Hotel Manager asking for passport to show police

When I checked in he said he needed to keep passport to show police. I refused as I had seen advice by the British Foreign and Commonwealth office that we keep our passport safe at all times. If I hand it over to hotel staff to keep I cannot be certain it will be safe.

So, I asked him to take pictures on his mobile. He did this. Now he is saying Police wants to see original and wants me to give it to him to show police. I told him I will go with him to the police (with passport).

Has anyone experienced this? Did you handover the passport to your landlord/hotel manager?

I offered my hotel manager photo copies of the ID page and visa page. He says police wants to see original passport. Seems I'll have to visit the police with him. I never experienced this anywhere else in South Asia! (or anywhere in the world)

Yes. This pretty much normal. At least foreigners must be registered with the local police and passport is usually kept at the hotel, whilst you are staying there.
Unless your passport has some abnormalities, you not need to worry.
Going to police is a different story. That should have either a good reason or you really have met someone inexperienced ...

l3ully :

Yes. This pretty much normal. At least foreigners must be registered with the local police and passport is usually kept at the hotel, whilst you are staying there.
Unless your passport has some abnormalities, you not need to worry.
Going to police is a different story. That should have either a good reason or you really have met someone inexperienced ...

I'm aware foreigner must be registered. I've been in/out vietnam for the past 3 years. Never have I kept the passport at hotel reception. If required, I've always chosen to pay a deposit.

Most hotels will accept a photocopy of the passport after seeing the original. Hotels keeping your passport is not the law in Vietnam, its their way of stopping you from doing a runner.

He's spoken to police again. Police has told him 'need to see original for authenticity'.

Now I have to spend an hour on this tomorrow, going to the police station with Manager, so Police can check passport authenticity...you'd think in the 21 century we have what's called computers to check authenticity of documents.

Never have I experienced this sort of treatment. Not even in less advanced countries than Vietnam.

Sounds quite strange, but still within limits. Can you enlighten us, where/which hotel?

Sounds like the police want to make life difficult, maybe they are after more white envelopes.

OTOH, it could be because of the hotel in question, not you.
They prolly  violated some regulations in the past for which you're being hackled now.
If there are no abnormalities in your passport you need not worry much.
it's not unusual for the police to check the original.

I never gave a hotel my passport, never.  Always show it and give a copy.  Nor has a hotel ever asked to keep the original, if they did, I would move on to another hotel.  No way should you ever let your passport leave your possession.  Possibly they are looking for coffee money, but if you are legit and no problems, threaten to contact your embassy to report them.

All of the hotels I stayed at held onto my passport for at least a couple of days or until I leave. It's not very safe cuz they just put it in the slots at the front desk and that's it. I went down in the middle of the night once to purchase bottled water and the person at the front desk was deep asleep and I had to wake the person up to pay for the water. I could have just walked away with all of the passports if that was my intentions. They do have security cameras but that wouldn't stop anyone who really want to take the passports. Just cover their face!

I stayed at a couple of Air BNB and no passports needed and don't have to worry about coming back to a hot room cuz you can leave the AC on when you leave and hold onto the key.

From my own experience, you should keep your authentic passport with you and don't hand or give it up to anyone except in particularly critical situation (security, emergency etc) with accomplished due process. Vndreamer suggested a smart idea that you should hand the hotel's owner a copy of your passport and that's sufficient for  administrative process.

vndreamer :

I never gave a hotel my passport, never.  Always show it and give a copy.  Nor has a hotel ever asked to keep the original, if they did, I would move on to another hotel.  No way should you ever let your passport leave your possession.  Possibly they are looking for coffee money, but if you are legit and no problems, threaten to contact your embassy to report them.

How do you do visas if you never let go of your passport?

Paranoid people should stay at home under their beds.
It's best for all of us.

