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Visas and border crossings

Visas and border crossings forum

Getting a Chinese visa in Thailand

Posted by KirstyB on 14/10/2011 at 15:42

Some up to date information on getting a visa for China in Thailand as I just dropped off my passport at the Chinese embassy in Chiang Mai. The process was pretty straightforward although the application form required a bit more detail than it did last year when I applied here. The visa section is open Monday to Friday (except public holidays) 9am to 11.30am for applications and collections. According to the girl working there procedure and costs etc are the same as if you apply in Bangkok.

All you need to have is your passport and 1 photo - the form asks for your proposed entry date but no flight details or tickets were required. It also asks if you have medical insurance and if yes, the company name and policy number so you may want to make a note of those details if you don't always carry them with you. A section also asked for details of accommodation - name, address and phone number. I just filled in 1 guesthouse and left the others blank and it wasn't queried - again if you haven't booked anything just have a name and address of a guesthouse handy. The other questions on the 5 page form were fairly straightfoward with additional details required if you're applying for a study visa.

A single entry is valid for a stay of 30 days for entry within 3 months of the visa issue date and a double entry allows two 30 day stays within a 6 month period from visa issue.

The standard processing time is 4 working days (ie I dropped off today, Friday and can collect on Wednesday) and the cost for a single entry is THB1100 for single entry and THB1650 double entry; Express service takes 2-3 working days and is THB1900 for a single and THB2450 for double and if you're in a rush a same day service is available at THB2300 for single entry and THB2850 double. Those prices seemed to be applicable to all nationalities barr Thai and US citizens. If you're American fees are a steep THB4560 standard service, THB5460 express and THB5760 same day regardless of whether it's a single or double entry visa.

#1 KirstyB has been a member since 27/7/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 152

Posted by phishsticks on 14/10/2011 at 19:49

I'm planning on traveling to China after a SE Asia stint. I'm currently in Korea teaching English but can't get a Chinese Visa here because I have less than 6 months left on my Korean Working Visa. (This a rule that the Chinese embassy in Korea made). Once my Korean visa is finished and I am traveling in Thailand will I be able to get a Chinese Visa? Will there be some obstacles because I previously held a Korean Working Visa? Does anybody, have any info for me? or has anyone attempted to get a Chinese Visa in Thailand after finishing their teaching contract in Korea?

Much thanks ahead of time for any help.


#2 phishsticks has been a member since 10/10/2011. Posts: 31

Posted by Captain_Bob on 15/10/2011 at 12:41

Visa fees list as displayed at the Chinese consulate in Chiang Mai. As noted above same fees should apply in Bangkok.

#3 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,955

Posted by KirstyB on 15/10/2011 at 16:32

Yeah, that's where I copied my figures down from so it looks like the costs for US citizens may have increased. Unless I had a dippy 5 minutes! :-) I'll double check when I pick up on Wednesday ........

#4 KirstyB has been a member since 27/7/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 152

Posted by KirstyB on 20/10/2011 at 09:26

I didn't have a dippy 5 minutes, which is good to know. Looks like fees for US citizens have increased as per my original post - regular (4 working days) = thb4560, express = thb5360 and rush = thb5760.

I did take a photo of the fees but I don't know how to post it - happy to do so if anyone can enlighten me!

Generally though, a straightforward process with helpful and friendly staff.

#5 KirstyB has been a member since 27/7/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 152

Posted by KirstyB on 23/3/2012 at 18:17

An update ..... and a useful reminder that you should always check for up to date visa requirements.

First up, I recently obtained a Chinese visa in Bangkok and having previously got one at the Chiang Mai consulate on two occasions, comparing the 2 experiences next time I would almost choose to travel to Chiang Mai just to get it. OK, slight exaggeration but my point is, if you plan to spend time in both places and have the option to apply in CM that would be my recommendation. The application process took less than half an hour in Chiang Mai compared to 3½ in Bangkok. The prices and processing times are the same in both embassies/consulate (no change to the prices mentioned in my original post).

However the big change, and the point to my ramblings is that the Chinese seem to have tightened up on their requirements which now specify the need for copies of return air tickets and hotel confirmations. There didn't seem to be a huge amount of scope for relaxing the requirements and having heard this was the case I went along to the embassy with a bit of creative paperwork in hand. I did only have a hostel confirmation for the first 2 nights and after explaining and writing down my route this was accepted (along with my explanation of why on earth I could possibly need a double entry visa). There were several other applicants getting extremely frustrated, which of course didn't cut themselves any slack, and probably didn't get themselves a visa that day either. Sure I wanted to stand there and protest "so, you're not allowing independent travellers and backpackers in any more then?" but you gotta play the game with these guys.

