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Chinese visa discussion

Chinese visa discussion

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Old Apr 6, 05, 7:50 am
  #1  
LRD
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Chinese visa discussion

I'm an American, and need to get a tourist visa for travel to China in June.

Any recommendations for a reliable service/agent that I can use? And, how long should this process take?

Thanks.

Last edited by LRD; Apr 6, 05 at 7:57 am
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Old Apr 6, 05, 9:31 am
  #2  
 
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I used ZVS (Zierer Visa Service) http://www.zvs.com/

I needed one with only about a weeks notice, so I opted for their 2-3 day turnaround (at an extra expense of about $70) which worked out well (I had it back in 3 days). But since you have plenty of time, their normal 7-10 day turnaround should work well for you.
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Old Apr 6, 05, 1:08 pm
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I used travisa: http://www.travisa.com/

The service was excellent, with emails noting when application was received and estimated issue date of visa, when materials were transmitted to Chinese embassy, etc. I used normal, non-expedited service and it arrived a couple days early.
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Old Apr 10, 05, 5:03 pm
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It depends...

Depending on your itinerary.

If you are starting in HK, just wait and get a visa there. As a US citizen, you don't need a visa to enter HK. It will be quicker and cheaper, and you can often charge it to your hotel room.

One day turnaround. Take official passport photos with you - get a package of 4 at Kinko's stateside before you go. If you get over there and forget the pics, you can easily get them locally. There's a little photo shop behind the Sheraton on the Kowloon side that can do it in a short turnaround.

If you aren't starting in HK - more common now as HK slides ever more quickly into the abyss from its former dominance of the "gateway to China" position. get it done stateside before you go.

Go ahead and get a multi-entry.
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Old Apr 10, 05, 8:37 pm
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Originally Posted by JHattery
Go ahead and get a multi-entry.
Multi entry requires official letters if applying in the USA. Much easier to obtain out of HK.

I've always referenced www.traveldocs.com whenever needing to download visa forms and to know entry requirements. They are based in DC I believe.
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Old Apr 11, 05, 6:32 am
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Originally Posted by fallinasleep
Multi entry requires official letters if applying in the USA. Much easier to obtain out of HK.
.
though i won't deny that having 15 visas in my passport is an asset, i would like to state that the letter requirement isn't enforced all too strictly, especially during times where our countries have friendly relations, such as now.

also, the letters needn't be official. a friend just walked into the dc embassy last week and came a way with a 2-year f w/ 200 days per entry solely on the basis of a large stack of emails. he hasn't been to the PRC in 5 years.

ps - i believe you can can officially get a 6-month L without any supporting documentation. L and F are functionally equivalent as long as you don't boast about any hot business endeavors.

Last edited by moondog; Apr 11, 05 at 6:36 am
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Old Apr 12, 05, 5:30 pm
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Originally Posted by fallinasleep
Multi entry requires official letters if applying in the USA. Much easier to obtain out of HK.

I've always referenced www.traveldocs.com whenever needing to download visa forms and to know entry requirements. They are based in DC I believe.
I used traveldocs and was very happy with the service.
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Old Jun 19, 06, 7:27 pm
  #8  
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China F-Visa for U.S. Citizens

Last week I walked into the Chinese Embassy in San Francisco and had no problem getting a multi-entry "F" visa for 120 days/visit. I had an admissions letter from a language school (two 4-week courses) and all I needed was a single entry visa. However, I asked about the 1-year F and she said fine. I only had one other visa for China in my passport (30 day "L" visa from last summer). I hope this means that I can get a 2-year F visa when this one expires next June.
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Old Jun 21, 06, 8:47 am
  #9  
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2 Year F Visa

I ran across this , which sounds as if it might be accurate, though I don't claim it's authoritative.
2-Year Multiple Entry Visa Requirements:
(1) Current passport with at least 2 years of validity
(2) One photocopy of the personal information page of the passport (the page with the applicant’s photo)
(3) Completed visa application form
(4) One recent passport-size photo
(5) The applicant has entered China before and presents evidence of this, such as one photocopy of his/her most recent Chinese visa.
(6)One of the following requirements must be met:

(A) The applicant holds an academic title of associate professor or higher at a foreign institution of higher learning and/or research. He/she must also be a guest professor or hold another long-term position at a Chinese institution of higher learning and/or research. Original credentials (and photocopies) from both foreign and Chinese institutions must be presented. (Originals will be returned.)

(B) The applicant has investment in China and presents the original business license (along with one photocopy) registered under his/her name. (The original will be returned.)
(C) The applicant holds a senior technical or management position in a foreign company with a branch in China and presents an application letter from the foreign company along with an invitation letter from the branch in China. The application letter must include the applicant's position and purpose for visiting China. Both the application letter and the invitation letter must be typed on the company's official letterhead and bear the company’s seal, or the signature of the manager in charge.
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Old Jun 21, 06, 11:34 am
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Originally Posted by rjh
I ran across this , which sounds as if it might be accurate, though I don't claim it's authoritative.
i don't doubt that the referenced text comes from an official source, but three points are worth noting: 1) each consulate posts its own requirements; 2) most that i've seen are considerably more lenient than what you quoted; and 3) the de facto standards are typically even friendlier than anything you'll see in print.

paragraph 6, in particular, strikes me as particularly far afield. in fact, i'd be surprised if 10% of f-visa holding public has been forced to jump through that hoop.

as myself and many others have posted before, an amenable personality and a creative mind are the only hard prerequisites for a 2-year f. anyone that is accustomed to dealing with the types of problems that typically confront frequently travelers (i.e. canceled flights, sold out hotels, etc) should have no trouble getting good results on the visa front.
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Old Jun 30, 06, 2:34 am
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Thumbs up some visa tips

Originally Posted by LRD
I'm an American, and need to get a tourist visa for travel to China in June.

