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If you want to visit China you have to apply for a Tourist or Business Visa for China and this is one of the pretty intense visa applications that are out there.
In an ideal world you would apply for a China Visa in your home Country before heading on your trip to China, however what if you’re like me, travelling on a long trip wanting to go to China but not going home in-between? Well you have to go to Hong Kong before going to China and get a visa for China in Hong Kong.
Please note – The information below is not professional advice. This is simply my experience getting a tourist visa for China in Hong Kong using a British Passport and I am in no way associated with Forever Bright Trading who I used to get my visa. The process is the same / very similar for many other nationalities however I recommend you speak to an official visa agency too to ensure you have the correct information for your nationality and situation so that you can get a visa.
My China trip is a Backpacking China Tour with The Dragon Trip, I booked it whilst I was in Malaysia and although the trip starts in Hong Kong I had to get to Hong Kong early to sort out the visa.
Related Post: Read about my Backpacking China Trip here!
China Visa Agency in Hong Kong
The best way to get a tourist or business visa for China in Hong Kong is to use a visa agency. The Dragon Trip recommended Forever Bright Trading to me who I decided to use and I got on very well with them so I recommend them as a good visa agency for a Chinese Visa in Hong Kong too.
Prior to me fully confirming my trip to China I emailed them back a forth a few times about my trip and visa as I wanted to be 100% sure I could get the visa in Hong Kong. They were very reassuring and quick to respond to all of my emails so if you have any questions I do recommend emailing them on email@example.com.
China Visa Prices and Service Times
They had told me about the visa services they offer via email so I could plan what day I wanted to arrive in Hong Kong and which service I wanted to go for.
Here are the services and prices they quoted me over email in April 2019 for a UK Passport L Type Tourist Visa for China based on my 25 day China Trip.
2 days service
Submit visa application successfully before 9:30am, collect visa on the next working day around 4:00pm
3 days service
Submit visa application successfully before 12:30pm, collect visa on the third working day around 4:00pm
4 days service
Submit visa application successfully before 12:30pm, collect visa on the fourth working day around 4:00pm
Note: All of the above services requite an extra free if the China Visa Application is rejected.
Single entry: 3 months validity and stay in China max. 30 days
Double entry: 6 months validity and stay in China max. 30 days of each entry
Because my China Tour started on a Monday and weekends are excluded from the service times I got to Hong Kong the Sunday before giving myself one whole week in Hong Kong, although in hindsight I could have arrived on Tuesday or Wednesday and gone for the 2 Day Service.
Applying for the China Visa in Hong Kong
Forever Bright Trading ChinaVisa Agency are based in Kowloon which as a traveller is a good area of Hong Kong to stay in as accommodation is much cheaper than on Hong Kong Island.
On Monday morning at 9:30am I got to their office on the 9th floor of the New Mandarin Plaza Tower B, opposite the Science Museum to see I was not the only one trying to get a visa for China in Hong Kong that week.
In fact in overhearing many conversations a lot of people from all different nationalities were looking to get a visa by later today or tomorrow which really surprised me! And there I was getting anxiety about giving myself 5 working days.
When you arrive at Forever Bright Trading they have 2 lines, one for the pick up of the application and one for the submission.
All I had to take with me was:
- My passport
- Hong Kong Landing Slip
- A passport photo (which they didn’t like and I had to get another one done there)
- Cash for Visa
- Screenshots of my China Tour confirmation although this was never looked at and I should have probably had it printed out but I forgot.
The actual application form is very simple and the staff were helpful and explained which areas to fill in which were all basic details like contact and birth details.
I had 2 issues however.
Turkey Passport Stamps – For some reason the only Countries China need an explanation for as to why you have been there is Turkey and Iraq. I mean it’s quite uncommon to have Iraq stamps but Turkey is a very popular Country to visit and I have been there twice in the last few years.
Therefore they took note of the Turkey stamps in my passport and I had to hand write a letter explaining when I went to Turkey and that it was for tourism purposes only. The agency give you a template letter to copy though so this was easy.
Not being employed – The lady told me to put my employer details down on the application form, I said I wasn’t employed and she sounded surprisingly surprised by this. I thought this might be more common as a lot of backpackers quit their jobs to travel around Asia but maybe not.
I had to hand write a second letter (with another template) to explain that I was travelling, include the Countries I had been to and when I would be returning home to work (which I made up as I have no idea!). Technically I am self-employed through this blog but I felt adding my own company and saying ‘travel writer’ or ‘travel blogger’ would bring up even more questions and it was easier to say unemployed.
After I’d completed my application form and written both letters I queued up in the second queue where they checked them, I paid the money in cash for the visa and I had to have another passport photo taken which they did in their office and cost HKD50 as apparently I didn’t look smart enough in the photo I took!
When telling the visa agency that I needed my Visa by the following Monday one week from now, but really Friday as they close for the weekend, they recommended I did the 4 day service to get it back on Thursday which I was happy with as this was the cheapest option at HKD1390 / £135.00.
Picking up my Passport & Visa for China
I went back into the office after 12:30 on Thursday (which was much quieter than Monday morning), picked up my passport with the visa in with no issues and I was set to go to China in a few days time!
Remember that you’ll need a VPN for China on your phone and laptop otherwise you’ll have very limited internet use. I used BestVPN to help work out which one to use and went for Express VPN in the end which worked well for me in China.
I hope this has helped you work out how to get your visa for China in Hong Kong. It really wasn’t as difficult or as stressful as I thought. I had to wait in a few queues when I submitted it but it really wasn’t that bad!
To see what I got up to in China see ALL MY CHINA POSTS!