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Chinese Visa Application

by on October 15, 2008

When Ry and I applied for Chinese visas last year, the process was surprisingly simple and easy. The only requirements we had to submit were our completed application forms and our passports. When we went to the Chinese embassy there were hardly any people there and we only had to wait about half an hour before our number was called. The transaction at the window took all of five minutes. Four days later, we had our visas.

We’re leaving for Shanghai again next Friday and we applied for visas today expecting the same hassle-free process. We got to the embassy at 8:30 AM and were surprised to find it packed. Our number was 991. And then we discovered there were new requirements that weren’t listed on the website.

Taped to the counter windows were the following advisories:


For tourist or business visa, please submit round-trip air ticket, hotel reservation/proof of relationship on case of visiting relatives in China.


  1. Invitation letter from friend or relative or company stating the complete address and contact number where the applicant will be staying in China.
  2. Documents from the sponsor in China:
    • If the sponsor is a Chinese national, submit a photocopy of his/her Chinese national ID or Chinese passport.
    • If the sponsor is a Filipino or a foreigner, submit a photocopy of his/her passport and residence visa in China.


  1. Employment certificate, with salary details, bonus, other compensation
  2. ITR and TIN ID
  3. SSS ID and contributions
  4. Bank certificate
  5. NBI clearance valid for travel abroad (original copy)
  6. Round trip air ticket
  7. Hotel voucher (If there’s a house in China provide letter and attach title)


  1. Invitation letter from the sponsor
  2. NBI clearance valid for travel abroad (original copy)
  3. Copy of residence visa (Sponsors who are Filipinos and other foreign nationals)
  4. Copy of passport (Sponsors who are Filipinos and other foreign nationals)
  5. (Note: Sponsors who are also Chinese nationals, copy of Chinese passport or national ID)
  6. Employment certificate, with salary details, bonus, other compensation
  7. ITR and TIN ID
  8. SSS ID and contributions
  9. Bank certificate
  10. NBI clearance valid for travel abroad (original copy)
  11. Round trip air ticket
  12. Hotel voucher (If there’s a house in China provide letter and attach title)

Ry and I had already obtained visas before, so in addition to our application forms and passports, we just had to submit our round-trip plane ticket and our hotel voucher. But Ry’s parents were first time applicants and they didn’t have with them any of those listed requirements. We decided we’d just submit the ticket and voucher and see what would happen at the window.

Ry and I went to my office (which in Rockwell, while the Chinese Embassy is just on Gil Puyat) to print out our travel documents. Ry returned to the embassy while I stayed at the office, because apparently non-first time applicants don’t have to apply in person.

At around 11:30  AM Ry called to tell me that there was another notice we didn’t see:


  1. Authorization from the company or from the applicant
  2. Proof or relationship to the applicants being applied:
    • Being a company messenger, please provide company ID.
    • Applying for your immediate family members, please provide the following: your ID/birth certificate/marriage contract/passport etc.

I had to take a cab back to the embassy. When I left the office they were processing number 928. We were number 991.

I arrived with a few numbers to spare. They called our number, and for some reason they didn’t ask Ry’s parents for any of the first time applicant requirements. They just told us that next time we should produce a copy of the ticket and voucher for each of the applicants (we only submitted one ticket and one voucher, because all our names were on them anyway). Five minutes later we were done. The time we spent in the waiting room was longer this time, but at least we enjoyed the same speed and efficiency at the counter.

I have no idea why the requirements seem to have been waived for Ry’s parents. If you’re a first time applicant you should probably prepare all the listed documents just to be on the safe side.


Single entry:
1,400 (4 workings days), 2,500 (3 workings days), 3,100 (2 workings days)
Double entry:
2,100 (4 workings days), 3,200 (3 workings days), 3,800 (2 workings days)
6 months multiply entry:
2,800 (4 workings days), 3,900 (3 workings days), 4,500 (2 workings days)
12 months multiply entry:
4,200 (4 workings days), 5,300 (3 workings days), 5,900 (2 workings days)


From → Foreign, Travel

  1. hi! good thing you guys are blogging again! i love reading your travel stories! more to come please! thanx! enjoy shanghai! i was there last august! but i had to take the service of the agency to limit the hassle!

    btw, for those in the media, like i am, i was asked to write a letter stating that my visit is solely for leisure and not for work. I think China is kinda strict with media to limit the negative reviews from their country.

    God Bless! Have a safe trip!

  2. Yeah we booked with a hotel that supposedly has english speaking staff and an airport pickup. We’ll have to wait and see if they deliver on that though.

  3. i flew to shanghai via cebu pacific. and booked on hengsheng peninsula in advance. i loved the hotel even if i read so many negative reviews. i was at the 22nd floor, pretty good sight of the oriental pearl. they have a midnight rooftop bar at the 26th floor. pretty good location, its just that the streets at the bund area at that time (last august) was under construction. where are you staying?

    but do enjoy shanghai! i love the nightlife! too many locals in the morning, too many foreign expats at night. And really hard to converse in english. riding the taxi was a hassle telling them where to go. I just asked the concierge to write our destinations in chinese in advance. But hey its nice to get lost sometimes! hehe =)

    Have a fun trip!

  4. yes it is quite nice to get lost sometimes, at least in more industrialized areas with a police presence. 😛

    Last year we picked Zhenghang business hotel based solely on price, and it turned out pretty great. W have yet to write baout that experience but we’ll get to it someday.

    This time we’re staying at the asset hotel, using tripadvisor as our basis for choosing. It looks like it’s the best value for money hotel so far, and it’s relatively close to an MRT station, so it’s good for travelling.

    Yes it can get a bit difficult riding taxis. We had to walk into an HSBC and asked a very nice english speaking employee to write “Shanghai Zoo” in chinese. but for the most part a lot of the signs are in english and we got around okay.

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