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Is visiting China frequently an issue?


twinmatrix

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twinmatrix

Basically I visit China several times a year. Last time the embassy told me that I might start getting rejected because of my frequent trips. However, it was the Dutch embassy, and they are infamous for being inaccurate & strict. So can someone here clarify if they've heard about this? Will it be a problem that I go to China 3-4 times a year?

 

Also, I'm wondering if it's possible to apply for a visa more easily (or a non-tourist visa) if your registered partner/husband lives in China, however, both partners are men? Such a marriage/partnership is not recognized by the Chinese government, but I figured it'd be worth asking about. :)

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I'm wondering if it's possible to apply for a visa more easily (or a non-tourist visa) if your registered partner/husband lives in China, however, both partners are men?
No, unfortunately not. Since China doesn't recognise same-sex partnerships, in the eyes of Chinese law your partner is just your friend or perhaps your boyfriend, and you don't get visa for a friend/boyfriend living in China, since he's not family.

 

If your boyfriend is an expat working for an international company who usually arranges for their employees' spouses to come along to China, he could try asking them for help. An organisation I used to work for did this by giving the same-sex partner a fake job, thus getting them a work visa. Another route could be bringing you along as their live-in household help (yes that's rather demeaning, but what can you do).

 

Frequent trips to China can be a problem if you take, say, four 3-month trips per year. Then they'll suspect you're working there illegally. If you regularly visit for a few weeks at the time, I think it shouldn't be an issue. What you could consider (and I don't know if this will help, it's just an idea) is writing 'visiting boyfriend' on the form every time (assuming that's why you go so often) and making sure you have photos of you & boyfriend in China and/or other proof (train tickets, whatever), all backing up your story. You could show that to the visa staff if questioned.

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If there's a problem, it'll be the visa-givers, not the guys you see entering the country.

 

But I certainly would not add "visiting boyfriend" to the visa application, nor would I show pictures together. China's not Holland. And the Golden Rule of visa applications is just make your application look as standard as possible.

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twinmatrix

Thank you for the advice. Yeah, I can see that getting the wrong visa-giver they can just decline and give a different reason (I admit, I'd do the same if I got an offensive application on my desk). I'm a bit worried that visiting 4-5 months every year seems suspicious without a better reason than "visiting a close friend" though. I've been just four times to China in total, and the last time the embassy lady told me it started to look really weird how frequently I visited. Not really sure what to write as a reason other than "visiting close friend" if I want to avoid offending any visa-giver.

 

Last time I suggested to the embassy that I can write I'm making some work together with my friend, but she said if I mention *work* then the visa-giver will flag it as suspicious.

 

Would it help to go to a different embassy? I heard the one in Germany is more helpful than the one in the Netherlands. Or do the visa centers just function as a front for actually the same visa approval center?

 

@889: Generally I go to China 3 times a year, and last time I managed to get a 2-month visa. Does that seem suspicious or do you think it's OK to apply for a tourist visa 3-4 times a year with the same reason..?

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The problem is that in much of Europe, Chinese visa applications are now accepted not by embassy staff but by outsourced service centers. When dealing direct with the embassy, you can be pretty sure you'll get the visa if they take your papers, and if they've got questions you can answer them on the spot. But with those service centers you've got a middleman there who makes it impossible for you to make a personal case. Am I correct that the "embassy lady" you spoke with was actually a staff member at the visa service center, not a consular official at the embassy?

 

In any event, my impression is that it's fairly rare for people to be turned down for too many visits, but it does sometimes happen.

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twinmatrix

Alright, thanks, that's reassuring to know. :)

 

Yes, it's true, I spoke with a staff member of the visa center. I don't know about other countries in Europe, but in the Netherlands you cannot actually go to the embassy. As you said, they are outsourced by service centers. The one here is really weird, because the people at the actual center are Dutch and quite pessimistic, but when you call them you get someone on the phone who is Chinese and quite helpful (she told me it was ridiculous that the embassy lady service center lady rejected my 2-month visa application at first and asked me to write a fake itinerary).

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abcdefg

Can you just write "tourism" or "vacation" or "holiday" as the reason for your trip, without supplying any additional information about who you will or will not be visiting? That's what I do when applying for my tourist visa. (US passport.)

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Sure! It's just that the OP's worried that applying for a tourist visa every two or three months would raise some sort of red flag.

 

Note that this isn't really a problem any more for Americans (and Canadians), who now pretty much automatically get 10-year multiple-entry L visas with a 60-day stay.

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abcdefg

Can Dutch citizens not obtain multiple-entry visas? Such as a one-year visa with three or more entries?

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Angelina

I wonder what it is like for embassies of other countries. Are visa applications processed at the embassy or at some central office? Does it actually matter where we apply? 

 

If I want to apply for a German work visa, does it make any difference whether I apply at the German embassy in China or the Netherlands? 

