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VISA Requirements for Hong Kong to China?

VISA Requirements for Hong Kong to China?

Old Aug 21st, 2009, 07:48 AM
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VISA Requirements for Hong Kong to China?

I am traveling to Hong Kong from the US in mid-September for about 10 days. I'd like to visit mainland China as well, but am a little confused when it comes to obtaining a VISA in Hong Kong. Has anyone done this? Any recommendations on where exactly to apply and what information is required (such as hotel information/itinerary, time required, cost, etc...)

Any suggestions/information would be greatly appreciated!!

Thanks!
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Old Aug 21st, 2009, 09:02 AM
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when you say visit the mainland, do you mean just go across the border to shop?? if so that is very easy....you just apply at the border for a day pass (visa) and shop for the day....i have done it, its easy and routine...

i'm not sure you would want to waste any time getting a regular visa in HK....there are also tours from HK that go over into some parts and they would handle the visa issues for you

please be more specific
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Old Aug 21st, 2009, 09:03 AM
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no visa is required for usa citizens to visit HK for a short period
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Old Aug 21st, 2009, 09:07 AM
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Shopping, sight-seeing, etc. Still in the process of planning, so I don't have a lot of specifics yet. What did you have to do to get a border pass for the day? Cost? Documentation?

Thanks so much for your response!
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Old Aug 21st, 2009, 10:43 AM
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American citizens cannot get day visas at the border from HK to China for many years. I am not aware that anything has changed.

One can get a Chinese visa in advance in the US, or get one from the Chinese visa office in Hong Kong. Cost is the same, about US$120. It is not worth it for a short shopping trip.

The website for that office is:

http://www.fmcoprc.gov.hk/eng/zgqz/bgfwxx/default.htm
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Old Aug 21st, 2009, 11:38 AM
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Yes, as Ray says, it has been many years since day passes were available. If all you want to do is shop (not much to see just across the border), I'd recommend that you stay in Hong Kong to shop. If you want to fly to, say, Bejing or Shanghai, then that's a different issue. As above, no matter whether you cross the border for a day or for a week or a month, you'll need a visa that costs $120. The documentation required to get your visa in Hong Kong is the same as in the US.

You can cross into Macau without a visa. You'll go through immigration there and get stamped into and out of Macau. If you are just looking for a day or couple of day trip from Hong Kong, that can be fun (even if you aren't into casinos). The old parts of Macau are quite charming.
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Old Aug 21st, 2009, 07:02 PM
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well i have learned something new then....it was about 5 years ago that i did the day crossing and honestly we did not think it was worth the energy anyways...
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Old Aug 27th, 2009, 08:30 PM
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As mentioned above, you need to get a visa in advance to go into the PRC. Visas are US$130 each. You usually can apply for one in Hong Kong at the PRC consulate, even if you don’t live in Hong Kong, and it takes about 3-4 days to be issued. The website for the PRC consulate is given in the post above. However, note that their website indicates that non-residents will no longer be issued PRC visas. I don’t know if that is still the rule or if that is just old info on the website. (I have no issue getting visas, but I live in Hong Kong.) If you really want to go to the PRC during your trip, then IMO you are better off getting your PRC visa in the US before you leave just in case you can’t get on in Hong Kong. You can obtain the applications on-line at www.china-embassy.org. On the main page, click on "Visa and Passport" on the left, and read and follow the various instructions. You have to go in person to apply or hire a third party to go for you, as they don't take mail applications.

Also, if you would plan to go on more than one trip into the PRC, you would need a double or even possibly multiple-entry visa. At various points in time (like before the Olympics last year, the PRC ahs not been granting double or multiple entry visas, but I think that they currently are doing so. The website or a call to the embassy would confirm this.

There are some interesting places to go over the border area. However, I would NOT go for shopping. If that is your intent, I would stick to Hong Kong where the range and quality is better. Get a copy of Suzy Gersham's Born to Shop, Hong Kong and knock yourself out. Make sure to get the latest edition.

Otherwise, some places near the border are:

Macau as mentioned above does not require a visa and is a perfectly fine day trip, especially if you don’t go on a weekend and if you avoid the casinos. There is a little bit of colonial charm left in the old town area and I like Colonae a lot as well. With 10 days, I would certainly consider a day trip to Macau.

Shenzhen is the closest city to Hong Kong. It’s basically just over the border from Hong Kong and is reachable by train or bus in about an hour. That is where some people go for shopping. However, IMO, it’s basically crap. Fake Prada bags and bad tailors. There is an artwork “village” called Dafen that is sort of interesting, but if you don’t want to bring back artwork (mostly paintings) I would not make the trip. If you want crap, you can also find that in Hong Kong without having to pay for a visa. (You can of course find lots of interesting shopping in Hong Kong too).

