Let me in!

So China seems to be taking a page from America’s playbook and has implemented very very annoying restrictions on getting a visa this year. I guess it’s timed because of the Olympics, but given the massive number of people traveling there this year shouldn’t the visa application process be simplified, not further complicated?

I showed up at the consulate to get my visa and gave them a copy of my plane ticket and my invitation letter from Tsinghua. The lady at the consulate desk, if you can call her a lady, I think her voice was deeper than mine, told me that I needed a hotel booking. I told her that I didn’t have a booking because Tsinghua is supposed to take care of my housing, at least for the first few weeks that I’m there. She said that’s a no go, and sent me away.

Now maybe I’m the idiot because I didn’t go and start the application process any earlier, but at this point it’s getting pretty late and I need to get the visa ASAP. So I asked my dad to write me a “letter of invitation” from my uncle in Beijing and I would try to apply as a pure tourist. I went back the next day with the letter and thankfully they took my papers and gave me a receipt, which (hopefully) means I should be able to pick up the visa tomorrow.

And if not, I just might start my own protest alongside the crazy Falungong people across the consulate.


~ by therandomoracle on June 2, 2008.

3 Responses to “Let me in!”

  1. Just some piece of advice from my own experience with visas for the US (it may not be applicable to the situation in China): Going in as a tourist and then engaging in certain non-tourist activities can be a bad idea. I once had issues getting my J-1 visa as a research scholar. So I thought, let’s just go in as a tourist and pick up my J-1 visa when it’s ready. Before I did this, I called a friend and lawyer from Chicago who asked some expert on visa issues. She said, if they get suspicious because of my heavy luggage, open up my luggage and find the invitation letter from the university stating that I was going to be a research scholar (not a tourist), then they would consider this an attempt to illegally enter the country. They might then deny visas for me in the future. So, I should absolutely not attempt to do this. I ended up delaying my journey by two weeks. It sucked, but the danger of risking the visa for my PhD was certainly scary enough.

    So, you might want to double check if this is ok.

  2. What is the Tsinghua invite for?

  3. Thanks for the tip Moritz. V, I’m going to Tsinghua to do research at the Institute for Theoretical Computer Science.

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