Any recommendations for a reliable service/agent that I can use? And, how long should this process take?

Thanks.
hey there are some tips for you on China visa:
Do not apply for your tourist visa too early. As the duration of a tourist visa is 3 months, the earliest time you should consider is 3 months before your journey starts. If you apply too early your visa will expire before you enter the country. To successfully apply for a Chinese Visa, you need to provide a valid passport (should be valid for at least 6 months), filled application form and photos. Usually the processing time is about 5-7 working days, but you might consider more time if you apply by mail (2 weeks of processing).
If u desire to prolong your stay in China you will need to apply for an extension to their visa with appropriate reasons. The application for extension should be made at the municipal public security bureaus 7 days before visa expires. However, you should know that extension request will be denied if your duration of stay was shortened, if you do not have sufficient traveling expenses, and if you are a family visitor with no special reason for extension. Also you should know that multiple visas cannot be extended .
good luck !
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Old Jun 30, 06, 8:55 am
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extensions

Originally Posted by S_Dragonfly
The application for extension should be made at the municipal public security bureaus 7 days before visa expires. However, you should know that extension request will be denied if your duration of stay was shortened, if you do not have sufficient traveling expenses, and if you are a family visitor with no special reason for extension. Also you should know that multiple visas cannot be extended .
good luck !
actually, pretty much any visa can be extended, but multiple entry visas often loose their multi-entry status when extended (maybe that's what you were referring to) unless you pay an agency to do the legwork for you (which costs around $200).

also, i can vouch from personal experience that extensions can be processed as much as 7 days after expiry. but, this often entails a visit to the back room and a power trip style lecture.

i've been in the above situation three times and have never had to fork over extra cash. however, the official penalty is around y400 per day iirc. on a related note, one of my friends from japan overstayed her visa by a whopping 60 days about 5 years ago and learned her lesson the hard way at the airport when she tried to leave. the officials didn't charge her the whole $3000, but they did hit her up for y5000 ($600). because she was a student at the time, she didn't have that kind of money on her person, but a fellow traveler did and advanced the cash so she could get out of town.

while i'm in story-telling mode, i might as well divulge my personal favorite. several years back one of my colleagues stayed in a philippines a week longer than he was supposed to. while the airport guys were trying to figure out how much money they could squeeze out of him, he decided to take advantage of the chaos and simply walk on through. he proceeded directly to his airplane, which was already boarding and hid in the bathroom until after they were airborne.

i certainly don't encourage people to overstay their visas, but if you do, it won't be the end of the world.
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Old Jul 1, 06, 10:03 pm
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So let me see if I got this straight.

If I'm interested in going to China next May on a tourist visa with my family, I should apply for it not less than 3 months before the trip, right?

Here's a question. If I apply for the visa at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., can I just drop it off there and they will mail it to my home in Hawaii? Or do I have to go back and pick it up? The reason for this is that there will be six or eight of us going and those travel agency fees really add up. Or is there no way getting around paying a few hundred $ in fees along with the visa fee itself?
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Old Jul 2, 06, 1:50 am
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Originally Posted by honmani2
Here's a question. If I apply for the visa at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., can I just drop it off there and they will mail it to my home in Hawaii?
Yes, you can do that. In fact, I got my current visa there and had it mailed to Portland, OR. All relevant info is detailed on the consulate's web site. Key points include: 1) bring them a self-addressed FedEx/UPS/ExpressMail; 2) get a money order for the total fees plus $5 per person. The consulate is just north of Georgetown on Wisconsin Ave. I walked there from the Tenleytown Metro Station, which took about 30 minutes. I took a taxi back to Dupont Circle, which was about $6.
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Old Jul 2, 06, 9:06 am
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Originally Posted by moondog
i don't doubt that the referenced text comes from an official source, but three points are worth noting: 1) each consulate posts its own requirements; 2) most that i've seen are considerably more lenient than what you quoted; and 3) the de facto standards are typically even friendlier than anything you'll see in print.

paragraph 6, in particular, strikes me as particularly far afield. in fact, i'd be surprised if 10% of f-visa holding public has been forced to jump through that hoop.

as myself and many others have posted before, an amenable personality and a creative mind are the only hard prerequisites for a 2-year f. anyone that is accustomed to dealing with the types of problems that typically confront frequently travelers (i.e. canceled flights, sold out hotels, etc) should have no trouble getting good results on the visa front.
Moondog, since you seem to have knowledge of this process I have a question maybe you can help me with. I've been told in HK that an American has to have at least 2 entrys on a previous F visa to get the 6 month or year F visa, is this true in the states? Does your F (if you have one) have the 30 day limit that lots of American's get put in theirs? I have a residence permit now but I'm considering quitting my job and would lose the permit but want to stay in China (I probably wont lose the permit until the expiration date in Jan, but I want to be prepared)

Also have you heard anything good or bad about the "visa consultants" in large cities (B.J., S.H., G.Z.)that will get foreigners a year long Residence permit of F visa for a fee of around Y3000?
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