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New visa rules? (1 week per province?)


twinmatrix

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twinmatrix

I just got back from the Chinese visa center in the Netherlands, and was informed of a couple of very strange rules that have apparently gone in effect since end of 2015:

 

- You can't renew your Tourist visa in China anymore. If you apply for a 30 day visa, you need a booked flight leaving again within that time. (In the past you could get a 30 day visa WITHOUT having a return flight.)

- If you stay longer than 30 days, you can't stay in one province for longer than 7 days. (wtf?)

(Reason given was mass short-term illegal work in China.)

 

Then when I got home, I called the visa center for follow-up questions: "what if I want to stay with my friend the last days? Is that OK, because it will exceed the 7 days rule?"

And was told this policy does not exist, she never heard of it. I just need a day-by-day plan.

So I am confused. Was the first lady at the visa center wrong? I doubt it, she's official and has helped me with my previous visas, but she's not Chinese either. Still, this rule seems very weird. Has anyone heard of it?

 

I'm now making a real travel plan of staying 5-10 days in different provinces and booking hotels that I can cancel for free later.

 

My Chinese friend who wrote me an invitation letter says I should stay longer than a week for each province, otherwise it is unrealistic because there is so much to see and do. Like maybe 2 weeks at his place, 10 days in Sichuan, etc.

Do you think that is a good idea? Or should I listen to visa lady #1 and literally stick to 7 days max per province..?

I can't ask for advice because the telephone service of the visa center tells me the rule is bullshit and I can just stay 45 days at my friend's place with a day-to-day plan that shows enough activities to fill the time.

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I never heard of a "one-week-per-province rule" and don't really believe it. Is it on the China Consulate/China Embassy website for your country?

 

I can't ask for advice because the telephone service of the visa center tells me the rule is bullshit and I can just stay 45 days at my friend's place with a day-to-day plan that shows enough activities to fill the time.

 

This sound more likely. You don't even need a day-by-day plan. Just put down between-city moves on your visa application. For example: "10 days Shanghai, 12 days Beijing" and so on. As a general rule, China doesn't much care where you go inside the country after arrival. (An exception to that is going to Tibet.)

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twinmatrix

It's not on the website, but this visa center is officially linked to the embassy (you can no longer go to the embassy here directly). Visa Lady #1 wouldn't be making stuff up..right? It's odd.

 

All parties I've spoken to have said I need a day-to-day plan, though... so I'll just make the "real" *cough cough* travel plan a bit more relaxed instead of the crazy 7 day per province rule. Thanks. :)

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vellocet

Yeah, sometimes people make things up.  After a while you get good at feeling which policies are actually real and which ones are nonsense.  This is the latter category. 

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This 7 day rule is definitely non-sense. Also don't worry so much about your itinerary. If you have a friend inviting you, just write down you're staying at their place the entire duration of the trip (this is what I do every time I get a tourist visa, even if I never go to the inviter's house or actual city. They just want someone who is legally responsible for you/they can contact if they need to contact you. In fact this is what I have done for the visa I just received last week). They only care that you have a plane ticket in and out of the country (unless, as others said, you're going to Tibet or Xinjiang)

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twinmatrix

Thanks for the feedback, guys. Will go back on Monday. :)

 

I don't know if this is universal, but I've noticed that Chinese visa staff is always ten times more helpful than "local" (e.g. Dutch) visa staff.

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I can imagine that maybe someone got caught working illegally somewhere and the visa staff got a telling off for issuing a tourist visa for someone whose itinerary said 'go to small Chinese city' and no more. Hence they're now covering themselves. 

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twinmatrix
I can imagine that maybe someone got caught working illegally somewhere and the visa staff got a telling off for issuing a tourist visa for someone whose itinerary said 'go to small Chinese city' and no more. Hence they're now covering themselves.

 

That makes sense actually.

 

She did say the old "easy rules" apply for a 30 day tourist visa though, but these weird non-sense rules are for 60 or 90 day visas.

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I got my 60 day visa!! No problem.

 

Time to cancel many hotel reservations....

 

I do wonder if it's true that you can't extend a tourist visa in China anymore? Can someone confirm this?

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Chris Two Times

Sixty-day tourist visa? Excellent!

 

Is it becoming more common to get a sixty-day tourist visa or is this a "one-off" situation?

 

Warm regards,

Chris Two Times

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Yeah, thanks! :)

 

Is it becoming more common to get a sixty-day tourist visa or is this a "one-off" situation?

 

I'm really not sure! The Dutch lady made a big deal about it, but the Chinese visa ladies made it seem like 60 days is easy to get.

 

Is a 60 day tourist visa unusual?

 

One thing is confirmed: the 7 day per province rule was nonsense, because I stayed for 10+ days per province in my "plan".

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