Sorry, been all over the world, and it's the rule more often than not.
I find this whole topic condescending at best.
When I stayed in the UK I had to give up my passport, at lest t some point in the past.

colinoscapee :
vndreamer :

I never gave a hotel my passport, never.  Always show it and give a copy.  Nor has a hotel ever asked to keep the original, if they did, I would move on to another hotel.  No way should you ever let your passport leave your possession.  Possibly they are looking for coffee money, but if you are legit and no problems, threaten to contact your embassy to report them.

How do you do visas if you never let go of your passport?

We are discussing hotels, not immigration officers at the airport.  Apples to Oranges. Second, handing over a passport to a government official knowing you are getting it back in 10 to 15 minutes is not leaving it.  I am not aware of anybody leaving the airport without it.  :)

I think it depends on the level of the hotel, This kind of things always happened in the Motel; we cannot say it a Hotel, usually more than three stars hotel never keep original PP at the reception. Maybe motel they need to bring all PP to local police to show, But for the hotel, it will be the different case.

vndreamer :
colinoscapee :
vndreamer :

I never gave a hotel my passport, never.  Always show it and give a copy.  Nor has a hotel ever asked to keep the original, if they did, I would move on to another hotel.  No way should you ever let your passport leave your possession.  Possibly they are looking for coffee money, but if you are legit and no problems, threaten to contact your embassy to report them.

How do you do visas if you never let go of your passport?

We are discussing hotels, not immigration officers at the airport.  Apples to Oranges. Second, handing over a passport to a government official knowing you are getting it back in 10 to 15 minutes is not leaving it.  I am not aware of anybody leaving the airport without it.  :)

Maybe next time be a bit clearer with your statements.

I was referring to your passport going to immigration to obtain a new visa, just like I had to do to obtain my new TRC, they held it for a week.

Cheaper Hotels in Siem Reap keep the guests passports at the front desk in a locker with a key. I have not stayed at said cheap hotels in Siem Reap. I just talk to people and know a manager of one.

Knowing that you are  in Saigon and that is not Cambodia, still I assure you that it is never a good idea to relinquish your passport to a foreign agent. I lost my passport a year ago and it took four trips to Phenom Pen to get a new one and lots of money as well. (I think Brits are forced to go back to England to get a new one. That is the scuttlebutt.)

Last Point: dealing with police in SEA South East Asia always means that you pay. Ask the bloke if you have been arrested. Otherwise call it a scam and move on.

Contem talk :

I think it depends on the level of the hotel, This kind of things always happened in the Motel; we cannot say it a Hotel, usually more than three stars hotel never keep original PP at the reception. Maybe motel they need to bring all PP to local police to show, But for the hotel, it will be the different case.

It's definitely not a motel. Listed on hotels.com as 3-star (it has many nice features, I pay 10M per/month). By the way, manager didn't want to keep original at reception. He wanted it for 2-3 hours to take to police station for police to inspect.

I don't know what you mean by 'motel', but if you mean a one star hotel, I've stayed in one of these in Hue (Central Vietnam) for about 8 months. Owner never asked for passport to take to police station nor did she ask for it to be kept behind reception.

Like I said, in 3 years it's never happened. It may have been to various factors, luck, previous landlords greasing the wheels, cong an being susceptible to the greasing (wheras a cong an at the current police station is merely being a  'jobsworths' - maybe I'm gullible/confused about this?) ..etc etc.. Just goes to show, just because something has never happened doesn't mean it won't happen.

Update on situ:

I visited police station with Hotel manager. He filled out a couple of forms to take to Police station (basically entering passport number, issue date, expiry date, where issued etc.)

Police station is located about 3-4 km away. You have to take a dirt track. While we traveled a huge truck came in opposite direction. Bathing both the manager and I in a cloud of dust. Nice!

anyway, after this breath of fresh air, we arrived at cong an station. by the side is an office with a photo copier. I gave my passport to office and they took two copies of what seems like the ID page and visa page. Manager got back a A5 sheet with both sides printed.

This we took to the main office and a cong an officer, had a look at the passport. Meanwhile, a stray dog who was sleeping near the cong an officers desk roused and started walking up to me. It started to shake its fur quite vigorously, Not a big fan when dogs do this, especially stray ones.

