Friday, 2 July 2010

Medical certificate and Notary translations

If you think Irish or German bureaucracy is difficult or frustrating than come to Vietnam ;)

The administrative work that needs to be done to get a work permit is unbelievable!

Firstly you need to get a Medical Certificate done. I started by ringing the Family Medical Centre in Da Nang as they could speak English, but they are not authorised from the Government in Vietnam to issue a Medical certificate for a work permit. They did send me to a place called Hospital C in Da Nang. I went there on Tuesday morning before 8am (otherwise they don’t take you). I showed them my paper that said in Vietnamese “Medical check for work permit” which I looked up on Google translator. However as I cannot speak any Vietnamese they refused me and I had to call my University and Ms. Duong had to come over. Now the fun started. I got one A4 paper with my name, date of birth and picture on it and 7 different receipts as I had to pay 73 US$ in advance. If you believe it or not but I had to see 15 different doctors!!!! They took a blood sample, urin, looked in my ears, nose, tested my eyes and I got a chest x-ray. Other doctors just wanted to chat to me as I was a Western person and then I got my signatures and seal on the paper.

It took 3 hours and at 11am I finally had my paper, stamped and sealed and I passed the medical check. Have a look at it - I scanned it!!! Unreal, how many signatures and seals you need in Vietnam for one piece of paper.

So today then I decided to make an attempt for the 2nd step. I needed to get my degree and police check translated into Vietnamese. The biggest challenge was to find out where I could get it done. The University didn’t know! The Director from the English Languages Institute actually helped me out and gave me an address and phone no. So I rang them and I was able to go there this morning before I was teaching. I came in the building and there were 10 people sitting behind glass barriers, some reading newspapers others writing receipts and seal papers.

I found the woman I talked on the phone beforehand (seems to be the only one who can speak English there) and showed her my papers. She looked at them and told me before we can do anything I need to get 3 copies of each in the copy shop. I actually shouldn't be surprised anymore, as the most important thing here in this countries are Copy shops, signatures and seals ;) So I walked to the place, got my copies done, got back to the woman and she took all my papers apart and told me she need to give some to the German translator and others to the English translator – I really don’t want to know how this translation will sound in Vietnamese ;)

Anyhow, I will get it back next Wednesday (fingers crossed). Now it was time to pay! It did cost 25US$ and I think they wrote 5 receipts and filled in so many papers, that I don’t have a clue what they are for ;)

One woman actually only sealed papers during the time I was there. And that was at least for one hour. You sometimes ask yourself how this country survives ;) Anyway, lets see what I am getting back! And then lets look at the next steps.......I also need to get a business visa and we will start this process next week ;) That will be fun!

Keep you fingers crossed for Germany on Saturday!!!!!


  1. Interesting blog entry Kerstin -- this is exactly the issue that Mr. Chi complained about the first night we had dinner with him -- after the tennis match -- remember? He was complaining about the approvals / permits required for the commercial tower. Lot's of meaningless bureaucracy!! We need to get some business process reengineering engagements going there in Vietnam!! It’s always great reading your blog entries and living vicariously thorough your wonderful experiences.

  2. Wow John your memory is brilliant. And now when you say it I actually remember it. I so understand Mr. Chi what he meant now. This needs to get's unreal!

  3. Hi Kerstin, great blog. When I was in Vietnam I noticed a huge difference between north and south. The north had a strong history of communism control and red tape. I was told that nobody from the south could get a job in a government organisation - civil service, railways, police, airline etc. The south appeared more entrepeneurial and ready to challenge authority (or at least find a way around it).

    Have you visited Hue yet? The tombs of the old emperors are very interesting as they are not buried in their official beautiful tombs but somewhere in the jungle - the grave diggers commit suicide to protect the location being found by robbers.

  4. Sounds a bit like Italian bureaucracy, only some people read (news)papers behind glass bars instead of sealing them :) Ciao from Alessandra

  5. Hi Greg, Good to hear from you. I can just confirm that there is a huge difference between North and South and in Da Nang I am somewhere inbetween ;) Looks like the people in Da Nang prefer to go to Ho Chi Minh if they study etc. And challenging authority is a no go....finding at least a way around it, well let's see..... I hope so :)
    I have been in Hue in 2005, but I would love to go their again. Maybe if some visitors are coming over I will join them. I am working 4 times per week in the University right now, but it is so nice to be so close by the sea :)

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