Sunday, October 21, 2012

My China Trip part 1

I went to the visa office Wednesday to get a visa to China. I’ve had about enough of never seeing Ryan in person. Even though he doesn’t work long hours he never has more than a whole day off, so it just makes more sense for me to go see him than for him to come see me. He doesn’t need a visa to come to Hong Kong – Americans can stay for 90 days without a visa – but it’s much easier for me to take time off work. If he takes a few days off that means his whole band takes those days off – none of them get paid for that time. If I take a few days off it doesn’t affect anyone’s paycheck except mine. Besides, he’s seen Hong Kong and isn’t very impressed. I’ve never seen mainland China.

I went with Ryan when he got his visa so I knew what to expect. It’s a good thing I did because the official visa office website still says that the office is on the 7th floor of the China Resources Building on Harbour Rd. when it’s really around the corner on Fleming Rd.

The first time I went to the visa office I went straight through security at the front of the building and upstairs to the office. This time there was a long line just to get in the front door. I guess Wednesday is a more popular time to go than Monday. I would think Monday is better since you can pick it up Thursday, but if you go Wednesday you have to wait until the next week to pick it up.

It was just as crowded in the office – at least it seemed crowded. It’s hard to tell which time is more crowded when there are a million people.

Since I already knew how to fill out the forms I already had everything ready to go. It’s a pretty easy procedure once you’ve already done it. I didn’t need as much paperwork as Ryan since I was getting a regular tourist visa and he got a work visa. They want a lot more information if you want a work visa. They seem pretty casual about tourist visas – even though they don’t have that reputation.

The hardest part about the whole thing was waiting for my turn. They used to just give you a number and you had to wait your turn, but now they tell you how many people are ahead of you on your number. Mine said “A076 There have 42 Person”. When we got Ryan’s visa there were over 100 people ahead of us, but it seemed just as crowded both times.

The part I don’t like is that it costs HK$1,100 no matter what type of visa they give you. I checked 1 year multiple entry since that’s the max, but they can give me whatever type they want no matter how much I paid.

Tomorrow I’ll go back and see what I got.

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