Being one of the famous Asian countries in the world, and one of the largest, who doesn’t want to go to China? By just speaking of The Great Wall, Silk Road, Terracotta Warriors, Shanghai Cityscape, Tibet’s Potala Palace, Peking Duck, and Xiaolongbao, you will be enticed to go to this interesting region. China has a lot to offer, ranging from ancient architectures to modern skylines, sumptuous meals to cheap eats, and humongous malls to small shops. But how do you prepare yourself before leaving?
Some time recently I realized that I myself wanted to go to China too, so I tried to research information about visiting there, and here is what I found. As Ordinary Philippine Passport holders, by the requirement of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, we have to possess a visa before entering their territory, except for some reasons:
- You are traveling to Hong Kong SAR or Macao SAR,
- You are in a connecting flight and are in transit to a third country, and you will stay in China for less than 24 hours and will not leave the port of entry, and
- You are in group tours to Hainan Province for a stay of no more than 15 days organized by the international travel services approved by the National Tourism Administration of China and registered in Hainan Province.
If you didn’t find your situation enumerated above, then you will have to apply for a Chinese Tourist Visa (Category L). Here are the basic steps:
I. Prepare the requirements:
1. Basic Requirements
- Passport – original passport that is valid for 6 months with at least one blank visa page
- Passport Photocopy – aside from the original passport, you will have to submit a photocopy of the information page and emergency contact page.
- Visa Application Form – completed and signed. Do not leave any field blank. Write N/A if the question does not apply to you. Handwritten forms will not be accepted. You can fill up the pdf file so no worries. Print in A4 size.
- Photo – glue the photo to the appropriate field. The photo should be recent, colored, in white background, without head covering, and 48mm x 33mm in size. Stapled/ taped/ clipped/ detached photos will not be accepted.
2. Extra requirements as applicants of tourist visa
- Travel itinerary – enumerate the activities and the places you will visit for each day, and indicate the detailed address where you will stay. This one is like Taizai Nitteihyo required by the Japanese Embassy when applying for a Japanese visa.
- Reservation of roundtrip airline ticket – you don’t need to pay it immediately; just reserve it in any airline and print the details including the date and time of flight.
- Reservation of hotel room – same as the previous one. There are some websites that allow people to reserve rooms and you can pay when you already arrive on the place itself. Hotels.com offers “Pay now or pay later” in some participating hotels. You can cancel the booking at a later time.
Note: In lieu of these requirements, you can submit invitation letters from China. It must contain the following information:
- Information on the applicant : full name, gender, date of birth, etc.
- Information on the planned visit: purpose of visit, arrival and departure dates, place(s) to be visited, relations between the applicant and the inviting entity or individual, financial source for expenditures, etc.
- Information on the inviting entity or individual: name, contact telephone number, address, official stamp, signature of the legal representative or the inviting individual.
The invitation letter may be in the form of fax, photocopy or computer printout, but the consular officer may require the applicant to submit the original of the invitation letter. The proofs of kinship refers to marriage certificate, birth certificate, certification of kinship issued by Chinese Public Security Bureau or notarized certification of kinship.
3. Another set of additional requirements
For First Time Chinese Visa Applicants:
- Certificate of employment/ Business registration certificate – in the certificate of employment, your salary and length of employment should be indicated. If you are the owner of the company, submit the business registration certificate instead.
- BIR-stamped income tax return form
- Bank certificate and bank statement – obviously these papers can be obtained at the bank. It can be processed on the same day and bank certificates usually cost PhP100. Please include the receipt of the payment for this certificate in submission and the bank statement should indicate six months history of your bank account. As a suggestion, there should be at least PhP50,000-100,000 on your bank account to prove that you can afford this trip.
- Professional ID/ Student ID, etc.
Note: Provide a minimum of one of these. It’s better if you have more, because more entries, more chances of winning, lol. If you don’t have any of them, provide a letter of explanation. As for me, I submitted a CoE, bank certificate and statement, and photocopy of my company ID and TIN ID, the latter being included because I put my TIN on the application form’s field 1.9 (Local ID/ Citizenship number).
For Previous Holders of Chinese Visa:
- Photocopy of the old visa – if the visa is on your old passport, you should also submit the old passport.
II. Submit the requirements to the Chinese Embassy
Once you completed the requirements, you can bring them to the Embassy. Visa office hours is from 9am to 11am. Here is the address:
2nd Floor, The World Center,
330 Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue,
Makati City, Metro Manila
The building is found in front of Mapua Makati. Once you arrive at the second floor, head to the left side where the office is located. Prepare the documents as the security guard will check its completion before entry and will give you a stub afterwards. Just wait for the screen on the counter to flash your number and it will indicate which window will you present your requirements.
If you are early and it’s not a peak season, 15 minutes will be enough for the whole process, just like what I experienced. Once your papers are accepted, you will be given a pickup form that indicates the date when will you return and receive the passport back. Regular processing time is 4 working days.
III. Claim your passport and celebrate
On the claiming day, follow the same sequence. Present your pickup form on the front desk, and after you are given the queue number, proceed to the cashier to pay the visa fee before you get the passport. And if you see the visa already on your passport, congratulations! Welcome to China, my friend.
- Single Entry visa costs PhP1400
- Double Entry visa costs Php2100
- 6 Months Multiple Entry visa costs PhP2800
- Over 6 Months Multiple Entry visa costs PhP4200
Note: Express service (third working day release): an additional fee of 1100 pesos per visa will be charged. Rush service (second working day release): an additional fee of 1700 pesos per visa will be charged.
Featured Image taken from shainblumphoto.com