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China Visa / Visas Master Thread (all you need to know)

Old Jun 4, 2013, 3:02 pm
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Visa Information for the People's Republic of China (PRC, Mainland China)

Important: China's visa terms and conditions changed effective 12 Nov 2014 as far as duration, and 1 July 2013 for requirements and procedures. Do not rely on information posted prior to that date.

Note new FT thread regarding up to ten year visa duration: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/china...ov-2014-a.html

The PRC allows certain foreigners to transit China without a visa if they will be exiting the country within 24, 72 or 144 hours provided various other conditions are met. Please see the separate China 24, 72, and 144 hour Transit Without Visa ("TWOV") rules master thread and Wikipost for detailed rules and discussion.

The best source of current visa and travel document requirements is IATA'S TIMATIC, as that is what the airlines rely upon to determine whether they will permit you to fly. Star Alliance provides a free, easy-to-use TIMATIC tool to help you identify your exact requirements based on nationality, residency and specific itinerary. The SkyTeam alliance website contains a link which also allows you free use of TIMATIC, including good printouts of the information.

Note that posts made prior to 1 July 2013 have been archived, but are still available for reference at China Visa / Visas Master Thread (ARCHIVED). The old FAQ: Visa-Free Transit / TWOV thread is also closed but available for reference.

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China Visa / Visas Master Thread (all you need to know)

Old Jun 27, 2023, 10:04 am
  #2176  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Posts: 251
Hello, would appreciate help on the following. I first started to complete the COVA form to apply for a visa to China around three weeks ago and was given a 19-digit application ID. I have tried to use this application ID on https://avas.mfa.gov.cn/ to check for available time slots to make an appointment at the Chinese consulate in New York to submit my application. However, I keep getting the below error message:
Invalid application ID. Please check if you have entered the correct one.

Has anyone encountered such a problem when trying to book an appointment at a Chinese consulate? If yes, how did you resolve the issue?
Also, is it possible to clarify if I have gone to the wrong website to make the appointment? If the website is correct, do I have to submit the application form online first in order to make the application ID valid so that I can make the appointment?

If I cannot resolve the issue myself, I guess I will have to ask a visa agent for help to submit my application, so can anyone recommend one in New York city?

Thanks.
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Old Jun 27, 2023, 10:08 am
  #2177  
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
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Originally Posted by bensim
If the website is correct, do I have to submit the application form online first in order to make the application ID valid so that I can make the appointment?
this, you have the right website
gudugan is offline  
Old Jun 27, 2023, 7:04 pm
  #2178  
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 31
Originally Posted by bensim
? If the website is correct, do I have to submit the application form online first in order to make the application ID valid so that I can make the appointment?
Yes, submit the application form first.
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Old Jul 9, 2023, 6:52 am
  #2179  
 
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Okay, I really want to go to Mainland China to try out all of the amazing looking Marriott properties. Based on this, I'm assuming I would need a L visa as I have no family or other relations in China. I don't think this trip would happen until 2024 anyway, but as I'm usually on the move and hopping between countries, I'm a bit curious about how I should do this application (US citizen, not of Chinese descent):
  • Since there is an in-person component, I'm assuming I would need to be within my country of citizenship to visit the consulate?
  • If so, how long does the process take on average in the US between application, appointment, and receipt of visa - a week, month, three months - if it's too long, I might just give up as I don't want to remain in the US that long.
  • Is there anything that I can do to get one of those multi-year visas you hear about (10 years or until passport expiration, which for me is in less than 10 years)?
​​​​​​Thanks!
ElevatorEnthusiast is online now  
Old Jul 9, 2023, 7:23 am
  #2180  
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-Assumimg you're a US citizen, 10 years is the default for L and M visas (plus a few others)

-Before COVID, it was possible to apply via an agency for a fee of $100-150

-These agents (e.g. Mychinavisa) still seem to exist, but I'm curious what services they provide if they can't get around the new "in person" requirement; maybe you could call and ask

-But, I'm guessing you will need to visit a consulate. Since Houston closed, the remaining choices are Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington DC

-In theory, you're only supposed to apply at the consulate that covers your state of residence (check their map), but this rule is only sporadically enforced

-Complete the online application (make/pdf air and hotel reservations about two months out; you won't actually need to use them) and submit it to your preferred consulate

-They will get back to you with available appointment dates

The entire process takes about two months now because the consulates are backed up, but very little effort is required on your part And, once you have a visa, you'll be good for ten years even if you get a new passport.

ETA I added Chicago because I forgot about it earlier.

