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"Coffee money" to exit Vietnam on a K1?

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Apologies in advance - I've seen this topic somewhere on the forum before but can't seem to find it. My fiance just got approved for a K1 visa (hooray!). I read that when he gets on the plane, Vietnamese immigration officials may ask for a bribe. I also read that he is supposed to tell "the police" that he is leaving the country and get some sort of paper proving he told the police about his travel plans. Finally, I read that technically he shouldn't HAVE to report to the police because K1 is a nonimmigrant visa and he is not "immigrating" to the U.S.

Is any of this true? Can/should he go to any police station in HCMC to get this paper? Will the immigration police still ask for money? Should we just pay the bribe or is it worth fighting? Thanks so much for your help!

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This is an interesting subject! I'd be interested in reading feedback on it, too! For my case, when my fiancee went to get the "police record 2", the guy told her something along the line of "you'll need to come back here again when you get your visa". Neither she nor I had any idea what that guy was saying, because logically you wouldn't need to go back there. But hopefully we'll get some input from other Vietnam K-1 cases here.


2018 03 08 : ROCPackage Recv'd/Signed

2018 03 19 : NOA Recv'd

=========

2015 11 06 : AOS Package Recv'd/Signed

2015 11 16 : NOA's (3x) Recv'd by Mail

2015 12 04 : Biometrics Completed

2016 01 25 : EAD & AP Approved (No RFE's)

2016 03 09 : Interview Scheduled (No RFE's)

2016 03 16 : AOS Interview - APPROVED

2016 03 24 : Received Green Card by Mail

=========

2015 02 07 : I-129F Mailed

2015 05 13 : I-129F Approved (No RFE's)

2015 08 18 : K-1 Interview (Visa Approved)

2015 08 29 : Arrived U.S.

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*** Country-specific thread moved from K-1 Process forum to the Vietnam regional subforum. ***


06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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We were told that my then-fiancee would need a copy of her ID card (Chung Minh Nhan Dan) and a copy of her House Record (Ho Khau) to give to the customs officer at Tan Son Nhat (TSN). We were also advised to prepare USD $20 or $30 as coffee money when we go through customs to exit the country.

Nope, we did not need any of that. No one asked for any of the documents.

Here is what happened at the customs booth when we left TSN.

Customs: How long did it take you to sponsor your fiancee?

Me: About 10 months

Customs: Do you have all the necessary paperwork?

Me: Yeah, I think so.

Customs: Are you sure (with a smirk on his face)

Me: [thinking in my head: sheeeeesh! I should have said "I am not sure, maybe you can help me check" and slipped him the $20]

Customs: OK. You're good to go. Bye!

Me: Thank you. [thinking in my head: Really? Is it really this easy?]

There were a Vietnamese gal and a couple of foreginers waiting behind us so I do not know if that made any difference.


maWqm5.png

ROC Journey

09 MAY 2017: Mailed I-751 to California Svc Center (CSC)

11 MAY 2017: I-751 package delivered to CSC

15 MAY 2017: NOA1 sent (got lost in the mail)

31 MAY 2017: Biometrics letter received

05 JUN 2017: Completed biometrics (walk-in)

23 JUN 2017: Received replacement copy of NOA1
 

ZjMTm5.png

N-400 Journey

14 MAY 2018: Mailed N-400 to Dallas Lockbox

17 MAY 2018: Delivered to Dallas Lockbox

04 JUN 2018: Received NOA1

08 JUN 2018: Received biometrics letter

21 JUN 2018: Completed biometrics

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My fiancee and I didn't here anything about preparing any coffee money for departing VN and we passed right through customs at Tan Son Nhat without any problems. She went ahead of me and the VN customs officer, just reviewed her passport and K-1 visa and sent her through. It seems like it took me longer than it did for her. I guess she and I have been lucky, because we paid no coffee money what so ever during our entire process.

Edited by incon3037r

K-1 Timeline

2015-01-04 :Submitted I-129F to Lewisville, TX Lockbox via USPS

2015-01-06 :Received delivery confirmation from USPS and routed to the USCIS California Service Center

2015-01-08 :NOA-1 (Received by text and email)

2015-01-12 :NOA-1 (Received official Receipt Notice)

2015-01-15 :Fiancée applied for single status certificate

2015-01-20 :Fiancée got household registration Book (Ho Khau)

2015-01-20 :Fiancée applied for Police Certificate #2 and received it the same day! Without coffee money!