Apparently (of course) there are travel agents in Bangkok who will provide the necessary documentation at a rather high fee but with a bit of imagination it's easy to knock something up yourself. From my experience and observations you could probably get away without a return ticket if you say you're travelling overland but do your homework and write down your route and border crossing points. If you're vague you're more likely to be asked for supporting documentation.

I don't know if this is a permanent change to the rules or just a tightening up around the anniversary of the Tibetan riots but if it's here to stay a bit more planning will be required before applying for your visa.

#6 KirstyB has been a member since 27/7/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 152

Posted by KirstyB on 23/3/2012 at 18:19

Strangely it says I am posting from Vietnam when I am in Bangkok!

#7 KirstyB has been a member since 27/7/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 152

Posted by anyatash37 on 4/9/2013 at 02:26

As a USA resident applying for a Chinese visa from Thailand I found the website instructions confusing and incomplete. I watched numerous people get turned away for missing documents. I hope this list helps someone.
I arrived at 8:50, received number 99 in queue and was seen at approximately 11:00
Bring a pen; they were in very short supply
Glue is provided on back counter to adhere passport photo to visa application
o 2 copies - Visa Application Form (ideally, filled out ahead of time)
o 2 passport photos must be attached prior to going up to the window
o 2 copies - Supplementary Visa Application Form (ideally,filled out ahead of time)
o 2 copies passports primary page
o 2 copies Thai Visa
o 1 copy - Bank Book page with your name and account number
o 1 copy Bank Statement (I used photocopy of final page of bank book w/ 20+ transactions)
o 1 letter from employer citing position (essentially confirming employment)
o 1 copy ROUND TRIP Airline tickets
o 1 copy hotel confirmation

#8 anyatash37 has been a member since 4/9/2013. Posts: 1

Posted by SBE on 4/9/2013 at 15:21

My god, sounded so easy in Kirsty's first post! Thanks for the update. Sounds like there was a long queue. Were you applying for the visa in Bangkok or Chiang Mai?

So if you don't have a bank book (they're practically obsolete where I live) or an employer that means you can't visit China any more? What about the self-employed, students, retired people, people taking a year out?

#9 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,055

Posted by Manmaas on 18/3/2016 at 06:41

I'm adding an update to the procedure as I've just today gotten a thirty day visa for China.

I've been reading of the complexities here and elsewhere and was prepared for the long haul, but here I am four days later and free to travel from Chiang Mai.

As preparation I faked a couple bookings via Bookings.com for the first two weeks, pouring over a map of Southern China on my iPad, bouncing back and forth trying to work out distances and travel times for a convincing itinerary, lost the will to live in the process and gave up.

I wasn't expecting my application to be approved.

I made it a little more complex by including a trek into the mountains of Baga, hoping to force the argument at how impractical the procedures were as I would only be able to arrange a home stay in the region once there.

I had a copy of my bank statement which is a little on the light side at just over a grand in English sterling and copies of the two Internet bookings. On the visa application I indicated I was returning to the guesthouses listed, hoping the pencil pushers could see a reasonable circular route of destination and why I might not have made further bookings in advance. I wrote 'Baga?' and left it at that.

I also left blank the question about who I had been invited by?!

Fully expecting to have go through the whole procedure again I turned up at 3pm, four days later with my receipt and was a little shocked and elated to be given the visa at 1,100 baht. I'm super chuffed! Now working out how I get there from here.

I was also asked this as I hadn't indicated it on the form and when prompted by the staff whether I was going by boat or motorbike, I quickly jumped at boat. Though now I have to work out whether that is possible this time of year, else wise the bus calls ( the boat would be more fun, without pirates hopefully).

Anyone want to add more detail or ask questions, go for it. I'm still here figuring stuff out. If anyone can help out with the detail, let me know.

I get the impression the consulate staff are more than conscious of the impractical nature of some of the questions and are making efforts to make their life easier when dealing with stressed foreigners.

Be patient. Be polite. It makes a difference.

#10 Manmaas has been a member since 1/12/2015. Posts: 2

Posted by Captain_Bob on 18/3/2016 at 07:56

So you didn't have to show proof of flight in/out?

#11 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,955

Posted by Manmaas on 18/3/2016 at 19:05

No. Just added info relating to overland journey.

#12 Manmaas has been a member since 1/12/2015. Posts: 2

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