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China Visa Woes... Where Else Can I Go?

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China Visa Woes... Where Else Can I Go?

Postby xiongmao » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:22 pm

Hi Guys,

As you know I did plan on going to China to live from February 2013.

WHICH IS NOW INCREDIBLY CLOSE!!!

However, the Chinese government seem to have shafted me in that I can't get a tourist visa without a flight and hotel booking, and I can't get a student visa without the original documents from my University (which they didn't send me).

Sheesh. Time is short now and by the time the bureaucrats have sorted out the Christmas closure backlog, it will be Chinese new year!

Hopefully the bureaucrats will sort things out for me. But if they don't...

WHERE ELSE CAN I GO IN ASIA?

Is anyone in Asia right now?

I have a contact in Manila, I like the idea of spending time with him as he is one of the smartest guys I have ever met. Plus Manila isn't too far from China in case I get my visa troubles sorted.
I guess Thailand is an option. My Uncle may or may not be in Phuket, but I don't really know anyone else there, and I've never been to Thailand.
I like Vietnamese ladies, although I think I might have the same Visa stupidity if I went there!!!
Taiwan looks scenic, but I heard there's no eye contact with the locals :lol: .
I heard Cebu was nice, but one of you guys posted a trip report and said it sucked.
My sister in law in Malaysian. Maybe that's an option.

Basically I think I need a Plan B for somewhere cheap to hang out, then maybe go to China in September (when the next semester starts).

I guess a Plan C would be to hang on in the UK until September. That's kind of tough since I quit my job and house, but I like the idea of earning a bit more cash.

I'm gutted about not going to China as I still have feelings for my on/off Chinese gf. A man's heart is woman shaped though, and I guess a pretty Thai/Filipina would easily fill the void.

P.S. Don't flame me for leaving this to the last moment. In fact I've been to China 4 times before, and this is the first time the visa processing company has questioned my application!
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Postby ladislav » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:20 pm

Go to Cebu or Angeles City. Hang out there while visas are processed. That is what I did.
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Postby xiongmao » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:49 pm

Sounds like a plan. Only I guess the Filipinas won't let a single man leave without getting married first!!! Member 3999 joined my dating site today, sooner or later one of these Filipinas could steal my heart. Well there's now 692 ladies to choose from, and 117 ladymen.

Actually, I think I'll be OK with my China visa, but I might have to miss the start of term. Hanging out in the Phillies first might be a good idea. Maybe they could get a courier to deliver my documents to an Angeles City bar :lol:.

I think the problem is that Asians like their documents to have seals on them, whereas in the UK we're fine with photocopies.
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Postby Winston » Tue Jan 08, 2013 3:11 pm

Can't you just go to Hong Kong, get it sorted out, and then take the train to Shenzhen from there? I heard that you can enter Hong Kong without a visa right?

If you go to the Philippines, we can meet up. I plan to go there first before I go to China.

Why can't you just submit your flight and hotel booking details to get this cleared up?

Why didn't you arrange your visa through a travel agency? They could have handled all this for you.
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Re: China Visa Woes... Where Else Can I Go?

Postby momopi » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:16 pm

xiongmao wrote:WHERE ELSE CAN I GO IN ASIA?


Check https://www.airbnb.com/ for various Asian destinations. For example, this one is avail for $450/month ($15/day):

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/786067

Read the reviews too.

And this: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/245034

Not necessarily saying that you should go to MY, but do please browse around.

Those with a nice bank account looking to "off-shore" may want to consider the guest house business as an investment while living abroad. You get to play host, show them around town, and meet new people all the time.


Image


...and for those without fat bank account, go around and chat up the retired folks who own the bungalows and convince them to run a guest house business for extra cash. You'd naturally assist them in the promotion (airbnb.com) and other details (airport pickup, administrative, credit card processing, taxi service, tour guide), in exchange for a 30% cut + tips.
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Postby xiongmao » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:00 pm

Hong Kong is not an option - have you seen the hotel prices? That's not a good place to hang around these days!

Buying a flight and hotel before getting a visa? No way! What if they refuse my visa? Then that's over $1000 wasted! Besides, I'm gonna book a return flight for July and I can only book a hotel for 3-4 days, so they might not give me a visa if I don't have accommodation for all of my visit. And the airline might not even let me board if my return ticket is after my visa expires. Sheesh. The thing is, they're cracking down on foreigners working, and my plans would look identical to somebody wanting to work illegally. So my Chinese University has given me bad advice by telling me to get a tourist visa!

