Learn Chinese in China
flray

visa and travel questions

17 posts in this topic

Hello All,

 

  I apologize If these are redundant questions. I went though a massive amount of old posts but with how opaque the visa issue is I'd like to ask for clarity.

 

1) It is required that I purchase plane tickets and have full hotel/hostel reservations for my full planned period in china to provide in my visa application? As a person from the States I have only had to deal with travel to Russia that required a visa. I used a service for that which might be an asset for me to do as well with this. It seems strange to me to purchase tickets/reservations without a visa in hand but I guess that is the nature of the process. 

 

2) I most likely am going to study at Bincai in Harbin. The information they provided me states that they can help change my L visa to a x visa. I just have concern as a visa run for a L visa from Harbin would be a bit costly for my budget. 

 

3) I would like to do a bit of travel while in China. Some of the cites I would like to see would be Yanji, Dalian, Shenyang and Changchun. Beijing is my most likely my point of entry Shenyang and Changchun would be an easy stop to or from Harbin. I could go to my homebound flight by way of Dalian. Yanji is a little bit out of the way and I would like to spend 3-4 day there. I could travel there before my study or possibly on a long weekend during my study. Could I travel there after my study on an x2 visa?

If I would  go there before Harbin I  know I have to leave about 2-3 weeks to allow for my residence permit to be within the 30 day requirement from coming into country. 

 

In applying for my visa should I have specificity of going to Yanji or make reservations to fulfill the time for application. Its the mix and match between L and X visas that have me confused.

 

      Thanks All in advance and shout out to Mati for already helping with Yanji. I would like to some photo documentation of the region to post for those interested in the

bi lingual aspect of the place

 

Cheers

  Ray

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

For clarity, I will do my best to answer your questions, in order:

  1. For a typical tourism visa, having a return airfare (or similar inbound and outbound travel itinerary) is ideal and not having one might raise questions.  The length of stay (e.g. 30/60/90 days) is also often determined by your return airfare date but this may not apply given the China-U.S. reciprocity with regards to ten year visas.  The situation with hotel bookings, or a personal invitation from a friend, is very much the same; and with so many major chains allowing free cancellation/changes, you need not be bound by your original itinerary, should your plans change.  That's not to say an application without these would be necessarily declined, its just that lacking them makes an extra level of scrutiny and the possibility of rejection somewhat higher, and is best avoided.  For a genuine tourist, this is also, usually, not a problem.
     
  2. If you are going to China to study, especially for an extended period, then why not simply have the institution provide the documentation required for an X1/X2 visa in the first place?  This avoids the hassle of travel/hotel itineraries, avoids a visa run, and keeps this all above board.  Given the number of affordable and high quality institutions which provide Chinese language instruction, any institution which is unwilling or unable to provide the correct visa is (in my opinion, anyway) one which is best avoided.
     
  3. Domestic travel is easy on both tourism (L) and study (X1/X2) visas; but if you are entering on an X1 study visa, specifically, save any travel until after it has been converted to a Residence Permit.

TL;DR - Be honest; be accurate, even if vague; and be sure to apply for, an enter using, the correct visa category for your intended purpose of visit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thank you m000gle,

I though it was pretty standard to come on a L visa then convert it but will definitely check if I sound come into country on this visa.

 

cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just received these responses from bincai to my questions

 

If I am to study on a L visa I am concerned of how long it will be valid and if I would have to leave then come back to china if I was to study for 3 months?
 
If you want to leave and come back ,you had better apply X visa,that have not limited the outbound times.
If X2 VISA,the students only have one chance could go abroad,and when they come back China,they can only stay in China one month at most,
so MAYBE X visa is more better
 
If I send in my information form will you send me an "invitation letter" to use to apply for my L visa?
 
If you want to apply L visa ,i think you need not the invitation letter,you could only tell the embassy you want to have a trip to China,then when you come bincai,we do X2 or X VISA for you.
In case,you must get invitation letter,you need to transfer all the study fee to us first,later we give you the invitation letter
 
I proposed sending a deposit to get invitation letter. I am a bit hesitant at sending 3 months tuition and rent without a visa. I could plan a full 3 months of reservations I could cancel to travel on a L visa. This seems a bit cumbersome though. They seems very helpful I guess its just working out these kinks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I popped into the PSB in Hangzhou yesterday. If you're coming to study you should get the X visa in your country of residence. They said a lot of small private schools advise to come on an F or L visa, but you are not allowed to study on these.

