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Expats in Vietnam caught up in suspect visa scams

By: EAS Staff Posted: December-01-2010 in
EAS Staff

EAS has recently learnt that people have been surprised by several changes at the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh. Firstly, new application forms, secondly,  a $10 increase in the price of a 3 month multiple entry visa, and thirdly, people are being offered 6 and 12 month multiple entry visas which have not been available for some time now.

This was initially celebrated by many weary expats who regularly make the trip on a visa run saving them time, money and precious pages in their overworked passports. However, there are worrying reports that these new 6 and 12 month visas issued by the embassy in Phnom Penh are considered to be illegal and invalid in Vietnam.  People trying to exit Vietnam with these visas have been charged for a replacement “legitimate” 3 month visa in order to be able to re-enter the country (as they are told that the one issued in Phnom Penh isn’t valid), and in some cases, they have been charged hefty overstay fees if they have been here for more than 3 months.

The situation is most unsettling as many people who have legitimately filled out the correct forms at a Vietnamese Embassy and parted with cash find themselves with a predicament of not knowing what is going to happen to them on their next encounter with Vietnamese immigration officials.

There are no clear rules on what course of action individual Vietnamese immigration officials are taking, but it is recommended that anyone who has one of these visas contact their local Consular Representative regarding the matter and seek advice prior to risking potential fines and inconvenience on their next trip.

This article reflects the recent experience of people who have been issued visas at the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh and who have in the past attempted to obtain a 6  or 12 month visa and were told that Vietnamese immigration officials have instructed all of their embassies that visas for a period of more than 3 months could no longer be issued as of September 2009. This does not affect long term residents or people with  work permits/business visas issued in Vietnam where it is still possible to obtain 6 and 12 month visas without the above mentioned problems.


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