Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Applied for Chinese Visa

I finally got everything I need together and went to the Chinese Embassy (pictured above) today to submit my visa application. This is the first time I've had to apply for a visa for a short-term visit to a country. I've applied for visas before for long-term stays, studying, working, and immigrating to the US and Israel. To get a tourist visa for China you need to provide evidence of which hotels you'll be staying in during your trip or get an invitation letter from relatives etc. if you'll be staying in a private residence. So I had to submit:

A two page application form
My passport
Letter from Snork Maiden's mother confirming I'll be staying with them
Copy of our marriage certificate
Copy of Snork Maiden's passport (to show she's a Chinese citizen).
$30 fee.

Compared to other experiences I've had dealing with consulates and interior ministries the place was deserted. Two women behind the desk - one reading a book and one who dealt with my application - and one other guy sitting in the waiting room. Out the front of the embassy across the street is a permanent Falun Gong demonstration (it was there in 2001) consisting of one guy huddled against the cold sitting beneath huge banners proclaiming "Falun Gong is Good" and other slogans and facing him one Australian security guard manning the main gate to the compound.

I have to return on Friday to pay and pick up my passport with the visa.

It's interesting that the PRC charges Australians who apply here $30 and Americans $155. Citizens of all other countries are charged $50. The fees are similar at the Washington Embassy. $130 for Americans and $30 for everyone else. The fees aren't correlated to what each country charges Chinese seeking visas. Australia charges over $100 to Chinese wanting to visit Australia while the US charges $131 which is not as big a difference. Interesting.


traineeinvestor said...

Visa fees are something of a mystery to me. I can understand some countries gouging it as a source of income, but the differences in fees for people from different countries which I would rate as being broadly similar in terms of security risk is something that I have never been able to fathom.

Of course, getting a visa to China at the moment is something of a pain due to the tighter restrictions ahead of the olympics.

mOOm said...

I think it is pretty obvious that China is taking revenge on the US for treatment of Chinese foreign students in the US or some related matter. It can't be because they think Americans can pay more (price discrimination) otherwise they'd charge more for all developed countries.