I am from the Republic of Korea and currently doing business in Vietnam. I have lost all of my papers for my residence in Vietnam while other personal papers have expired for six months. What should I do to continue residing in Vietnam? Is my case a violation of Vietnamese law and subject to expulsion from the country? Can a friend of mine who is a Vietnamese permanently residing in the country stand guarantee for me?
If wishing to reside in Vietnam, you, as a foreigner, is required to register your temporary or permanent residence in Vietnam with the Vietnam Immigration Department. To do this, you must first of all possess a valid foreign passport, a visa (if not exempted from visa) and other documents as prescribed in Articles 10, 37 and 41 of Law No. 47/2014/QH13 on Entry, Exit, Transit and Residence of Foreigners in Vietnam (the Law).
With the information you provide, we understand that you have lost all of your personal identification papers, including your passport or paper of equivalent validity for travel, and your visa has expired but could not be renewed. As per the Law, to be considered for grant of a new visa, you must satisfy such conditions as (i) your passport is valid for international travel, (ii) there is an agency, organization or individual in Vietnam gives you an invitation or a guarantee, (iii) you do not fall into one of the cases where entry in Vietnam is suspended, (iv) you have papers proving your entry purpose or another paper valid for your travel in the country.
So, below are what you should immediately do:
- Making a written report on loss of your passport to the police office of the locality where your passport has been lost or where you have registered temporary residence, stating your name, age, nationality, passport number, visa issue date and issuing agency.
- Contacting the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Hanoi or the Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Ho Chi Minh City to apply for a laissez passer, travel permit or a new passport and request it to issue a diplomatic note to announce the cancellation of your lost passport and request a Vietnamese authority to grant an exit visa.
- Immediately reporting in person on the expiration of your visa which cannot be renewed due to loss of your passport to the Vietnam Immigration Department.
At the same time, you are required to submit a dossier, which must comprise a diplomatic note of the Embassy or Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Vietnam, a written report on loss of passport with certification by the local police office and a laissez passer or new passport, to the Vietnam Immigration Department and be enclosed with a declaration form filled in according to a form set by the Ministry of Public Security, to apply for a new visa.
Regarding fine for violation
Under the Government’s Decree 167/2013/ND-CP dated November 12, 2013, on sanctioning of administrative violations in the fields of security and social order and safety; prevention and combat of social vices, fire prevention and fighting, and prevention and combat of domestic violence, you may face the following sanctions:
- A fine of between VND 100,000 and 300,000 or expulsion from Vietnam, for travelling in the Vietnamese territory without any passport or paper of equivalent validity.
- A fine of between VND 500,000 and 2,000,000, for failing to immediately report to a competent agency on the loss or damage of your passport or paper of equivalent validity, Vietnamese visa, temporary residence card or permanent residence card, or expulsion from Vietnam in case of prolonged intentional violation.
- A fine of between VND 3,000,000 and 5,000,000, for failing to declare your temporary residence under regulations or using a temporary residence certification, temporary residence card or permanent residence card which has expired for 16 days or more without permission of a competent agency.
Regarding guarantee for grant of visa
As per the Law, a Vietnamese citizen permanently residing in the country may guarantee a foreigner to be granted a visa. However, such guarantee is to invite and guarantee such foreigner to enter Vietnam to visit the inviter or guarantor and there must be papers proving the relationship between the inviter or guarantor with the invited or guaranteed foreigner (grand parent or parent of his/her spouse, his/her spouse, child or blood sibling). So, your friend cannot stand guarantee for you. You should be guaranteed by the agency or organization with which you are cooperating or doing business in Vietnam (according to the purpose for which a Vietnamese visa is to be granted) to obtain a new visa