Flying into HCMC next Friday and have a customs question
Posted 07 September 2011 - 12:31 PM
I'll be bringing with me two Macbook Pros. One 2011 model that's my personal computer and the other is an old, faulty 2008 model I was looking to give to relatives who'd fix it and use.
Last time I brought my ip4 and a faulty 3gs, two guys at the last check-point bag scanners gave me some trouble saying I'd have to declare it on some card which was never issued blah blah (expecting bribes I think?) but I kept arguing and then they let me go.
Are there any laws in Vietnam that state one has to declare such things? Any tips on how to deal with a situation like this effectively or just pure bribes to make life easier (& how much)?
Posted 07 September 2011 - 12:55 PM
Posted 07 September 2011 - 03:25 PM
Posted 07 September 2011 - 03:42 PM
Posted 08 September 2011 - 07:57 AM
So, mik0, how did you get through?
Posted 09 September 2011 - 10:03 AM
Then I told the guy I'll just call my lawyer. You and him can deal with it. I'll get my lawyer to come here and I can leave. My lawyer will pay whatever the fine is and I'll pay my lawyer back. I pull out my phone, Start skimming through my contacts and he tells me to wait and leaves the room.
A lady now enters. Starts talking to me about how its illegal to bring this and DVD's into VN.
I tell her I didn't know. Where is it written that you can't bring these items into the country. She tells me that its best I pay the fine and then I can go. I ask her if she accepts VISA. I tell her I'll call my lawyer and you can talk with him.
She starts telling me theres no need to call my lawyer. We can sort this out. I tell her I'm not paying any fine as this is rubbish. she says I can leave but have to give up my gifts. She tells me I can go and buy these locally.
I now question her about the law. Is it illegal to bring these into VN? Yes she replies.
I ask her then how can shops sell these? Can you show me these shops? Will you accompany me to the shops to replace these items? She looks around and seems a little uncomfortable.
I pull out my VSP (Viet Soviet Petrolium) card and my Truong Song card. Both are photo ID type cards. She has a look at these and asks me about these. I tell her I have contacts who I can call. However if I call them up for this they will be very angry with you. If you push for me to pay a fine then I will call them.
She leaves the room now.
I'm wandering around the room looking at the posters and photo's on the wall. Theres a few pictures of guns, explosives, bear paws etc. She returns after a few minutes with the first guy. He looks suprised to see me wandering around the room. I ask them if the guns (AR15, M16) are real or fake. He tells me they are real. He asked me about the VSP and TS cards. I tell him I do some work for them. I also have contacts who help me out. I can call them and they will help me. He tells me there is no need. Smiles and quickly leaves the room.
The lady is now left with me. She looks uncomfortable. I tell her its best I take my gifts and leave. She seem's relieved that I don't want to call anyone.
I tell her have a nice day and I will see you again when i come back through the airport in a couple months.
I don't know if it is illegal or not to bring these items in. I just stood my ground and not get pushed around and it worked. BTW the girl was quite pretty Perhaps I should have asked for her number hahaha
Posted 09 September 2011 - 07:33 PM
Anyway i hate the saigon airport officers , they are all arrogants and always think they are better than the rest of the country ..And no doubt why the number of coming back tourists in vietnam is almost down to zero because when toursist first land at the airport the officers already show them how unfriendly we are ..
Posted 10 September 2011 - 05:24 AM
Posted 10 September 2011 - 05:49 AM
Kim: The first time I come over to VN with my gf (now wife) she had the immigration officer give her some grief. He didn't want her to enter unless she paid him. I had already been processed and was waiting behind his channel.
I then walked up to him and asked him what is going on. Why are you taking so long to process my gf? He didn't say anything to me but kept talking to her. She told me that he wanted some money. I said ok. I pulled out my wallet, making sure everyone can see and started pulling out USD$ notes. He looked away and quickly stamped my wifes passport. I smiled and said thankyou, put my money back into my wallet and we walked through.
It seems they are cowardly bully's. If you stand up to them they will backdown.
Posted 10 September 2011 - 01:20 PM
Posted 11 September 2011 - 02:44 AM
It's a shame because once you get past the visa desk most people here are extremely friendly.
As for customs, I was talking to some people here last night that said that you won't get any trouble as long as you don't try to bring more than two of any one item in. So you can bring two laptops and two mobile phones, for example, but not more. I'm not sure if they can still be in unopened boxes though.
Edited by cageface, 11 September 2011 - 02:45 AM.
Posted 19 December 2011 - 08:35 AM
Edited by กำนัน, 19 December 2011 - 04:09 PM.
Posted 20 December 2011 - 04:19 AM
As for smaller stuff, just leave them in your body and noone will say anything.
They make you scan all your baggages but not yourself.
Just last year, I brought a record 8 phones into the country.
