Yesterday was the first working day of the Year of the Tiger and it already brought with it many hassles. My gut feeling told me that I needed to visit my service agent to check the progress of my work permit. I am glad I did, for some odd reason, the service agent could not convince the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Saigon that my “notarized” diploma, a masters degree, was notarized! Even worse, he did not tell me.
This happened last December when I found out that my diploma was not recognized as well. The service agent took nearly two months before he finally told me wasting, I hate to say it, valuable time. I told them I could get my diploma notarized in the US but they claimed it was not necessary so all the people that “helped out” convinced me it was not necessary. Since my health was not good at the time, I let my guard down and let them continue their job since I already paid them.
Today I will go with the service agent, a close friend and another, more experienced, agent to visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The MFA’s request was not realistic and we have to tell them that. Yesterday they told my service agent that I needed to get my diploma notarized by the US Consulate even though they know very well the US Consulate does not notarize them. Our task is to “convince” them that my diploma is notarized, something the service agent failed to do.
If we cannot do this, the new service agent, who I used for my visas for the last couple of years, will take over. In Vietnam, choosing the “right” agent is very, very important due to their network within the government. Unfortunately I cannot dump my service agent now on a technicality.
In the meantime, I have to deal with the visa hassle again. Another department of the MFA only gave me a 7 week visa which expires this Sunday. The MFA told me I needed a work permit or that I had to leave. Of course, due to a lack of transparency, there is no computer system they can use to see whether I was processing my work permit application or not.
Yeah, a lot of frustration. Many Americans I know are having the same exact problem. One thing is certain, if the US Consulate would just notarize our diplomas, or notarize the notarized diplomas, the US citizens in Vietnam would not be having so much trouble. I did an affidavit of a notarized diploma which does not seem to work at the moment even though the Vietnamese law says it is legal.
Lets see what happens today…