Any Updates on the newly passed 12 month tourist visa for US citizens

mcharters :

I re-entered HCMC on a 1-year tourist visa, back in March, 2016.  When I went through customs they stamped my passport with the date I entered but did not write the date that I had to leave (every 3 months - which I didn't know at the time) in my passport.  So 6-months later, thinking that a 1-year visa meant I could come and go (or stay) as much as I wanted to in a 1-year period.  When I tried to re-apply for another 1-year tourist visa, at the Vietnamese consulate, I was taken off to a small, isolated room, as was told that I violated the 3-month stay policy and they wanted to imprison me, which the later let me off with a warning, charged me over 5,000,000 VND in penalty fees and gave me 10 days to get my affairs in order and leave the country.  I took the weekend and went to Cambodia and returned and received another 1-year visa.  After stamping my passport with the date of my arrival, the customs officer wrote, 1-year later for my departure date.  As to not want to lose another 5 mil in penalty fees, I took my passport to the VN consulate and they informed me that the customs officer at the airport made a mistake, AGAIN, and the law states that visitors have to leave every 90 days and can return on the same 1-year visa.
The big problem I see is that different people, in authority - the consulate & the customs officers at the airport - have different interpretations of the law.

That is a big problem here, it's right across the board, no uniformity.

ok here you go.....
I have lived here for 5 years and just last year they started issuing the 12 month visa for Americans. However.... you still need to cross the border every 3 month's. But do not need a  new visa every time.
Now to fix that every 3 month thing, here is what  you do.....
Get a business visa for 12 months or more. Then you do not need to cross a border every 3 months. If you need help with that let me know. email me: hawk113048[at]gmail.com
Welcome to Vietnam....................

MarkinNam :

the heading reads " newly passed" it was Obama who ratified the PPT agreement, now he has gone and Trump is threatening to tear it up, what will happen to the 1 year tourist visa for US citizens/

Obama didn't "ratify" the PPT; that is a Congressional task which was not done and wont be done..  Obama was promoting PPT and the incoming president had other ideas.  There was nothing to "tear up" since it wasn't a done deal and Congress had never ratified the agreement.
   The one year visa was in response to US State Department efforts which explained to Vietnam that their citizens were getting one year plus visas as tourists and the US expected Vietnam to reciprocate.  The PPT agreement was never a part of the one year tourist visa offered to American citizens.

   I've had a retirement visa in Thailand for a decade and haven't left the country for eight years. I do have to report in at my local Immigration Office every 90 days in Thailand but that's a 5-10 minute process and the annual renewals are very straight forward.  I'm happy here but you never know what the future might hold?  I'm watching this string with interest since routinizing the one year visa in Vietnam without the 90 day departure requirement would make retirement in Vietnam just a little more appealing.
   Thank you to the members who are sharing their experiences in regard to the new one year visa in Vietnam.  It is a big help to others.

Sa-teef :

The one year visa was in response to US State Department efforts which explained to Vietnam that their citizens were getting one year plus visas as tourists and the US expected Vietnam to reciprocate.  The PPT agreement was never a part of the one year tourist visa offered to American citizens.

Not to disagree but to expand slightly on your point.  While the one year tourist visa was negotiated separately from but near the same time as the TPP, the one year business visa was a part of the TPP.  Perhaps this is why it does not have the exit requirements, as the US business visa for Vietnamese has no such provision.  It seems that when Trump pulled back the request for ratification from Congress in early 2017, the Vietnamese already had the new business visa in place and just kept it.  Perhaps while negotiating the one year tourist visa, the Viet negotiators pointed out that someone staying more than 90 days is not likely a true tourist.

If only Obama had called the TPP treaty the Economic Containment of China Treaty or OCCT instead, it would probably be law today.   :unsure

People exiting and reentering also keeps the tourist statistic numbers high.

colinoscapee :
mcharters :

