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VietNam entry scam

VietNam entry scam

Old Mar 23, 2023, 8:49 am
  #16  
 
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We still do not know if this at immigration and as the OP said in the customs? if you try online at the government site, they send you a registration code where you can confirm all the details. I have seen some people being a bit harassed about at immigration because of no e visa. But 200 USD is a scam and especially if they said 200 and then reduced it to 170.
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Old Mar 27, 2023, 2:08 pm
  #17  
 
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Entered Hanoi a couple of days ago (U.S. passport).
At check-in for the international flight to Hanoi, the e-visa was inspected. However, the immigration chap didn't even care about it.

Then again, on my flight to Da Nang last year, the visa was inspected by that immigration officer.
​​
Can't wait to try more bn ch and coffee.
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Old Mar 27, 2023, 8:45 pm
  #18  
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That's another point...the immigration woman seemed like she had been advised beforehand about the 1-digit clerical error. Most people would not have even caught that, like
what you describe.
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Old Mar 28, 2023, 12:51 am
  #19  
 
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Originally Posted by yandorio
That's another point...the immigration woman seemed like she had been advised beforehand about the 1-digit clerical error. Most people would not have even caught that, like
what you describe.
This is a bit strange I would say. How would the immigration official know that you would be coming to her counter in the first place? Was she at the only counter that was open?
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Old Mar 28, 2023, 6:21 am
  #20  
 
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We were told that we could do Visa on arrival but shouldn't, even if it cost more just for that reason. And yes, if the official was holding the passport, that was strong psychological insurance against the traveler.
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Old Mar 28, 2023, 6:38 am
  #21  
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Well, she could have clicked my name on her computer and saw the $$$ light up on her end. Just speculation on my part, but it's plausible.
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Old Mar 28, 2023, 7:23 am
  #22  
 
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I am sure the Visa Processing company purposely put an extra digit in the visa. And they are working in cohorts with a senior immigration officer who is directing staff to hit people up for money. Welcome to Vietnam.

At $200 a pop and tourist pouring in 18 hours a day, this is a HUGE racket. So there is enough money to grease everyone from top to bottom.

I have a lot of experience with these places. I would have played dumb and said I only have credit cards. If I has $20 with me I would have pulled that out and said "this is all I have." Most likely they would have given in.

I had similar issues with Indonesia. A company I was working with in Singapore brought two European engineers to Bintan (by ferry). We were getting visa on arrival for each guy. Immigration said "Ten US dollars." The Singaporean director gave him a US $20 bill. The clerk processed the first guy's visa. Then the Singaporean gave the clerk the next guy's passport. The clerk said "Ten ten dollars." The director said "I gave you a 20." The clerk replied "No change." and pointed to a sign.

And all the guy had was another 20. So he had to bend over.

The next time I went to Bintan, I was using the executive express service. You get off the Ferry and skip immigration. A handler takes everyone's passports and processes it. So within 30 minutes of arrival we were teeing off. On hole number 5 the handler came waving her hands across the fairway. Well I have a LOT of stamps in my passport. Even with additional pages, I have to renew my passport early because it is full of stamps. But my passport had full empty pages (Indonesia visas take an entire passport page). But immigration refused to use these pages and made up some stupid excuses.

So I paid an additional $20 and kept on playing. In the end my passport was never stamped in or out.
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Old Mar 28, 2023, 8:28 am
  #23  
 
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I have been to Vietnam many times and has always used the government visa processing website and never had an issue at immigration. In Bangkok, yes the express visa on arrival used to be a scam and some immigration officers were arrested too. But it was just the express channel and not for the actual visa. I still cannot understand how the immigration officer can pick you up from all the passengers?
It is actually the airlines fault that they let you board the aircraft with the wrong passport number on the visa. I am not saying that charging you 200 is not a scam. It certainly as specially if they reduced to 175 but if your visa had everything in order then there is no way they could scam you as well.
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Old Mar 28, 2023, 9:04 am
  #24  
 
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Chiming in a little late here, but thought I would offer the following.

My company is global and in our industry employees are often asked for "facilitation payments" to get bureaucrats to perform administrative tasks. While we are asked to refuse such attempts, if not possible we are to ask for a receipt.

