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Guangzhou, China May Add 72 Hour Transit Without Visa 11 April 13

Posted by Summer Jenkins in traveler advise, Visa News.
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Officials from China Southern Airlines have recently announced that negotiations are underway to allow foreign travelers a 72 hour transit without visa stopover in Guangzhou.  Although the policy has not yet been officially confirmed, it is expected that it will go into effect late this year.

Currently, tourists and business travelers from 45 nations, including the United States, are allowed a visa-free stay of up to 72 hours in Beijing and Shanghai if they hold ongoing air tickets to a third country.  This policy went into effect on January 1 of this year; please see our earlier article for complete details.  Guangzhou is expected to follow the same rules as Beijing and Shanghai.

G3 will continue to monitor the progress of the transit without visa policy and will provide updates as they become available.

 

Embassy Closures : week of 11 February – 15 February 11 February 13

Posted by Jonathan V. Phillips in Embassy Consulate Closure.
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Embassy Closure

This week starts a New Year for many in Asia. Lunar New Year is observed this week and many embassies and consulates will closed, some for an extended period. Starting on Monday the 11th of February China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam will all be closed. The Chinese embassy and most of it’s consulates around the country will be closed until Thursday February 14th. Vietnam will stay closed until Friday, the 15th of February. An addition to the New Year, there are closures at the embassies of Cameroon and Myanmar this week. Afghanistan will be closed on Friday to observe their Day of Liberation.

11 February, Monday: 

Lunar New YearChina, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam 

Youth Day – Cameroon   

12 February, Tuesday:

Lunar New Year – China and Vietnam 

Union Day – Myanmar

13 February, Wednesday:  

Lunar New Year – China (Chinese consulate in San Francisco is open) and Vietnam

14 February, Thursday:  

Lunar New Year – Vietnam (Embassy in DC is open)

 

15 February, Friday:

Liberation Day – Afghanistan 

As is always the case for holiday closures, the closure means no new visa  will be submitted or completed jobs picked up. A holiday does not count towards the total processing time associated with completing a request.  Because of the two holidays travelers are advised to take into account any extra time their requests my require when determining to how quickly to process their visa request

 

Chinese New Year : Important closures next week 8 February 13

Posted by Jonathan V. Phillips in Embassy Consulate Closure.
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Happy Year of the Snake

 

Happy Year of the Snake !The week of February 11 – 15 will see extended closures at numerous embassies and consulates. The Chinese Lunar New Year starts on Sunday, February 10. The holiday, which is not uniquely Chinese, is observed by many countries in Asia. The embassies of China, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam will all be closed. China and Vietnam will be taking an extended holiday while the others will only be closed on Monday the 10th. Those countries will not  reopen until Thursday, February 14. The exception is the Chinese consulate in San Francisco, which will reopen on Wednesday, February 13. If you are in a travel crunch and need a Chinese visa asap, contact the G3 San Francisco office.

As is always the case for holiday closures, the closure means no new visa  will be submitted or completed jobs picked up. A holiday does not count towards the total processing time associated with completing a request.  Because of the two holidays travelers are advised to take into account any extra time their requests my require when determining to how quickly to process their visa request

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Closures to make short week starting on January 21 18 January 13

Posted by Jonathan V. Phillips in Embassy Consulate Closure, Passport.
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MLK Holiday DC

There is a short week for visa and passport processing coming up. Starting on Monday the 21st, the combined Martin Luther King Jr. Federal holiday and the Presidential Inauguration will see closures at most Embassies and consulates. Monday will also close  Federal Offices such as all Passport Offices and the Department of State Office of Authentications. Additionally, do to the scale of the Inaugural event and it’s impact on the City, G3’s Washington (Arlington, VA) office will be close operations at noon on the 21st. The other G3 offices in New York, Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco are not effected and will be open during normal business hours  Monday.

Thursday the 24th of January sees an important holiday in the Islamic Calendar.  Mawlid al-Nabi or Ma’uled Al-Nabi, which is a celebration of the Prophet Mohamed’s birthday, takes place. The holiday will cause closures at embassies and consulates from Islamic countries around the country who our commemorating the day. Although not a complete list as consular offices  don’t always announce their intention to close,

The Embassies and consulates representing  AfghanistanCameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, IndonesiaJordan and Mali have all announced closures on the 24th. Be advised that this list is not definitive as consular offices don’t always announce their intention to close. Other Islamic consular offices can be expected to be closed. We will up date the known closure list for the holiday as soon as we know.

As is always the case for holiday closures, the closure means no new visa or passport applications can be submitted or completed jobs picked up. A holiday does not count towards the total processing time associated with completing a request.  Because of the two holidays travelers are advised to take into account any extra time their requests my require when determining to how quickly to process a passport or visa.

