New Vietnamese passport not recognized by some EU countries

On July 1, Vietnam started issuing new passports, called “Vietnamese passports with blue covers”, which caused problems for some EU countries. Several MPs have suspended recognition of the travel document, citing missing essential information.

Vietnam started issuing a new model passport on July 1. This version does not clearly state a person’s place of birth, which is a requirement when applying for a travel visa. Instead, new passports display a 12-digit number corresponding to the holder’s place of birth, however, this number must be checked manually against a 7-page long list, which authorities say is not not feasible.

The first country to no longer issue visas to holders of the new passports was Germany. “From now on, the new blue Vietnamese passports cannot be visaed due to the lack of information on the place of birth. The matter is currently being examined by the competent German authorities in cooperation with the other Schengen countries. However, until this to clarify, German diplomatic missions in Vietnam cannot accept the new blue passports for processing visa applications,” the German Embassy in Vietnam clarifies. Some people have already received a visa with their blue passport, but the embassy advises them against traveling to Germany, as they may be refused entry at the border.

The new Vietnamese passport (also known as the blue passport) issued from July 1, 2022 does not indicate the place of birth, which prevents border officials from verifying the identity of the passport holder.

Embassy of the Czech Republic in Hanoi

Vietnam’s new “blue cover” passports © Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security

“The Czech Republic agrees with other European Union (EU) member states and ceases to recognize the new passport model. The decision is effective from that moment. The Embassy of the Czech Republic in Hanoi is unfortunately not able to accept the application for a visa/residence permit from the applicant presenting the blue passport. The Czech Republic is actively working with other EU member states and the Vietnamese side to resolve this issue,” the Czech Embassy in Hanoi informed on August 2.

Finland is the latest country to no longer recognize passports. “Finland has decided to temporarily suspend the recognition of new Vietnamese passports. The new passport does not contain information about the place of birth of the passport holder, which is a requirement for personal identification and also for processing Finnish visa/residence permit applications,” reads the notice from the Finnish Embassy in Hanoi.

Spain has also refused to issue visas to holders of the new Vietnamese passports for some time, but recently reversed its decision. Following consultations with the Spanish authorities, the embassy in Hanoi said those wishing to apply for a visa and hold the new passport simply need to bring another valid identity card clearly indicating their place of birth.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security said new passports will also include the holder’s place of birth, while the information can be added manually, upon request, to previously issued documents, VNExpress reports.