Vietnamese authorities working with German counterparts on temporary visa suspension for new passport holders

July, 28/2022 - 10:13
In an announcement on Wednesday, the German Embassy in Việt Nam cited the fact that the new navy blue-coloured passports, that Vietnamese authorities have started to issue from early July (with serial numbers starting with P), do not have a place of birth listed.
Việt Nam's new navy blue-coloured passport, on top of the old green-colour passports. — VNA/VNS Photo Mạnh Hùng

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Public Security, in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is working with their German counterparts after it was announced that Vietnamese citizens with new passports would not be issued visas to enter Germany.

In an announcement on Wednesday, the German Embassy in Việt Nam said the reason for the non-recognition of the new navy blue-coloured passports, which Vietnamese authorities have started to issue from early July (the non-chipped version with serial numbers starting with P), is because they do not have a place of birth (province/city) listed.

The birthplace is inferred through the first three digits of the 12-digit personal identification number of the citizen and can be found by looking through a seven-page document, the embassy said. (For example, an identification number starting with 001 means the citizen’s birth certificate was registered in the capital city of Hà Nội, 079 means the person is from HCM City, etc.)

This can make it difficult for the German side to identify the specific locality where Vietnamese citizens were born, especially in the case of minors where ID number has not been granted.

The embassy said the Vietnamese holders of the new passports who have already received visas to Germany should refrain from travelling since they would be denied entry at the border. The embassy will be contacting these individuals, as well as those who are applying for visas, for further support.

The announcement also specified that Vietnamese citizens with new passports are currently not eligible to apply for a German entry visa (types C and D).

This policy from the domestic authorities of Germany will be in effect until further announcements, the German embassy noted, adding that the traditional green coloured passport holders or passengers with Schengen residence permits are not affected.

The Immigration Department of Việt Nam on Thursday in response said that Việt Nam’s new navy blue-coloured passport fully meets international standards.

The new passport also has electronic chips integrated for looking up information in the archives, so there is no need for fields like the specific birthplace as in the old green passports.

However, it should be noted that the chipped passports are expected to be rolled out from the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the immigration department's earlier announcement.

The Vietnamese representative said that it is likely that the German side needs to be more cautious with some localities of Việt Nam in terms of immigration matters, so they need to have a place of birth listed for ease and convenience in identification and immigration control.

Talking to a Vietnam News Agency correspondent, Chu Tuấn Đức, Counsellor of the Vietnamese Embassy in Berlin, said that the embassy has learned of the situation and immediately coordinated with relevant agencies in Việt Nam to expedite the resolution.

The embassy has also requested a meeting with representatives of the German Foreign Ministry and the German Federal Police to discuss in detail the issues to find a solution quickly that both sides can accept.

For the cases where new passports have been issued, he suggested everyone stay calm, emphasising that the embassy in Berlin, as well as relevant agencies in Việt Nam, will make specific announcements in case adjustments are needed.

The embassy has also posted relevant information on its website and will continue to update it as new information becomes available. — VNS