Blacklisted merely due to frequent visa applications

Hello,

I am Chinese living in South Korea and got rejected when I tried to apply for an approval letter of VOA a couple of days ago. Several persons were introduced to me and through them, I was told my passport is on the so-called blacklists.

Then the detailed story is as written in order below:


November 27th - I applied for an approval letter of VOA through a Korean agent, 1-month (December 4th - January 4th) single entry from Hanoi, DL type (tour),

December 4th-10th - I visited in Hanoi and went back to S. Korea, during which I was staying in a hotel in Hanoi urban area, hanging out, traveling around, sightseeing, without being checked, fined, or deported even once.

December 13th - Through the same agent, I tried to apply for VOA (3-month multiple entries from Ho Chi Minh City, DL type) with a period from December 17th to the coming March 17th.

December 16th - I took it granted that I would get the approval letter issued. However, I was noticed that I got rejected on my way to the airport. So I contacted the agent and ask to make an urgent application before the plane would take-off (1-month single entry from Ho Chi Ming City as a tourist ). Soon I was told that I got denied again.


After that, I started to turn to those who might know the things to get to know the reason and the solutions, including agents in Korea/China/Vietnam and some guys introduced by one local Vietnamese friend.

They were all thinking I was on a blacklist of the immigration department. And they claimed that they confirmed their guess at the immigration by some certain ways, and they could help me to get off the list, but of course, at some price of paying some amount of money varying from 1,800~6,000 USD. And it was implied that there would be no receipt, as it could be considered as some kind of bribe.

Here are the conclusions that I was told:


- A Korean agent: Not able to confirm the reason for rejection; have to wait for at least 5~6 months and try to apply again

- A Chinese agent: Not able to confirm the reason; promise to remove my name from the list by paying 6,000 USD or else don't even visit Vietnam again forever.

- A local Vietnamese agent owned by a Korean: Blacklisted for improper activities referring to working on a tourist visa during the stay (I was not checked or fined by police at all); need 3,000 USD to get rid of the trouble. Otherwise, wait for 3 years.

- Another local agent run by Vietnamese (seems to have a strong direct relationship with the immigration): indicated that they could do nothing to help me at the current circumstance, and suggested to apply for the approval letter again 6~12 months later and not guaranteed still.

- A local Vietnamese guy: Blacklisted automatically by the system due to frequent vias application. 1,800
USD needed to solve the problem. Otherwise, wait for 2~5 years. (I had trusted that guy initially for one second because he told me the reason for blacklisting was applying for visa third times within a  short period, which I didn't tell him in advance.)



I want to solve the problem for my future business/work plan in Vietnam. And my questions are as below:

1) How do you guys think of blacklisting someone automatically merely due to frequent visa applications? I can understand that I may get rejected, but not the case of blacklisting someone for possible improper behaviors that don't really happen yet but judging by suspicious applying for a visa only.

2) What do you suggest to do? Some options here are either change an agent or apply for a business visa instead of a tourist visa. The company I work for has a subsidiary factory in Vietnam, so I can easily get an invitation letter.

3) Or should I directly go to the embassy in South Korea to get a visa in advance other than a VOA approval letter? It may work if the list is not shared with the embassy in Korea. Or apply for entry from Hanoi, as it may be another group of guys in Hanoi's immigration department.

4) What do I suppose to do except for pay such huge money in case I get rejected again? Does anyone know how to have a former notice regarding the refusal and submit related documents to appear?


I just tried my best to state the whole thing clear to you all as possible as I can. I hope this long story is clear and easy to understand.
I really would like to know the opinions and suggestions from you experienced guys. Thank you!

Very well thought out and written background which can help in discussion.  Two things that you wrote stood out to me:

mercury_alpha :

- A local Vietnamese agent owned by a Korean: Blacklisted for improper activities referring to working on a tourist visa during the stay (I was not checked or fined by police at all); need 3,000 USD to get rid of the trouble. Otherwise, wait for 3 years.