Last edited by moondog; Jul 9, 2023 at 8:44 am
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Old Jul 9, 2023, 8:22 am
  #2181  
 
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Originally Posted by moondog
-Assumimg you're a US citizen, 10 years is the default for L and M visas (plus a few others)

-Before COVID, it was possible to apply via an agency for a fee of $100-150

-These agents (e.g. Mychinavisa) still seem to exist, but I'm curious what services they provide if they can't get around the new "in person" requirement; maybe you could call and ask

-But, I'm guessing you will need to visit a consulate. Since Houston closed, the remaining choices are Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington DC

-In theory, you're only supposed to apply at the consulate that covers your state of residence (check their map), but this rule is only sporadically enforced

-Complete the online application (make/pdf air and hotel reservations about two months out; you won't actually need to use them) and submit it to your preferred consulate

-They will get back to you with available appointment dates

The entire process takes about two months now because the consulates are backed up, but very little effort is required on your part And, once you have a visa, you'll be good for ten years even if you get a new passport.
Thanks, great to hear it can be transferred between passports as mine will likely run out of stamp space before expiration anyway. Sounds like I kick off online and then figure out after that when to head back to the US and where.
ElevatorEnthusiast is online now  
Old Jul 9, 2023, 9:55 am
  #2182  
 
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Originally Posted by ElevatorEnthusiast
Thanks, great to hear it can be transferred between passports as mine will likely run out of stamp space before expiration anyway. Sounds like I kick off online and then figure out after that when to head back to the US and where.
Probably just semantics, but you can't "transfer" the visa between passports but provided that you don't change your name or any other key person data you can present both previous and current passports and the visa in the old passport will remain valid.
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plunet is offline  
Old Jul 9, 2023, 10:09 am
  #2183  
 
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Originally Posted by ElevatorEnthusiast
  • Since there is an in-person component, I'm assuming I would need to be within my country of citizenship to visit the consulate?
  • If so, how long does the process take on average in the US between application, appointment, and receipt of visa - a week, month, three months - if it's too long, I might just give up as I don't want to remain in the US that long!
As a US citizen you can get a visa in Hong Kong. You can also pay for premium processing to get it faster.
https://www.visaforchina.cn/HKG2_EN/...e/263703.shtml
1. Regular service: The processing time is usually 4 working days.
2. Express service: The processing time is usually 3 working days.
You are also allowed to apply anywhere else you have permanent residence but if you don't have any then this is a moot point.

Application to appointment may take a while depending on the availability of appointments, AFAIK it is appointment only. Appointment to receipt of visa took me 2 weeks in SF and they said I couldn't expedite it.
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Old Jul 9, 2023, 11:05 am
  #2184  
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
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Originally Posted by moondog
-Assumimg you're a US citizen, 10 years is the default for L and M visas (plus a few others)
A buddy of mine applied through a NY visa agent, for a trip this August. USC. However, his passport expires next February.

Given that the visa would be valid (assuming he was open to carrying two passports), do you reckon he'd still get 10 years?
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Old Jul 9, 2023, 11:51 am
  #2185  
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Originally Posted by FindingFoodFluency
A buddy of mine applied through a NY visa agent, for a trip this August. USC. However, his passport expires next February.

Given that the visa would be valid (assuming he was open to carrying two passports), do you reckon he'd still get 10 years?
Yes. US citizens get 10 years by default because the US gives PRC citizens 10 years (reciprocity). Reciprocity also ensures that we pay a higher fee than people from nearly all other countries.
​​​​​​
moondog is offline  
Old Jul 9, 2023, 2:10 pm
  #2186  
 
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Originally Posted by moondog
Yes. US citizens get 10 years by default because the US gives PRC citizens 10 years (reciprocity). Reciprocity also ensures that we pay a higher fee than people from nearly all other countries.
​​​​​​
Oh, I'm well familiar with the scheme. And the U.S. is why the price is that way

Perhaps it was simply upselling on the agent's part-- they suggested that he may only get six months visa validity due to the looming passport expiration. I figured they just wanted him to renew his passport with them.
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Old Jul 9, 2023, 2:29 pm
  #2187  
 
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I'd probably just renew the passport first to be safe. You need 6 month validity in the passport to enter China anyway

As a plus side, you won't have to carry around the old and the new passport for China
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Old Jul 9, 2023, 3:08 pm
  #2188  
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Originally Posted by gudugan
I'd probably just renew the passport first to be safe. You need 6 month validity in the passport to enter China anyway

As a plus side, you won't have to carry around the old and the new passport for China
His friend's trip is next month, so he needs to set the visa application wheels in motion ASAP. Getting a new US passport quickly isn't easy, but might be worth a punt, I suppose. I got a rush passport once by going to the big passport center in Boston and pleading my case (armed with a reservation for a flight departing 4 days later). The officer grilled me about the importance and urgency of my trip. I felt like he was deliberately trying to get me to misstep.
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Old Jul 9, 2023, 3:13 pm
  #2189  
 
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Hm, pre pandemic I went to the passport office in SF and got a passport same day in about two hours. Required an appointment and I had an upcoming business trip, was relatively easy.
Not sure if it's easy anymore...
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Old Jul 9, 2023, 3:45 pm
  #2190  
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Originally Posted by gudugan
Hm, pre pandemic I went to the passport office in SF and got a passport same day in about two hours. Required an appointment and I had an upcoming business trip, was relatively easy.
Not sure if it's easy anymore...
I only have my single data point to go on, so I guess I had no basis to conclude that rush processing isn't easy. The thing is, I did need to invent the fictitious trip in order to pull it off, and the officer might have sensed I was fibbing so he turned up the volume. I do recall that visa applications are not an officially accepted justification for rush processing; they want to see a planned trip.
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