Guangzhou is a city with some historical interest. It is a bit hard to do in a day trip, IMO, as even the fastest way, by ferry, takes 2 hours each way. However, there is a bit to see here of historical interest. Take a look at the info put together by Fodor's on this site, click on Destinations above, choose "Asia", then and look on the left and click on Guangzhou, there is some basic info on Guangzhou, if it looks interesting to you, you might consider a trip. There are some nice hotels, including a gorgeous new Ritz-Carlton.

Kaiping is an area up Pearl River Delta abut 85 miles southwest of Guangzhou, where you can see the diaolóu (often called somewhat erroneously “watch towers”). These were built as homes by returning overseas Chinese in the early part of the last century and are quite something. You can bike around the area and look at them, you can only go in one or two, but even the outside views are wonderful indeed (and due to the lack of preservation, actually more interesting than the inside). Some articles can be found at the Frommers.com website and at http://www.kaiping.gov.cn/test/diaolou/eng; http://www.chinaculture.org/gb/en_cu...ent_79330.htm; and http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/1688 . You can take a ferry to this area from Hong Kong in about 3 hours, but because of the return ferry schedule, a trip there requires an overnight stay. I think you would find this area quite rural and traditional and you would get to see the diaolóu, which not a lot of people have seen. I understand that it is also possible to get to the Kaiping area from Macau, which may be possible and/or easier than from Hong Kong. According to an NY Times article I saw, you can take a bus from Macau in 2.5 hours to Kaiping (the bus goes from Zhuhai Gong Bei which is at the Macau/PRC border).

Crosswaters Lodge - This is an “eco lodge” outside Huizhou, which is about 70 miles from Hong Kong. You can take a car or train (a bus may also be possible). It’s in a lovely mountain area with birding, hiking and visits to local Hakka villages. (There is some air pollution, but you will find it all over the Pearl River Delta, including Hong Kong and Macau). Quite interesting and pretty and very, very untouristed. Huizhou is a largish city, with some pretty areas along the river. For the lodge, see crosswaters.net.cn/.

If you do to the Guangdong area, or just want to read a very interesting book about China generally and the Guangdong area in particular is God's Chinese Son: The Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan, by Jonathan D. Spence. Hong Xiuquan, the man who started the Taping movement based on Christian principals, and eventually lead to the Taping Rebellion, was from the Kaiping area. Its very interesting and sobering as it is estimated that 30 million people died over the course of the Taiping Rebellion.

But otherwise, there is so much to do and see in Hong Kong. I would not waste a day in Shenzhen, and the other areas kind of a toss for a day or even overnight trip for a tourist, esp. given the high visa cost for US citizens. Stay in Hong Kong and get out onto some of the great walking trails, take a ferry trip, have a meal at one of the hundreds of great restaurants, including an outdoor meal at one of the dozens of outdoor restaurants here, or even just shop here if you really must shop. Please search this board for my very long list of reccos called “Cicerone’s Reccos for What the Locals Do for Fun in Hong Kong (Hint: We DON’T Go to those Awful Night Markets....)” at http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...l-night-ma.cfm this should give you some ideas for what to do, including a list of walks and some sources for more walks. For a description of another of my favourite very easy walks on Hong Kong Island, see my posting called “Cicerone’s Favourite Hong Kong Walks II: Paradise Found! From Happy Valley to Stanley in High Heels! (Almost) The Tsz Lo Lan Shan Path” and “Cicerone's Favourite Hong Kong Walks III: The Dragon's Back”. At http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...eels-alm-1.cfm
and http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...agons-back.cfm. Also check the Hong Kong Tourism Board website at discoverhongkong.com for other ideas.

I have a list of restaurant recommendations for Hong Kong which is now 40-pages, which I am loathe to post here as I do not like the new format and the list is way too long anyway. I would be happy to e-mail it to you if you want to send me a message at [email protected]. It is broken down by view, no view, area, price and food type/region.
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Old Aug 28th, 2009, 03:50 AM
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Fees for China visas vary over time (with overnight shifts in either direction), according to your nationality, and according to where you buy them.

For many years Hong Kong was far and away the easiest place for citizens of most developed nations to obtain visas, and particularly the convenient multi-entry ones otherwise hard to obtain without supporting paperwork including an invitation from a recognised entity. It was easier, less bureaucratic, quicker, and cheaper, to obtain these visas from visa agencies, rather than at the Chinese government's own visa issuing office in Hong Kong.

In recent times the choice of visas available in Hong Kong has been reduced, and for a while some nationalities (particularly US citizens) had difficulty obtaining any visa there. However, the agencies are once again offering easy-access three-month tourist visas, and these should be your fist port of call (but note that it is possible that extra temporary difficulties, up to and including suspension of visa issuing may occur in the run-up to the 60th anniversary 'celebrations' on October 1--anything's possible). Visas are usually available next day at no extra charge, and it isn't usually even necessary to provide a passport photograph (although there can be an extra small charge if you don't) or even to fill in a form. It usually isn't even necessary to go in person.

Look here for an example of current rates, types of visa, etc., but contact the agency to confirm before you travel:

http://www.jta.biz/chinavisa/china_visa.htm

Peter N-H
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