Obtaining a Chinese Visa

Not me.

I’d made the appointment. I’d filled out the form. I’d even dug up some superfine pictures of me. The only thing left to do was show up at the Chinese Visa Application Center and hand it in at the specified time.

I did just that at 9am last Friday. I was assigned a number, waited nearly an exact half hour in the waiting room, and was called up to hand in my paperwork.

My application required a few tweaks. My visa application’s trip reason, to “visit a family member or relative” was  downgraded to, “tourism”, when I learned that the former reason requires evidence of relation, such as a birth certificate.

This was communicated to me in a tone which hinted that I was some sort of unprepared dolt for not having not only my own but my brother’s birth certificate on hand at all times for a moment like this.

My multi-entry visa request, too, was downgraded, as tourists seemingly only can have two entries.

Having elected for non-expedited service (4 days v 3 days), I bid my most important identification goodbye with plans to reunite the following Wednesday.

Today was collection day. Of course, today was the day I left the collection slip for my passport at home.

Fortunately, this ended up not being of issue.  One thing worth highlighting, though is that the schedule of fees online if quickly read indicates a dual entry visa for a US citizen as costing £65.00 and separately lists application fees of £35.25 for standard, four day service.

As a quick reader, I showed up with £65.00 and was rather surprised to receive a bill for £100.25. Fortunately, they accept debit cards and cash.

So, all I’ve left to do now is pack!


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