2015-01-25 :Fiancée received her single status certificate

2015-01-30 :NOA-2 (Received approval in 22 days by text and email)

2015-02-04 :NOA-2 (Received official approval, Form I-797)

2015-02-17 :NVC received case

2015-02-18 :Received HCM# from NVC and case sent to Consulate
2015-02-21 :Submitted DS-160 form printed out confirmation barcode
2015-02-21 :Created online account on ustraveldocs.com/vn
2015-02-24 :Consulate Received
2015-02-24 :Paid visa fee $265
2015-02-24 :Mailed DS-160, copy of passport and 2 passport photos
2015-02-25 :Scheduled K-1 interview
2015-03-03 :Packet 3 Received, but my fiancée's name was misspelled
2015-03-03 :Did online inquiry to fix misspelled name
2015-03-15 :Correct spelling was fixed in the Consulate's system
2015-03-18 :Received updated Packet 3 with named spelled correctly
2015-03-18 :Scheduled medical exam @ Cho Ray Hospital
2015-03-26 :Medical exam and vaccinations completed
2015-04-07 :Received results from Cho Ray
2015-05-07 :Arrived in SG with I-134 and supporting documentation
2015-05-08 :Attending K-1 interview with my fiancee and she passed
2015-05-28 :Arrived at LAX and made it through customs without any problems
2015-06-06 :Got married!
2015-06-18 :Applied for SS card
2015-06-25 :Received SS card with her married name
AOS Timeline
2015-09-16 :Mailed AOS package to USCIS Chicago Lockbox
2015-09-18 :USPS delivered to Chicago Lockbox at 6:16 am
2015-09-22 :Received notification of AOS package via text and email
2015-09-24 :Check for AOS was cashed
2015-09-26 :Received three separate NOA-1 for forms I-485, I-131 and I-765
2015-10-05 :Received Biometrics appointment letter for the 14th of October @ 10 am
2015-10-14 :Completed Biometrics without any incidents
2015-11-18 :Received USCIS email/text update showing approval for I-131 and I-765 forms
2015-11-23 :Received USCIS Form I-797 in the mail
2015-11-24 :Received USCIS email/text update showing EAD/AP combo card mailed out
2016-02-19 :Received Learner's Permit from NV DMV
2016-03-18 :Received USCIS email/text update scheduling appointment for April 19th
2016-04-14 :Started working @ first job in the U.S.

2016-04-19 :Passed AOS interview

2016-04-20 :Green card being made.

2016-04-28 :Green card arrived in mail.

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FREEBIE ,, hihi


2015-02-10 :Trip to Vietnam to celebrate Tet, meet my fiancee

2015-03-16 :Back to USA, could not file for I-129F, until my divorce paper was finalize.

2015-05-01 :Divorce paper final

2015-05-08 :Submitted I-129F to Lewisville, TX Lockbox via USPS

2015-05-13 :NOA-1 (Received official Receipt Notice from the mail)

2015-06-22 :NOA-2 (Received approval by text and email)

2015-06-26 :NOA-2 (Received official approval, Form I-797) note on the I-797, notice date 2015-06-22

2015-07-21 :Finally able to talk to NVC, got HCM#, case still in administrative review, not going to Vietnam yet.

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why do you need coffee money when you are leaving a country?

I'm assuming to bribe the customs officer, who may be corrupt and attempt to stop your fiancee from leaving or missing your flight.


K-1 Timeline

2015-01-04 :Submitted I-129F to Lewisville, TX Lockbox via USPS

2015-01-06 :Received delivery confirmation from USPS and routed to the USCIS California Service Center

2015-01-08 :NOA-1 (Received by text and email)

2015-01-12 :NOA-1 (Received official Receipt Notice)

2015-01-15 :Fiancée applied for single status certificate

2015-01-20 :Fiancée got household registration Book (Ho Khau)

2015-01-20 :Fiancée applied for Police Certificate #2 and received it the same day! Without coffee money!

