I was invited by my Japanese friend to visit the 2010 World Expo that was held in Shanghai, China. This was in mainland China so I needed a tourist visa to enter the country.
Applying for a Chinese Visa was quite easy if you don’t mind waiting. From what I remember I just submitted the application form together with the necessary documents directly to the Visa Center of the Embassy of China.
I got there around 10:00am thinking that was an ideal time to apply. But when I got there, there were already a lot of people waiting for their turn at the Visa window. I learned that the visa center opens at 7:30am, so I was actually almost three hours “late” when I got there.
I took a number at the door from the security guard then waited for my number to be called by the Visa officer. I tried to weigh how much time it would take before my number got called, and it seemed to take forever. After almost an hour of waiting I decided to go out and have lunch first then just return before my number got called. I asked the guard if that was okay and he said it was fine.
I calculated how much time I needed to kill before my number got called. I estimated it to be about 45 minutes, so I went back after that time had elapsed, and guess what? I still had to wait another 20 minutes or so before I got called. when I was finally at the Visa officer’s window, i just submitted my documents then after he checked that everything was in order, he handed me a small paper slip stating what date and time I needed to come back to claim my passport with the visa stamp.
So on the date stated in the paper slip, I made sure that I was early this time. I still had to wait a while before my number got called, but it didn’t take almost three hours like the last time I was there. I got my passport with the Visa for China stamped on it within an hour.
All in all it was not so difficult to apply for a Chinese Visa, but this was back in 2010. I hear that nowadays, if you are a Filipino passport holder applying for a Chinese visa you would need at least Php 100,000 monthly maintaining balance in you bank account. Not sure why the rules changed, but methinks it has something to do with the Spratly conflict. This has become another hindrance for Filipino travelers. Oh well.