The dreaded scenario: After a short visit to Hong Kong you’re planning to travel through China and realize, “Wait, I need a Chinese visa to actually travel through China?”. Put the dunce cap on and start to panic because you have only a few¬†days to figure out how to get a Chinese visa. Luckily for you, this scenario actually happened to us and lo and behold we were able to get a Chinese visa without delaying our travel plans.

If you’re currently a US citizen and in this situation, take a deep breath as we share with you the steps to get a Chinese visa:


Step 1: Get your itinerary in order

In order to get a Chinese visa you’ll need to show a detailed travel itinerary.

This includes:

  • Departure from Hong Kong to China
  • Arrival slip in Hong Kong (small rectangle slip of paper you’re given when you land)
  • Hotel bookings
  • Departure out of China
Hong Kong Visa

Getting that itinerary in order, baby!

If you’re traveling on a whim and haven’t booked your hotels yet, you can easily use Hotels.com to make a hotel booking and change or cancel it later. For us, we also needed both our names on the hotel bookings. In fact, we actually went to the visa office with only Nick’s name on the bookings and had to go back, update our bookings, and reprint everything. This could be because we aren’t married and have different last names, but thought it would be good to mention for all you travelers living in sin ūüėČ

Step 2: Print your itinerary 

After you have your itinerary in order you will need to print everything out. Be sure to double check and make sure you have all points of your itinerary printed. In fact, be a little neurotic and print an extra copy. The Chinese embassy does NOT have a printer, which is why you need to print everything beforehand.

Step 3: Passport Photos & Copy of Passport

With your visa application, you will need to submit a passport photo. If you’re traveling for an extended period of time we recommend you carrying a few extra passport photos around. If you don’t have any with you, we’ve heard you can print passport photos at the visa office but this wasn’t something we did ourselves, so you may want to double check or print it elsewhere. Additionally, you will need to bring your passport (6-month validity, with at least two blank pages) and a copy of the first page of your passport – with photo and information.

Step 4: Make the Journey to the visa office

For those looking to get a Chinese visa in Hong Kong, you can either go directly to The Consular Department Office or use a third party to obtain a visa. Third parties include Forever Bright and China Travel Services. We opted to go directly to the visa office.

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Off to the visa office we go!

Information about visa office:

  • Address: The Consular Department Office
    China Resources Building
    No.26, Harbor Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong SAR

Chinese visa

  • Hours
    Monday to Friday (except Hong Kong public holidays,)

    9:00-12:00 & 14:00-17:00

Oh and fun fact… notice above that they do close for lunch. We found this out the hard way and had to wait around for them to reopen.

When entering the building you will need to go through a metal detector and x-ray machine to have a security employee check your bags. They do not allow large items, such as suitcases, so be sure to leave them at your hotel. Once you go through security, you will make your way to the elevator and head up to the 7th floor.

Tip: The visa office provides applications and won’t accept¬†applications that were printed and filled out prior to getting to the visa office. We thought we would save time and have the application filled out but ended up having to fill the application for a second time once we got there. Remember to bring a pen!

Costs:

As US citizens applying for a Chinese visa in Hong Kong you’re going to pay the same for a single entry or¬†a multiple entry. Since it all cost the same, we applied for a 10 year multiple entry visa. Hooray Spring Break China 2025!

Breakdown of visa types and costs for U.S. Citizen:

  • Single Entry:¬†$140 (1040HKD)
  • Double Entries:¬†$140
  • Multiple Entries for 6 Months:$140
  • Multiple Entries for 12 Months or more:¬†$140

You can pay by money order, cashier’s check, or Credit Card (Visa or MasterCard only).

Processing Time:

Visas are processed in 2-4 business days, and depending on the time crunch you’re in you may need to opt for an express service.

  • Regular service – 4 business days including submission day.
  • Express service – (+200HKD per person): 3 business days including submission day.
  • Rush service – (+300HKD per person): 2 business days including the submission day.

Step 5: The Home Stretch!

You’re almost there! You’ve printed your documents, booked 5-star hotels to prove you have hotels booked (to only cancel later), taken a drop dead gorgeous passport photo and made your way to the visa office.

All that is left is to get your number and wait to be called to the window. Once your number is called hand in all your documents. If everything looks okay, pay the man for your visa, receive a piece of paper to collect your visa in a couple of days.

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While you wait to collect your visa check out our tips on what to do and see in Hong Kong: Kowloon Peninsula and Hong Kong Island blog articles.


We completed the visa process in Aug. 2015 and are sharing our tips from our own personal experience. If you go through the same process and see that our information needs to be updated, please let us know!

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