China Visas (Applied For)

Discussion in 'Other Lands' started by Nomarian, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. Nomarian

    Nomarian Mouseketeer

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    Today we applied for our China Visas and I wanted to at least let other Americans know what it took to get them done and make sure they don't have to make multiple trips like we did. :(

    A little family background before I get started. We are a family of 4 with my two boys being 13 and 16. We are all American citizens and each hold a US passport. Luckily, we have a Chinese Consulate here in Houston, so we were able to take our applications to be processed there.

    I am a crazy planner and I knew that I wanted a full Visa vs using the 144-hour transit "visa" that others have used. Our travel plans would have exceeded the 144-hour rule anyways and I did not want to have to worry about the 144 hour limit. I went to the Chinese Consulate website and found documentation that listed what kind of Visas are available and following the lists, I found that we wanted the "L" Visa for a tourist. I downloaded form v2013 and proceeded to fill it out. Here is an example form filled out: http://alliedpassport.com/cty/china-sample-secure.pdf. I then read through all the required documents and made all the copies of the required paperwork and had them ready for the next day.

    I can tell you that the documentation does not tell you all the paperwork required for the Visa and we found that out the hard way. The nice lady went through our paperwork and proceeded to tell me what was missing and I had to come back with it. We drove home (30 minutes), got the rest of the paperwork and went back into line. I should note that the line was probably a 20 minute wait at the Consulate. We got back into line and had another lady and she proceeded to tell us what was missing now. Luckily, we were able to get that resolved with a quick trip to the local copy machine down the street. I knew that this was going to be a process, but sheesh.

    So here is what is needed for each person if you plan on applying for a China Visa. We applied for a 10 year Visa, since the cost is the same for a 6 month, 12 month or 10 year.

    Myself
    1.) Filled out application, signed and dated.
    2.) Passport Photo
    3.) Passport
    4.) Photocopy of my passport (important)
    5.) Printouts of my flights and hotels in China with the names of all the family members. They mainly cared about the plane reservations. They only saw my name on the hotel reservations.

    Wife
    1.) Filled out application, signed and dated.
    2.) Passport Photo
    3.) Passport
    4.) Photocopy of her passport (important)

    Son #1
    1.) Filled out application, signed and dated. (Note that on this, he signs his part and there is a part for me to sign and date as I did his form for him. He also notes that he is a student for his job.)
    2.) Passport Photo
    3.) Passport
    4.) Photocopy of his passport (important)
    5.) Photocopy of my passport
    6.) Photocopy of my wife's passport
    7.) Photocopy of his birth certificate

    Son #2
    1.) Filled out application, signed and dated. (Note that on this, he signs his part and there is a part for me to sign and date as I did his form for him. He also notes that he is a student for his job.)
    2.) Passport Photo
    3.) Passport
    4.) Photocopy of his passport (important)
    5.) Photocopy of my passport
    6.) Photocopy of my wife's passport
    7.) Photocopy of his birth certificate

    With that done, she accepted our paperwork. Woohoo! We pick up our visas in 1 week and the cost is $140 per person paid by money order or credit card (Visa or Mastercard) during pickup. Hope that helps others that want to get a full Visa vs using the 144 transit option.
     
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  2. OKW Lover

    OKW Lover Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle. DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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    Good info! We visited China in October and found the China Visa application process was quite involved. Anybody planning such a trip should begin the visa process as early as possible.
     
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  4. MommaBerd

    MommaBerd DIS Veteran

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    @Nomarian - Thank you for this information! We are probably going to use a visa service since we live in Atlanta and my DH is going for business. BUT, it is still good to know in advance all of the info and paperwork required, especially the part about putting “student” for the “job” blank.
     
  5. Mousequake

    Mousequake DIS Veteran

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    Great info. We visited in November and opted for the 144-hour transit without visa option, but I've got to admit the ultra-planner in me who likes to have all my ducks in a row was VERY nervous about it. It ended up being a complete non-issue and went smooth as silk.
     
  6. OKW Lover

    OKW Lover Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle. DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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    We used CIBT because it was recommended by Adventures by Disney. Wasn't a great experience but I don't know of a better option.
     
  7. MommaBerd

    MommaBerd DIS Veteran

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    Thanks @OKW Lover! I am still doing some research, so this is good to know. I’ll post back with my experience, too!
     
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  8. Nomarian

    Nomarian Mouseketeer

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    Glad to hear it was a non-issue for you. If we were just doing Disney, we might have opted for it, but we also plan to spend a few days in Shanghai itself. I also forgot to note that were are not going until May, but wanted my Visa done. I thought it would take a month, but after I turned in the application, she told us to come back Jan 4th to pick them up. That was only a 6 day waiting period and we did not pay to expedite.
     