 

Maybe this can help you understand how things are done. 

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Well, the fee schedule does show a 12-month multiple-entry visa for Dutch nationals. Whether it's commonly given or not, I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's not. The basic approach is to ask for the longest visa possible, and see what happens. But as I said, this was better done in the past when you dealt face-to-face with a Chinese visa official.

 

The longer visas for those from America, Canada and the UK are special deals under reciprocal agreements. A Dutch citizen is just not eligible for a ten-year Chinese visa. (And unlike the UK, Holland can't work out a special reciprocal deal with China because the Schengen countries have a more-or-less unified visa policy.)

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twinmatrix

Hey, guys!

 

I just called the Dutch visa center for information and they told me:

  • You can't get a tourist visa more than two times within a one year period. (lol what?)
  • I definitely can't get another 2 month visa because I've already been given one in the past.
  • I need to make a travel itinerary and book hotels if I want to get a 2 month visa (already been told this by them).

Then I called a different country's visa center and they told me:

  • You can get as many tourist visas (30 days) in a year as you want. It means you love China!
  • Writing "visiting a close friend because we miss each other" is a good enough reason, but she also said we can write that we're "doing business" or "working on a project", which really surprised me, because in the Netherlands they told me this would lead to a guaranteed rejection.
  • You can get a 2 month tourist visa again, and you don't have to make a travel itinerary, because your friend will be your guarantee and it's totally fine to stay at his place for 2 months fully.

I asked her: what's up with the hugely conflicting information with the Dutch visa center?

 

They told me, they're just ran by different people. The Dutch visa center could be stricter & have different rules.

 

It's crazy how different these rules are, right?! In the Netherlands they have this attitude of "you want to go to China again?? why?? it's weird!", but this foreign visa center had the attitude of "oh lovely! you love China, come again!!". :P Actually, I heard from a friend that the one in the Netherlands is just really bad, so I'm not surprised the foreign one is so friendly and easy.

 

Guess I'll be booking a trip & hotel abroad for the visa this time. You can do it by mail but she said it's better to come in person.

 

Hope this helps anyone if they read the topic looking for information. :)

 

Also, yeah, special visas like 10 years, no way I think...definitely not for Dutch anyway.

 

So I guess it's a trip abroad for me to get the visa this time. Good thing I have a family member living in that country whose address I can use (this is actually necessary).

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If you're passing through, you can also apply in Hong Kong, though I suspect you'd only get a 30-day visa which you can extend once in China. There are agencies in HK which might, or might not, be able to get you a longer visa and you can always email them for the current situation (they're very easy to Google).

 

In any event, in HK you still do deal face-to-face with the Chinese visa staff (unless you have an private agency submit the application for you).

 

As an aside, different attitudes at different consulate/embassies are very common, even in the same country. For example, the New York consulate long had a reputation for being difficult.

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Angelina

As an aside, different attitudes at different consulate/embassies are very common, even in the same country. For example, the New York consulate long had a reputation for being difficult.

 

well, then it depends on local staff 

 

 

BTW

 

did you have any difficulties last time? what if the people at the visa center are unfriendly over the Hague affair? 

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twinmatrix

I had difficulties every time, haha. They're very strict and weird in the Hague IMO. But no, on a personal level, I have no trouble with that visa center. Always act friendly and according to the rules. (if that's what you meant). Plus I called over the phone so they don't know who I am. No way they give such strange rules like "only 2 tourist visas per year" because of me personally. That is just in direct conflict with what the other visa center told me, which is that you can get as many one month tourist visas as you want.

A friend of mine, her boyfriend applied for a visa abroad as well, because the center here has a bad reputation I think. The staff is not even Chinese. And in EU it's no problem to apply in a different country if you have an address.

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roddy

I wouldn't be so sure about the 'not recognised' thing. A few years ago (I've looked for the post but afraid I can't find it) we had someone say they'd been at a meeting with Shanghai PSB where this'd come up and were told that if your foreign paperwork is in order, it would be handled like any other case. And while China might not *allow* same sex marriage, that doesn't mean they can't acknowledge it as valid for visa purposes involving foreign citizens. Eg.

 

Edit: I might be inclined to have a word with your partner's company. If they're helpful, they can phone up the PSB and ask. Theoretically you're entitled to a visa as an accompanying family member (assuming he's properly employed). 

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I wouldn't be so sure about the 'not recognised' thing. A few years ago (I've looked for the post but afraid I can't find it) we had someone say they'd been at a meeting with Shanghai PSB where this'd come up and were told that if your foreign paperwork is in order, it would be handled like any other case. And while China might not *allow* same sex marriage, that doesn't mean they can't acknowledge it as valid for visa purposes involving foreign citizens.
That would mean it has changed since 2012. Would be good news.
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