I want to solve the problem for my future business/work plan in Vietnam. And my questions are as below:

You didn't come out and say specifically if you did or did not work at any time during your previous visits, only that you were "not checked or fined".

If you came under a DL and had a "fake" letter of invitation from a business from one of the agents that is likely why it was flagged.  It tends to be the most common reason for ending up on the blacklist based on past similar posts from people.  If you were truly on tour or holiday why would you ask for a DL visa?

Your second point that I pasted leads me to believe that you might have been working at least some amount on a DL visa.

Hi, SteinNebraska
Thank you for reading such long words and your first reply especially.

I don't quite understand the "fake letter" mentioned in the second last paragraph of your reply.
Where does the fake letter come from? Do you mean the problem was probably caused by the agent?

I don't know much about the agent? Could you please tell me more about the agent structure for the visa application?

As far as I can imagine, Vietnam Immigration Department authorized several local agents officially. Furtherly the business spreads out again to thousands of agents in every corner of the world from those authorized local ones.

Did you mean that once an agent had some problem, all applicants and secondary agents would meet the trouble? And unfortunately, I was one of those, wasn't I?

And I am a little bit confused that you were DL. DL refers to tourist visa. I guess you would have said DN which stands for a business visa. FYI, Chinese citizens are required to have DL vias either approval letter of VOA or visa issued before the trip, in order to visit Vietnam in any case even on the purpose of sightseeing. And in your last sentence, you were using the words "DL visa" correctly.

Thank you.

SteinNebraska :

Very well thought out and written background which can help in discussion.  Two things that you wrote stood out to me:

mercury_alpha :

- A local Vietnamese agent owned by a Korean: Blacklisted for improper activities referring to working on a tourist visa during the stay (I was not checked or fined by police at all); need 3,000 USD to get rid of the trouble. Otherwise, wait for 3 years.



I want to solve the problem for my future business/work plan in Vietnam. And my questions are as below:

You didn't come out and say specifically if you did or did not work at any time during your previous visits, only that you were "not checked or fined".

If you came under a DL and had a "fake" letter of invitation from a business from one of the agents that is likely why it was flagged.  It tends to be the most common reason for ending up on the blacklist based on past similar posts from people.  If you were truly on tour or holiday why would you ask for a DL visa?

Your second point that I pasted leads me to believe that you might have been working at least some amount on a DL visa.

As to what you concern about, I think it is hard to define if it is a business trip or tour 100%.

What I did in Vietnam is simply visiting museums, scenic spots, and historical sites, shopping, hanging out at the bar area and university zone, meeting a friend who is working there, attending neither exhibition,  business meeting nor whatever similar. 

What might be some kind of ambiguous is that I did ask a lot about the business situation and investment environment of Vietnam when I met my friend personally and  I visited eyeglasses stores on the street that I passed by during the tour, as my business is related to the eyewear manufacturing industry. I wanted to know the market there.

Indeed, I thought back and forth about which kind of visa I should apply for before the trip because I did plan to bring such a topic to meet my friend and visit the retail stores there during my tour. However, I couldn't imagine these kinds of activities are not allowed on tourist visas. I don't think they were big deals.

And I'd rather consider my previous visit (BTW, this is the only time that I visited Vietnam) and far future business plans as two independent events. It can't be more normal if someone wants to solve problems asap.

Anyway, these were not the key points of my post.


I am a rational person and of conscience, honestly speaking. ^^ I was not trying to hide anything. The reason for only speaking of "not checked or fined" is because I heard that one may get blacklisted usually when there is punishment record and I want to know whether there is a possibility that the immigration blacklists someone without any evidence but only by suspicion or a suspicious visa application.

It would be so ridiculous if  I were put on the list only due to multiple applications.
What should people suppose to do if they want to travel there on tours more than once? That goes too far.

I have a strong feeling that all these are conducted by the corrupt officials and some greedy agents. The lunar new year is coming, and they need to make preparations for spending a happy traditional festival........

I misspoke on the visa which may be causing confusion.  Yes, DL for tourist, DN for business.  Sorry for the confusion.

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