Re: [pcchina] Going to Hong Kong to get a Chinese Travel Visa
- Or, as an alternative, I suppose that one could go to someplace other than Hong Kong (like, for example, Thailand or Singapore) to apply for the new private travel and/or work visa--in other words, someplace where the bureaucrats aren't so obtuse!Richard
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- Hi Sasha,Thanks for this info. I'm toying with the idea of getting a part time job for August through November in Kunming and studying Chinese and then going to a Buddhist retreat in Thailand, and this info will help.What's your next move? - R
salyxrae <salyxrae@...> wrote:
This is information for anyone who leaves the Peace Corps and wants to
return to China on their own passport and visa -- either just to
travel or because you have a job in China. If you get a job in China,
you will need to leave China on your Peace Corps passport and then
re-enter the country on your own passport and visa. You can get a
travel visa in Hong Kong and your employer in China can convert it for
you when you get back to China or you can bring a letter of employment
with you to Hong Kong and get a work visa while you are there. Either
way, you still have to leave the country on your Peace Corps passport
and re-enter on your own.
So here's how I did it.
VISA CONVERSION FOR PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS:
Now here's the fun stuff at last. So you have to leave China on your
Peace Corps passport because you have to leave the country on the same
passport on which you arrived. This is no problem either leaving
China or entering Hong Kong. In Hong Kong you can stay up to 90 days
before you need to do anything visa related there. No problems there
Getting a travel visa for China on my own personal passport proved a
bit trickier. Here's what happened at the immigrations office:
Agent: How did you get into Hong Kong? (She was looking at my
personal passport when she asked me that).
Me: On this passport (and I presented her with my Peace Corps passport).
Agent: Why do you have two valid passports?
Me: The Peace Corps owns one of them and I have to give it back to
them since I don't work for them any more.
Agent: (She points to the Peace Corps passport). This visa is still
valid. Why do you want another visa?
Me: I don't work for the Peace Corps any more and I have to give the
Peace Corps passport back to them. So I want to travel in China on my
own personal passport.
Agent: This is very confusing. Do you have a letter stating that you
no longer work for the Peace Corps?
Me: Yeah, I don't have one on me.
Potential solution to this: Get a termination letter or a copy of the
form you signed saying that you are finished with your work in the
Peace Corps from the Peace Corps before you leave Chengdu.
Other things you'll need: a written itinerary of where you are
traveling and how to contact you at each of these places. You may also
have to craft, sign and date a letter stating that you are only going
to be traveling in China, you won't be doing any work while in China
on your travel visa.
I also didn't know that the office would be closed for two days during
the spring festival holiday. I ended up getting a one-day express visa
as a result. Normally, a one-day visa will cost 400 HKD. For
Americans, as part of the visa reciprocity program, it costs 540 HKD.
I guess we charge them a ton to get into America on a travel visa.
All in all, it's about $52 American for a single-entry 30-day travel
visa in China.
Visa Office of the People's Republic of China
7th Floor, Lower Block
China Resources Centre
26 Harbour Rd.
Open Mon through Fri 9 am - 12 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm
Bring one passport photo with you or you can take your picture on the
spot in the photo booth right outside the immigration office doors on
the 7th floor. It's surprisingly organized, polite and efficient in
ABOUT HONG KONG
I had a wonderful trip to the international oasis known as Hong Kong.
It's hard to believe that it's part of China now, it's so different.
I totally recommend dropping by there if you have a chance. It's like
China with a twist. I had a blast on the islands and in the city.
It's pricey but vibrant. Plus, for the Chinese New Year, they had
some vivid fireworks and an extensive parade with floats from all
around the world. You can't miss the nightly light show on the water
TO GET THERE:
You take a train to Guangzhou from wherever you are in western China.
From Guangzhou, you catch a train to Shenzhen. The tickets costs
anywhere from 70 yuan to 80 yuan and run every half an hour. The more
you pay, the faster you get there. The short train is an hour and the
long train is two hours. The trains are clean and air-conditioned.
In Shenzhen, you walk across the bridge and arrive in Hong Kong after
going through two check points. One on the mainland China side and
one on the Hong Kong side.
CONVERT YOUR MONEY:
You can do this on either side. There is even an exchange place right
before you get on the bridge. Or you can convert your money at any
Bank of China, which is in abundance all over Shenzhen and Hong Kong.
Probably you will get better conversion rates there. Watch out for
the bad rates you get at the places in the train stations and other
prime tourist travel spots. Another note, businesses in Hong Kong are
starting to take RMB as well as the Hong Kong Dollars, so no need to
panic if you don't have Hong Kong dollars going in. I paid for part
of the cost of my hostel stay in RMB.
WHERE TO STAY:
Cosmic Guest House
12 Floor Block A1, A2, F1, F4
Mirador Mansion 54-64 Nathan Road
Kowloon, Hong Kong
The rooms are inexpensive with dorms starting at 60 HKD per night and
rooms with two, three and four beds in them starting at 160 HKD per
night. Of course, during the spring festival and I'm sure any other
national holiday, these rates are non-negotiable. But a local told me
that you could bargain the rooms down to 120 HKD for a private room
with two beds and a private bathroom. As with anywhere in China,
don't be afraid to bargain.
Place to avoid:
Go up just a floor in the same building and you find the dirty,
mold-encrusted pit of a hostel called the Kowloon Hotel New garden
Hostel and for the same prices as the Cosmic Guest House. We got
caught there for a few days by arriving during the festival
celebrations with no reservations anywhere. Avoid this place and its
There's so much more to say about Hong Kong, but I'll leave it at
that. It's a refreshing place.
Hope all this information helps.
SashaRebecca Cors, ¿Â Àö, Peace Corps China 10~~~~~~~~~~~~~Foreign Affairs OfficeSichuan University of Science and EngineeringDengguan, Zigong, Sichuan 643033
~~~~~~~~~~~~~phone: 011 (0)86 (0)813 393-0007www.travelwithrc.blogspot.com
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