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lundi, septembre 24, 2012

Chinese visa in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam

Note: these are fresh and updated information on how to get a chinese visa from Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) city in Vietnam. I have gone through all the steps, in september 2012.

I learned all of this the hard way, going back to the consulate 5 times before my application was finally accepted. Here are some tips and tricks that might help.

Basically there are a few visa types to be obtained. Mostly, we can focus on tourist visa or business visa. I will go through all the requirements for both.

Let's start.

Firstly, the Consultae of China in Ho Chi Minh city has changed location. Most of online resources give the reference of the old building that used to be on "39 NGUYEN THI MINH KHAI STREET, DISTRICT 1, HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM". 

Please note that there is nothing there anymore as all of the diplomatic representation has moved to :
"175 Hai Ba Trung Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam", so this is the only one place you should go to from now on. It is pretty close to main city attractions such as Ben Thanh Market and other such touristic hubs. You can take a taxi to go there, it should cost no more than about 100'000 VND. 

When you arrive there you should go to the visa section. It is only open from 8:30 to 11:00 am from monday to friday. You access it directly from the street outside without properly stepping into the yard of the consulate (which is a pity because it looks like a really awesome chineses-style building). If you come by motorbike you have to find a parking nearby as there are no such facilities for the public.

Tourist visa:

The following is required for making a tourist visa to China at the consulate in Saigon:
  1. Your original passport and 1 copy of your passport (photo + signature pages + vietnam visa)
  2. A completed visa request form (the basic info = 4 pages + extended infos=2 pages because you ask from outside of your home country)
  3. An invitation letter from a relative, friend or whoever lives in China that you may know. On the letter they should specify about your full name, passport number, birthdate and specifically mention that they invite you as well as the adress where they live and where you will be hosted.
  4. The inviting person must have a valid working-visa or chinese identity card to accompany the letter. If such document is missing you cannot submit the application. 
  5. A hotel booking confirmation (I heard that some hotels might also provide the invitation letter if you book with them prior to your departure)
  6. A pre-reserved flight ticket. Please note this does not have to be paid yet, only reserved. This is a bit strange, but the way to do it. So basically you go to China Southern airlines and they will issue some kind of a booking reservation that you should bring to the embassy. This would do the trick. 
  7. Finally do not forget a nice picture of you to attach to the document. Without the picture... you shall come another morning...
When you finally (and hopefully successfully) submit your form and it is accepted basically you can choose between a few different possibilities and visa types. Firstly it is about duration (1, 3, 6 months) then is is about the number of entries (single, double or multiple). Depending on your choices you get different pricing, which range between 40$ to 75$ for non-US citizen. Please note that US citizen pay about double or triple of that price and the range is from 140$ to 175$. 

The visa fee should be paid exclusively at the Bank of China only, located in Sunwah tower, on Nguyen Du street, Q1. Beware that they only accept USD, and you cannot pay with Vietnam DOngs the local currency! So please have some bucks ready... as they will not exchange it for you there!

Once you've submitted your form, paid at the bank, keep you little receipt of the embassy preciously. At the bank they stamp it and this is your "proof of payment". When you go to the embassy 3-4 days later pick-up your chinese visa, they will request it. 

Please note that the validation and visa emission procedure can be speeded up quite a bit by paying the regular "rush service". This can compress the time down to 2 working days (there is also a "same day" option but this is reserved for business visas I think). The surcharge amounts to about 30$.

That's it... now you have gone through all the steps to finally get your chinese visa in Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon). Not so much complicated but a bit of formal procedures... Have fun in China... and don't forget to come back to Vietnam some day: you know you want it ; )

Business visa:

Let's review the requirements for the obtention of a business visa to China from Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon)

You must prepare the following in advance: 

  1. Ask for your chinese partner (registered company in China) to write down a letter to invite you to visit them, and detailing your name, birthdate and passport number, as well as the purpose of your visit to China. The letter must be stamped and signed and have the full adress of the company (=letterhead). 
  2. In this case it is NOT necessary to bring along your hotel booking and copy of the passport of the person that signed the letter (="the person inviting you on behalf of the company")
  3.  Flight ticket is not compulsory, but they like to have a look at it, so if you have reserved the flight already, better to bring it along. 
  4.  Then you will need to complete the visa form (4 pages + 2 pages if you fill the application from another place that your home-country). 
  5. Stick a recent photo of yours on the application form
  6. Bring a photocopy of your passport (photo page + vietnam visa page)
Once you submit the whole application to the counter they will imemdiately tell you if something is missing, in such case they will let you know what is missing exactly. 

The maximum duration you can get a visa for is 1 month, 3 months or 6 months. These can be one entry, double entry or multiple. When it starts to get longer (12 months or 24 months) and multiple entries, they will most likely request that you have a special paper issued by the government. Without this paper (that should be requested directly by your chinese partner) you simply cannot ask for 12 months visa.  

The required time to process the visa is about 3-4 working days (I had mine in 3). You can speed up that process by using the "express" way, that is official, and will cost 30$ additional.

Once the consular officer finally accept your request, she will give you a small receipt and the adress of the Bank of China office in Sunwah tower (see adress above). When you go there you shall bring US dollars. If you do not have, please change as they will NOT make the change at the bank. They will simply ask you to fill a little form and have it processed at the cashier. The girl will then stamp the receipt and this is the valid ticket to get back your visa 3 days later.

Here you are, finally ready to go to China, discover the many wonders of doing business in Asia ;)
Good luck to you all!



Blogger Seo Sea said...

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