Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New Chinese Tourist Visa Rules in Korea?

Does anyone know anything about this? My friend wants to go to China, but evidently you can't get a Chinese tourist visa if your ARC (not passport) is valid for less than 6 months from the Chinese embassy in Korea.

There is this thread going on at this Chinese tourism agency website. Since this new law is new, has anyone else experienced problems with this? Is there any way around it?

I'm also interested, because I'd love to go back to China for another visit. It's so close, it'd be a shame if I didn't go again. But, here I am around the 6 month mark on my visa already. And if I get an extension, it probably won't be for more than another 6 months.

What benefit does China get out of barring such a large amount of tourists from their country? Why do I have to leave my country of residence to get a visa (besides an E-2 visa, but that's another story). Can someone explain this to me?

It doesn't seem to be a problem in any other country, so why all of a sudden is it a problem in Korea???

4 comments:

  1. This law is not just for visitors to China, I happen to know that it also applies to visitors to Japan.
    I don't know about laws in China [I live in Australia] but this doesn't seem that new, and possible reasons could be to have a time period that allows you to stay in the country if there happens to be an emergency....um, swine flu?
    And an obvious way around this would be to renew your passport.

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  2. This has nothing to do with passports. Not many countries will grant you a visa when you have less than 6 months on your passport, that should be obvious.

    I'm talking about the Korean Alien Registration Card (ARC), which proves residency in South Korea. The Chinese embassy in Seoul is not granting tourist visas to anyone (of any nationality besides Korean) if the date of expiry on their ARC is in less than 6 months. Therefore, people who could get a Chinese visa in any other country, can't get a visa while in South Korea.

    Not only does this affect ex-pats who live in Korea, but this also affects tourists who happened to stop in Korea first and planned pick up their visa on the way while heading to China. I have one friend who has her plane ticket booked, but can't get her visa in Seoul. She's currently trying the Busan embassy, since they appear that they might grant the visa.

    This took effect on July 1st, so it's still new and people don't know about the new rules. Folks are buying plane tickets and then realizing later that they can't get a visa here. Online travel agencies are recomending people to get it outside of Korea or sending passports home so that family members can process the visa at their Chinese embassies at home.

    I would definitly talk to a travel agent in Korea before making any reservations for trips to China at the moment.

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  3. The first mistake you are making is by going to the Chinese embassy. Go through a travel agency. They are experts at "getting around" things. You don't even need to submit your ARC "sometimes."

    Either way, if there is a problem they will tell you at the travel agency before you go through the whole application process.

    Hope that helps those considering.

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