4 IP4, 2 3GS, 1 3G, 1 HD2 and 1 Galaxy S all in various pockets so there was no problem.
THe more you speak Vietnamese, the more they will try to take advantage of you.
I also have a funny story I will share.
My 2nd time I went to VN, I brought like 7 Samsung flip phones to give to relatives.
I bought these brand new for $40 each and i unlocked them all myself.
At the the time, smartphones were still rare and these cost upward of $100++ in VN.
I knew about the $500 limit before you have to declare but like I said these phones cost me $40 each.
So I left them all in my luggage and of course they saw them through the scanner.
So they told me I have to declare these.
I said these only cost $40 each so in total it was less than $300.
But they told me that the value of them in VN was alot greater than $500.
So we went back and forth and they someone mentioned about a donation and they will forget about it.
At the time I didn't have any Vnamese money and I told them I have to go out and exchange money to give them some.
I didn't know any better at the time but they thought I was crazy so they told me to go ahead and go.
LOL, I didn't know they want some money secretly and I could blow their cover if I go out there, exchange money and bring it back to them.
Basically, I got away with it cause I was too naive to know they wanted a hand-out.
Posted 21 December 2011 - 06:07 PM
Posted 30 December 2011 - 01:31 PM
While I am sure that the experiences above are factual and accurate, I think that the conclusions about the Saigon Immigration officials are probably a little exaggerated.
Posted 30 December 2011 - 04:38 PM
You are a white male foreigner.
They usually leave you alone.
They like to take advantage of Viet Kieus.
Foreigners that can speak Vietnamese who they know have money.
Posted 31 December 2011 - 12:27 AM
Anyway I appreciate your feedback.
Posted 02 January 2012 - 02:08 AM
Posted 02 January 2012 - 03:15 AM
How are they going to try and take advantage of you when most of them aren't proficient at English ??
I don't have an accent so if I keep answering in English, they think I don't know Vietnamese and leave me alone.
When I'm being friendly and answer in Vietnamese, they keep asking me all kind of questions.
Posted 02 January 2012 - 04:28 AM
Posted 02 January 2012 - 04:34 AM
It is easier to confuse and scare somebody that does not know the language and is not familiar with the country and it's rules. A barrage of Vietnamese followed by a demand for a "fine", in English, is likely to intimidate a lot of travellers. Many will argue but if the fine is not excessive, and being unsure of their rights, in the interests of time and expense and avoiding hassle will pay up. Obviously you cannot do that to every person entering the country, or else there would be a huge outcry that the Govt could not ignore.
On the otherhand if you know your rights and speak Vietnamese you can argue your point and as said higher up this post indicate that you will contact your Lawyer or other Authority.
There is probably no best way it depends on who gives you a hard time.
Posted 03 January 2012 - 07:30 AM
VietKieus usually brings a gazillion stuff back to VN to give to relatives and/or to profit.
The Officers that work at the airport know this and will try to take advantage of the situation.
Vietkieus that travels back to VN usually don't know the rules and regulations.
They hear from others that "hey just stick a (insert denomination) bill in the passport and they will leave you alone".
You don't know how many people actually think this is true.
They rather pay the small fine to avoid confrontations.
Why would they try and extort from non Vietnamese(ie white) foreigners when there are thousands of Vietkieus available ??
Of course once in a while, they meet Kim who knows everything, and then they realized they messed with the wrong person.
Posted 04 January 2012 - 04:43 AM
Posted 04 January 2012 - 11:03 AM
Posted 05 January 2012 - 06:22 AM
Posted 07 January 2012 - 04:41 AM
My brother came back to VN 2 weeks after I did for my wedding and I told him to bring my extra laptop with him.
Thats 2 and they both are used(its obvious by just looking at it).
He speak English very well but with an accent so hes an obvious target.
So they stopped him and told him you can only bring 1 laptop back and he keeps telling them he brought it back for his brother(me).
They kept giving him a hard time and hinted at "coffee money".
So he gave them $20 and they let him through.
When I come back to VN, I bring 2 laptops with me everytime.
Everytime they say something to me about it, I reply in English that 1 is for work and 1 is for leisure.
If they keep saying stuff to me, I keep talking back in English.
They don't know how to argue with me in English so they let me through.
So my point is that if you are VietKieus, you are most likely to be targeted.
And most of them are likely to throw some "coffee money" their way just to avoid the hassle.
This happens all the time which is why these officials keep doing it.
Posted 09 January 2012 - 11:45 AM
Its hard I know as vn-ese are brought up to be fearful of people in uniforms. The moment you challenge these types of people they back down.
Posted 09 January 2012 - 11:51 AM
Most of the time but not all the time, so in case they don't you will need to be a bit patient.
Posted 09 January 2012 - 04:07 PM
Posted 09 January 2012 - 05:48 PM
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