Soon afterwards, cong an had finished, I took passport and left. Everything took about 1 hr as predicted (filling forms and going there, slight wait before we were seen. There was a family before us who the cong an officer was attending to).

I think the practice is not new. That's what I gathered from Manager and this post here

I'd put it down to experience and move on. However, this is not to be taken lightly. Your passport is a crucial document. It's not to be left with any tom, dick, harry or an, Cu`ong, or Danh for that matter. As the lady at the British consulate global response centre told me 'you wouldn't leave your credit card with anyone, would you?'

So exactly where are you in Saigon, it sounds like you are on the outskirts of town?

This is the law here. If the manager does not present your pasport to the police station of the district and he has a control, he will be in great trouble.

So it looks like. ot a big deal in respect to the passport. Someow, people must authenticate here, as well as in a lot of other countries.

Side note: the thing with the dig, I personally dislike somehow.
Strays are usually not strays by their own choice

l3ully :

So it looks like. ot a big deal in respect to the passport. Someow, people must authenticate here, ...

sure, authenticate if envelopes don't change hands.

...as well as in a lot of other countries.

Can you name the other countries?

Side note: the thing with the dig, I personally dislike somehow.
Strays are usually not strays by their own choice

ok. so if the dog bit me, or I pick-up ticks, fleas or some other parasites, the Vietnamese health system will look after me?

in fact, I did suggest nothing like this.
Also, Asian ticks, the ones from here, don't stick to humans and greatness/kindness is not the level of abuse towards the weakest.
All I  comment now to this matter.

colinoscapee :

So exactly where are you in Saigon, it sounds like you are on the outskirts of town?

It looks like we will never know which part of Saigon this happened.

colinoscapee :
colinoscapee :

So exactly where are you in Saigon, it sounds like you are on the outskirts of town?

It looks like we will never know which part of Saigon this happened.

Not Saigon. Outskirts of Vung Tau.

Landlord asking to keep passport to show poolice never happened when I had stayed in Saigon a while ago. May have been co-incidence.

Now we know why. The outskirts of VT is a totally different situation to Saigon. In the smaller cities and countryside they make up rules to suit themselves. If this was posted in the Vung Tau forum it would have been a lot easier to comprehend.

HenryJo :
colinoscapee :
colinoscapee :

So exactly where are you in Saigon, it sounds like you are on the outskirts of town?

It looks like we will never know which part of Saigon this happened.

Not Saigon. Outskirts of Vung Tau.

Landlord asking to keep passport to show poolice never happened when I had stayed in Saigon a while ago. May have been co-incidence.

As seen now again: Vietnam is a bit bigger than Saigon and the further away from any civilization, other things can happen.
I also had to deposit more than once my passport, other times my driving licence or a photo copy of my passport was sufficient.
I am also long enough here, to not worry seriously or post a topic on such matter, as it is to 'normal'

I'm going by the advice by the British and Foreign and commonwealth office. The advice for German, Australia, U.S. may be different. But I doubt very much that any government would advice it's citizens to let your passport out of your sight.

Here is what the Aus passport office says:

Your passport is a valuable document. It proves your identity and citizenship. If your passport is lost or damaged, you may not be able to travel internationally. Furthermore, a lost or stolen passport has the potential to be misused for criminal purposes. To protect your passport:

* know where it is at all times
..........

Please note that the Australian Government has no arrangement to give authority to operators such as cruise companies or hotels to hold Australian passports, despite this being common practice in some parts of the international travel industry. If you have concerns, we suggest you raise these before confirming your bookings. In some circumstances, you may be able to explore options such as providing a copy or scan instead of handing over your passport.

BTW, I often see threads on internet forums that don't interest me, I always skim past them. Same with newspaper stories/articles, TV channels. Never do I take the time (have the time) to contact them and tell them what they are talking about is 'nothing to worry about'.

colinoscapee :

Now we know why. The outskirts of VT is a totally different situation to Saigon. In the smaller cities and countryside they make up rules to suit themselves. If this was posted in the Vung Tau forum it would have been a lot easier to comprehend.

