“How many countries in the world are still using household residence registration books? I think the system only exists in Vietnam,” said Chair of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.

administrative procedures,household registration book

Ngan noted that freedom of residence is stipulated in the law and now is the time to remove the old paperwork.

"Dozens of procedures related to household registration books are out of date and they must be removed for the sake of the people. We must not regret cumbersome procedures. Anything that is progressive and convenient for people should be considered and applied,” she said.

As the head of the compilation team of the amended Law on Residence, Minister of Public Security, To Lam has proposed implementation of the plan submitted by the government. The law would take effect on July 1, 2020 instead of 2025 as suggested by the National Assembly’s Legal Committee.

The insistence of National Assembly deputies on removing the household registration system, or ho khau, as it is called by Vietnamese, shows their great determination to remove the paper that is limiting civil rights.

"There is no reason to keep ho khau until 2025," he said.

The views of the National Assembly Chair and Minister of Public Security are taking into consideration people's aspirations and the needs of life. As the State has realized that ho khau has become outdated, it should immediately remove the system to both create conditions for people and accelerate modernization of state management.

The Ministry of Public Security estimates that removing ho khau and applying personal identification numbers updated from the national population database will help reduce costs for administrative procedures for people by VND1.6 trillion a year.


The ho khau system in Vietnam was established in 1964 as a tool to ensure social security and economic state management. Every citizen must register for a permanent residence at one address and moving can be implemented only with the permission of local authorities.

The association of ho khau with consumption distribution, access to public services and employment allowed it to become an effective tool for controlling migration and residency.

Before Doi Moi (renovation), very few people left their places of residence without the permission of appropriate authorities, and people had a hard time living without permanent residency in their localities.

However, ho khau has been one of the causes of inequality of opportunity.

There are two main reasons for considering reform of the ho khau system.

First, people who have registered for temporary residence face barriers accessing services and jobs in the state sector, causing social costs and injustice.

Second, the system causes economic losses by reducing migration and impeding structural transformation and national economic growth. 

Tu Giang

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