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Saigon woman denied visa to visit dying father in US

By Le Phuong   November 22, 2017 | 07:03 pm PT
This is not the first time U.S. visa controversy has grabbed headlines in Vietnam.

The U.S. consulate in Ho Chi Minh City has denied multiple visa requests from a Vietnamese woman seeking to visit her dying father in California.

Nguyen Thi My Linh, a 31-year-old woman from Saigon, has applied for a U.S. visa four times to fulfill her dying father's last wish to see her. Linh's father, My Nguyen, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in June and his doctors in California said he's no longer well enough to travel to Vietnam.

However, all of Linh's applications have been rejected, with the consulate claiming she has failed to provide sufficient evidence that she will return to Vietnam after the visit. According to Linh, she has submitted documents proving that she has a job and real estate in Vietnam, as well as documents showing that she has reserved a burial plot for her father in Vietnam.

"The doctor in the U.S. has informed me that my father only has 2-3 more weeks to live and wishes to see me one last time, so I'm racing against time to obtain the visa," Linh told VnExpress on Tuesday. As her other family in the U.S. are unable to be by her father's side all the time, Linh hopes she will be able to be with him during his final days.


A letter from U.S. doctors regarding Linh's case. Photo courtesy of Nguyen Thi My Linh

Regarding her failed applications, Linh said she suspects that one of the reasons is because she previously applied for an immigration visa back in 2010. However, she gave up on that plan as her husband did not want to move to a foreign country and her father wanted to return to Vietnam.

"This trip will be to attend my father's funeral then fulfill his last wish by bringing him home," Linh said.

This is not the first time U.S. visa controversy has grabbed headlines in Vietnam.

In September, the U.S. government finally granted a visa to Thuy Nguyen so that she could undergo a stem cell transplant with her sister in an attempt to save her from cancer. Thuy's first three applications were also rejected as the consulate claimed she had failed to offer the necessary evidence that she would leave America once her visa had expired.

Thuy's visa was only granted after her sister's family hired an immigration lawyer to file for emergency entry into the country.

In August, U.S. immigration officers reversed their initial decision not to grant Nguyen Thi Hoa a visa to visit her dying daughter in San Jose. The decision was reversed after the family started an online petition  calling on the consulate and President Donald Trump to issue Hoa a visa, which was initially denied for fear she would stay in the U.S. for good.

In May, Pham Huy, a high school student from the central province of Quang Tri, almost missed his chance to attend an international science fair in California after his visa application was rejected twice, even after special requests from the province’s foreign affairs department and Vietnam’s education ministry. The denials were reportedly due to personal reasons.

The U.S. embassy in Hanoi only contacted him for a special interview after various local media outlets covered the issue.

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