I’ve really wanted to go to China as far as I can remember. Walking around the Great Wall, visiting Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, or simply to experience the actual Chinese culture itself, all of this has been in my bucket list. But one thing has always hindered me to book a trip for this : the visa application. I’ve heard about the Chinese embassy imposing strict requirements for those who wanted to visit China and I thought it’s going to be time consuming and stressful to process.
So when my sister was bugging me to book a trip to China for her birthday, I said I will probably do it if I get a seat sale from Cebu Pacific. At least if we get denied, it wouldn’t hurt that much. So when Cebu Pacific announced a piso fare seat sale 12 Midnight, sometime in January, I was already waiting in front of my computer to get ready. I had already scheduled the possible dates for the travel period so that I won’t need to consult or contact my sister anymore and just go ahead and book it. As always, with big seat sales like this, the Cebu Pacific website is expected to hang for so long. It took me 3 hours to finally get through, after all the refresh, error, re-typing and re-inputing of information, I was able to finally book a roundtrip ticket Manila-Beijing for just P3,500 each. It was an absolute steal! When my brother found out about this, he immediately booked himself a ticket as well, though he was not able to take advantage of the piso fare seat sale promo since it ran out after a few hours.
So once our flights have been confirmed, I went ahead and did my research to prepare myself for the visa application. Applying for a Chinese visa is relatively simple and quick, if you have all the COMPLETE documents. So it’s better that you have everything prepared and ready before you lodge your application in the embassy rather than risk doing it all over again.
A month before our actual trip, I decided to submit our application, so that in case of issues, we would have enough time to take care of it right away. I went to the embassy with my sister at exactly 5:30 AM and there were about 8 people in front of me, already lining up, sitting outside the building. I’d rather wake up early than waste my time lining up for hours. It’s better this way. Don’t forget to bring a newspaper for you to sit on the sidewalk, and a book or a magazine to read to keep you busy and not bore you to death.
We went inside the embassy 8 AM and the guard handed out numbers to make sure it’s first come, first serve. The counters opened 9AM and we were actually #4 on the application line. We finished everything 9:30AM. It was that quick, but the embassy is already jam-packed around this time. Good thing we were able to line up very early to get the first batch of numbers once the embassy opened.
Here’s what I have submitted :
1) Passport + photocopy of the first and last page of the passport (make sure the emergency contact details are all filled out)
2) My old passport. Since I just renewed my passport last January, I had to show them my old one in case they would ask me about the countries I’ve been to in the last 12 months.
3) Application form, printed back to back, used the A4 paper size, with a 2 X 2 picture (this should be pasted, not stapled)
4) Original NBI Clearance
5) Original Bank Certificate and the official receipt or debit memo (showed money for P90,000). Please note that you should bring the OR, that is a very important requirement.
6) Employment certificate
7) Photocopy of Company ID and TIN ID (front and back)
8) Printout of SSS Contributions and personal info printed via web (I have no SSS ID)
9) Latest Income Tax Return
10) Round Trip Plane Ticket
11) Hotel Reservation Confirmation
That’s it. If you have all these requirements. Then you are almost certain you will get a visa for this. Unless there are discrepancies with your bank certificate, name spelling, TIN ID, or whatever document issue, then you’re good to go.
The consul also reviewed my brother’s and sister’s docs. I announced my brother as a student since he recently resigned from his job, but he is taking up a masteral course, or whatever you might call it. And my sister, since she also resigned from her job, and seriously unemployed, I had to write a letter of support to show that I will be shouldering all her expenses for her trip, though she presented her own requirements as well. I also brought with me our original NSO-certified birth certificates, and submitted photocopies of it to show and prove that we are siblings. Don’t ask me why these creeps are resigning from their jobs, a few weeks before our scheduled application for the visa! Good thing we all got approved.
After reviewing all our documents, the consul handed us the pink slip, with the schedule of pickup, three days later. I was approved for a single-entry visa valid within three months of issuance, and to stay in China maximum of 14 days. I paid P1,400 for this, by the way. So that’s it. It’s pretty easy and simple, though a little stressful at times, but you gotta do what you gotta do if you really want it. The next thing to do is to prepare for our itinerary for our week-long Beijing trip!
EDITED : Effective July 16, 2012, the following additional requirements have been posted in the embassy for first time applicants :
1. Original Bank Cert with OR/Debit Memo. Acceptable accounts are Savings and Current account from commercial or rural bank and should be opened at least 6 months prior to applying for visa. The account should have an Average Daily Balance(ADB) AND Current Balance of at least PHP100,000 per applicant 18 years old and above.
Bank Certificate should include:
- with checkwrite
- account opening date
- type of account
- average daily balance
- to-date current balance
In addition to the Bank Cert:
- Statement of accounts detailing the transactions for 6 months OR
- Passbook detailing the transactions for 6 months
2. Submit roundtrip airline ticket and hotel reservation.
Good thing we were able to apply and get our visa before these new requirements were posted. For those with old and used visas already, you just need to submit a new application form and a photocopy of your old visas and Chinese immigration stamps and you’re good to go. Thank God we won’t be going through all of those listed above for our Shanghai trip this December.Follow @iamthegarysia