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China Tourist Visa (San Francisco Consulate Office)

China Tourist Visa (San Francisco Consulate Office)

Old Sep 26, 18, 6:56 am
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China Tourist Visa (San Francisco Consulate Office)

I am planning to go in person to get travel visas for an upcoming trip to mainland China at the San Francisco consulate office. What should I expect? What do I need to bring? How long should I expect it to take?

Really looking for any and all advise and thanks!
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Old Sep 26, 18, 8:39 pm
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Originally Posted by vincentharris View Post
I am planning to go in person to get travel visas for an upcoming trip to mainland China at the San Francisco consulate office. What should I expect? What do I need to bring? How long should I expect it to take?

Really looking for any and all advise and thanks!
1. Fill out, and print the PDF application in advance
2. Book an airplane ticket on aa.com, and print the ereceipt
3. Book a refundable hotel that aligns with your travel dates for #2
4. Get a visa photo that adheres to the specific requirements (they are sticklers about this)
5. Bring your passport
6. Mondays and Fridays are the worst times to go IME; I prefer morning visits to all PRC consulates; show up at 9a, get a number, and then head to a nearby Starbucks for the estimated waiting time, minus 10 minutes (I've been burned by cutting it too close, which requires getting a new number)
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Old Sep 27, 18, 1:33 am
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You also need a photocopy of your passport's data page at SF.

Note all this assumes you are travelling on a US passport and are not of recent Chinese origin.
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Old Sep 27, 18, 2:09 am
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Originally Posted by 889 View Post
You also need a photocopy of your passport's data page at SF.

Note all this assumes you are travelling on a US passport and are not of recent Chinese origin.
I forgot about this requirement, and usually end up making copies at the consulate. They also like copies of previous visas.
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Old Oct 1, 18, 1:49 am
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I am traveling to Beijing from the US with an outward flight booked 48 hours later to South Korea, and then return to Beijing after 3 days for 36 hours and have a return flight to the United States.

Based on my understanding of the travel waiver visa and Beijing have a 72 hour option I should be ok to just get a onward travel visa stamp upon arrival in both directions?
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Old Oct 7, 18, 2:02 pm
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How long are the China tourist visas issued by the SF consulate to US citizens generally good for? Is it common to get a 10-year, multiple entry visa for your $140?
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Old Oct 7, 18, 2:19 pm
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Yes, but with a maximum stay per entry of 60 days.
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Old Oct 7, 18, 2:44 pm
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Originally Posted by 889 View Post
Yes, but with a maximum stay per entry of 60 days.
Cool - thanks for the info!

After doing my last 6 visits to Shanghai using 72/144 hour TWOVs, I'm starting to think spending $140 for a visa would be a better approach going forward for me, as long as it's good for 10 years. Using TWOVs works, but the process at PVG has been both time consuming and annoying. It also would avoid having to explain TWOVs to some airline check-in agents and/or wait for them to figure out how to cover their rears with notes in the PNR.
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Old Oct 7, 18, 2:59 pm
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I'm a strong proponent of getting the visa, if you're American or Canadian. Saves all sorts of worry.
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Old Oct 9, 18, 12:18 pm
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Originally Posted by Quokka View Post
Cool - thanks for the info!

After doing my last 6 visits to Shanghai using 72/144 hour TWOVs, I'm starting to think spending $140 for a visa would be a better approach going forward for me, as long as it's good for 10 years. Using TWOVs works, but the process at PVG has been both time consuming and annoying. It also would avoid having to explain TWOVs to some airline check-in agents and/or wait for them to figure out how to cover their rears with notes in the PNR.
It's a good investment if you either go to or transit through China relatively frequently. Get it before US-China relations deteriorate to the point where the 10-year multiple gets rescinded. Just make sure you have at least 12 months of validity left on your passport when you apply. As long as you have at least that, you'll get the 10 year which will remain valid over a passport renewal (just travel with old and new passports).
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