I re-entered HCMC on a 1-year tourist visa, back in March, 2016.  When I went through customs they stamped my passport with the date I entered but did not write the date that I had to leave (every 3 months - which I didn't know at the time) in my passport.  So 6-months later, thinking that a 1-year visa meant I could come and go (or stay) as much as I wanted to in a 1-year period.  When I tried to re-apply for another 1-year tourist visa, at the Vietnamese consulate, I was taken off to a small, isolated room, as was told that I violated the 3-month stay policy and they wanted to imprison me, which the later let me off with a warning, charged me over 5,000,000 VND in penalty fees and gave me 10 days to get my affairs in order and leave the country.  I took the weekend and went to Cambodia and returned and received another 1-year visa.  After stamping my passport with the date of my arrival, the customs officer wrote, 1-year later for my departure date.  As to not want to lose another 5 mil in penalty fees, I took my passport to the VN consulate and they informed me that the customs officer at the airport made a mistake, AGAIN, and the law states that visitors have to leave every 90 days and can return on the same 1-year visa.
The big problem I see is that different people, in authority - the consulate & the customs officers at the airport - have different interpretations of the law.

That is a big problem here, it's right across the board, no uniformity.

That's true., but the bigger issue here.
NEVER, ever, never, keep on asking the question if you get the answer you want.

That is true for every bureaucracy in the world.

At the same time, less bureaucracy is not necessarily better. Yes, it's easier to know the rules, but often the rules are pretty draconian.
Just stay 3 months over in Europe on a non-Schengen passport.  There won't be no going to the border to try again.  They just put a big red stamp in your passport barring you from returning for 3 years.  Have a good day.

THIGV :
Sa-teef :

The one year visa was in response to US State Department efforts which explained to Vietnam that their citizens were getting one year plus visas as tourists and the US expected Vietnam to reciprocate.  The PPT agreement was never a part of the one year tourist visa offered to American citizens.

Not to disagree but to expand slightly on your point.  While the one year tourist visa was negotiated separately from but near the same time as the TPP, the one year business visa was a part of the TPP.  Perhaps this is why it does not have the exit requirements, as the US business visa for Vietnamese has no such provision.  It seems that when Trump pulled back the request for ratification from Congress in early 2017, the Vietnamese already had the new business visa in place and just kept it.  Perhaps while negotiating the one year tourist visa, the Viet negotiators pointed out that someone staying more than 90 days is not likely a true tourist.

If only Obama had called the TPP treaty the Economic Containment of China Treaty or OCCT instead, it would probably be law today.   :unsure

The hate permeates every discussion online it seems?  I didn't mention the "T word", I didn't vote for him but he is still my president, duly elected so I show some level of respect. Yes, the Viet Government might have reasoned that someone staying in Vietnam more than 90 days might not be a tourist but the US does not require Vietnamese tourists visiting America to do a "border run" every 90 days so it's existence seems to be a remnant of the past perhaps?  Speculation on our part.

I look forward to hearing more good news about Vietnam visas, particularly about long stay or possible retirement visas in the future.  It would be a step forward for Vietnam to allow self-supporting retirees to contribute to their economy as I have been doing for the past decade in Thailand. Getting married to a native just to obtain a long stay visa in the country is not an option I find attractive.  But hopefully this long stay tourist visa is a step in the right direction.

Sa-teef :

The hate permeates every discussion online it seems?  I didn't mention the "T word", I didn't vote for him but he is still my president, duly elected so I show some level of respect

I didn't say that I hated our current president, did I?  I simply stated that he terminated the request to Congress for ratification.  This is a simple fact, not an opinion.  My comment about the previous president potentially renaming the pact was more of an observation about salesmanship, or lack thereof.

i don't see what you see.
If I were to be critical of this forum's comments, anti-Trump talk is the least of the issues.

But in fact, THIGV gave a very articulate response about the TPP and I thought his ending comment about he name was spot on.
I wish mainstream US media had half the sense.

I have acquired two "1 year Visas" to date.

January of 2017, I acquired 1 year Tourist "Visa on Arrival". Like MANY other US Citizens, my passport was not stamped with an exit date, nor was I informed that there was a requirement to leave & return every 90 days. which resulted in a 5 million VND fine.

I then acquired a 3 month extension due to time constraints, to allow me the opportunity to plan ahead a little better.

I have just recently acquired a 1 year Business "Visa on Arrival" and will be executing it soon. I will re-write a "detailed HOW TO" guide providing screenshots of steps.

Lessons Learned:

1) Laws are "interpreted" by the immigration officer. You can acquire any service you want provided you have representation ( you will never have the chance to face to face with an Immigration officer ) to the correct person with a rubber stamp. This is why one website will advertise a service that another claims they are unable to do. Just because you are declined from one Immigration Officer does not mean you can not acquire the request from another officer.

