To some, navigating the paperwork and application process for foreign travel visas can be a nightmare even in the best of cases. Fees and processing times vary from country to country. China in particular offers an unusual disparity between Americans and other nationalities, due to the reciprocal fees the United States imposes on visiting Chinese citizens.
If you are considering traveling in the coming months, don’t forget your Chinese visa checklist:
1. Type of visa
US citizens must apply for a Chinese visa before arriving in China, whether their trips are for tourism, business, study, or work. In the case of a extended stopover during travel, 24-hour or 72-hour transit visas will be provided in major cities, and 144-hour transit visas are available in Shanghai and the surrounding areas. Tourist (L) and Transit (G) visas are among some of the more common issued, but Travel Visa Pro can also assist with Business (F/M), Student (X), and Work (Z) visas.
2. Be aware of the processing time and fees
The fees that apply to a Chinese tourist visa (L) are where we see a difference for US citizens. Chinese embassies and consulates offer three types of service that we at Travel Visa Pro are able to offer our clients:
– Regular Service, recommended if your planned travels to China are over a month away (no additional fees)
– Express Service, recommended if your planned travels to China are within a month (additional $20 fee)
– Rush Service, recommended if your planned travels to China are within a week or two (additional $30 fee).
Don’t forget that we offer our VIP concierge service for Chinese visas, further ensuring your visa will be processed in time for your flight. Currently the US Department of State charges Chinese citizens $160 for tourist visas. As a result, the fees imposes by China for their tourist visas are equally as high for Americans, $140, whereas citizens of other countries are charged $30 or less.
3. Check your travel documents
Have you recently renewed your passport with us? If your Chinese visa is in an old or expired passport, it’s no longer valid and you’ll have to apply again.
4. Proof of onward travel
China is not the country to which you should be going with flexible travel plans. Like many others, immigration requires proof of onward travel if you want to enter the country. An airline reservation or train ticket will suffice.
5. Address in China
Anyone traveling to China under any type of visa must provide proof of address at the time of the application. For tourists, this means showing a confirmation letter or email from a hotel. For those traveling for work, a contract proving employment with the company address is required.