Question 36: What must be done for a foreign Court’s decision on a divorce between a Vietnamese and a foreigner to be enforceable in Vietnam? Which is the State agency of Vietnam responsible for this matter? How long does it take?

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Under Article 125 of the Law on Marriage and Family 2014, regulations regarding the recognition and recording of judgement and decision from foreign Courts or competent foreign authority on marriage and family is as follows:

  1. Recognition of a judgement or decision on marriage and family of a foreign Court requested for being enforced in Vietnam is implemented in accordance with the Civil Proceedings Code.

2. The Government prescribes the recording of marriage and family matters in the civil registration book according to a judgement or decision of a foreign Court without being requested to be enforced or to be recognised in Vietnam; decision on marriage and family by competent foreign agencies.”

Following the above regulation, in application of the Civil Proceedings Law, an overseas judgement or decision on divorce must be recognised and enforced by a competent Vietnamese Court before it can be legally effective in Vietnam[3]. Within 03 years, as of the date where a foreign civil judgement or decision takes legal effect, the spouse who is ordered to enforce it, or has legitimate rights or interests related to it, or his or her legitimate representatives, have the right to send a request to the Ministry of Justice of Vietnam under an international treaty to which Vietnam and the country of the Court issuing the judgement or decision are spouses, or send to a competent Vietnamese Court to request for the recognition and enforcement of such civil judgement or decision in Vietnam[4].

In case of sending a request to the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Justice shall transfer the requested file to a competent Court within 05 working days as of the date of receipt[6]. Then, within 05 working days from the date of receipt of the files forwarded by the Ministry of Justice, or from the date of receipt of a petition and attached documents sent by the petitioner, the Court shall consider and decide as to whether to accept jurisdiction over the file. The Court must consequently notify the petitioner, the enforcee or his or her legal representative in Vietnam as well as the People’s Procuracy on the same level and the Ministry of Justice.

However, a foreign Court judgement or decision must be in accordance with the rules and conditions in application in Vietnam before it can be recognised and enforceable in Vietnam. Let’s take the determination of jurisdiction over the right to use land as an example. Under Article 411 of the Civil Proceedings Code 2015, if the real estate is within Vietnam’s territory, the jurisdiction over it will solely belong to the Vietnamese Courts. Therefore, technically, a foreign Court judgement or decision will not be recognised and enforced in Vietnam if it is about real estate located in Vietnam. Unless both spouses can settle the case out of Court, they shall proceed to filing an independent lawsuit at a competent Court in Vietnam in order to solve the issues related to the real estate in Vietnam.


[3] Article 427 of the Civil Proceedings Code 2015.

[4] Article 432 of the Civil Proceedings Code 2015.

[6] Article 435 of the Civil Proceedings Code 2015.

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