 

Domestic travel no problem, but if you plan to travel out of the country you can't get back in on an X2 visa as it's single entry. The X2 visa is 180 days which covers 1 semester and more, and it can be renewed in China if you stayed a second semester.

 

Regarding changing L-visas to X-visas, they said it depends on the circumstance. I'm guessing they'll just check your visa history to ensure you're not working illegally etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks makie1402

The school said they would take a proportional  deposit now come the fun of international transfers

 

 

"After you send deposit,give the first page of your passport and your study period.

1.You could post fees to the account from abroad:
The account number is"1664 6059 4748",
the Chinese name of the bank is 中国银行哈尔滨工大支行
                                BANK OF CHINA HARBIN GONGDA SUB-BRANCH)
the Chinese address is 哈尔滨市南岗区工建街21
                      (NO.21 GONGJIAN STREET NANGANG DISTRICT HARBIN CHINA)
SWIFT ADD: BKCHCNBJ860
TEL of BANK: 0451_86418296
NAME:辛滨才(XIN BIN CAI) IMPORTANTPlease remember to make the payment to 辛滨才(XIN BIN CAI) ”NOT “黑龙江滨才学院(Heilongjiang Bincai College)” otherwise we can't get the money from the bank"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, mackie1402 said:

They said a lot of small private schools advise to come on an F or L visa, but you are not allowed to study on these.

Is there any country in the world where you are not allowed to spend money to learn about their language and culture while being there on a tourist visa for one to three months?

 

@flray have you even decided how long you want to study in China on this visit yet? It still sounds a bit fuzzy to me. I don't know if you personally can obtain a tourist visa for more than a month (without forced reentry), but I consider going there for more than three or six months a more serious approach. (I am not saying you can't learn seriously without going to China.)

 

If I remember correctly it has been mentioned before that the X visa usually allows to stay for some time after your official study period ended (what about X2?). I guess one only knows after getting the visa, stamp or whatever?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As an American, you will get a 10-year multiple-entry L visa permitting a stay of 60 days on each entry. China only permits one visa at a time, so if you get an X visa later, your 10-year L visa will be cancelled.

 

Most travellers have no difficulty leaving Mainland China and then re-entering, getting a fresh 60-day stay. It would be easier to do this if you were in Shenzhen or Guangzhou instead of Harbin, of course.

 

There is the possibility of extending your stay within China at the PSB. In the past, an extension could mean cancellation of other entries on your multiple-entry visa; I don't know the current situation.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You don't need to provide full hotel reservations for your entire stay. Book a cheap youth hostel for your first destination in China and that will be enough.

I'm studying at Bincai and yes they convert L visas to X1 and X2 visas all the time. They converted my 60 day L visa to a 3 month X2 visa which as they told you allows one to leave China and come back once. What they do is submit your passport and paperwork to a PSB which they have a good working relationship with. The PSB cancels your L visa and issues an X or X2 visa. It's crucial for their business, they would not be able to operate without doing this.

I think that they can't give you an X1 visa (the one that becomes a residence permit) unless you are studying for at least 6 months.

Make sure you get a temporary residence permit from the first place you stay in China. This is crucial for applying to change the L visa to student visa and for anyone who wants to extend an L visa.

4 hours ago, 889 said:

It would be easier to do this if you were in Shenzhen or Guangzhou instead of Harbin, of course.

You could just get a Mongolian or Russian visa (or both) in advanced and use the land border crossings between those countries and Heilongjiang. I think there's a train service that goes to Mongolia from Harbin? There's definitely a train service between Harbin and Russia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Americans normally get three-year multiple-entry tourist visas for Russia, so perhaps the OP still has a valid Russian visa. And Americans don't need a visa for Mongolia.

