, you first need a company in Vietnam that also has the right to import cosmetics. The company must be registered as a wholesale trading company or a retail sales company, or both
Consequently, unless you already have a company in Vietnam with the necessary licenses, you have two options for importing cosmetic products to Vietnam:
- Set up your own company in Vietnam
- Use a nominee importer who already has all the necessary licenses
#1 Set up a company in Vietnam
Foreign investors can set up 100% foreign-owned wholesale trading or retail companies in Vietnam. There is no standard minimum capital requirement for registering foreign companies in Vietnam. However, keep in mind that the size of the investment must comply with your planned activities.
In general, it will take up to 1 month to set up a company in Vietnam, after which you can start the registration process for your cosmetic products.
If you are planning to engage in retail sales, you also need a sub-license for retail activities. The retail sub-license can be processed at the same time as product registration, and it takes 6 to 12 weeks. Emerhub can assist you with all of these processes.
Planning on starting an e-commerce business in Vietnam? Read more: Guide to launching an e-commerce company in Vietnam
#2 Import cosmetics to Vietnam using a nominee importer
If you don’t want to register a company in Vietnam or only wish to test the market by importing a few shipments first, you can alternatively use Emerhub as your nominee importer.
We will import your products using our licenses and act as the nominee product holder which enables you to import cosmetics to Vietnam without setting up a company here or test the Vietnamese cosmetics market before making any significant investments.
Another benefit of choosing a nominee importer is that you can import your cosmetic products to Vietnam within a matter of weeks instead of having to wait for until your company is registered.
How to register cosmetic products in Vietnam?
The cosmetics registration procedure in Vietnam is called Cosmetic Product Proclamation. All cosmetic products imported to and sold in Vietnam must have valid cosmetic product proclamation receipt number.
Once you have set up a company in Vietnam or appointed a nominee importer/registrar, you need to submit the following documents to proceed with your product registration in Vietnam:
- Letter of Attorney from the manufacturer or brand owner (in English or Vietnamese), legalized by a Vietnamese embassy abroad
- Recent Certificate of Free Sales (in English), must be legalized in the country of origin
- Business registration certificate
- Data for each product:
- Brand and product name
- List of variants or shades
- Product type
- Intended use
- Manufacturer information
- Full list of ingredients (full 100% percentage, International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients)
Each item must be registered separately, and the state fee is VND 500,000 (~USD 21) per piece.
The complete timeline of cosmetic product registration in Vietnam is 15-30 working days from the submission of the application, and the registration is valid for five years.
The step-by-step process of cosmetics registration in Vietnam
Emerhub can handle the process entirely. Contact us at [email protected] to get started.
Cosmetic product proclamation number
Once your cosmetic product registration in Vietnam is completed, the Ministry of Health will issue a cosmetic product proclamation receipt for each of the products.
As soon as your cosmetics products are ready to be distributed in Vietnam, you also need to have a Product Information File (PIF) for every product.
A PIF includes:
- Administrative documents and a summary of the product
- Material quality
- Product quality
- Safety and efficiency
Labeling requirements for cosmetic products in Vietnam
The labels of cosmetic products sold in Vietnam must be glued on the commodity and the packaging of the products. The labels must be written in English or Vietnamese and include the following information:
- Name of the product and its functions
- Usage instructions
- The full formula of ingredients
- Country of origin
- Name of the distributor
- Batch number
- Manufacturing or expiration date
- Warnings and precautions
Unacceptable claims for cosmetic products
As per the ASEAN cosmetic claims guidelines, cosmetic products cannot declare to be preventive or curative means for treating diseases in human beings, and the labels of cosmetic products should not include any overclaiming statements.
Some examples of common unacceptable claims:
Hair care products
|Eliminates dandruff permanently|
Restores hair cells
Reverses or arrests hair loss
|Stops, retards or prevents hair growth|
|Prevents, reduces or reverses the physiological changes and degeneration condition brought about by aging|
Deodorants and antiperspirants
|Completely prevents sweating/perspiration|
Perfumes, fragrances, colognes
Source: ASEAN Cosmetic Claims Guidelines
Getting started with cosmetic product registration in Vietnam
Contact us for a free consultation by filling in the form below. Our consultants will gladly assist you with importing cosmetic products to Vietnam as well as with setting up a company in Vietnam.