Photos from India

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How to obtain a Chinese Visa

I am not going into the specifics on what exactly I did to obtain a Chinese Visa but I will give you the basics. First off as many of my fellow travelers have asked, it didn't involve any strange sexual favors. I simply thought long and hard about the documents they requested seeing. These are all fairly new regulations due to the Olympics. The sweeping hand of the Chinese communist government decided that in order to be considered for a visa, you first needed hotel reservations as well as return flights into and out of the country. For some reason, they chose to ignore those of us hovering around the borders hoping to enter by bus or train. Along with the flights, you needed hotel reservations. Most other backpackers I know were stressed about this, but to me, that was the easy part.

Hotel reservations are easy, I just found a website and made reservations at a China hotel. No problem and no credit card needed. As soon as they emailed a confirmation, I printed off the document and canceled the reservation. The flights however were a whole different issue. Let's just say that making a few bookings to obtain some itineraries as well as an old American Airlines Eticket in my email and a little bit of photoshop went a long way. In hindsight, I figured out that Laos airlines would give you an eticket print off with your name and itinerary and passport number on it without even paying and you could use that just as easily.

From that point, all it took was a ten minute bicycle ride to the embassy, a ridiculous fee for American's only, one small photo and a few hours later I had a Chinese visa! The guy looked at my hotel reservation, my doctored up plane tickets and handed them right back to me. He had no concern at all of how I actually get into the country, he just needed to see the documents for an instant. Beautiful! China here I come!!!


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what he talking about.
Getting a chinese visa is very simple and straight forward. Not much different than any other country. We did not have any delay or complications. Had our visas in 3 days


Anonymous said...

Maybe it was because he is from Alabama----

Anonymous said...

I have been in and out of China over the last 12 years. I can verify the new request for hotel and flight documents, at least leading up to the 2008 Olympics. Before 2008 obtaining a tourist visa was very easy. After 9/11 China stopped allowing mail requests for visas.
I had a terrible experience trying to help friends obtain tourist visas to visit their son who was working in Beijing at the time. I am about to try again but am not sure if they have relaxed the requirement to provide travel documents.

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