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GETTING A CHINESE VISA--PERFECTION REQUIRED

GETTING A CHINESE VISA--PERFECTION REQUIRED

Old Aug 25th, 2012, 06:40 AM
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GETTING A CHINESE VISA--PERFECTION REQUIRED

I thought i would recount for you my experiences with getting a visa to visit china this fall. The purpose of this post is to save YOU time hopefully.

China is one of those countries which prefers that you use an agency to process your visa. I have used Travisa before so I chose them, and besides they have recently opened a small office in boston, thus allowing me not to ship our passports. Their fee for processing each passport is $60, so this fee plus the visa fee brings the cost per passport for a multi-entry 12 month visa to a whopping $205. each.

From the travisa website i found the NY visa office's application forms---4 pages. Be very careful to select the china visa office which services your home state as the forms vary. You are required to TYPE in CAPITAL letters your info onto the form. You must not leave any space blank, you must state "N/A" if you have no entry to make in that section--DO NOT LEAVE IT BLANK and do not use "NONE" as the instructions suggest as an alternative.

For your hotel listing, make sure you include the province where the hotel is, not just the city---I left the province out for Shanghai and my application was rejected... I guess they do not know where Shanghai is located.. Also you must include a copy of each hotel reservation, BUT it cannot be in an e-mail format--it must be in non-email format. BUT, BUT make sure that all names are listed on the reservation confirmation. In my case both my wife's name and my name must be listed on the res form. In one case we are sharing a suite in shanghai with our travelling companion, so all three of our names must appear on the res confirmation. The hotel can do this for you if you request it.

If you have been to china before, you must include a photocopy of your previous visas. If this was in a cancelled passpost, as was ours, you must include a copy showing the cancelled status of that passport.

DO YOU GET THE GIST THAT I FIND THIS CRAZY????

So our visa application package included the following for the 3 of us:

two copies of the 4 page visa application
1 recent passport sized picture for each of us
a copy of our cancelled passports showing the "cancelled" marks in which our previous visa was issued
a copy of our previous visa
a copy of each of our hotel reservation, in a non-email format, listing each person in each room
a 2 or 3 page travisa processing application on which you may use credit card info to pay for all of this---in our case $615. or you may include a check, non-personal i believe.
each of our passports with at least 6 months remaining in their life, and at least 2 full visa pages available (NY juristiction only) in original passport pages, not on add-in pages.

The rules are clearly spelled out on the visa instructions for you--READ THEM CAREFULLY!!!!!!

So with all of this in hand we headed to the travisa office 2 weeks ago. Karen went in and i double parked. Well they tore our applications apart...

I had some hand-written answers on the visa application---I had used the word "none" to answer a few questions. They used our friend's application to highlight things. so she lives in another state so we had to wait to have her new forms in hand before we could re-apply. In addition, I had failed to list the province for our two hotels, one in shanghai (shanghai is the name of the province btw) and the other is in Xian, so i had to find the province. PERSONALLY I WOULD THINK THESE ARE BOTH MAJOR TOURIST AREAS AND THUS WOULD BE WELL KNOWN TO THE VISA OFFICE, BUT NO--PLUS I HAD THE WRITTEN HOTEL CONFIRM WHICH INCLUDED THEIR FULL ADDRESS...
i ALSO HAD THE HOTEL CONFIRMS IN E-MAIL FORMAT WHICH WAS UNACCEPTABLE.

SO WE RETURNED HOME TO RE-DO EVERYTHING AND GET THINGS PICTURE PERFECT.

On our next foray into boston, we tried again. this time K doubleparked. Travisa liked my presentation, but questioned that all people's names were not on the hotel confirmations. They said it should be ok.

The next day I received an email from travisa saying the consulate had put my application on hold because of the hotel confirm names issue. Could i please get new confirms with all names listed on the forms. so I called marriott and easily received a new confirm, via e mail in an attachment, non e-mail form with all 3 of our names listed for our suite.