2015-01-25 :Fiancée received her single status certificate

2015-01-30 :NOA-2 (Received approval in 22 days by text and email)

2015-02-04 :NOA-2 (Received official approval, Form I-797)

2015-02-17 :NVC received case

2015-02-18 :Received HCM# from NVC and case sent to Consulate
2015-02-21 :Submitted DS-160 form printed out confirmation barcode
2015-02-21 :Created online account on ustraveldocs.com/vn
2015-02-24 :Consulate Received
2015-02-24 :Paid visa fee $265
2015-02-24 :Mailed DS-160, copy of passport and 2 passport photos
2015-02-25 :Scheduled K-1 interview
2015-03-03 :Packet 3 Received, but my fiancée's name was misspelled
2015-03-03 :Did online inquiry to fix misspelled name
2015-03-15 :Correct spelling was fixed in the Consulate's system
2015-03-18 :Received updated Packet 3 with named spelled correctly
2015-03-18 :Scheduled medical exam @ Cho Ray Hospital
2015-03-26 :Medical exam and vaccinations completed
2015-04-07 :Received results from Cho Ray
2015-05-07 :Arrived in SG with I-134 and supporting documentation
2015-05-08 :Attending K-1 interview with my fiancee and she passed
2015-05-28 :Arrived at LAX and made it through customs without any problems
2015-06-06 :Got married!
2015-06-18 :Applied for SS card
2015-06-25 :Received SS card with her married name
AOS Timeline
2015-09-16 :Mailed AOS package to USCIS Chicago Lockbox
2015-09-18 :USPS delivered to Chicago Lockbox at 6:16 am
2015-09-22 :Received notification of AOS package via text and email
2015-09-24 :Check for AOS was cashed
2015-09-26 :Received three separate NOA-1 for forms I-485, I-131 and I-765
2015-10-05 :Received Biometrics appointment letter for the 14th of October @ 10 am
2015-10-14 :Completed Biometrics without any incidents
2015-11-18 :Received USCIS email/text update showing approval for I-131 and I-765 forms
2015-11-23 :Received USCIS Form I-797 in the mail
2015-11-24 :Received USCIS email/text update showing EAD/AP combo card mailed out
2016-02-19 :Received Learner's Permit from NV DMV
2016-03-18 :Received USCIS email/text update scheduling appointment for April 19th
2016-04-14 :Started working @ first job in the U.S.

2016-04-19 :Passed AOS interview

2016-04-20 :Green card being made.

2016-04-28 :Green card arrived in mail.

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I wonder if you had an easy time because you're not Vietnamese...I've heard that these bribes happen when the Vietnamese person is alone. My fiance will be traveling alone...what "necessary paperwork" was he talking about anyway?

We were told that my then-fiancee would need a copy of her ID card (Chung Minh Nhan Dan) and a copy of her House Record (Ho Khau) to give to the customs officer at Tan Son Nhat (TSN). We were also advised to prepare USD $20 or $30 as coffee money when we go through customs to exit the country.

Nope, we did not need any of that. No one asked for any of the documents.

Here is what happened at the customs booth when we left TSN.

Customs: How long did it take you to sponsor your fiancee?

Me: About 10 months

Customs: Do you have all the necessary paperwork?

Me: Yeah, I think so.

Customs: Are you sure (with a smirk on his face)

Me: [thinking in my head: sheeeeesh! I should have said "I am not sure, maybe you can help me check" and slipped him the $20]

Customs: OK. You're good to go. Bye!

Me: Thank you. [thinking in my head: Really? Is it really this easy?]

There were a Vietnamese gal and a couple of foreginers waiting behind us so I do not know if that made any difference.

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Apologies in advance - I've seen this topic somewhere on the forum before but can't seem to find it. My fiance just got approved for a K1 visa (hooray!). I read that when he gets on the plane, Vietnamese immigration officials may ask for a bribe. I also read that he is supposed to tell "the police" that he is leaving the country and get some sort of paper proving he told the police about his travel plans. Finally, I read that technically he shouldn't HAVE to report to the police because K1 is a nonimmigrant visa and he is not "immigrating" to the U.S.

Is any of this true? Can/should he go to any police station in HCMC to get this paper? Will the immigration police still ask for money? Should we just pay the bribe or is it worth fighting? Thanks so much for your help!

