address icon 18 Hang Be, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi

gatsby on True Color Tour
May 28th, 2012 at 10:01 am

Since the law changed in January, I have been going to Lai every month to renew my tourist visa. I couldn't leave the country since I just had a baby in December and didn't feel comfortable flying with her yet. Even though I gave Lai less than a few days to get me my monthly visas, she was more than accommodating (probably because I was an incredibly forgetful new mother).

At the 5th month of repeating this process, I forgot to give my passport to Lai in time and had to get a departure visa to leave the country and then to re-enter. I decided at this point enough was enough and I had to bite the bullet and fly to Phnom Penh to obtain a 6-month or 1-year visa (I think the VN consulate in Cambodia determines what you can have). Lai also gave me the option of taking a bus there from Saigon, but due to my baby, I had to fly there and come back asap. The immigration office was giving her a hard time about my departure visa: why was I here, was I working, why did I renew my visa month-to-month for 5 months, etc. Nevertheless she handled all their questions and the departure visa came through, although immigration gave me less than 24-hours to leave Vietnam. Lai arranged the flight, the introductory letter to the VN consulate in PNH, communication with the travel agent in PNH, and also had her partner deliver my passport by hand to my house the night before I flew out the next morning (due to delays in the immigration office).

After enduring all of that, I am the proud holder of a 1-year multiple entry Vietnam visa. There is really no way I could've gone through that process without Lai's patience and diligence with my particular case. I have lived here for 4 years and my husband for over 10 years. We both know that people who can guide you through the nuances of Vietnamese government systems and don't charge you an arm and a leg are worth their weight in gold and are incredibly rare. Lai was exceptional in providing friendly customer service and quick and clear communication and feedback on what was going on with my situation. I would HIGHLY recommend her services to anyone seeking travel information and most especially, a visa.

UPDATE (15 April 2013):
I already have written a review on Lai's services with my visa issues. But she really helped me out recently on an issue unrelated to visa or travel by helping me to obtain a tax number.

I never had a tax number and because of this, I always had to relinquish 20% of my take home pay for Vietnamese taxes because I lacked a tax code. Now with my tax code, I only have to pay 10% as a foreigner. All Lai needed was a scanned copy of my tam tru (household residence book) and of my passport. Perhaps, I could have figured out how to do this on my own but I prefer to leave government services to others who can help me maneuver it. Lai is even sending her assistant to my apartment so I don't have to go into the city to pay her. Professional, efficient, great one-on-one customer service....again!