The website of the German Embassy in Hanoi posted information on July 27, noting that the German representative office “cannot issue a visa for an ordinary Vietnamese passport, the new navy blue form, with a serial number starting with the letter P.”
“If you have such a passport you cannot apply for a visa. This is based on the decision of the German domestic authorities,” the note continued. “For those who have already applied for a visa, the Embassy will send a separate notice.”
The information immediately caused concern for many Vietnamese people who were planning to travel to Germany or soon plan to visit relatives.
|Germany stops issuing visas for Vietnam’s new passport, source: baochinhphu.vn
Germany is one of the few countries in the Schengen area that restricts the issuance of tourist visas to Vietnamese nationals. Most Vietnamese people have typically cited visiting relatives or taking part in business trips to ensure a high possibility of obtaining a visa.
Ngoc Le, 70 years old and living in Hanoi’s Hai Ba Trung district, said that he bought a ticket to Germany to visit his daughter’s family at the end of September. However, according to the new regulations, it is likely that his trip would be impossible. “Unfortunately, I just changed to the new passport form in July,” he said.
The note sent by the Embassy of Germany to the Consular Department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam explains that the new passport model lacks information on the place of birth.
“It is difficult to identify the passport holder, especially when many holders have the same surname. The German side is only able to determine the holder’s place of birth by looking up their 12-digit identification number on a seven-page list. It is impossible to find the place of birth using the passport number,” the note said.
Vietnamese citizens with the new passport, which changed the green cover for a navy blue version, will not be able to apply for a C or D visa to enter Germany, the embassy said. “If you have been granted a visa, we strongly advise you not to come to Germany because there is a risk that you will be denied entry at the border,” the information stated.
According to information from the German Embassy in Vietnam, many passports are submitted to the embassy without a personal identification number. Most are for minors, or documents in which the birthplace found does not match the actual place of birth. Therefore, Vietnamese citizens with a new passport are not allowed to enter Germany for a short-term stay.
The Immigration Department under the Ministry of Public Security immediately confirmed that Vietnam’s new passport fully meets international ICAO standards.
On July 1, the Ministry of Public Security began to issue the new passports for Vietnamese citizens. The current new model is not yet chip-based as previously announced, but chip versions will be implemented from the end of the year.
Currently, Vietnam ranks 89th out of 199 countries or territories on the list of most powerful passports in the world, according to the 2022 Henley Passport Index.
Despite being temporarily rejected by Germany, Vietnam is not the only country in the world that offers passports with no place of birth information. Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, Canada, Norway, and Saudi Arabia also omit or are not required to specify this information on passports.
Germany is currently one of Vietnam’s largest EU trading partners and is also a key tourism market that Vietnam wants to expand. Before the pandemic emerged, Vietnam attracted nearly 100,000 German visitors per year, according to data from the National Administration of Tourism in 2019.
At the same time, Vietnam has also risen to become Germany’s largest trading partner in ASEAN and Germany’s fourth largest trading partner in Asia, after China, Japan, and South Korea.
While waiting for the MoFA to discuss matters with the German side, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has not yet responded to the above information.