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Getting a Tourism Visa for China Adventure

November 06, 2012

photo of our visa for China ( what I can show)

We're heading off to China this week and are happy to have the visa process behind us. Now we know how to get a Chinese visa while in Southeast Asia and we're getting excited about our trip! Our dear friend Winser Zhao from China Travel 2.0 has been a huge help with our trip planning. We met many years ago online via Twitter, so it's exciting to finally meet in person. If you are planning a trip to China, I can't recommend him highly enough.

Getting a visa for China was very straight forward, easy and certainly not a nightmare like getting an Indian visa from Asia, but of course there were a few bumps along the way as we figured out how to do it.

After 7 years of non-stop world travel , we have quite the collection of passport stamps and visas and regularly have to learn what hoops need to be jumped through for each country. Getting a tourist visa can sometimes be an adventure.

Because our child is in a Mandarin school in Penang, we all have long stay visas for Malaysia, thus that probably makes things a bit easier. It's probably easiest to get one's visa from your home country, but since we are rarely there and we are very spontaneous about travel decisions, we almost always get our visas while traveling.


great wall of China picture on our Chinese visas

Often they are quite easy, but China had more rules ( but not as many as India). The China visa is also quite expensive for Americans ( 1500 rmb or 165 dollars each), but I hear that is because of reciprocity. We could have paid an agency to do this for us, but the price was outrageous, almost as much as the visa, so we just did it on our own since we are budget travelers.

GETTING CHINA VISA IN MALAYSIA

Getting our China visas was actually VERY easy. We filled out some forms and brought them with our passports to the KL China Visa Center. We had talked to them quite a bit by phone before going to make sure we had everything correct. It took about 15 minutes total  to drop them off and apply and less than 15 minutes to pick them up.

Sometimes they like to do interviews, but that was not requested for us. We had applied for a multi-entrance visa and at least 60 days. Alas, we only got a one time visa and only for a month, so we had to rebook our flights ( not fun).

BUS TO KL FROM PENANG ADVENTURE

The real hassle and adventure came with the buses in Penang. Thankfully, DaVinci had to do this on his own and managed to do it in two VERY long days, dodging large rats, swarms of bugs and barking-at-him wild dogs at dawn.

He got up at 4:30 to leave at 5:00 AM both times and got home at 11 PM the first time and 2:30 AM the second time. The good news is he made it safely and entertained us with the stories of his adventure.

Have you ever gotten a visa for China? Do you enjoy the adventure of getting visas while traveling?




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Meghan

I went to the embassy in NYC to apply for the visa. The line was out the door and I waited about 5 hours. I watched and almost 1/2 the people were turned away because of paperwork issues. I had to change my paperwork as I was told I could not apply for a multi entry visa but my paperwork was accepted. I came back 2 days later and waited for 10 minutes to pick up.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Interesting Meghan, thanks so much for the input! It was very crowded in KL as well, but thankfully it went quickly and also the access by phone was extremely helpful to make sure we had our paperwork complete before we got there.

Darleen

My daughter was invited at the last minute to join a classmate on her summer vacation to see her father in China and needed a visa fast. (She had been invited because her classmate's first choice did not think to apply for a passport!)

At the time my daughter was attending an international boarding school in California. We did not know the family but asked the school for advice on her security with them and the school assured me this was a wise decision.

Turns out the family was wonderful and made all the arrangements for her visa. She had a delightful three week adventure with her school chum to several cities, attending family and business dinners along the way.

I still don't know how they managed but my daughter was issued a two year visa in one week and had the time of her life.

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