 

It's simply that the formalities of crossing into Hong Kong and then back again at Shenzhen are about as quick and efficient as can be.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks all this is really good info,

 

 
Mati1says---------@flray have you even decided how long you want to study in China on this visit yet?
 
I want to come to china for 3 months give or take a few weeks. I want to study seriously but also to speak on the streets and have the Hanzi input I can only really get from being there.
 
899 says------------As an American, you will get a 10-year multiple-entry L visa permitting a stay of 60 days on each entry. China only permits one visa at a time, so if you get an X visa later, your 10-year L visa will be cancelled.
 
A 60 day tourist visa seems though it could work. To do one visa run would not be as burdensome as every 30 days.
 
Linzhenpu says-----You don't need to provide full hotel reservations for your entire stay. Book a cheap youth hostel for your first destination in China and that will be enough.
 
So I could book a hostel in Beijing and then register with PSB in Harbin?
 
                          ------You could just get a Mongolian or Russian visa (or both) in advanced and use the land border crossings between those countries and Heilongjiang. I think there's a train service that goes to Mongolia from Harbin? There's definitely a train service between Harbin and Russia.
 
A Russian visa is 160 Usd or more plus the cost of travel. I would love to see Eastern Russia especially Vladivostok. I lived in Alaska for 3 years and have a good friend in Yuzhno Sakhalinsk that was my roommate. I went to Moscow once and flew in in the middle of the night. They had cancelled my hotel reservations and the taxi ride was 50 dollars each stop and I could not get another hotel so I jumped a train to St petersburg that night. I speak a bit of Russian but still a nightmare.
 
A direct train to UlaanBaatar is 24 hours but it goes through Russia and I hear that I would need a Russian visa for that. To go another route would take many transfers and more time. Possibly there is a town just over the border just to satisfy the requirement. I will check.
 
A flight to Korea would be 350 Usd  I think. If from Yanji I believe I saw 250 Usd. No visa requirement  for US citizen. Better yet I should just get the x visa. Studying is my priority so the only travel I real want to do is  4-5 days in Yanji. I could take weekend trips to other cites in the region during my study. 
 
Thanks Ray
 
 
 
 
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, flray said:

So I could book a hostel in Beijing and then register with PSB in Harbin?

Yes you can do that, make sure they give you a copy of the temporary residence permit, provide this to the school in Harbin and they will sort the rest of the paperwork out for you. They will organise a day to go to their PSB with you and a couple of other students to submit the paperwork and your passport. 

Oh, take two passport size photos with you.

Also, you need to rent a place to live before they can organise your visa. They their own have dormitories but it's minimum 6 months stay. If you can get an English and Chinese speaking friend to help you translate, I can give you the contact of where I'm staying now that is right next to the school. Can't guarantee there will be a room available when you come, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depending, you can sometimes fly Harbin-Shenzhen r/t for about US$200 on Spring Airlines.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Linzhupu 

I am planning to come for 3 months so I didn't know there is a 6 month minimum with rental of apartment. I will e mail them and ask both about minimum stay and reservation. I thought I talked to them about taking 2 hours a day and they said its a minimum of 4 hours for an invitation letter. If there is a limitation I will work around it. Thanks for the offer of address. My chinese is about advanced beginner of low intermediate but you  pm your address I think I can work out the address. I also have a native speaker friend here in Florida. Thanks.

 

889

Thanks for the suggestion. The dollars sound good on that. I would really like to see Southern China but hope to save it when I can really experience it. I hope to learn a bit of Korean so that visa run would possibly see a bit more of Northern China if I am catching a ferry and to see that country.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Their rooms aren't apartments, they are dormitories. Annoying about the 4 hours minimum, I was taking 2 hours a day and it was fine but then I was already in the country sitting in their office.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I am going to make enough reservation to satisfy the requirements and travel on L visa. I can get it changed in country to an x visa and it allows me to be a little flexible. Maybe I will have 2 to 2 1/2 months study and a couple of weeks to travel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I asked for you and right now the 6 month stay minimum for their dormitories doesnt apply because they have plenty. But you have to tell them exactly when you are coming.

Also you can study here on a tourist visa no problem. Only if you want to extend your visa through the school do you need to get the X visa and pay the tuition fee for the length of said visa.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now