2) Never ask questions or seek information from a single source! There are countless Visa Services available, and each one will quote different prices, different services. There is NO SUCH THING AS UNIFORM REGULATIONS OR ENFORCEMENT.

3) Visa Agencies are by default designed to exploit foreigners, and are VERY GOOD at it. This system was set in place to ensure that "mistakes" can not be traced back to the viet government in the form of any type of paper trail. You are at the mercy of your sponsoring visa agency no matter the event ( good or bad ).

4) Overstay Fines - All Visa fines are divided between 2 numbers.
14 days or under is 3 million VND
15 days and over are 5 million VND
If you manage to get past border control on exit with a smaller fine, ( under 48 hours overstay [commonly] ) it is because the stamping officer pocketed that money, and allowed you to exit. You did not actually pay a fine TO the immigration officer.

5) Breaking one law will result in an "unknown" hindrance / declined request / extortion for approval request at a later date. ( Example: You overstayed by 24 hours, and managed to exit paying a 500,000 VND fine at the border - MAY result in a visa decline at a later date ).

6) Residency Registration - Wherever you reside, ( Hotel, Apartment, Friends home ), the property owners are legally responsible to register you. YOU CAN NOT DO ON YOUR OWN ( Someone always has to sign/sponsor you ). If the property owner does not register your residency, they will receive a minor fine ( if even that ) and YOU will ultimately be punished at a later time through some other venue that you are attempting to achieve.

7) Ignorance is no excuse of legal violation - Just like you are told in your own home nation. It is your own responsibility to familiarize and abide by the Viet Nam regulations & Laws. Sadly, the average Viet has no more knowledge than you about their own laws. Sadly, you will learn the hard way, the same as we all did.

As stated, I will attempt to create a guide at a later time to include photos of documents and processes for Tourist / Business Visas.

Thanks for your explanation.
Last year, I went to the Vietnamese Consulate in NYC and it was a 20 minute process to get the year multiple entry tourist visa and $135.
But I f..ed up. My plane ticket is April 5th, but my visa expired 23 March.
Who knows what I was thinking.
So, last week, I had to do the visa run to Moc Bai.
Not bad, but much easier using an agent here and there; easy bus ride.
$280 later it was all done.

An expensive mistake, but I'm good for a year again.

The whole Visa on Arrival thing strikes me as just another PIA, and my suggestion if you can avoid it in any way, do so.
If nothing else, you will breeze through the airport in 20 minutes in stead of 1hr+

Curious question: Did you happen to pay any money to "bypass lines" ? I am ashamed to admit that I did this, and feel awful about it. But, the total process time leaving VN, and returning took exactly 18 minutes ( most of this time was due to the speed at which the guy could fill out my paperwork at each point ). I have no clue why they did not even fingerprint me on the Cambodian side.

Hi Chris, I was issued a one year multi entry visa via Vietnam visa corp www.vietnamvisacorp.com however it isn't much good as i also get the boot every 90 days, i also am searching for a solution to the 90 day BS rule. Sorry I can't offer much encouragement for any change from above any time soon. I'd soon move to Cambodia as to visit another day in border hell.

Anthony64 :

I did not read further...but the Visa is good for one year...the stamp date is for 3 months...according to their laws, we are only allowed to remain for 89 days...a couple days prior to the date stamped go back to immigration and have it updated.  There is a form to fill out so I'd head to Immigration's and ask for one in advance and you will also need the local police to sign and stamp the form.  It will perhaps cost you another $10.00 at Immigration's to do so.  If you go out and back for any reason before the stamp date, it will be stamped for another 3 months from the time you enter. 
This is how things work in DaNang...god only knows elsewhere in Vietnam...hope this helps you to understand a bit better.
Anthony

Has anyone had success using this procedure to extend the 3 month stamp on their tourist visa?  I read in another post that this is the procedure for extending the stamp on a VEC, but wondering if it has actually worked for the 12 month tourist visa.

Hi, all

I have obtained a five year visa for 10.00 USD
I am allowed six month stay before extension or leave the country and re- enter for another six months.
I also applied for a P/R for three years.
Now I do not need a visa . I also do not have to wait in foreign immagration line.
I now go to the ASEAN entry line .
Siagon (HonChi Minh City)

REESE

dereese :

I have obtained a five year visa for 10.00 USD
I am allowed six month stay before extension or leave the country and re- enter for another six months.

