Is it OK to obtain visa in LA, not SF?

Old Nov 3rd, 2003, 08:01 AM
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Is it OK to obtain visa in LA, not SF?

I believe one gets a visa for a trip planned within the next 3 months. Is this correct? I had planned to obtain one for myself, husband and another couple while we were in San Francisco later this week, but our trip isn't until March 24th. If the 3 month rule is correct, I am out of luck.

However, I will be in the LA area in late January. Any reason I couldn't do it there, even though I live in Washington and am supposed to go to San Francisco?

Your knowledgeable input will be appreciated.

Thanks,
Jean
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Old Nov 3rd, 2003, 09:51 AM
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Could you help us answer your question by specifying for which country or countries you need a visa?

Also why in Los Angeles or San Francisco? Most countries maintain an embassy in Washington DC. There are also consulates in cities like New York and Chicago.

Another way to get a visa is to have a courier do it for you for a fee. Couriers specialize in doing this, especially for corporations where employees may need multiple visas.

Help us! Thanks!

easytraveler
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Old Nov 3rd, 2003, 03:08 PM
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China is the country. Thought I had marked China as where this would be posted.

Anyway, you can't do this by mail as of May 1, 2003--it can be done in person. I'd rather save the $ and worry about losing the passport and do it in person if I am able. Thus, the question about LA not SF. (I will be there prior to my trip to China). This is my preference.

The question again: Can I do it in Los Angeles?
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Old Nov 3rd, 2003, 04:10 PM
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Even though you initally posted this to the China section, it will show up under both China and all of Asia, so it's a bit confusing. You usually still need to state the location in your post or heading. It's just how the fodors boards are set up.

We've successfully obtained visas in the past for some of our out of state contractors at the Los Angeles consulate. If I recall correctly, the most recent was for someone with a Colorado residence (which is under the jurisdiction of the Washington DC embassy). But I just read the FAQ's on the LA consulate's website and it explicitly says you cannot do this, so I'm not sure if the rules have changed or we were lucky. Sorry I know this isn't much help.

I would say if it's not too much out of the way to try in LA when you're down here.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2003, 04:18 PM
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The Chinese consulates are specified to serve certain states, so according to the consulate website, Washington state is served by the San Francisco consulate office. Looking at the FAQ for the LA consulate, it seems like you will be required to get the visa in SF.
See the FAQ section of the website for the LA consulate regarding a similar question. http://www.chinaconsulatela.org/data...016010808.html
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Old Nov 3rd, 2003, 04:38 PM
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Hi, pumpkin!

I would add the following to Patty's excellent advice.

You indicated "Washington", and I am assuming that you are in Washington State and not Washington DC. If you are in Washington State, the Chinese consulate charged with responsibility for your state is the San Francisco one, not the Los Angeles one. Thus, if you were to arrive in Los Angeles and go to the Chinese Consulate there, they may well redirect you to San Francisco.

I would suggest the following: since you have plenty of time still, write to the San Francisco Consulate and ask them directly. Rules are always changing and those of us on this forum may not have all the answers. Sometimes I've found that when asking a question directly to a Chinese consular officer, there is no quick answer, as that consular officer has to check with his/her superior.

I believe that you can still download the visa application form from the consular sites. I would strongly suggest doing this and seeing what is necessary for the type of visa that you are applying for. Since you are doing this yourself, I am assuming that you are not going on a tour or that somehow you do not have a travel group to help you with your visa.

In the past, it was possible - for an added fee - to get 24 hour or same day service. In your letter, you should inquire if this is still possible.

I would still strongly suggest that you write directly to the San Francisco consulate with all your relevant questions and establish, at least a written connection, with some consular officer.

Make sure you have your documents lined up in a row. When you walk into the consulate offices (on the corner of Geary and Laguna, in San Francisco), you should be able to present all relevant documents and include copies of any correspondence you have had with a consular officer - just in case you get hassled about not having the "correct" stuff. These are bureaucrats, just like any bureaucrats anywhere in the world. The more they can go by the book, the easier you have made it for them, and the faster your visa will be approved. The more deviations from the norm, the harder it will be to get that visa quickly.

Don't try to call them. I have never had any success reaching anyone at the Chinese Consulate. At least not someone who could answer my questions in depth.

Go online and get as much information as you can:

www.chineseconsulatesf.org/

The LA consular offices has a slightly different format and the information is presented a bit differently, but it's essentially the same information.

Good luck! And hope other posters can offer you more guidelines and information.

easytraveler
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Old Nov 3rd, 2003, 07:21 PM
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Unless things have changed....Im not going to fuss w/ all those pages!....yes you can get a visa for China in LA. I did 2 springs ago w/ very little fuss. I parked about a block away, walked in, stood in line only for a few minutes, got to the window, had my stuff organized, left my passport etc and returned in a few days and picked it all up! No muss!! No fuss!! I then went to the LA China Town....shabby compared to SF's....and had a lunch to celebrate.

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