I wonder if this may be a story told by some street corner ' experts ' when reality is that the embassy requires a police report for many of the visas.

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I wonder if this may be a story told by some street corner ' experts ' when reality is that the embassy requires a police report for many of the visas.

No, this is true and has happened to a couple of my friends. One was forced to hand over USD $180 when departing the country. Vietnam is one of the most corrupted countries in the world. It comes as no surprise to me seeing how the communists have ruined a beautiful country once titled the Pearl of the Southeast Asia (after they took over the South in 1975). Shame. Shame.

I wonder if you had an easy time because you're not Vietnamese...I've heard that these bribes happen when the Vietnamese person is alone. My fiance will be traveling alone...what "necessary paperwork" was he talking about anyway?

I am a Vietnamese national.

Edited by frontgear

maWqm5.png

ROC Journey

09 MAY 2017: Mailed I-751 to California Svc Center (CSC)

11 MAY 2017: I-751 package delivered to CSC

15 MAY 2017: NOA1 sent (got lost in the mail)

31 MAY 2017: Biometrics letter received

05 JUN 2017: Completed biometrics (walk-in)

23 JUN 2017: Received replacement copy of NOA1
 

ZjMTm5.png

N-400 Journey

14 MAY 2018: Mailed N-400 to Dallas Lockbox

17 MAY 2018: Delivered to Dallas Lockbox

04 JUN 2018: Received NOA1

08 JUN 2018: Received biometrics letter

21 JUN 2018: Completed biometrics

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My Fiancee recently got approved on the 15 of May and is set to leave near the end of June to come to America. Unfortunately since I have work I cannot escort her. Is this really a common thing that I should send her money for this issue?

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My Fiancee recently got approved on the 15 of May and is set to leave near the end of June to come to America. Unfortunately since I have work I cannot escort her. Is this really a common thing that I should send her money for this issue?

hard to answer you - can you fill this out please?

http://www.visajourney.com/timeline/profile.php?id=210058


Sometimes my language usage seems confusing - please feel free to 'read it twice', just in case !
Ya know, you can find the answer to your question with the advanced search tool, when using a PC? Ditch the handphone, come back later on a PC, and try again.

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My Fiancee recently got approved on the 15 of May and is set to leave near the end of June to come to America. Unfortunately since I have work I cannot escort her. Is this really a common thing that I should send her money for this issue?

We were advised to set aside a couple of small bills (USD $5, $10, or $20) and put everything else away (preferrably hidden in your money belt). If they do ask for coffee money, show them that is all you have ($10 or $20) and tell them that is all you have for food, drinks, and taxi. My friend's wife packed USD $200 in her purse when she left Saigon. At the customs booth, she was asked to hand over whatever money she had. She gave them all $200 and they gave her back $20 for food. Thievery at its best!


maWqm5.png

ROC Journey

09 MAY 2017: Mailed I-751 to California Svc Center (CSC)

11 MAY 2017: I-751 package delivered to CSC

15 MAY 2017: NOA1 sent (got lost in the mail)

31 MAY 2017: Biometrics letter received

05 JUN 2017: Completed biometrics (walk-in)

23 JUN 2017: Received replacement copy of NOA1
 

ZjMTm5.png

N-400 Journey

14 MAY 2018: Mailed N-400 to Dallas Lockbox

17 MAY 2018: Delivered to Dallas Lockbox

04 JUN 2018: Received NOA1

08 JUN 2018: Received biometrics letter

21 JUN 2018: Completed biometrics

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We were advised to set aside a couple of small bills (USD $5, $10, or $20) and put everything else away (preferrably hidden in your money belt). If they do ask for coffee money, show them that is all you have ($10 or $20) and tell them that is all you have for food, drinks, and taxi. My friend's wife packed USD $200 in her purse when she left Saigon. At the customs booth, she was asked to hand over whatever money she had. She gave them all $200 and they gave her back $20 for food. Thievery at its best!

So i'm just so curious/worry, who advised you about this? I was able to be in Vietnam for her interview (which was a good thing since her translator was asking the questions wrong and I pointed that out and end up getting all the questions instead of my fiancee) and no one told me about this. I just occasionally check the forums for kicks and giggles.

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