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How do you apply for a tourist visa for China?

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Jan 20th, 2002, 01:42 PM
  #1
Philip
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How do you apply for a tourist visa for China?

My wife and I are traveling from Detroit to Beijing on March 10, 2002. We will be vacationing for 10 days in China and returning from Shanghai. I want to make sure I comprehend the visa application requirements. We live in Texas and will only make one entry. We would like to accomplish this task entirely by overnight service (e.g., Lone Star Overnight, FedEx). I have downloaded a Visa Application Form and have had passport photos taken. Having said all this, could you help me with the following questions?

1. I think I am applying for an "L" visa. Would you agree?

2. I forward the two passports, the two completed Visa Application Forms, a single money order for $70 payable to P.R. China and a single pre-paid Lone Star Overnight (or FedEx) return packet. The $70 would include the two visa fees and the two submit by mail fees. Is there any problem using an overnight (Lone Star, Fed Ex, etc.) service to send the package? Is there any problem enclosing a prepaid, say FedEx, envelope for the passports to be returned? I am concerned about the good old USA mail service losing package, including passports.

Would appreciate any corrections where my understanding is flawed.
 
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Jan 20th, 2002, 02:44 PM
  #2
Peter Neville-Hadley
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Yes, you have applied for the right visa. The 'L', by the way, is the initial letter of the Mandarin word for 'tourist' when spelled with the Roman alphabet.

The consulate will certainly accept your visa application as sent, and will almost certainly return your passports the same way. If not, they will use the mail. Either way, you will them back.

Peter N-H
http://members.axion.net/~pnh/China.html
 
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Jan 20th, 2002, 05:07 PM
  #3
Michele
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I am not sure where in Texas you are from, but there is a Chinese consulate office in Houston. My sister did ours in person, because we were also nervous about sending off our passports.
 
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Jan 20th, 2002, 06:16 PM
  #4
jay
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You are supposed to deal with the consulate in Texas, although they won't ignore your application if you send it elsewhere.

Never use regular mail for passport mailing. Registered mail is not a good idea either if you are leaving in early March. If necessary, go to http://www.chinahouston.org/visa.htm for more information.
 
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Feb 2nd, 2002, 05:25 AM
  #5
Philip
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Thanks for help!

I went to Chinese Visa office in Houston last week. In addition to above, I found out...........

Go to http://www.chinahouston.org/visa.htm for aplication form.

Cost for couple if handled by mail/overnight - $65 (not $70)

They ONLY utilize FedEx. Therefore, if I were sending in, I would send by FedEx and enclose the return FedEx label.
 
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Feb 3rd, 2002, 02:03 AM
  #6
kelly
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Did you have to submit a copy of your itinerary or airline tickets to get your visa? They stated this on the Chicago Consulate site, but i didn't see it mentioned on the NY one...
 
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Feb 3rd, 2002, 03:59 AM
  #7
Philip
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Kelly,

No. I had it with me but they never requested. I was there for about 30 minutes and nobody else had to produce.

 
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Feb 3rd, 2002, 09:09 AM
  #8
Peter Neville-Hadley
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Minor variations in the requirements for visas come and go according to the state of your country's relations with China. These regulations are not evenly applied--one consulate may pick them up but not another. When particular restrictions go away again consulates may not bother to take down signs relating to them, and keeping their web sites up to date are the last things on their minds. In general, having an easy life and not taking any responsibility or putting themselves at risk of making a controversial decision, are the primary concerns of consular staff.

There have been periods when a return air ticket was required, when evidence that your bank account held a certain minimum sum of money, or that you pay a non-refundable checking fee with your visa application were all in force, and signs relating to all of these may still be up. Until recently one consulate had a sign saying that only people on group tours could enter China. It was up for years, but buying individual visas was no problem.

In general staff are helpful and friendly these days, and just want to get things done with the least fuss possible.

At the moment, with the general decline in air travel, particularly by US citizens, the Chinese will be glad to get any visitors they can. The only thing likely to lead to a refusal would be to mention Tibet or Xinjiang on your visa application. Never do that, even if that's where you plan to go--your visa is anyway valid for the whole country (although there's a strange, and probably illegal, extra permit for Tibet you must buy while there. But that's another story).

Peter N-H
http://members.axion.net/~pnh/China.html
 
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Feb 3rd, 2002, 10:41 AM
  #9
John G
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Why don't you just use a visa service like I do? A travel agent can recommed one. They do all the work for you, plus make sure you get your visa back in time to make the trip. When you pay $6000 for a trip to China or India, you don't want to have to worry about getting your visa in time or whether or not it will get lost in the mail. Use a visa service for peace of mind.
 
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Feb 3rd, 2002, 07:12 PM
  #10
name
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The notion that a travel agent or a visa service agency can do a better job is ludicrous. Cut out the middleman whenever you can. That John G uses an agency does mean the rest of us should follow suit.
 
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Mar 26th, 2002, 07:13 AM
  #11
GBJay
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I agree with "name" above. Do it yourself, by going to the site passportvisaexpress.com. It is pretty much hassle-free with all the instructions you need clearly stated there. Hope this helps.
 
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