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The Hong Kong Visa Topic


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As crodriguezai said, there's a lot of conflicting info on the Internet about this. I'm very glad that I stumbled upon all this great info about the visa run and to hear some reassuring first hand accounts about getting it done without use an agency. I'm still debating whether get my Z visa done in Chicago (I'm visiting back home this summer) or in Hong Kong when I get back.


Anyway, has anybody had to pay the "Reciprocal Fees"? http://www.fmcoprc.gov.hk/eng/zgqz/blsjfy/t279937.htm They're rather high for American citizens so that's one of the main reasons why I might do it back home, but not getting the original, required documents, like the invitation letter, in time is one of the main reasons for me to get in done in  Hong Kong instead.

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Regardless where you apply, you will pay the same fee based on the nationality of the passport you used for application.  Because USA charges Chinese citizens a similar rate for a US visa, China reciprocates and increase the fee for all US passports who wish to apply for a Chinese visa as well. So, yes you will have to pay those fees, it is the same worldwide just with a different currency (roughly). As an option to apply in HK or Chicago, Chicago is the safer bet. In my experience in HK, if you take your Z visa paperwork there, instruct your job to have the invitation letter state to apply in HK versus America (at the top it say "please apply...... in _(home country)_ or ...... in _(HK)_ SAR with this letter). Wish you the best of luck and let us know how it goes! 

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Yeah, I feel kind of dumb for forgetting about this, haha! The website for the Chinese Consulate in Chicago doesn't seem to mention such an extra fee: http://chicago.china-consulate.org/eng/qzhz/qz/grqz/t174774.htm%C2'> it's included in the price already, I don't know. If that's the case, then it's cheaper to do it in Chicago and there are far less required documents to provide. Well, I just got to wait and see before deciding. Thanks for the help!

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As far as i'm aware Americans don't have some kind of "American fee" to pay. It's not some additional charge added on to the cost of the visa. It's just that they charge you more for the visa itself. Many countries have different arrangements/agreements with other countries about the cost of Visas. In Laos i paid 38 USD but my German friend paid 32USD for the same thing.

If you are going to be in the US anyway, it sounds like you may as well do it there.

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It is rolled into the cost of the Visa, it is why Americans pay $130 (in USA) for a Chinese visa of any type whereas most other countries pay $30 (in USA). Chinese to visit America must pay 160 USD for their visa. And this is exactly why China increases the cost for the visa for Americans to visit China.





In Hong Kong Americans need 1100 HKD, America is #19  (right now about $140) and other nationalities mostly pay 200 HKD (about $26 USD). Because Chinese citizens do not have to pay for obtaining a visa to certain counties their citizens are offered the same deal (at the time of posting there are  6 countries) these are at the very bottom of the page. 




Also America recently been getting into the game and increases the fees for foreigners that want to visit America if their country charges a fee that increase the cost to American citizens.




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Anyway, it looks like we can all agree its just reciprocal visa pricing, and not some kind of american fee.

Phew, Glad that sorted!

Good luck with the visa. Let us know if you get it in HK!

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 In my experience in HK, if you take your Z visa paperwork there, instruct your job to have the invitation letter state to apply in HK versus America (at the top it say "please apply...... in _(home country)_ or ...... in _(HK)_ SAR with this letter). 


Do you mean that you tried to apply without this sentence on the invitation letter but were told that sentence was required?

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"American fee", "reciprocal fee", "extra fee", whatever it's called it means my poor wallet gets a lot skinnier.


Anyway, it seems I'll be attempting to get it done in Chicago. The waiban at the school I'll be teaching at is going to send the documents to my parents' home by express mail. I just hope I can get them and process the visa in time.

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  • 4 weeks later...



has anyone got a tourist visa in HK recently? Do or don't they have a problem with issuing those? What if I already stayed and extended once my 30-days tourist visa in China and want to go to HK to get another month, will the consulate question me why I am applying for another 30-days visa? I also have a flight ticket out of China, so that might help me look less suspicious for them (I am only travelling in China, but I am afraid they might think I am working here illegally or something...). Thanks a lot for any help, getting Chinese visa can be sooo frustrating.. 

