The “red tape” part of the adventure


Much of what I read online indicated that getting a background check was the hardest part of getting an English teaching job. Now I know what they mean….

The good news is that I definitely have a job in Vietnam: I’ll be working in Bien Hoa, the former US military base, located about 20 miles outside of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly called Saigon). I expect to start at the beginning of October. The school has 300+ students. I’ll be teaching evenings and weekends. The school teaches to all ages of students from kindergarten to adults. While I may have a few classes with very young children or with adults, I’ve primarily been hired to do SAT prep with high school aged students who are interested in going to college in the USA. They can’t get into an American college without excellent test scores.

The bad news is that it’s taking way too long to get the documents needed for a work visa in Vietnam. I’ve been working on this for 6+ weeks and I feel I’m in the red tape ring of Hell.

The process for getting work visas has recently changed across the world and most documents require an “apostille,” an authentication process. And all of the items HAVE to be sent to the USA, not a foreign country, so I need to wait on them here in The States. The apostille process is to prove your documents are not just internet frauds and to reduce the possibility of terrorism. Mostly, though, it just makes everything more difficult, takes a lot longer and makes you pay “channelers” to handle things for you.


I’ve received notice that the apostille on my diploma is done, but it hasn’t been sent to me yet. No idea what the holdup is. The third set of inked fingerprints was sent to an FBI channeler for a background check. The FBI “updated” their system over the weekend and it caused an additional delay. Today I received word that the prints were rejected as unreadable. They say the ridges on my fingers simply don’t show up.

Yes, I cried. Yes, I should have been a thief.

So…..tomorrow I’m going on an unscheduled adventure to….. Manhattan. Yes, this seems like an unreasonable distance to travel, but there I can get an electronic fingerprint scan that will be sent directly to the FBI. The results will take about a week. I’m guaranteed the kind of paperwork that can be quickly apostilled by the State Department. Which will take another week… and another channeler (i.e. more money).

And if you are following along on the calendar, this attempt simply HAS to work or I will miss my start date for Vietnam. So it has to work….because they won’t hold this job open for me forever.

In the meantime, I’m reading up on Vietnam history and customs, learning a few words in Vietnamese, reviewing my High School math and science.

And trying not to worry.


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I'm a professional vagabond. I quit my cubical job in January 2014. Since then, I've hiked the Appalachian Trail, The Camino, and taught English in Vietnam, Turkey, Russia, Spain, Mexico and Peru. I'm exploring the world and you can come too!

4 thoughts on “The “red tape” part of the adventure”

  1. Much luck to you. Hopefully the big giant scissors of Fate will chop through all this red-tape and you can get started on this next adventure!

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