Starwoods (sheraton) proved to be much more difficult. It took me several phone calls, including 2 "patched" transfer calls to the hotel in Xian, to get this done.
In addition the res for our friend had been made in my name, not hers, which of course caused an additional problem. I had easily fixed that on my first call when they cancelled the original res and made a new one in her name--at a 200+ RBM lesser rate, which she was pleased with.

So our current status is that i have emailed the changes to travisa who will forward them to the consular section in NYC and our visas should be issued in 5-7 business days. i can then pick our passports up in boston--they can be mailed to you too.

my whole point in posting this is so you will not make silly assumptions or mistakes as i did. CHINA'S WHOLE PROCEDURE IS CRAZY AND THEY MEAN WHAT THEY SAY SO BE VERY CAREFUL IN YOUR PREP. Thank god i used travisa or i might have even lost my funds when the paperwork was rejected the first time. So the $60 fee is worth it i guess--or in our case $180...
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Old Aug 25th, 2012, 07:06 AM
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Wow , thank god did not have to do this, i am going to Beijing on 29 October and got my visa at the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa the only request are the 4 pages filled up with pictures, yr passport, copy of your flights and it took 4 days to get it back. Hubby did help he goes to china 4 times a year, I am surprise that they ask for so much more for us citizens .....
It will be my first time in Beijing, staying at the jw Marriott and will have to tour by myself cause hubby is working, wish I could have join ur gtg in shanghai Bob ,I will be going on after to Phuket r u going there???
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Old Aug 25th, 2012, 07:18 AM
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I've just gotten a China visa, also multi-entry 1 year, and had none of the difficulties you describe. I used VisaHQ, recommended by my consolidator. The online form was easy to use, I sent a copy of my itinerary with hotels but a simple format, previous visa approximate dates of visit, all very straightforward.

I used Travisa once a few years ago for visas for India and Pakistan. They returned the passport to me without one of the visas, apparently "forgot" it. So I'm going to venture a guess here that it may be the company you used and not China that's the problem.
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Old Aug 25th, 2012, 09:58 AM
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Omg - what a nightmare. We've sent our paperwork in to mychinavisa and will report back once we hear from them. We only have our hotel in Beijing - the novotel peace hotel so hope we don't have a problem there. Typed normally (not capitals). Guess we'll find out soon.
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Old Aug 25th, 2012, 12:45 PM
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We got our Visas at the Chinese Consulate in NYC a year ago, no problems at all. We returned a week later, paid their fee and were given our passports with Visa inside. We didn't attach a copy of an earlier China visa but included hotel names and dates for our upcoming trip. The form was not complicated at all. The commercial Visa companies' agents stood in another line next to us, each one with huge stacks of passports to process. Sorry you had such a bad experience.
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Old Aug 25th, 2012, 01:49 PM
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I've used mychinavisa.com many times -- always simple, always worked well, and they gave good advice as to which parts of the visa application could be safely ignored.
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Old Aug 25th, 2012, 06:14 PM
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Dear lord Bob. What an ordeal! Its been a few years, but I don't remember anything that arduous with my china visa However I have experienced absurdity of this nature and you must have wanted to deck somebody!
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Old Aug 25th, 2012, 07:27 PM
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my last visa i got from the NY office thru the mail directly with no problems.. maybe it is travisa??
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Old Aug 26th, 2012, 05:49 AM
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evelyne 13. We will be in the phuket area Nov 13, and Khao Lak/Krabi the week before. Let us know where and when you are there.
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Old Aug 26th, 2012, 06:49 AM
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Hello Karen, we will be in Phuket November 9 -18, the first week we are working setting up a future conference for my husband Asian clients and the second week real vacations,but we are free every night, would love to meet u guys. We decided to stay the whole time at the jw marriott. U can also use my email
L_evelyneat hotmail.com
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Old Aug 26th, 2012, 06:54 AM
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Every embassy / consulate applies the rules differently. Sometimes you are lucky sometimes you are not. Still a lot than for Chinese wanting to get a visa to the USA or Canada.
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Old Aug 26th, 2012, 07:03 AM
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EV---your e mail does not work for me??

anyways--we will be at the renaissance the night of nov 13, on the same road with the jw. mcbeanie will be there too. let's all have dinner that night.. we can decide on the jw, renn., or the mall for the dinner and what time?? let me know.

bob
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Old Aug 26th, 2012, 07:04 AM
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the experience makes me want to never return to china after this trip... too many other wonderful places to go with no hastle..
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Old Aug 26th, 2012, 07:49 AM
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Oh Bob that's nothing compared to what a lot of people have to go through to get a US visa.

