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No, Tamsin, I have ever had a problem – quite the opposite. On a number of occasions immigration have allowed members of my family to come through the expedited channel with me if I have been travelling with them! Unfortunately, as the UK isn’t part of APEC, UK citizens (who I know form the majority on this forum) aren’t eligible to apply, but if you are a citizen of a participating APEC jurisdiction (or a HK permanent resident) it really is a no-brainer.
Just a couple of caveats – they take a good long while to obtain and also to renew – each renewal is treated as a new application. I allow three months. Also, you aren’t guaranteed to get approval for every jurisdiction – I have had some very curious things, such as Malaysia rejecting (not just failing to approve, but specifically rejecting) on one application but approving on the next; some countries just failing to respond even though they had approved me before… It’s a little unpredictable. I think each card I have had has featured a different list of approving countries (they are listed on the back). Also, just like a visa, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee entry to the country – although as I said I have never had any problem whatsoever. I have even gone across the Chinese border at Shenzhen wearing casual clothes and carrying nothing but a golf bag without even a sniff of a challenge (but then of course a lot of business is done on the golf course (wink))27 Jun 2016
Question regarding the transit visa:
I understand you have to arrive from and depart to a different international destination.
I am looking at a HKG – Beijing, then the China Eastern service outbound from Beijing to Sydney. My concern is the Beijing – Sydney flight has a ground-stop in Hangzhou – albeit it is the same flight number the whole way through to Sydney. Does anyone have any idea/experience with regards whether this would negate the transit visa given technically I wouldn’t be making the international arrival and international departure at the same airport? Thanks in advance.6 Nov 2016
Onajetplane – where are you planning to take the transit visa, in Beijing or in Guangzhou? If you are taking ther transit visa in Beijing, then going straight through Guangzhou on a flight where your visit is confined to the airport should not be a problem.6 Nov 2016
@DavidGordon10 – Thanks. Planning to take the visa in Beijing. Then fly on to Sydney. Its same plane/same flight number but does take a stop on the ground in Hangzhou (http://www.ausbt.com.au/china-eastern-plans-sydney-hangzhou-beijing-flights-for-november). So I was just concerned that since my International departure will be from Hangzhou yet I will have taken the visa in Beijing – it might void the visa, or a non-issue? Thanks again!6 Nov 2016
Tom, yes I have used the China Visa Application Service based in London (not far from the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street). Thankfully this was before the charges were raised and all visa issues became multiple entries. Having downloaded all of the forms and completed them, I arranged a personal appointment, the earliest available date being two weeks hence. I turned up for my appointment and presented my documents only to have them rejected on the grounds that the margins of the text did not conform to the margins on one of the forms… I had then to rebook a second appointment and re-present the documentation. Thankfully, I had allowed time for problems and was able to obtain another appointment at the beginning of the following week. At which point, a single-entry visa (all I was applying for) was issued within 48 hours.
What was also worthy of comment was the complete lack of charm and the entirely off-hand nature of the (non-British) staff at the CVS. However, this did at least prepare me for further such experiences at the hands of Chinese officialdom.
In contrast, the on-arrival transit visa at Beijing is extremely helpful. This is only available to those connecting onto another international departure (that would include HKG – and possibly Macau?) within 48 hours (it used only to be 24 hours I believe). For anyone intending to stay in China, if you’ve not been through the CVS process beforehand, expect to be turned around and sent back home.7 Nov 2016
Anthony, why did you make a personal appointment? for my staff we use the 48 hrs fast track no interview needed. we use http://www.chinesevisadirect.co.uk.and have done for years.
Also started at some entry points today for regular visitors with either residence or business visa those with biometric EU passport can apply for fast track just as with HKG system7 Nov 2016
I have flown a ‘similar’ itinerary from Taipei to Frankfurt via Guangzhou on China Southern.
On arrival at CAN, I was issued with a transit visa within minutes allowing me to go landside for a few hours.
The long flight made a stop at Changsha, and that is where exit formalities were completed.7 Nov 2016
Steve, ironically because Snr Mgt had had an experience with a visa agency which had failed to check her documentation (this was for a trip to Mongolia and then China) properly leading to both applications being denied owing to a glaring error. I thought that I would avoid this pitfall by doing it myself…!9 Nov 2016