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PhilipL

Weird Experience With Vietnam Immigration

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First time in Vietnam. Arrived in Cam Ranh Airport (Nha Trang) from DMK Bangkok last Friday. 

 

Somehow I ended up being the very last person in the queue at the Vietnamese immigration. 

 

It was my turn and I walked up to the counter and handed over my passport (Denmark) . All the other counters were closing around me. I was the very last passenger in there.

 

The immigration officer started asking me how long I would stay, why I am here and where I will be staying. Fair enough since this was my first time in Vietnam and he want to check.

 

I answered the guy and showed him hotel booking, airplane tickets and so on. 

 

From then and on the guy carefully went through each and every page of my passport, again and again and again for 3 minutes with me standing there looking. Then he asked me what this country is, and I replied I am from Denmark. He kept going through each page again and again looking for anything that could be a sign of a faked passport. He carefully studied the thread that binds the pages together as well as other things... 

 

Finally after around 4 minutes the IO plugged in a machine and put the passport in some light in there that showed the ultra violet watermarks in my passport. He opened a computer system and found Denmark by looking at how it was spelled on my passport. He did not seem to know that Denmark even exists.

 

Then, with the help of the machine with my passport inside, he compared everything to images showing how a Danish passport looks like in the database system. 

 

Of course there was nothing wrong with my passport and he finally stamped me in, but the way he had me there like I was some kind of criminal who had faked my passport from "fantasy land" with plenty and plenty of stamps from Thailand was a rather annoying first time experience.

 

Also the fact that someone who have a job as an immigration officer doesn't seem to know the name of some countries around the world kind of surprised me.

 

Have anyone had similar or other  experiences like this one with the Vietnam immigration before? 

 

P.S. I was also rather surprised that there were no taking pictures or demanding fingerprints from passengers! 

Edited by PhilipL
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What is more probable is that togheter with poor knowledge the immigration officer also got a notice that told him to look for fake danish passports. How many people from Denmark was there?

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3 hours ago, Matzzon said:

What is more probable is that togheter with poor knowledge the immigration officer also got a notice that told him to look for fake danish passports. How many people from Denmark was there?

Yeah, only me among a bunch of Thai and Chinese 😄

Edited by PhilipL
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I have from several fellow employees that are Vietnamese and that go back to Vietnam every other year or so on vacation and also from some other Viet natives that are dealers in the local poker room (Ocean's 11) that they get hassled and slowed down quite a bit in immigration unless they slip some money into their arrival documents.  So a "slow down" may be due to the immigration person waiting for some monetary incentive.  My co worker said she and her husband and two kids were skipped over and literally were not being processed until they put up some money.  The officials know or assume the travelers have money and can afford it.  One poker dealer went over and was mugged off his motorbike right after he rented it.  Again, he says they assume since he is from the USA he has money so the smart phones, and local thugs are out preying and looking for victims

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I'm not all that surprised, sorry it made you feel that way...it's no fun to feel like you are singled out. On the other hand, what happened to you may help things go more smoothly for your fellow country men who may happen to encounter the same officer. (considering that he remembers that Denmark is a country)

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I had the same experience in Germany with a brand new passport. They are simply doing their job. 

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1 hour ago, gk10002000 said:

I have from several fellow employees that are Vietnamese and that go back to Vietnam every other year or so on vacation and also from some other Viet natives that are dealers in the local poker room (Ocean's 11) that they get hassled and slowed down quite a bit in immigration unless they slip some money into their arrival documents.  So a "slow down" may be due to the immigration person waiting for some monetary incentive.  My co worker said she and her husband and two kids were skipped over and literally were not being processed until they put up some money.  The officials know or assume the travelers have money and can afford it.  One poker dealer went over and was mugged off his motorbike right after he rented it.  Again, he says they assume since he is from the USA he has money so the smart phones, and local thugs are out preying and looking for victims

 

I think you're right in thinking he was seeking an incentive to speed things up. It's very common in many SE Asian countries. I quite often use the Lao border post at Savannakhet and my wife and others hand over 50 baht automatically with their passport or ID (it used to be 20, but even corruption fees are subject to inflation). I don't and have never been asked for a donation.

 

I used to go to Bali every year for an event, and the organisers put a stop to everyone being asked for 10 or 20 $ (I don't remember which) by arranging for each arrival to be taken through the VIP channel. Of course, these scum are the ones who have the legal right to deny entry if they want, the all-encompassing 'discretion of the IO' thing.

 

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16 hours ago, AlexRich said:

What did the Dane’s every do for us?

Apart from roads, the law, medicine...?

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