I am using a travel agent to get my a visa. But they won't take my documents to the embassy unless the documentation is in order. Otherwise they're just wasting time and money.

Anyway, after a bit more thinking I think I have these options:

1. The Uni could fedex the original documents to me - I'll ask them tomorrow. Then I could get a student X visa.
2. Stay in my job for a few more months then go to China in September. I kinda like this option because I could visit China in the Spring as a tourist and get everything sorted out for studying there. However, I might have burned too many bridges now for this plan to be feasible.
3. Hang out in the Philippines and wait for my documents there. Maybe I'll be so impressed with Filipinas that I'll forget about going to China. After all, I kind of like chubby Asian girls, and Filipinas have more curves than most. Also I could set my standards very high indeed.
4. Find some other way of getting a China visa till I can get a proper student visa in September. I'm looking at language schools now, because unlike most Universities they allow you to start any time of year.

I could stay with my sister in law's family in Malaysia. However it's expensive to fly there and more expensive to fly to China afterwards.

I've heard good things about the Philippines embassy in the UK. They're supposed to be really friendly, and I think I'd be able to get a 1 year visa no problems.

The take home message from this almighty mess is that the Chinese government has decided to blame foreigners and/or Japan for all its internal problems :oops:. If any of you guys want a Chinese wife, well it's not gonna be easy to even enter the country! And don't bother looking for shady semi-legal English teaching jobs.

The good news is that it's now so hard for foreigners to get into China that if you're prepared to the hassle, you need only date perfect 10's (of which there are millions).

Or you could easily get a 1 year Philippines visa and go live it up in Cebu or Manila!!!
In February 2013 I quit my boring job and now I'm Happier Abroad...
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Postby momopi » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:48 pm

...this is the part where, being a ROC (TW) passport holder is a benefit, because you can qualify for this:

Image

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mainland_T ... _Residents
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Postby xiongmao » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:04 pm

Yeah, if Winston can visit China any time he wants, why does he stay on that island where people won't look him in the eye?

Hopefully I'll sort out my problems tomorrow. I think the China University application service has screwed up - they promise to DHL my documents to applicants, but they haven't done so in my case.

Really I'd be better off starting somewhere in September. I should have gone to China in September '12, but in all honesty changing your life that rapidly is very unwise.

I've been very sensible in taking my time to think things over, and as a result my subconscious is OK with the enormity of my imminent life change. In fact, it seems really pleased that I'm making the right decision with my life. I feel happy since I quit my job, and I'm sure underlying happiness was responsible for my defeating a cold in just 2 days. I've never seen anything like that before :)

P.S. That girl above is very cross-eyed! Maybe she was annoyed that Winston was looking at her!!!
In February 2013 I quit my boring job and now I'm Happier Abroad...
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Re: China Visa Woes... Where Else Can I Go?

Postby Rock » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:35 pm

xiongmao wrote:Hi Guys,

As you know I did plan on going to China to live from February 2013.

WHICH IS NOW INCREDIBLY CLOSE!!!

However, the Chinese government seem to have shafted me in that I can't get a tourist visa without a flight and hotel booking, and I can't get a student visa without the original documents from my University (which they didn't send me).

Sheesh. Time is short now and by the time the bureaucrats have sorted out the Christmas closure backlog, it will be Chinese new year!

Hopefully the bureaucrats will sort things out for me. But if they don't...

WHERE ELSE CAN I GO IN ASIA?

Is anyone in Asia right now?

I have a contact in Manila, I like the idea of spending time with him as he is one of the smartest guys I have ever met. Plus Manila isn't too far from China in case I get my visa troubles sorted.
I guess Thailand is an option. My Uncle may or may not be in Phuket, but I don't really know anyone else there, and I've never been to Thailand.
I like Vietnamese ladies, although I think I might have the same Visa stupidity if I went there!!!
Taiwan looks scenic, but I heard there's no eye contact with the locals :lol: .
I heard Cebu was nice, but one of you guys posted a trip report and said it sucked.
My sister in law in Malaysian. Maybe that's an option.

Basically I think I need a Plan B for somewhere cheap to hang out, then maybe go to China in September (when the next semester starts).

I guess a Plan C would be to hang on in the UK until September. That's kind of tough since I quit my job and house, but I like the idea of earning a bit more cash.

I'm gutted about not going to China as I still have feelings for my on/off Chinese gf. A man's heart is woman shaped though, and I guess a pretty Thai/Filipina would easily fill the void.

P.S. Don't flame me for leaving this to the last moment. In fact I've been to China 4 times before, and this is the first time the visa processing company has questioned my application!


