Monday, June 22, 2015

The Easy Way To Get A Visa For China

By Jonny Blair

It came to my attention recently that a few travellers have had problems and issues getting visas for China. Everyone wants to visit the world's most populated country so I'm here with my latest visa advice for China!! I'm heading to China again soon for my 6th visit and I want to explain an easy and simple way for you travellers to get your China Visa - it's easy! All you need to do is ... get yourself to HONG KONG!

In terms of defining a country, as far as I'm concerned Hong Kong is one. It has it's own currency, flag, visa regulations and national football team. It was also British for a while, and that ended back in 1997. These days, lots of nationalities can get to Hong Kong without a Visa. You will get a stamp on arrival at the airport. If you arrive on a UK passport you can stay for 180 days no problem! A lot of nationalities also get a 90 day entry stamp - check with your embassy.

First up Hong Kong sits nicely on the border with China and so it's a perfect place to sort out your visa. There are a few immigration points between Hong Kong and Shenzhen and I've been to a few of them.

There are literally hundreds of places in Hong Kong to get a China Visa and as far as I can tell, being in Hong Kong is by far and away the easiest and best way to get your visa for China, outside your home country, which as global nomads we are scarcely in.

In Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong there are countless guys on the streets who can all sort you out with a visa but while they may be legitimate, be careful. My advice is head to an agency and sort it out - there are loads of agencies and they will take you through the process.

These days, I get double or multiple entry visas for China. But my first ever China Visa was a single entry, so do that for starters unless you are planning two trips. So where should I get the Visa done? Well as I mentioned there are countless agencies that do them in Hong Kong (and although it might be cheaper to go to the Embassy - DON'T). Use an agency. You'll get your Visa easily, no problem, on time and can collect even after normal closing hours. They will even help you fill in the form and if you don't have the things you need they will tell you what to do. These agencies often open all day Saturday, weekday nights and some even a half or part day Sunday. Yes, I know agencies charge a bit more and I'm a budget traveller but I also believe that "time is money" and these agencies are fast and helpful so they save you time. An agency I have used recently is China Travel Service (Hong Kong).

There's a host of these China Travel Services branches everywhere so you can't miss them!

The application for a China Visa is very straight forward and the process is a fast one in Hong Kong

I'll shorten it for you here to make it easy, these are the things you need:

1. A passport, valid for at least another 6 months and with space for 2 pages in it

2. One passport photo

3. The application form completed, with main points:

- entry point to China - put Shenzhen as then they know you are crossing a land border HK to China. 1000s of tourists do this route every day.

- expected date of travel - make it up if you're not sure - you will get 3 months to enter China from the date they put on the visa.

- There is a section for hotel/where you are staying. I normally just write a hotel name in the city I'm visiting on that trip, or write - staying with friends. On none of my 4 recent trips have I actually stayed in the place I wrote on the form. They never check. If they do then you will need to book a hostel or hotel online and print it to show them (I've never heard of this actually happening though).

- Have you got medical insurance? Always write no, believe me!

- type of visa you want - go for a single entry of course if this is your first time, if not pick the visa you want (note they can turn multiple entries down easier)

4. Your payment - varies depending on nationality but shouldn't be more than 40 UK.

5. Hand the application in yourself.

If you want your visa quicker you can pay more and collect within a day or two.

So that's it! Easy enough to get a visa for China in Hong Kong - go ahead and sort it out!

A separate post will detail the border itself - not too tricky

Have a great time doing China and enjoying a lifestyle of travel!

Jonny the travelling Northern Irishman

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