Stateless Max

vietnam visa

I’m not stateless, I only feel stateless. My identity has been taken, my permission to travel has been confiscated, and I am now a prisoner within the Schengen zone. Granted, only for one week, but it still feels terribly wrong.

I went to the Vietnamese embassy this morning to apply for a tourist visa. I had got information off the internet and my secretary had telephoned to confirm that information so I knew – amongst other things – that to get the visa would take one week and cost CZK 1500. What I didn’t know was that the Vietnamese would be holding onto my passport for the duration of that one week.

I was only at the embassy for about 15 minutes. I asked for a visa application form, I filled it in, and I went back to the window to wait for the little man to come back. I guess he had gone off on a cigarette break. When he came back, I tried to hand him my form, a photo, my passport and a CZK 2000 note. He rudely ordered me to glue my photo onto the form, which is when I finally noticed the glue stick on the counter. He then took everything from me, gave me CZK 500 in change, and wrote out a receipt. When he handed me the receipt, he told me to come back in a week. He then turned to put my passport and application on a table behind him.

When the little man turned again to face forward, I was still standing there and now looking at him in bewilderment.

“Come back in a week,” he repeated.

“I have to leave my passport here for the entire week?” I asked.

“You want a visa?” he shot back rudely.

“Ok, ok,” I said, and backed slowly away from the window.

And now I can’t go anywhere. I’ve got no plans to go anywhere between now and next Friday, but that’s not the point. I can’t even pick up a package from the post office. Not that I’m expecting one, but that’s not the point either. I can’t do anything at the bank and I can’t go to a notary. The point is that as a foreigner here – especially as a non-EU national – I need that stupid little US State Department issued book to do absolutely everything. And those civil servant communist motherfuckers, without a second thought, have just deprived me of my freedom for 7 whole days.


9 Responses to Stateless Max

  1. aunt cookie says:

    omg what if they misplace it somehow?


  2. Dane says:

    Aunt cookie, don’t scare her!

    It’s not quite like the time that the Czech consulate in the US had my passport for 3 months and returned it the day before my departure *without* a visa because they hadn’t been able to process it in time, but it’s close.

  3. Evil da Pig says:

    I’ve never had to travel anywhere that required a visa so forgive my ignorance, but is this the standard operating procedure? Why would they need to keep the passport? All the information is easily replicable by a simple machine known as a pen and paper. Or a copier if you wanna get all fancy about it.

    Also, how sad it is that without a validation of a governing body, you don’t exist.

  4. Vaheena Felsgut says:

    Tak budes blogovat nebo co?

  5. Max says:

    Pigman, all very good points.

    Friends of mine in London have to leave their passports at the Syrian embassy there also for a week. Of course there is no real reason – other countries issue visas without keeping passports. But every country gets to make its own rules. Communist countries, totalitarian countries – they like to hold onto the passports. But, in contrast, I only had to leave my passport at the Russian embassy for an hour. Some embassies give you a visa while you wait.

    Vaheena – ano, budu blogovat. Musím zítra na pohřeb. Určitě nejpozději v sobotu.

  6. lofasz says:

    “mostly positive, but with reservations. I know I criticise The Amerika a lot, but it’s my country and I’m supposed to.”

    How is it that you, an American, when in line begging the Vietnamese Embassy for a visa, are surprised by the fact that you have to hand over your passport?
    The only real difference is in waiting time: US consulates tend to be a lot faster, 2-3 days at worst and, of course, they take your passport only after your visa request was granted.

    *As someone living here, in the US for a decade now I still can’t stop wondering where or rather how the fuck you guys grow up – even urban guys from big cities are often so fuckin’ clueless about the world they really sound like some Britney-like trailer park trash who barely wandered beyond the gate. :P*

    BTW stop crying, man – change the way YOUR country’s gov and bureaucrats operate all over the world and the world will change as well. 😉

    – “omg what if they misplace it somehow?”

    OMG, I so hate people using “omg” – what the fuck happens, what do you think?
    Jesus, talk about being fuckin clueless American…

  7. Max says:

    Good lord – someone has an awful lot of anger.

    lofasz, you are an illiterate twat. I am not “surprised by the fact that [I] have to hand over my passport”. I am, for reasons well explained in my post, uncomfortable that I have to leave my passport at a foreign embassy for 7 days.

    And I am very amused that you:
    1. assume that I am satisfied with the way my country’s government works, and
    2. seem to think that I am clueless about the world.
    Thanks for the laugh.

  8. lofasz says:


    you’re apparently either A) even less capable of logical reasoning than I assumed OR B) you’re one of those typical American whiny idiots who just can’t shut the fuck up, they have to whine about something, no matter what… 😀 You know, you sounded like those “bold characters” (=fucking annoying, fucking nasal-sounding, fucking ugly pathetically-dressed yet top-arrogant loser bitches) in the line for their stupid roll or fruit and water behind you at the morning in Manhattan, who can’t tolerate when they have to wait a whole extra minute because someone ahead of them dared to order a difficult sandwich… 🙂

    Seriously though, dear slightly-challenged Max, the point is that IT’S NORMAL. Yes, even 7 days is normal. It’s just you, the fact that you had no fuckin’ clue whatsoever how this works in the world. 😛 Yes, let’s face it: you had no clue it could take 7 days and now you’re whining as Americans do. 😛

    Ahh and the note about your gov was clearly a joke, don’t be so challengedt, there was a smiley, I thought it’s international… or Bohms use something else? 😉

    PS: did I mention I looove breaking balls, especially Americans? =0 You shouldn’t take every post so seriously… 😀

  9. Max says:


    I don’t really care what you think is “normal”. I have received plenty of visas and no one before has ever kept my passport for longer than 90 minutes. Even my own embassy only kept my passport for about 4 hours when inserting extra pages. I question authority – it’s healthy and it is American.

    Question for you: if you hate Americans so much, then why do you live in the US?

    And I don’t react to smileys – I find them annoying.

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