I was just wondering if anyone has very recently (ie; in the past 3 months) gone to HK to switch from a tourist visa to a Z visa?
I have heard rumors that the process has changed, or that it might not even be possible to do this kind of change in Hong Kong anymore (that they will tell you to go to the consulate in your home country).
I know that there are old forum posts about this topic, but I want to know if anyone knows the current situation?
Also, if you have gone recently- can you tell me if the Rush Service is still available?
Thanks for any help you can offer!
I believe the HK loophole has been closed
Well since Hong Kong is outside of the mainland and adminstered separately, it's considered to be "outside of China". Consequently, you can go there to obtain another visa to enter China. If you are going to get a "Z" visa, you might have to get a letter stating that you will apply in Hong Kong. On the other hand, being a Chinese territory, there wouldn't be a Chinese consulate there, so probably you'd have to seek the services of a travel agency.
Otherwise, try a consulate or embassy in another country but be sure to specify to the person sending your application, to state that the applicant will apply in a particular city. If not, they might try to use that as an excuse to send you to the country of your citizenship, as absurd as that would be.
I am currently waiting for my Z visa to be processed and had a look at the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok website and printed out the forms, which I've started filling out. I will be applying for my visa at this post. The forms are quite lengthy, but there's nothing unusual about them except for the biographical page and the 6 questions about the status of your visa in Thailand (which is none of the Chinese government's concern and besides, westerners can easily enter Thailand without a visa anyway so I'm not sure why they would ask these sorts of questions; fill them out anyway though).
On the form, a 1 day rush service option is available, so I'd imagine other Chinese posts would also offer such a service. However, the length of time it will take to obtain permission for your company to hire you is what you'll need to wait a while for, not the actual visa processing time, which can be as short as a day.
A "Z visa" has to be processed at the Chinese embassy in the country your citizenship is in, eg your passport country now.
I tried to do it in the USA on a British passport, that was a "no go" had to use my US passport, a friend tried BK a month ago- failed, a work mate tried HK in June- FAILED.
The HK option was closed down a while ago.
I don't know who's right, but there is an option to get a Z visa in other consulates/embassies. You have to get the paperwork sent there. I am either getting my residence permit (or Z visa) done in Bangkok or Kunming. If you couldn't get a work visa in another country, then there wouldn't be a supplementary visa form to fill out. There is no way any sane person would spend $1000 to go back to Europe or the USA just for a Chinese visa. If you have the right guanxi anything is possible anyway.
On another note, I was told by my sponsor that I could show up in Kunming on a tourist visa and the conversion to a work visa (i.e. residence permit) could be done there. My sponsor checked with the PSB and this is what they told her.
@TICexpats, I don't know why your friends "failed" to get a visa in the places you have outlined, but probably they didn't have all the documents they required. You need to have all the documents and your sponsor needs to send the paperwork to that specific consulate or embassy.
Tourist Visa - L
Student Visa - X
Work Visa - Z
Business Visa - F
Family Visa - Residence Permit
You will hear many stories on this forum but you will rarely receive factual first hand information, most is heresay about a friend of a friend.
If you do receive first hand information it is outdated and lacks specifc facts and details.
1 - Visas differ greatly from country to country so you must be clear about what country your passport is from.
2 - To get a work visa you need an employer (school) to sponsor you. Not all schools can sponsor a foreigner and many schools make promises they can't keep. I know firsthand because it happened to me.
3 - If someone tells you they did this my first question is When? Anything more then 6 months ago is obsolete information.
4 - If someone tells you they did this ask (where) what visa office completed this process? (Hong Kong, Kunming, where?)
5 - The truth is, every visa office does whatever they want. There is NO universal policy and one visa office is not the same as another.
OK, so on that note I was wondering if you knew what I best consider doing. If I followed my sponsor's advice I could be turned back but on the other hand, she could be right. I just want to get it right first not that I am either rejected for a tourist visa or more likely, asked to leave the country again to apply for my work visa after having first entered the country on a tourist visa.
1. I hold multiple citizenships, but I would be using my Swiss passport in order to obtain my Chinese visa. If there is an issue about applying for a visa abroad (no matter if I go for the tourist visa first or the work visa) then I'll either get my passport fedexed to Switzerland, or better yet, I'll use my Australian passport and get it fedexed to Australia. I don't know the system in Switzerland or who would be willing to take care of things over there for me as I haven't lived there in many years. My family lives in Australia so that's where I would apply (by asking my parents to apply on my behalf if it comes to that). I will wait here in Thailand until I receive my passport complete with visa back. Although I was in Australia recently and I probably should have applied back then, it's a little too late now so fedexing my passport would be the only option if it comes to that.
2. I have an employer willing to sponsor me. I am an engineer so will be working for an agricultural/food processing company. I have met the boss numerous times and my sponsor, a good family friend has many times tried to reassure me about their ability to sponsor my visa. I won't start working for them unless (or until) I have a residence permit valid for work. Therefore I hope they can keep their promises.
3. I have read various reports on the internet about applying for visas, especially outside your home country. I heard that in the past month the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok has started to make life difficult for everyone, especially non-resident foreigners who want to apply for a simple tourist visa. Not only are hotel bookings and air tickets requested, but an invitation may be required too; the clerks may not want to issue a visa to a tourist or if so, will even in the case of a resident only issue a visa valid for the duration of the proposed stay, say 9 days rather than the full 30 days etc. All of this might only be temporary but it doesn't help if you want to go to China soon rather than in 3 or 6 months when things might go back to normal again.
4. My sponsor called up the Kunming PSB who told her that for me it's possible to arrive on a tourist visa and they would be willing to convert it to a residence permit valid for work. Hmm...not sure about that one, so who should I believe?
5. I agree. But it would be good if someone could share their experiences about my situation. Given the responses on this thread about going to Hong Kong to apply for a work visa not being a good idea, I wouldn't want to risk it either. Although I do have the email address of a good visa agent there and will send them an email to ask about what to do.