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Visiting girlfriend in Beijing, a question...


Reinhart_x

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Hey all, I'm planning on going to China this summer to visit my girlfriend. Some brief background information, not sure if it's entirely necessary but here goes. Basically, I met my girlfriend this past fall on a Disney college program, she's from Beijing, and I'm from the U.S. She's already come to my house on two separate occasions for a total of about 2 weeks, so she's met pretty much all of my family, they love her, and we've even gone on a trip to New York together, all within about four months, so we're doing quite well I'd say. :)

Okay, so we've been in this long distance relationship since January, and if you've ever been in one, you know how hard it is not to see each other, so we have arranged with her parents for me to go for a month and stay at her family's place in Beijing in July. They are all looking forward to seeing me and it's great, but as this is my first time leaving the country and needing a visa (I took a trip to Canada last summer and all I needed was a driver's license), I don't really know a whole lot on the subject. I'm told that I need a letter of allowance, signed by the person I'm staying with stating their name, address, phone number, and their relationship to me.

It would sound simple enough, but her dad was just really unsure of if they would let me come just to visit my girlfriend for a month on the L visa, so I had to come here and ask. I have a feeling they would, but again, I'm new to this, so I'm also unsure. I guess I just wanted some opinions, perhaps from someone who has been in a similar situation as my own. I apologize for dragging this out a bit, but that's just my style. I appreciate all of the help I get, thank you.

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It's really quite simple. You take your passport to the embassy or consulate of China nearest your home, fill in the form and hand that to the clerk along with the relevant fee. A few days latter you go back and collect the passport with the visa inside. If you are not near an embassy, you can use a visa agent or your travel agent may be able to do it for you via the mail. The default allowed stay in China is 30 days which is what you want anyway. You don't need letters of invitation for a tourist (L) visa.

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You'll need the address, contact phone number and the name of the person you'll be staying with -- this will be probably be your girlfriend's father, and then you fill out the form, and that's basically it.

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Tourist ("L") visa's used to be quite simple, but see this post, which mentions this blog, which states:

For L (tourist) visas, you are required to have a copy of a hotel reservation a photocopy of a round-trip plan ticket.

Hotel reservation can *probably* be substituted by an invitation letter from the family you are visiting.

Actually, the easiest way to know for sure is just to visit your local Chinese visa office and ask what the requirements of the day are at that particular office.

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Hello everyone, thank you so much for all of your help! I've known how to obtain the visa myself for a while now, it's just her father wasn't so sure that visiting a "friend" would be a good enough reason to be approved right now, I mean, during the olympics and everything for obvious reasons. Now it would seem there shouldn't be any trouble with them accepting my application, my girlfriend has written a stellar letter of invitation as well, so I feel pretty good. Her dad was just afraid I might need "a better reason," such as getting involved with a tour group or something, and I certainly didn't want to make things complicated and overly expensive if I didn't have to. Thanks again, have a great day!

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Hope you can let us know how the invitation letter works out. I'm planning a trip to China (bad timing, I know), planning to stay at friends' places. The visa agent here said she could get me a fake hotel reservation for a little extra money, but it's always better to do things in a legitimate way.

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The visa agent here said she could get me a fake hotel reservation for a little extra money,

Or you can make a real reservation, get a printout, and then cancel it right away. May as well pick the most expensive hotel. Live it up!

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Haha :-)

Nah, I guess I'll just pester my friends a bit more and ask for an official invitation. Does anyone know what such an invitation is supposed to say?

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In less things have changed in the last few weeks, you don't need an invitation letter for an L-visa.

Lu, don't pay any extra money for a fake hotel name, just use one of your friend's addresses. My friends just arrived yesterday and used my address in BJ on their application. The visa agent they used in DC didn't ask for a letter of invitation.

Like someone else mentioned, check out the Embassy web page and see what their current rules are, esp., if you're coming near /during the Olympics.

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I'd be happy to go through the embassy, but you know, I don't live in a country :-)

My friend in Holland who's coming too said the embassy there also wanted a hotel reservation or a letter.

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I'll be sure to let you know how it goes, I don't think there will be any funny business necessary like needing a fake reservation. The visa agent I'm using requires a letter of invitation, since it also says this on the embassy site, there's no doubt. My girlfriend wrote a very good one, like I said, I don't think there will be any problem now. I'll have an update A.S.A.P., although it may be two weeks or so. Good luck with your own trip, Lu! Heh, that's my girlfriend's name. ^_^ Take it easy.

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