Australian man forced to ‘live’ in Vietnam airport after visa mess-up

@leviticus Instagram stories

The next time you have a transit or connecting flight, you better double check if you need a visa in that country, no matter how long or short your stay is. 

An Australian DJ was stunned by the unexpected turn of events that forced him to ‘live’ in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh airport (SGN) simply because of a missing transit visa. 

Sydney-based Levi Neufeld, who is also a social media influencer, was booked on a Dubai flight for a gig. He flew from Sydney International Airport (SYD) to SGN Airport and had a stopover in India (airport unknown) before Dubai International Airport (DBX).

However, instead of spinning tracks, Neufield was stopped in his tracks when he reached India, where he was told that he needed a transit visa even if his stopover was only for four hours and he had no plans of leaving the airport.

In a series of Instagram story clips, a visibly exhausted and stressed Neufield relayed that when Indian authorities found he did not have a transit visa, he was immediately put on a flight back to Ho Chi Minh.

Neufield said that when he reached Ho Chi Minh, his passport was immediately taken from him.

“They are making me stay here in Vietnam for 27 hours, a day and a bit,” Neufeld said via Instagram stories.

image: @leviticus Instagram stories

He said authorities could only book him a flight back to Australia the following evening, so he had to stay in a transit area within the airport.

Neufeld, known for his brief stint on talent show The Voice as the ‘hot door guy’ and appearing as best man on reality show Married At First Sight, was gutted to have missed his gig, and decided to document his unexpected airport stay via social media. 

At the beginning, Neufeld appeared good natured about his fate, gamefully reviewing food choices inside the airport lounge that he was allowed to stay at. 

As his airport stay went on though, Neufeld said it was beginning to “mentally affect” him, saying that he is missing his “dog and the missus”. 

Neufeld also likened his ordeal to that of Viktor Navorski, a character played by actor Tom Hanks from the 2004 film, “The Terminal.” In the film, Navorski was trapped inside New York’s JFK airport when war broke out in his country. The movie draws inspiration from the experience of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, who spent a remarkable 18 years residing in Terminal 1 of Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) in France, from 1988 to 2006.


Neufeld even included a short snippet from the film where Navorski had to take a shower using the airport sink.

However, a succeeding clip from his Instagram stories showed Neufeld taking a “shower” using only wet wipes, as it appeared no toilet with proper bathing facilities were available. 

image: @leviticus Instagram stories

The following evening, Neufeld updated his followers that his flight back to Sydney had been delayed by another hour.

Eventually, Neufeld was able to get on a flight, but he said that due to his unique circumstance, his passport had to be kept by an airline staff, who will hand the document over to Australian immigration when the flight arrives in Sydney. 

Neufeld makes it back to Sydney, as he shows a clip of his dog welcoming him at SYD airport.

image: @leviticus Instagram stories

According to the Australian embassy in India, Australian nationals require a valid visa for entry into India, either as a tourist or in transit or in any other capacity.

author avatar
Jean Carmela Lim
Journalist[br][br]Jean is a member of AeroTime’s editorial team, working as an aviation writer and based in Manila, Philippines. Previously, she worked in operational aviation roles in Manila, Philippines and Seoul, South Korea before moving to Australia to work in corporate and government travel. In 2012, Jean established her own luxury and adventure travel blog, Holy Smithereens. She is also a contributor for World Travel Market London, one of the biggest annual events in the travel sector. She covers trends and issues in hospitality and luxury travel for a B2B market, interviewing key personalities in the industry.
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