Did try. then I got the message:

The category Formalities in available at the level country only. Visit the page Formalities and procedures in Vietnam

So I posted it in the Vietnam forum. No idea how the post ended up in the saigon forum.

In the smaller cities and countryside they make up rules to suit themselves.

Do you mean to say there is no such rule? I always thought there is such a rule, but it's not practiced much.

Also, a poster before had said 'if manager does not produce passport to police, he/she will be in trouble'. Is this not correct?

I kinda felt the rule existed, that's how come I accompanied him to police station (with passport in tag). So it's a win-win for everybody (including possible diplomatic situation avoided), except i lose time/money and its inconvenient.

The outskirts of VT is a totally different situation to Saigon.

Not convinced. I lived in the outskirts of da nang for a while. landlord never asked for passport to show police.

HenryJo :

I'm going by the advice by the British and Foreign and commonwealth office. The advice for German, Australia, U.S. may be different. But I doubt very much that any government would advice it's citizens to let your passport out of your sight.

Here is what the Aus passport office says:

Your passport is a valuable document. It proves your identity and citizenship. If your passport is lost or damaged, you may not be able to travel internationally. Furthermore, a lost or stolen passport has the potential to be misused for criminal purposes. To protect your passport:

* know where it is at all times
..........

Please note that the Australian Government has no arrangement to give authority to operators such as cruise companies or hotels to hold Australian passports, despite this being common practice in some parts of the international travel industry. If you have concerns, we suggest you raise these before confirming your bookings. In some circumstances, you may be able to explore options such as providing a copy or scan instead of handing over your passport.

BTW, I often see threads on internet forums that don't interest me, I always skim past them. Same with newspaper stories/articles, TV channels. Never do I take the time (have the time) to contact them and tell them what they are talking about is 'nothing to worry about'.

Yep, however, not the australien government did check-in, but you.
Also assume, English isn't the native language of Vietnamese and they even have less likely reason, to worry about tour laws well away.

You still have/had the choice, to choose another place

HenryJo :
colinoscapee :

Now we know why. The outskirts of VT is a totally different situation to Saigon. In the smaller cities and countryside they make up rules to suit themselves. If this was posted in the Vung Tau forum it would have been a lot easier to comprehend.

Did try. then I got the message:

The category Formalities in available at the level country only. Visit the page Formalities and procedures in Vietnam

So I posted it in the Vietnam forum. No idea how the post ended up in the saigon forum.

In the smaller cities and countryside they make up rules to suit themselves.

Do you mean to say there is no such rule? I always thought there is such a rule, but it's not practiced much.

Also, a poster before had said 'if manager does not produce passport to police, he/she will be in trouble'. Is this not correct?

I kinda felt the rule existed, that's how come I accompanied him to police station (with passport in tag). So it's a win-win for everybody (including possible diplomatic situation avoided), except i lose time/money and its inconvenient.

The outskirts of VT is a totally different situation to Saigon.

Not convinced. I lived in the outskirts of da nang for a while. landlord never asked for passport to show police.

Well Da Nang is a much bigger city than VT.

I can tell you numerous stories of what police get up to down here. Not so long ago my friend was asked to vacate his gf's apartment. This law changed way back in the year 2000, but that doesn't stop the green mafia from trying to keep old habits alive.

......

I can tell you numerous stories of what police get up to down here. Not so long ago my friend was asked to vacate his gf's apartment. This law changed way back in the year 2000, but that doesn't stop the green mafia from trying to keep old habits alive.

Some years ago, I actually did from someone, who claimed to be a lawyer, such law  DID actually  exist until xxx (not sure about the tear), but it was only for those provinces, which where former North Vietnam. It was never valid in the south.
However, it still seems to be on occasions a good tea money earner for some folks

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