China Shanghai Beijing 72 Hours TWOV 45 Nationalities 14 December 12

Posted by Jonathan V. Phillips in traveler advise, Visa News.
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beijingcapitalairport

China’s State Bureau  has recently amended it’s rules for entry. Effective 1 January 2013 travelers from 45 countries, including the USA, Canada and most of the EU, will be permitted to enter China for a 72 hour period with out the prerequisite visa. The new policy applies to travelers both business and tourist, who are enroute to another destination and are merely transiting through China. Travelers should have proof of an onward destination in the form of a plane ticket or visa.

Visa free entry is only available in two cities, Beijing and Shanghai and is restricted to air travelers only. In Shanghai, Hongqiao and Pudong airports will be allowing visitors in Beijing only Beijing Capital International Airport will have the new TWOV policy. Special accommodations like lines and lounge areas are being created at these airports to facilitate the quick processing of qualified travelers. The 72 hour period begins once the passport has been stamped and the traveler is officially admitted into China.

The move is seen to be an economic one. Hoping to stimulate economic zones of Shanghai and Beijing ‘the new rules are attempting to capitalize on tourist revenue that would not ordinarily pass through China or could not leave the airport because of visa issues. Tour operators in China are creating special 72 hour tour packages, including late nigh cinema (most international planes arrive at  night in China) highlight city tours and hotel packages.The current number of foreign visitors to Beijing is 5 million per year. The number is expected to double in three years after the TWOV policy comes into effect.

The new China TWOV rules are not with out restrictions.

  • Must be transit: The policy is for travelers going through China to get to another place. The next destination must not be the one you entered China from.
  • Not for flight crews: Crew personal will still be required a visas to China regardless of the duration of their stay. The new entry rule is effecting transit travel only and flight crews are not considered in transit.
  • Can not leave city: Travelers who enter Beijing or Shanghai under these new visa free rules are not permitted to go out side of  the city limits. Going outside of the city limits will be considered a visa violation and China is warning that violators will be banned from entering China in the future. Travelers must exit the same city from which they entered China from.
  • Police Registration: The rules say individuals should register with the police with in 24 hours of your entry into China. We recommend checking with your hotel or operator as they might have this registration done as part of their service.
  • No Pets: Pets are not permitted into China during the 72 visa free period. Pets brought into China will be kept in quarantine during that period with the exception of utility animals like guide dogs.
  • Don’t Overstay:Travelers who are not able to leave China during their 72 hour period due to illness or other reason, need to visa the Municipal Public Security Bureau and apply for a limited stay visa.

Visas are still required to China for most travelers. Information on obtaining a visa to China prior to departure is available on the G3 forms page. Here is a list of the available types and categories of Chinese visas.

  • F Visa: For travelers who are invited to China for visit, research, lecture, business, scientific-technological and culture exchanges or short-term advanced studies or intern practice for a period of no more than six months.
  • L Visa: For travelers who are coming to China for tourist purposes, family visiting or other personal affairs.
  • Z Visa: For travelers who are to taking up a post or employment in China, and their accompanying family members.
  • X Visa: For travelers who are coming to China for the purpose of study, advanced studies or intern practice for a period of six months or above.
  • C Visa: For crewmembers on international aviation, navigation and land transportation missions and their family members accompanying them.
  • J-1 Visa: For resident journalists.
  • J-2 Visa: For short term journalists.
  • G Visa: For transit
  • D Visa: Residency visas.

We are monitoring the role out of the program and will be providing updates as they develop. If you enter China through this visa free process, we are interested in hearing about your experiences.

Questions about China visas can be addressed to the G3 Country Information Coordinator.

Visas to China, For Non US Citizens 28 November 12

Posted by Jonathan V. Phillips in Visa News.
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Chinese visa processing is not uniform. What one Chinese consulate will do, not do or require can differ from consulate to consulate.This situation is especially true for non US citizens who reside in the US who need visas to China. The nationalities most likely to have issues are French citizens (for their country’s support of Tibet) and passport holders from Taiwan. Certain Indian passports have also had issues getting Chinese visas.

Jurisdiction

China is enforcing jurisdiction for visa applicants. The first step in getting a Chinese visa is determining what Chinese visa office serves the state you have your legal residence in.This is usually determined by which state issued your driver’s license.

Map of Consular Jurisdiction for China

China Visa Consular Offices

Chinese Visa Requirements by City

Along with having jurisdiction, there are slight variations between the requirements between the various Chinese consulates in the US. Downloadable visa instructions are linked to the city names below that detail the visa process specific to that jurisdiction.

Washington, DC :

For residents of Delaware, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington DC, West Virginia and Wyoming.

G3’s office in Arlington, VA serves applicants at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC. The office can process Chinese visas for all Non US passport holders including French. Visas for French passport holders  are processed in no less than four days .  All other Non-US passports can do rush processing.

Chicago :

For residents of Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.