Out of all the countries I think the UK is the toughest but for American that is not an issue. I have nieces and nephews going to school there and to get their visa renew they have to wait until their grades comes out! If they don't pass the previous term and they need to renew their visa then forget it! They also need to have X-rays of their lungs submitted as well.
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Old Aug 26th, 2012, 07:54 AM
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I think the evidence points to the Travisa process, not China. It would be a shame to limit yourself because of poor service from one company. Come back here next time the possibility of China crosses your mind and ask who's had good visa service lately.

I always liken these episodes to childbirth. If we remembered what a nuisance it was we'd never have more than 1 child. But if it discourages you I certainly sympathize. There were aspects of independent travel in China that put me off so it's taken quite a while for me to decide to go back. And, btw, I have 1 child.
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Old Aug 26th, 2012, 08:07 AM
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What a nightmare!

We have also used mychinavisa dot com before without any hassle and will send our things out tomorrow morning again to them. They did not require upper case type at any location that I could see and the SF(go figure)embassy office even allows handwritten forms. Supporting documents required were:
A) Photocopy of round-trip airline ticket AND hotel reservation; OR
B) Invitation Letter for Tourist Group issued by a Duly Authorized Tourism Unit; OR
C) Invitation Letter issued by Chinese companies, corporations, institutions and individuals. If the invitation is issued by an individual, a photocopy of that person's Chinese ID is required.
Invitation letter issued by companies, corporations, institutions or individuals in China shall include the following items: (A) Personal information of applicant: name, gender, date of birth, passport number, etc. (B) Information concerning applicant's visit: purpose of visit, date of arrival and departure, places to visit, relationship between the applicant and the inviter, and who will bear the cost of the applicant's accommodations in China. (C) Information of inviter: name of the unit or individual, phone number, address, and if applicable, seal and signature of the legal representative.

Invitation letter can be submitted as a photocopy. However, original invitation and/or personal interview may be requested at visa officer's discretion.

They also needed the China Visa application filled out with these instructions:
<i>Forms must be completely filled, signed and dated. One form per applicant. Do not leave any areas blank but instead write "N/A" if you don't have answer to a question, or if the question does not apply to you.</i>

One color photograph along with your passport and a copy of your passport.

Charges were:

140.00 passport fee
45.00 service fee
26.00 fedex shipping fee

They even had a link to an instructional video online of the process on their website.

I'll let you know what happens!

Aloha!
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Old Aug 26th, 2012, 01:15 PM
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pook, it's surprises me that you say the UK is difficult, looking at some of the employees it looks( to me) like they let anyone in!!! )
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Old Aug 26th, 2012, 02:20 PM
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Hawaiintraveler - if they don't let Bob & Karen into the country, we will have to meet in Shanghai without them!!!
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Old Aug 26th, 2012, 03:38 PM
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It is actually tougher for a Chinese to get a Canadian visa than a US visa. Despite filing all kind of info including bank statements, letters from your employer and family history, the reject rate is about 80%. Read this interesting blog here: http://www.chinatraveltrends.com/201...nese-citizens/
The US also requires an interview. Quite an issue when you do not live near a consulate. My Chinese friends do not describe the process as cumbersome but rather humiliating.
Consider your self lucky, you only have to file paperwork and visas are rarely refused.
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Old Aug 26th, 2012, 05:40 PM
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i know usa is tough, but for obvious reasons... we give everything away once you are here---you are set for life..

this aught to make folks hot as hell
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