That's the VEC (visa exemption .. ) members on this forum are talking about.

I also applied for a P/R for three years.
Now I do not need a visa .

That's the TRC (temporary residence card) issued to spouses of VN nationals and to expats working legally in VN for an extended period of time.
VN does have a PRC (to be renewed every 10 years) but few expats actually opt for it.

Curious to know why this is being offered /considered to/for US citizens only, considering that they do not have the advantage of a 15 day visa exempt entry. The whole visa policy in this country has the  rationality of a monkey rolling dice.

I have just arrived from the US and I have a 12 month multi entry visa.  I have just heard that I need to exit and reenter every three months or else I am overstaying...that doesn't make sense.  Heard anything about that?

def1412 :

I have just arrived from the US and I have a 12 month multi entry visa.  I have just heard that I need to exit and reenter every three months or else I am overstaying...that doesn't make sense.  Heard anything about that?

That's correct.

thanks looking forward for more info.

What info do you want?

You have to leave and re-enter VN every three months, as you stated in your post.

thecyclist :

Curious to know why this is being offered /considered to/for US citizens only, considering that they do not have the advantage of a 15 day visa exempt entry. The whole visa policy in this country has the  rationality of a monkey rolling dice.

It has to do with how they are negotiated with the respective countries.  Some such as ASEAN are negotiated multi-laterally and hence apply to all in that group.  Others such as those of US citizens are negotiated unilaterally.  If the US had remained in the TPP it might have resulted in a more uniform scheme for its member states, but that did not happen.  (Note that I am not voicing a political opinion but only observing an historical fact.)

workarounds or alternatives...this is something I just learned of so I thought someone here might be able to help with an easy workaround. 
Thanks

There's no easy work around or alternative where visa is concerned.  If it says you need to exit every 90 days, then you have to exit on or before that date.  If you exit before that date, the calendar starts again the day you reenter for another 90 days, even if the day you reenter happens before the end of the previous 90-day stay.

Example:  Your 90-day ends on June 1, but you decide to exit on April 15 and reenter on April 18.  Your new stay will start on April 18 and end on Oct 17.

The "easy work around or alternative" you heard could have been the visa run to Cambodia.  You still have to exit the country, but you can turn around and reenter in half an hour or less.

Thanks I was also told it was something about a business Visa?

def1412 :

Thanks I was also told it was something about a business Visa?

The 1 year business visa is different to the 1 year American only visa.

Hello VN Expats

I have been hearing lately that you can pay a travel agent to get a 90 stamp in your passport, does anyone know if this is now possible and if so what the cost is?

Thank you..

Just take the two hour bus ride to the border.
Wait on line to re-enter and your done.

Doesn't get much easier.

Thai_FX :

Hello VN Expats

I have been hearing lately that you can pay a travel agent to get a 90 stamp in your passport, does anyone know if this is now possible and if so what the cost is?

Thank you..

Sounds dodgy, as the rule is you must exit, which would mean getting a stamp in your passport from the country you enter.

Then again, anything is possible in VN.

Thanks for the info, here in Thailand the agents can fix almost anything. It is amazingly helpful at times.

colinoscapee doesn’t sound like your border cross is as easy as it is for Wxx.
What is the method most expats use when they have to do the border run from Dalat and how long does it take from there?

Thx.

Thai_FX :

Thanks for the info, here in Thailand the agents can fix almost anything. It is amazingly helpful at times.

colinoscapee doesn’t sound like your border cross is as easy as it is for Wxx.
What is the method most expats use when they have to do the border run from Dalat and how long does it take from there?

Thx.

Wxx and my advice are the same. You can't just go to the border to exit and reenter without getting a visa into the other country

Hi Colinoscapee,

Right got that part.

I was wondering how US expats with a 1 year visa we're doing border runs from Dalat?

I read that you have the VEC and are not required to exit and can get the 180 day stamp.

In Thailand it appears on the surface that the immigration policies are more firmly established. We only have to deal the the local inconsistencies and varying interpretations of such policies at each districts immigration office.

In Vietnam it appears that the immigration policies are in flux and evolving, adding a layer of confusion.  Then one also has to deal with local inconsistencies and varying interpretations of such policies at each districts immigration office.  A bit of a double whammy, it's like jumping two jump ropes instead of just jumping one rope.