G3’s Chicago office can not process Chinese visas for passport holders from France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Belgium, Norway, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Greece, Sweden, Estonia, Switzerland, Turkey and Luxemburg and Taiwan.  Rush processing is available for most other nationals not listed above.

Los Angeles :

For residents of Arizona, Southern California, Hawaii, New Mexico, and the US Pacific Island Territories.

G3’s Los Angeles office can process visas for all non US passports with the exception of those from France and Taiwan. The fastest processing available is no less than four days.

San Francisco :

For residents of Alaska, Northern California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state

G3′ San Francisco office can process visas for  all Non US citizens passport holders with the exception of those from France and Taiwan. If the applicant has never visited China it could take up to 4 weeks for approval. If the applicant has a previous visa in their passport, rush processing is available.

Houston :

For residents of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico and Texas.

G3’s Houston office can  process all European Union passports except those issued from  France.Mission critical processing is not available. The fastest available processing for non US passports is no less than four days.

New York :

For residents of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey,  New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

G3’s New York office can process visas for citizens from all the European Union countries except France Most African countries and Pakistan can be processed. Rush visa processing is available for Non US passport holders.

Expert Advise

G3 Visas & Passports is unique in many ways. With our six offices we are able to serve applicants at every Chinese Consulate General and as well as the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC. G3 is also unique in that we have Country Information Coordinators. These  experts are designated to specialize in the visa processing for a specific country. G3’s China Coordinator is Rebecca Davis. If you have any questions on China visas, processing or need any additional information on China, she is available at the San Francisco office and by email.

Embassy Closures Week of 12 November 2012 13 November 12

Posted by Jonathan V. Phillips in Embassy Consulate Closure.
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A Federal holiday on Monday will see most embassies honoring US Veterans Day which is also Armistice Day for those in Western Europe. The State Department’s Passport Offices are all closed Monday as well. The Hindu Festival of Diwali will  see closures at the Indian Embassy and it’s  Consulates General but their outsourcing operations are still open. This week also has Islamic New Year which will cause delays and closures at various consulates and embassies.

The full list of weekly closures by day

12  November, Monday   Veteran’s Day/ Armistice Day
US Passport Offices
Brazil
Cambodia
Vietnam
China (DC, NY, SF only)
India
Laos
Russia(outsourcing closed, consulates open)
Angola closed for Independence Day
Azerbaijan closed for Constitution Day, (outsourcing open)

13 November, Tuesday
India closed for Diwali (outsourcing open)

14 November, Wednesday
Nepal closed for Sambat New Year

15 November, Thursday   Islamic New Year –
Algeria
Bahrain
Djibouti
Egypt
Indonesia
Iraq
Jordan
Kuwait
Lebanon
Libya
Malaysia
Morocco
Oman
Syria
UAE
Yemen
(expect other consulates to close that have not reported their holiday schedule)
Belgium closed for Dynasty Day
Cote d’Ivoire closed for National Peace Day

Remember when consular office are closed there are no visa processed
or new applications accepted on that day. When an embassy or
consulate is closed, that day does count as a processing day and
applications currently in for process will have the visa processing
extended to include the non processing closure day. Please account
for extra time if you are applying for a visa to a country whose office closed because of holiday.
If you have any questions on how long your visa request will take
for a particular country please feel free to contact our
professional staff for more information.

Embassy Closure List week of Oct 8 8 October 12

Posted by Jonathan V. Phillips in Embassy Consulate Closure.
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This week Columbus Day is observed. This is an official Federal Holiday, closing banks and Federal institutions such as the State Department’s Passport Office and the Office of Authentications. As with  most US Federal Holidays the Russian Embassy is open and this counts as a processing day for applications already in process. However, their ILS acceptance facilities are closed, so new Russian applications will be submitted today. Also the Chinese Embassy is closed but it’s consulates in LA and San Francisco are open for processing and accepting new visa applications today.

8  October, Monday: Columbus Day – US Passport Offices closed, many embassies and consulates closed including:

Algeria
Bangladesh
Brazil
Cambodia
China – All consulates except LA and SF.
Egypt
India – only the Travisa office in SF, all others are open.
Laos
Malaysia
Nigeria
Myanmar
Kazakhstan
Philippines
Russia – ILS offices closed, but consulates open
Thailand
Saudi Arabia
Turkey
Vietnam
Venezuela closed for Day of Indigenous Resistance


9 October, Tuesday
Uganda closed for Independence Day

10 October, Wednesday
Kenya closed for Moi Day
Taiwan closed for National Day (Double Tenth)

12 October, Friday,  
Equatorial Guinea closed for Independence Day
Laos closed for Day of Liberation

Remember when consular office are closed there are no visa processed
or new applications accepted on that day. When an embassy or
consulate is closed, that day does count as a processing day and
applications currently in for process will have the visa processing
extended to include the non processing closure day. Please account
for extra time if you are applying for a visa to a country whose office closed because of holiday.
If you have any questions on how long your visa request will take
for a particular country please feel free to contact our
professional staff
 for more information.

