Visa Questions for China Trip

Old Aug 18th, 2008, 07:32 PM
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Visa Questions for China Trip

Hello,

I have a number of questions about my trip to China I'm taking in October.

First off, I am doing this with Intrepid Travel. Here is our itinerary for reference: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/trips/CSA

1) Since we start in Hong Kong and then go to mainland China I do not believe I need anything to get into Hong Kong based on other posts. We only need a single entry visa to get into China. We fly from Chicago to Shanghai for a layover and then from Shanghai to Hong Kong to start our trip. If we are just laying over in the airport for a few hours in Shanghai that doesn't require us to have a multiple entry visa once we come from Hong Kong, right?

2) Intrepid Travel does not book all of their hotels yet, but just tells us the starting and end point hotels. Do I need the inbetween hotels in order to get the Visa?

3) I've read conflicting reports about getting the Visa 30 days or 90 days in advance. We fly out on October 4th and return on Oct. 19th. Can we get our Visa now or do we need to wait until 30 days before we fly out?

4) Does anyone have any recommendations on how we can get our Visa other than going to an embassy? Has anyone used Oasis China Visa? http://www.oasischinavisa.com

Thanks so much in advance!
bluesphee is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2008, 08:28 PM
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1) Right. You can transit through Shanghai.

2) No. You are not required to state the hotels you will be staying in. The form asks for an itinerary, but any generalities will do and there's no need to stick to what it stated. This is mainly to screen out the people who put Tibet or Xinjiang down, who will be routinely refused unless they are part of an organised tour.

3) The visa situation has been confused by the authorities' desire to keep everyone out during the Olympics and it is said that various tighter controls on visa issuing will not be lifted until Oct 15. So for now leave it until 30 days before. Be prepared to show a return air ticket, and take in a printed itinerary of your tour.

4) Can't help with that. Your nearest consulate web site will typically name visa agencies, and it's likely that consulate staff get a kick-back from these. But presumably they can therefore be relied upon to do the job.

Peter N-H
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Old Aug 18th, 2008, 08:59 PM
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Peter, thank you so much for your very quick response. You were extremely helpful!!!

If anyone has any other tips or advice on ways to obtain the Visa other than going to the embassy that would be great!
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Old Aug 18th, 2008, 09:40 PM
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I'm also looking for a good agency for our visas for an October trip. On the main consulate website it seems to indicate that one is to use a regional consulate -- but most of the cheaper services are located in Houston, it seems. I don't think it really matters which service or consulate you use, anyway.

Also, btw -- I'm wondering if others have experienced the same problem downloading the pdf file with the current visa application? It comes out very garbled, but perhaps that's I have outdated software.
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Old Aug 18th, 2008, 11:58 PM
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I've used these people on many occasions obtain a Chinese Visa.

China Visa Service Center
10700 Richmond, Suite 211
Houston, TX
(800) 799-6560
[email protected]
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Old Aug 19th, 2008, 07:58 AM
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I just used Travisa and it was very easy, just somewhat expensive.
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Old Aug 19th, 2008, 09:18 AM
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CIBT, inc, http://www.us.cibt.com/home.aspx, is very fast & easy. Good luck.
On a different note, how does one cash money in China & Hong Kong? I was in Japan & we could not use our ATM cards. Can you cask American Express Travellers Checks at local banks?
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Old Aug 19th, 2008, 10:56 AM
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We went to China this past April. We used Pacific Delight Tours (land only) and they obtained our visa for us.
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Old Aug 19th, 2008, 02:43 PM
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In 2006 I got my visa from Oasis China Visa very efficiently. I expect to get my next China visa again from them. In a recent phone conversation with Oasis, I was told , additionally, I need to provide copies of my air ticket and hotel reservation with my application, passport etc.
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Old Aug 19th, 2008, 04:22 PM
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I spent 3 hours at the visa office in Vancouver last week. I had with me everything I could think I would need and more - details of the tour, hotel confirmation for the two nights I spend in Beijing before the tour starts,return air ticket, application etc. I was "grilled" for information, told I could not have a visa for 25 days, only one for the length of the tour plus the two nights in Beijing (20 days). I explained I was staying an extra 5 days in and around Shanghai. Then she wanted a list of the hotels I was staying at during the tour. I provided that but didn't have the phone numbers. How, I was asked, would the authorities be able to contact me at those hotels if I didn't supply the phone numbers? I said I'd supplied the main contact in China for the tour company. Where is it? On the application form. And so it went!

Eventually, I was let go. They kept all my documents and told me they might be calling me for more information. I can go back this Friday "to see how the application is proceeding."

I suspect they will give me the visa (hopefully for the 25 days requested), and that this hassling was part of "tighter controls" because of the Olympics.

BTW, at least in Vancouver, they do not accept cash or credit cards. They do accept debit cards, certified cheques, or money orders. This info was not easily found on the various websites I went to, and I watched several people turned away because they did not have the approved form of payment.

Assuming I do get the visa, the time it took was five business days. I wasn't given the option of express or same day - also, I think, suspended because of the tighter controls.

While it's very frustrating, I'm (trying to!) look on it as a learning experience or rehearsal for beaureaucracy I may encounter on my trip. Patience and keeping my cool!

Good luck with your application, bluesphee, and enjoy your trip!

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Old Aug 19th, 2008, 07:41 PM
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bluesphee,
I used Oasis last year to obtain the visa. They were quick & efficient. I would recommend them. Enjoy your trip!
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Old Aug 21st, 2008, 12:31 AM
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Since Chinese visas are US$130 for US citizens whether it's one-entry, two-entries, or multiple, you should apply for at least two-entries.

If you end up with just an one-entry, MAKE SURE you let the officer knows when you fly into Shanghai the first time that you're only transiting. Otherwise, if they stamp over your only visa, you then can't enter again after visiting Hong Kong.
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