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  9. MommaBerd

    MommaBerd DIS Veteran

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    @Nomarian - We (DH, DS14, DS11 & DS10) are going in the beginning of April - Hangzhou for a couple of days, Shanghai DL, and then Shanghai itself! What sort of tours/activities are y’all thinking about? I’ve had to spend so much energy on finding accommodations for five (which for Shanghai city we ultimately decided on two hotel rooms), that I’ve taken a brief planning break. DH will be conducting business most of the days we are in Shanghai, so it will be the boys and I out and about. I think we’ll definitely do the aquarium. But, that’s as far as I’ve gotten so far. :D
     
  10. Mousequake

    Mousequake DIS Veteran

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    That also definitely played into our decision-- we figured it was a much safer bet since we never left the 'Disney bubble' (except for airports) for the entire trip.
     
  11. iheartglaciers

    iheartglaciers DIS Veteran

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    I liked this nearby water town. It was touristy, but lots of cool stuff to see in a day. There are many different water towns near Shanghai, but I picked this one since it was close and I was short on time (my flight got in at 10am and I wanted to fit one in). I had the hotel arrange for a taxi to take us there and wait until we wanted to return (because I heard it can be hard to get a return taxi). I had a friend with me who spoke Chinese, so if you don’t speak the language, you may want to look for a tour. It’s doable without, but depends how adventurous you are in navigating places you don’t know the language :-). There’s also a way to get there by public transportation from Shanghai.

    https://www.chinahighlights.com/shanghai/attraction/zhujiajiao-water-town.htm

    When I was doing DL, I stayed at the Toy Story Hotel, which was great! I had other friends who joined for this portion and they gave us adjoining rooms (I don’t think this is something they could guarantee in advance, but the staff did this as check in without us asking). Staff was friendly and it was a 5-8 minute walk to the park. I still have extra happy memories when I hear Toy Story instrumental music because they pipe it in there all day :-)
     
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  12. Nomarian

    Nomarian Mouseketeer

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    Glad to hear you are going as well. We had to book two hotels rooms with a connector as well for our family while staying in Shanghai. We travel a lot and while I note a lot of things that we want to see in every city, I actually start each city off with a guided tour. The tour normally takes us to the major attractions, teaches us how to use the transportation and allows me to ask questions about what we want to see for the other days. For Shanghai, I am booking a full day tour with http://www.mikitours.net/. They are highly rated on TripAdvisor which is how I research all my tours. Hope that helps.
     
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  13. Nomarian

    Nomarian Mouseketeer

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    I almost forgot to note that while we do not speak Mandarin, I did pick up this nifty device that can translate one way that should help for the trip.

    https://iamili.com/
     
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  14. MommaBerd

    MommaBerd DIS Veteran

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    @Nomarian - I will definitely look in to both resources! Thanks so much!!! I am hoping this is just the first of many family international travels!
     
  15. Nomarian

    Nomarian Mouseketeer

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    One more important item that I forgot to mention since we are talking about passports is that you must have at least 6 months left on your passport on your departure date or they will not let you on the plane. Basically, if you leave on January 1st, your passport has to be valid until July. China requires at least 6 months of validity on your passport on your departure date.
     
  16. psakid

    psakid Earning My Ears

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    Another tour option would be the BusTour https://www.bustourchina.com with on-off privileges along with 3 different routes through the city. We enjoyed Pudong (clouds kept us from going up towers), the Bund was a nice walk and YuYuan Gardens had nice shops and restaurants. There are plenty of other sites and places around town, it all depends on how much time you have. Our hotel concierge recommended this tour for us (Novotel Clover near Disneyland). Wish we have more time at YuYuan Gardens as we got there toward evening, but it was a good overall experience and research for next time. Enjoy!
     
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  17. psakid

    psakid Earning My Ears

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    Normarian, Thanks for this detailed process for obtaining a Chinese Tourist Visa. We used the 144 Transit Visa and had no problems. Might have done the regular Visa, but living in Pittsburgh our assigned Consulate was New York City or using a service. I couldn't see doing either for the price or the hassle of going to NYC twice.
     
  18. MommaBerd

    MommaBerd DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the suggestions @psakid! Because of different business visits my husband will be making, we’ll be in Hangzhou, then SDL, and then the bulk of our trip, 5 days, will be in Shanghai. So, we’ll have PLENTY of time!
     
  19. MommaBerd

    MommaBerd DIS Veteran

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    @Nomarian - I am using a passport service, and our consulate is Houston. We have been advised to provide our hotel confirmations, but the visa service is now saying that each hotel confirmation needs to have the children’s names listed. No hotel lists children’s names on confirmations - not even Disney’s. Did you have to submit that much detail? I feel like the visa service may be going a little overboard on the required documentation for the kids. Thanks so much!
     
  20. Nomarian

    Nomarian Mouseketeer

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    MommaBerd, We went straight to the consulate and they just verified that my wife and kids were on the flights, but did not require that they were on the hotel confirmations. I feel at the consulate that they understood that we were all going to together. The service probably wants to be completely thorough to make sure they don't have to submit again.
     
  21. MommaBerd

    MommaBerd DIS Veteran

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    That is my thought as well. Thanks for sharing your experience.
     

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