Saigon woman finally granted visa to see dying father in US

By Le Phuong   December 9, 2017 | 08:01 pm PT
Media reports triggered a strong public response in her support after her application was rejected four times.

A woman in Saigon has received a visa to visit her dying father in the U.S. after media reports prompted the U.S. government to grant her the document on the fifth attempt.

Nguyen Thi My Linh arrived in the U.S. on Sunday, bringing fish sauce and other Vietnamese spices to give her father a final taste of home.

Linh’s father, My Nguyen, migrated to the U.S. three years ago to live with his other daughter. The 69-year-old had planned to return to Vietnam, but was diagnosed with terminal cancer in June and doctors in California said he was no longer well enough to travel.

Linh, 31, had four visa applications rejected before she was granted permission to visit her dying father.

Despite presenting her land and house deeds, marriage certificate and a document regarding her father’s cremation in Vietnam, the U.S. Consulate did not believe that she would return to Vietnam after the visit due to the fact that she had applied for migration in 2010, a plan which was canceled after her marriage.

Last month, doctors said her father had only two or three weeks left to live.

After her story was featured on news website VnExpress, the tide turned.

Doctors wrote a letter to the U.S. Congress, stating that the patient’s last wish was to see his daughter.

Some American readers living in Vietnam also emailed the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi.

The public response prompted the U.S. Consulate in Saigon to offer Linh another interview.

Linh prepared carefully for the fifth interview, taking with her photos of her happy marriage and family vacations, and she was given more time to explain her situation.

She said she planned to stay for up to four weeks, as her company in Saigon would not allow her any more time off.

“I really appreciate that many people who don't know me have trusted and supported me so I can be with my father during his last days,” Linh said.

U.S. visa controversy has grabbed headlines in Vietnam multiple times, particularly since the start of the Trump presidency.

In September, a Vietnamese woman who needed to undergo a stem cell transplant with her sister in the U.S. to save the latter from cancer was only granted a visa after her applications had failed three times.

In August, another woman was only granted a visa to visit her dying daughter in San Jose after the family started an online petition.

In May, 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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