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I just received the following e-mail from the company sponsoring my visa:


We just got a message from a teacher who went to HongHong for his Visa, the Commissioner's Office in Hong Kong told him not apply Visa in Hong Kong next time, because isn’t Hong Kong citizen.


For your information


Best wishes,

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Here is my experience in switching to a work visa on April 23, 2014 in Hong Kong:


[A couple of notes about the directions to the visa office in post #1:  the walking time from the footbridge after leaving the WanChai MTR station is quite brief—only a minute or two; this is also the same office I went to in 2010 although it appears to have been remodeled since then].

I arrived at 8:30 am (a half hour later than I had planned) on a Wednesday in late April and the line was already one and a half lengths of “roped off” corridors in front of the entrance.  They passed out copies of the visa application form to the people who were waiting.  For the wait, I had plenty of time to fill out the four-page form (make sure you bring a pen).

People began to be let in before 9:00 am.  I was able to go through security around 9:10 am.  At the door, they made people set aside any drink bottles, lighters and umbrellas.  All metal objects (those that would set off a metal detector) had to be removed at the security check.  

From the security check, I walked around a corner to the elevators and went to the third floor.  In the elevator, there is a small sign above the buttons indicating 3rd floor for visas and 4th floor for China travel documents.  Confusingly, the “3rd floor” on the sign is above the elevator button for the 4th floor and the “4th floor” on the sign is above the elevator button for the 3rd floor.

When I exited the elevator, there was a sign showing all the required documents for visas.  I turned left and went straight to a line (with a helpful sign pointing the way) where I presented my papers for inspection.  They made sure I had my passport, a passport photocopy and a copy of my Hong Kong entrance slip.  Then I got a number.

My number was called by 9:15 am and I was done by around 9:20 am.  

The papers they took from me:
    Visa application (I had made a minor error in pen with my home address—I used my China address—but they didn’t mind that)
    My passport
    Photocopy of my passport
    Original copy of my invitation letter and letter listing my family members
    Photocopy of my work permit (I had a minor scare when I was asked why they didn’t list my English name—I am Chinese American—on my work permit.  I could only say that I didn’t know, but they took the work permit anyway.  I did write my Chinese name on my visa application)
    Photocopies of my employer’s business license and barcode certificate
    Original copy of my Hong Kong entry slip (which they stapled to my passport)
    One 1 inch photo (I gave them one with a white background) which they stapled to my visa application

    They also wanted to see the original copy of my work permit but they returned that to me.

What I didn’t need:
    A photocopy of my health certification
    A second photo of myself
    Copies and translations of my wife’s and children’s passports
    Photocopies of my invitation letter and the letter listing my family members

Cost:  1400 HKD cash (there is an ATM by the elevator) for next day rush service (they no longer have same day service) for a work visa to a U.S. passport.

Instructions by the elevator stated that I needed to come back (presumably to wait in line) the next morning and pay the fee at windows 2 or 3 and then pick up my passport with visa at window 1.  I spent about ten minutes taking careful photos of the posted instructions for visa applications—in English and Chinese—before leaving.  

When I went out the door at 9:35 am, there was no line on the ground floor.

I came back the next day by 10 am and there was no line.  I went straight up and presented my ticket and money at one of the first windows and then picked up my passport at an adjoining window.  I was out in minutes.

Here are the visa application requirements that were posted in the office in April:



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I'm a physician who's working in a local Chinese hospital. It took over two months for my employer to get through the bureaucratic work permit process so that I could go to Hong Kong to get my visa. At several stages, delays were caused by absent administrators.

I forgot to mention in my post: I found that I got a better exchange rate for my RMB-->HKD at the money exchange windows near the WanChai MTR station than at the airport. This was especially so if one exchanged more than 500 or 1,000 RMB at a time (the exchange rate is better if you exchange more money at one time).

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I wrote back to my coordinator for clarification and she confirmed. The guy was given his visa but told not to come back to apply in the future. Here is what I was told: 





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  • 5 weeks later...

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