Another visa crackdown rumor

And away we go…again.

Chinese authorities have stopped issuing multiple-entry visas and slowed visa processing in Hong Kong, a major gateway for travel to the mainland, until after the Beijing Olympics, local travel agents said Tuesday.

The Chinese foreign ministry, however, denied there was any change in policy.

Hong Kong-based travel agent Forever Bright Trading Ltd. said on its Web site that multiple-entry visas were suspended from March 28 until Oct. 17. The Beijing Olympics are scheduled to take place Aug. 8-24.

Travel agent Luk Tak said Chinese authorities are now only issuing single- or double-entry travel visas to foreigners in Hong Kong, scaling back a visa program that used to issue multiple-entry business visas that lasted up to three years.

I know many people here in Beijing take advantage of the Hong Kong border run to renew visas, a key option as there have been increasing reports about difficulties with visas at the PSB center here in Beijing and in a few other cities.

Anyone in the loop know more about what’s going on? Any recent visa stories to share?

The Discussion: 11 Comments

Repeat post from down below, under the travel guide post:

I know this is badly off-topic, but it is rather urgent–

China has stopped issuing multiple-entry visas.

This is going to cause great problems for people going to the Canton Trade Fair next week.

In addition, Chinese nationals working at the fair will have to, for the first time, obtain a police-issued “certificate of no criminal record.”

That might take a Guangzhou resident 4-5 days, if there isn’t a huge demand (there is), but for residents of other places, we’re talking about 10 days plus travel time.

This has disaster written all over it.

April 8, 2008 @ 11:47 pm | Comment

Add: Apparently, single and double entry visas are available, but they take a day longer.

Visas on arrival at the border, however, are not available.

April 8, 2008 @ 11:50 pm | Comment

This started over a month ago. My colleagues in China haven’t been able to get an F visa either in Shanghai or Hong Kong that lasts for any longer than 30 days. Everyone in Shanghai says it’s to do with the Olympics and expects the situation to improve afterwards, but there are a lot of people having to leave China every 30 days at the moment.

April 9, 2008 @ 10:47 am | Comment

As of this morning, it was reported in the SCMP that Hong Kong travel agents are still not able to obtain the visas. The Chinese gov’t. is citing computer reasons.

Visas at the border are not available.

April 9, 2008 @ 2:19 pm | Comment

Can’t speak to visa issuance, but I was just in HK on a visa-related run, as I have a visa that lasts well through the Olympics but is limited to stays of 90 days. Immigration at Zhuhai (both exiting and especially entering) was interested in me to a degree that I haven’t experienced before — long surveys of my passport (which to be fair is chock full of visas and entry/exit stamps) and some questions about what exactly it is I’m doing in Beijing (“uh, studying”), where I’m doing it (“uh, at a private school. A new one. You wouldn’t have heard of it”), and how long I’ve been doing it.

They didn’t give me a hard time about it at all — which was fair, considering that anyone with even a minimal amount of cop-on could tell from a glance at my passport that I must be residing in Beijing long-term and probably working — but it’s unprecedented, and something to watch for.

April 10, 2008 @ 2:50 am | Comment

checked with my travel agent here in HKG, she confirmed it as well, for what its worth. Whether the policy actually stays in place when they realize what a PR disaster this is going to be compared to the Tibet thing.

April 10, 2008 @ 4:03 pm | Comment

checked with my travel agent here in HKG, she confirmed it as well, for what its worth. Whether the policy actually stays in place when they realize what a PR disaster this is going to be compared to the Tibet thing.

April 10, 2008 @ 4:04 pm | Comment

what does this mean for those of us in beijing with olympics tickets whose visas expire in july — will we be able to renew here in beijing? at that point will the hong kong option still exist?

desperately need information!

April 11, 2008 @ 8:40 pm | Comment

hey j, what’s the word on the granite studio?

April 14, 2008 @ 3:07 pm | Comment

Rather interesting how little reaction there is to people openly talking about violating the law.

Does no one think that China has the right to decide who comes into the country, who gets to work or study there and under what circumstances visas may be issued or renewed?

Very odd to think people quite openly talk about breaking the law.

My initial comments were about the potential disruption to business, but no hint of a suggestion that people should do anything illegal!

April 15, 2008 @ 11:46 am | Comment

DOR – I would say that the phenomenon of people living and working long-term on F visas was an “open secret,” but in point of fact it’s not even that much of a secret. To be sure, the Chinese government has every right to dictate its own visa policies, and many of us — most? — are acting, for all intents and purposes, as illegal immigrants. Some of us have even paid taxes on our illegal income.

April 16, 2008 @ 7:10 pm | Comment

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