In Thailand we have the benefit of visa agencies who can do back flips to get things done. Here in Chiang Mai various agencies might ship your passport to Hua Hin or Pattaya depending on what hurtle needs to be jumped.

Will keep on plugging at it...

Thai_FX :

Hi Colinoscapee,

Right got that part.

I was wondering how US expats with a 1 year visa we're doing border runs from Dalat?

I read that you have the VEC and are not required to exit and can get the 180 day stamp.

In Thailand it appears on the surface that the immigration policies are more firmly established. We only have to deal the the local inconsistencies and varying interpretations of such policies at each districts immigration office.

In Vietnam it appears that the immigration policies are in flux and evolving, adding a layer of confusion.  Then one also has to deal with local inconsistencies and varying interpretations of such policies at each districts immigration office.  A bit of a double whammy, it's like jumping two jump ropes instead of just jumping one rope.

In Thailand we have the benefit of visa agencies who can do back flips to get things done. Here in Chiang Mai various agencies might ship your passport to Hua Hin or Pattaya depending on what hurtle needs to be jumped.

Will keep on plugging at it...

Instead of getting the 1-year visa for Americans, I would get the 1-year business visa, which means you dont have to exit for the whole year. I also heard there is a 2-year visa being offered with the same conditions.

Thank you colinoscapee,

Time to seek an agents guidance...

I have been using http://www.vietinbank.com/ for more than a decade and have had no problems. Note, my actual bank account is in a branch located about 200 miles away from Saigon. But, I have no problem in using a local branch of the bank for everything that I need

thecyclist :

Curious to know why this is being offered /considered to/for US citizens only, considering that they do not have the advantage of a 15 day visa exempt entry. The whole visa policy in this country has the  rationality of a monkey rolling dice.

https://www.garfinkelimmigration.com/FA … city.shtml

"While the United States has a policy against entering into formal reciprocity agreements, the U.S. bases its visa issuance fees, number of entries, and maximum period of visa validity, by country, on those restrictions imposed by the sending country on U.S. travelers in practice. Country-specific reciprocity tables showing the current treatment of visa applicants are available at: http://travel.state.gov/visa/fees/fees_3272.html. Because visa reciprocity is country-specific, the maximum period of visa validity for a certain type of visa may differ depending on where the visa was issued." 

It's based on reciprocity.   https://travel.state.gov/content/travel … ntry.html.  Vietnamese nationals are able to obtain 6 month B2 visas to the US with a single 6 month extension.  From what I read in the past, it was suggested that restrictions would be put in place if a comparable option wasn't offered to Americans visiting Vietnam.  It's unrelated to the TPP.

On a related note, I just went to apply for another year long business visa with a reliable agent I've used for years and was told as of this week everything aside from 3 month visas are now on hold while they meet to revise the rules or jack up the prices.   Seems a bit early this year.

Hey hey.  I just arrived from a trip back to the USA.  I got a 12 month business visa that allows me to stay continuous for 12 months.  No border run. 135$ stamp here.  Fee was reasonable.  Was no problem.  No issues.  No questions.

josephnasia :

Hey hey.  I just arrived from a trip back to the USA.  I got a 12 month business visa that allows me to stay continuous for 12 months.  No border run. 135$ stamp here.  Fee was reasonable.  Was no problem.  No issues.  No questions.

Great to hear. @mtgmike's post had me worried, because the inexpensive agent I wanted to use also said business visas are on hold.

But I upgraded to a well-known company who said it's all OTHER countries (except for the USA) that have holds on new business visas.

I'll know for certain next week. I sent my pretty reasonable fee off today for a 12-month business visa.

If I get the letter as promised, and I get through immigration with a stamp allowing me an uninterrupted 1 year stay, I'll let y'all know.

See you next week, Hanoi!

:cheers:

You will get your letter!   Your form at customs will be somewhat incomplete but OH WELL!!   Hahahahaha it works.    I think you have no worries.  I already did the worrying!!!!!  jd

josephnasia :

You will get your letter!   Your form at customs will be somewhat incomplete but OH WELL!!   Hahahahaha it works.    I think you have no worries.  I already did the worrying!!!!!  jd

The letter did arrive today, for a full year, for "work" (business) purposes. I see what you mean about the form at customs having to be a bit 'incomplete'...

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