On 20 May 2011, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment issued Circular No. 16/2011/TT-BTNMT (Circular 16), implementing Government Resolution No. 56/NQ-CP.

The main purpose of Circular 16 is to shorten the timeframe for the completion of applications for registration of various types of land dealings and to simplify certain procedures relating to those applications.

The land transactions covered by Circular 16 are:

  • issuance of certificates for land use rights, ownership of residential housing and ownership of other assets attached to land (Certificates);
  • re-issuance of Certificates where lost;
  • registration of any changes in land use and/or assets attached to land;
  • registration of assignment, inheritance, donation, lease, sublease, mortgage or capital contribution of land use rights and/or assets attached to land;
  • issuance of Certificates where a parcel of land is sub-divided or consolidated;
  • extension of land use rights; and
  • re-allocation or the lease of land in high-tech zones and economic zones.

Instead of the previous 50 working days, the total time for issuance of the Certificate is shortened to not more than 33 working days for applications involving individuals, residential communities and overseas Vietnamese entitled to own houses in Vietnam and to not more than 28 working days for applications involving organisations, overseas Vietnamese and foreign organisations and individuals. Circular 16 also breaks down each step of the application timeframe and sets out the maximum number of days the authorities involved at each step of the application have to process the documents.

The shortened timeframes, and simplified internal procedures, are a positive development for applicants. Whilst it cannot be guaranteed that the timeframe will be met in every case, it is an indicator that the Government recognises that applications can, and should, be conducted at a more efficient rate. Establishing maximum periods of time for each stage of the application should also enable the process to be better monitored and if one particular stage is consistently responsible for delays enable corrective measures to be accurately targeted. Simplifying the procedures, and setting clearly identifiable deadlines for completion of work, should also enable each authority to better manage their stage of the application process.

Circular 16 will take effect from 5 July 2011.

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