Getting Visas (2008-03-13)

Tourist Visa to China
Learning Mandarin leaves me interested in traveling the PRC. We filled out the "Visa Application Form of the People’s Republic of China", listing as destinations Běijīng, Jǐnán, Shànghǎi, Hángzhōu, Xiàmén, Guǎngzhōu, Shēnzhèn, Hong Kong, and Aòmén (Macau).

On March 7 I relinquished two passports and US$300 cash to Holiday China China in Seattle. A week or so later I retrieved the passports with 12-month multiple-entry tourist (L) visas valid for 60 days each entry.

On March 27, according to the South China Morning Post (via a thread in Asia - North-East Asia Thorn Tree Travel Forum), the PRC stopped issuing multiple-entry visas, restricting travelers to single- or double-entry visas valid for 30 days. This is especially inconvenient for business travelers, one of whom started a blog. A business associate with an apartment in Běijīng wrote, "First time in 15 years I have worried about China immigration." Yesterday the PRC said the restrictions on visas are part of its Olympic security measures. I'm glad we applied early, though I'm slightly worried about third-hand rumors of multiple entry Chinese visas being canceled at the border.

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