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Re: [pcchina] Going to Hong Kong to get a Chinese Travel Visa

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  • Richard Osborne
    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
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 11, 2006
      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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    • Rebecca Cors
      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
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 14, 2006
        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
        either.

        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
        3413-2300 Phone
        7th Floor, Lower Block
        China Resources Centre
        26 Harbour Rd.
        Wan Chai
        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
        there.

        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
        either.

        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
        2369-6699
        www.cosmicguesthouse.com
        cosmicgh@...

        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
        cantankerous staff.

        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.

        Happy Adventuring,

        Sasha








        Rebecca Cors, ¿Â Àö, Peace Corps China 10
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        Foreign Affairs Office
        Sichuan University of Science and Engineering
        Dengguan, Zigong, Sichuan 643033
        China, PRC
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        phone: 011 (0)86 (0)813 393-0007
        www.travelwithrc.blogspot.com

        "Once we accept our weaknesses, they become our strengths."  - Lucinda Williams
         
         


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