I have found getting a Chinese visa to be a somewhat opaque and inefficient process as a USA citizen. Last I checked and did it (a few months ago), I had the choice of getting a 1 year multiple entry for like NT$12,000 (about US$400, less expensive for other nationalities I believe) or a 6 month double entry in Thailand for less than half that price. I opted for the latter since I was only going for one short trip. Also, you can get rush (1 day or so) service in Thailand whereas it takes something like 2 weeks in Taiwan. It's possible things have changed yet again though. Back in the day, most passports could easily get a China Visa in HK in hours for a much cheaper price.

My point, research PRC embassies in Asia starting with their websites. I suspect you will find Thailand the easiest. You ring them up and ask them what is possible for a tourist Brit (non-resident) in various countries. If they don't speak English, get a Chinese speaking friend to help you make the calls. Over the years, I've had the best experiences with the PRC embassy in BK so I usually opt to do it there. In the vicinity, there are a few agencies which will do all the paper work for you and take your photos for a small additional fee. Chill in Thailand while you wait, it's easy, cheap, and fun!

Of all the countries I've visited, China has become the most expensive and difficult visa wise for US citizens. I'm not sure but Taiwan may now allow US citizens to stay 3 months since USA put Taiwan on visa free status. So that would make it one of the easiest.

Thailand is good cus you get 30 days landing visa and if you have to extend, you can either cross and come back from overland border (Cambodia or Laos) same day or go to immigration in advance and pay for an immigration. Phils kinda sucks cus they only give you 21 days (a full month usually works out much better for me) and its islands so no overland borders. You can only go and get it extended (red tape hassle and perhaps some cost).
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Postby Rock » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:38 pm

momopi wrote:...this is the part where, being a ROC (TW) passport holder is a benefit, because you can qualify for this:

Image

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mainland_T ... _Residents


YES, DAMN STRAIGHT!!! I SO WISH TAIWAN WOULD ALLOW FOREIGNERS TO NATURALIZE WITHOUT REVOKING THEIR BIRTH COUNTRY NATIONALITY.
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Postby momopi » Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:27 pm

http://losangeles.china-consulate.org/e ... 760173.htm

$400 seems a bit steep. Last time I had to get a PRC VISA, my work took care of it through some VISA service company and I think they paid well under $200.
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Postby celery2010 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:09 am

yep try different consulates. some are easier than others. As for a plane ticket, you can buy a plane ticket on Orbitz, print out the confirmation and itinerary and cancel within 24 hours, and they will only charge you $7. Hotel booking, just pay for the first night in a hostel. Total cost under $30.
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Postby Cornfed » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:13 am

Couldn't you just get a quote from the airlines and hotels to get the visa? When I got my E2 visa for Korea they had the policy that you had to have a return ticket, which is ridiculous since you obviously want to stay there for at least a year. I got the travel agency to print out a planned itinerary without actually paying for the ticket and sent that away. It worked. Then I went back and changed my booking to a one-way ticket.
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Postby Jacaré » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:50 am

Yes the Chinese embassies require not only a confirmed flight itenary but also a confirmed hotel reservation. Prior to my trip last september to China, when I went to the Chinese consulate in my city, I was told that I must submit a confirmed hotel reservation. I had to leave the consulate and find a place to book and print nearby in order to complete my application which I did the same day. Once I had those docs, the visa was issued with no issues.

Yeah spending some fun time in the Phils or Thailand is a great idea. I'm sure either way, you'll have a blast. And if you can take Winston out of his hole in the wall in the process, so much the better. I am coming to China in September on a 1 year or 2 year visa (I heard a business visa can be obtained and all you'd need to get it is get a company in your country, in your case the UK, to say that they are sending you to China to source products for them and need you to be in China for 1-2 years. This is what my contacts and the guys from the elevatorlife.com have advised me to do when I return to China. This might be probably the easiest way for you as well to secure a long term Chinese Visa. Check with the boys at elevatorlife.com and do your due diligence.

I'm very tempted to take a short vacation in March to either the Phils/Thailand and if you're there at the time, would be fun to meet with as many Happier Abroad guys, including Mr. Happy Abroad aka Winston. :D
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Postby The_Adventurer » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:27 am

Why not just have one of your friends write an invite letter and provide an address where you will be staying with them? It worked for me. You MUST have plane tickets booked though. That only makes sense. It must be on the application.

HK is an option. For about 1350RMB you can get your visa in 24 hours. Only need one night in hotel. You can get a nice hotel for 800 to 1000 RMB. I did a visa run to HK once, spent about 2500RMB total.
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