Visas: For Everywhere You Want to Be – Part 2: China and India

In yesturday’s post I discussed Visas and the process we went through the get our Russian Visa. As you may recall, I had some frustration with the intricacies of the process. However, the good news is things got easier once we move onto China and India.


This Chinese visa was far and away the easiest one to get. After the Russian Visa I was really paranoid about needing proof of residence, letters of intent, and other such things. However, really all we needed was our Visa paperwork with an attached picture.

We dropped it off and a week later we had three beautiful new Chinese Visas ready to pick up.

Cost: $140

If there were a gold medal for awesome Visa giving procedure, China would be my nomination.

Here are two facts about China (in this case fact means my random opinions and things I think are true but have not actually verified):

  1. They have a great Visa processing system
  2. They win a ton of gold medals every Olympics

I’m not going to stay they are related – but make your own correlations. This post isn’t even making sense anymore.

One of the most time consuming aspects of the visa process is finding time to drop off and pick up the various documents and the embassies. Since there are three of us we’ve been able to split up these errands pretty well (with me being the slacker) meaning that I never had to visit the Russian Visa Office. I was put in charge of picking up the Chinese Visa and paying the fees.

It could not have been smoother. I was in and out in less than 5 minutes. I went to one window, paid my fee and then moved to another window to pick up our passports. Done.


If the Russian Visa process made me over cautious, the Chinese process lured me into a false sense of security. The Indian visa paperwork was pretty strait forward but did require a few more “deliverables” (I’m a consultant, so sue me)

  • Visa Application with 2×2 passport photo
  • Copy of driver’s license to provide proof of address
  • Visa Services Order Form
  • Digital Scanned version of photo and signature

Getting these together was pretty easy and Shannon headed to the embassy to drop them off. Thats when she found out that my Visa Application would not be accpeted because I wrote my middle intial rather then my middle name.

Easy Fix right? No. I had to redo ALL my paperwork. Application. Order Form. Scanned Document. Etc. Then I had to make another appointment. As you can imagine, I was a bit frustrated. Here’s the security footage from my next visit to the Visa Processing Office:

(Apparently I dressed as a Panda to once again show my support for the Chinese Visa Office).

Of course, I kid. I was nothing but polite. After all it was kind of (ok mostly) my fault

Lesson Learned: Read the directions

It should be noted that th Indian Visa applications are also outsourced so you don’t go to the embassy but rather the Visa Office which is in Georgetown, DC.

So now my passport is at the Embassy awaiting my last Visa. Fingers crossed.

What adventures have you all had getting your Visas? What has been the hardest one to get?

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9 Responses to Visas: For Everywhere You Want to Be – Part 2: China and India

  1. Sylvain Beauregard says:

    I haven’t required many visas so far… having mostly travelled to US and within Europe so far (although there was officially one to enter UK, but obtained at the gate of the EuroTrain), but I needed one visa for Australia. If you thought China was simple… Australia is WAY easier… online application… automatic process… and $20 (at least in 2007). Just print the voucher you print yourself and it’s done within 20 mins.

  2. Getting my India visa was also a tricky one. I wrote the wrong name on the check – apparently you don’t make it out to the embassy – so they returned everything and I had to try again. Kinda pricey to be mailing those documents back and forth… But I do remember being entertained by some of the questions they asked on the visa application form in regards to Pakistan…

    • ElizabethJ_Bird says:

      Thankfully I live in DC so we can just run the documents to the embassy ourselves and skip the pain of mailing documents back and forth…I can only imagine how much more trouble that would have been!

  3. I am envious of how easy it is for Americans to get China & India travel visas! In Canada you have to provide proof of round-trip tickets as well as your accommodation when you apply for your China visa, and unlike Americans, we can only get 6-month max visas (which would not have worked in my situation). I’m going to be scrabbling to try to get both of those while here in Asia as getting them in Canada just wasn’t possible!

  4. A note for when you get to SE Asia–visas are fairly easy to come by. Thailand: get one when you fly in; Cambodia: can get an e-visa or get at the border (I recommend e-visa); Vietnam: easy to get in Phnom Penh. China was one of the most time consuming for me, mainly because I had to mail it in.

  5. Vicky says:

    Heading over to the Chinese embassy to start our visas today! Hoping everything goes smoothly! Since we won’t be getting to India until December 2013 I figure we’ll just have to sort out that visa on the road!

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