Sometimes this can cause the bureaucrat to back down if the request is not legitimate.
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Old Mar 28, 2023, 9:13 am
  #25  
 
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Originally Posted by hkskyline
Hopefully they're coming to their senses with the visa requirement if they want to grow their tourism industry along the lines of what Thailand has achieved.
Fireman, yes, "tea money" is often how it is phrased in our industry. And $200 gets you a LOT of tea!
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Old Mar 28, 2023, 9:31 am
  #26  
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Went to Hanoi from Manila in January, 2023. We wanted to leave Manila quickly (in a couple of days) and didn't realize that visas on arrival weren't a thing anymore (we are Canadian). We ended up finding an online service that was able to get us a visa within 8 hours of contacting them. It was expensive, but we were on a specific timeline so had no choice. It did seem kind of scamy but we entered into the country without any issues. The immigration officer didn't even ask to look at our e-visas.
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Old Mar 28, 2023, 10:02 am
  #27  
 
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Originally Posted by yandorio
"I don't understand why they allowed you to leave the airport to go to an ATM machine when you haven't cleared immigration. What safeguard did they have that you would return?"

Great question. Didn't make any sense to me either. The other people who were getting jerked around by these officials were at the ATM outside the airport too. Airport staff saw me doing it and didn't complain after I said "pay for visa" so I go the idea this was a common thing, as weird
as it felt doing it..
I considered running away when I realized I had everything I needed except my passport, which would (maybe) cost less than
$170 to replace, but gave up the idea when I had a vision of my face being broadcast on local TV as fugitive of the week. There is very little English spoken in this airport,and the clerks are aggressive, so most people want to just pay up and keep out of trouble..
Even if you had your passport with you, if you entered the country without an entry stamp you would have had problems when you left the country.
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Old Mar 28, 2023, 11:27 am
  #28  
 
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Originally Posted by vyc
Went to Hanoi from Manila in January, 2023. We wanted to leave Manila quickly (in a couple of days) and didn't realize that visas on arrival weren't a thing anymore (we are Canadian). We ended up finding an online service that was able to get us a visa within 8 hours of contacting them. It was expensive, but we were on a specific timeline so had no choice. It did seem kind of scamy but we entered into the country without any issues. The immigration officer didn't even ask to look at our e-visas.
Cebu Pacific should have checked it at check in. If you use the official website it is quick and cheap too. Yes it takes more than 8 hours and around 24 hours to get the e visa approved online. I do not think it is scammy as express service is expensive in most places including Canada.
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Old Mar 28, 2023, 10:26 pm
  #29  
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Originally Posted by KimchiExpress

The next time I went to Bintan, I was using the executive express service. You get off the Ferry and skip immigration. A handler takes everyone's passports and processes it. So within 30 minutes of arrival we were teeing off. On hole number 5 the handler came waving her hands across the fairway. Well I have a LOT of stamps in my passport. Even with additional pages, I have to renew my passport early because it is full of stamps. But my passport had full empty pages (Indonesia visas take an entire passport page). But immigration refused to use these pages and made up some stupid excuses.
Indonesian bureaucracy thrives on inefficiency, as well as bribes to keep that inefficiency in order.

When I applied for a work visa there years ago, 50 passport photos with a red background were required.

As for the tourist visas on arrival, since 2005 Indonesia has gone from a full-pager, to a half-pager, to a brief period of nothing tangible (only that receipt), to a half-page again. The currency changes a lot, too (last year, I tried using bills from just a few years ago; whoops).

It's a disaster.

Back on topic, I've been to Vietnam about five times, and have never had an issue with immigration. In fact, when a friend applied for a tourist e-visa last year, it was rejected on the basis of an incorrect passport number.
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Old Mar 30, 2023, 10:25 pm
  #30  
 
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Not too surprising.

Several high ranking Vietnamese politicians have stepped down after being caught in the Vietnam repatriation scheme during Covid. You couldn't get back into the country except on repatriation flights, and people at the VN embassies were charging $9,000 - $15,000 USD for the approvals and flights - flights that would cost $1,000 to $2,000 normally.

You can google "vietnam repatriation flight scandal" to find a bunch of articles. High up in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have resigned already.

The problem was that many of the people they charged were relatively high up people in Vietnam with connections to the government. Thus the ripped off people who, if complained, would be heard.

So the only solace is that they didn't rip you off because you're a tourist, they do it to Vietnamese citizens as well.
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