Embassy Closure List week of 1 October 2012 1 October 12

Posted by Jonathan V. Phillips in Embassy Consulate Closure.
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October 1 is a big day for national days around the world with
Nigeria, Botswana and China all closed on the first.  Many of
the PRC consular offices are taking additional days and embassy
closure schedule is not standard for the various consulates and the
Embassy in Washington, DC.

Monday, 1 October

China closed for National Day
Botswana closed for Botswana Day
Cameroon closed
Nigeria closed for National Day
Sao Tome and  Principe closed
Uzbekistan closed for Day of Teachers and Instructors

Tuesday, 2 October

China(Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco consulates
only) closed for National Day
India closed for Mahatma Ghandi’s birthday
Guinea closed for Independence Day

Wednesday, 3 October

China
(Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and New York consulates only) closed
for National Day
South Korea closed for Foundation Day

Thursday, 4 October

Mozambique closed for Peace and National Reconciliation Day

Friday, 5 October

Egypt closed for Armed Forces Day
Syria closed for Tishreen Liberation War Day

Remember when consular office are closed there are no visa processed
or new applications accepted on that day. When an embassy or
consulate is closed, that day does count as a processing day and
applications currently in for process will have the visa processing
extended to include the non processing closure day. Please account
for extra time if you are applying for a visa to a country whose office closed because of holiday.
If you have any questions on how long your visa request will take
for a particular country please feel free to contact our
professional staff
for more information.

Preventing Processing Delays for Chinese Visas 14 September 12

Posted by Summer Jenkins in Visa News.
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With Chinese consulates becoming increasingly strict about the enforcement of visa requirements, it’s more important than ever to make sure that the documents you submit meet their guidelines.

The greatest problems we are seeing are with business visa requests, which require a very detailed and specific letter from the company to be visited in China.  At the consulate in Houston, which already has the slowest processing because they have eliminated all rush processing options, some applicants are having their processing times doubled without warning.  Consular officers have been attempting to telephone the contact person listed on the Chinese invitation letter, and if the contact does not answer — which is quite likely, given the time difference between Houston and Beijing! — the visa processing time will be extended from five business days to ten.

We believe that the best way to avoid this type of processing delay is to ensure that all of the required details are included on the business letter from China.  All of the following details must be included.

 

Details about the applicant:

  • Full name
  • Gender
  • Citizenship
  • Passport Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Job Title
  • Company Name

Details about the trip:

  • Entry and Exit Dates
  • Purpose of the Journey
  • Cities to be Visited
  • Requested Visa Duration
  • Requested Visa Type
  • Requested Number of Entries
  • Financial Guarantee for Applicant’s Expenses

Details about the contact person in China:

  • Full Name
  • Job Title
  • Company Name
  • Company Mailing Address
  • Business Telephone Number
  • Mobile Telephone Number
  • Email Address

This letter should be on letterhead, and must show both a signature and a personal seal from an executive of the company to be visited.  The personal seal is a small ink stamp; all Chinese executives will have their own stamp, which is used in conjunction with their signature on checks, contracts, legal documents and important letters.  Faxed or scanned letters are accepted.

 

A sample of a business letter is provided below.  This sample also appears in all of our visa instruction PDFs.

June 1, 2012

Consulate General ofChina

Consular Section

 

Dear Visa Officer,

We are cordially inviting Jeremy Simmons (male, citizen of USA, US Passport Number 123456789, born 25 December 1960) [Insert your name, gender, citizenship, passport number, date of birth], Vice President [Insert your position], International Public Policy, East Coast Promotions, Inc.  [Insert the name of your company] to visit China on Monday, August 3 through August 17 [Dates of your trip]. During this trip he will meet with a representative of our company to discuss the sale and distribution of our products. Meetings will take place in Beijing and he will also tour our factory in Shanghai [specify places to be visited].

His agenda is to meet and discuss business with Mr. Li Wei, Director of International Sales, [Insert Name of Contact and Job Title] at:

Company Name

Street Address

City, Country, Zip Code

Telephone Number

Mobile Phone Number

Email Address

(It is important to list full contact information for the individual you are going to visit.)                                                                                                                            

East Coast Promotions, Inc.[Insert Company Name] will assume all financial responsibility for any debts incurred by Jeremy Simmons while traveling on business in China.    [The letter must include a financial guarantee for the applicant.]

We request that you issue a single entry business visa valid 30 days [specify number of entries and duration].  I appreciate your attention to this matter.

 

Sincerely,

 

[Letter must have the signature and seal of a company representative.]

Zhang Jin

Executive Officer

Overseas Company, Inc.