Turned away at Chinese border (Beijing)

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This topic contains 15 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  cwoodward 5 Dec 2019
at 03:17
.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)

  • MartynSinclair
    Participant

    https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/china-visa-shanghai-beijing-tianjin-transit-cruise-passengers-a9189436.html

    Sadly I know 2 colleagues who were among the 300+ people turned away at the border and were given 24 hours to leave Beijing or face being arrested. Even worse, the authorities refused to allow the passengers to collect their luggage as the luggage had cleared into China.

    One of these stories you hear that makes you think there must be more to it. Other than one Forum member telling me it was ‘Golden week’ & anything can happen.

    Even the Foreign Office has updated their travel advice.

    This story has so far been reported in several news papers.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    cwoodward
    Participant

    Odd things happen at Chinese border controls.

    I am a HK resident and normally hold a 12 or in the past 24 month multiple entry business visa for China.
    One day about 2 years ago I was refused entry as were all British passport holders arriving from HK.
    No reason given.
    On another occasion entry was refused and when I asked why the only answer was ‘come back tomorrow’. Tomorrow all was fine.
    Several years ago my passport was taken at the border and I was led to a room, guarded and held there for 40 minutes. Eventually the passport was returned to me with a faint apology from a senior official and I was on my way once more. Mistaken identity perhaps – I will never know as no questions were answered.

    re Martyns post and the Independents article

    During ‘Golden week’ in China most of the senior government officials are on holiday (official or not) and day to day operations such as immigration/border controls are run by very young junior officials and the place bearley ticks over – ‘anything can happen’.
    It is far from impossible the explanation could be very prosaic. Simply that the officials were very junior did did not know the regulations and could not find senior people to consult (normal during such holidays) thus they did as these junior people normally do and err on the safe side by refusing everybody. By taking this course there would have been much less come-back than if they had made mistakes by letting in who did not qualify.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    FaroFlyer
    Participant

    I thought the temporary permission to enter for 6 days was on the basis of arriving and departing through the same port, sea or air, and remaining in the “city limits”. Tianjin cruise centre is ~ 200 km from PEK.

    I have had strange experiences with China Visas in the 30 years that I have been visiting. One rule used to be that there are at least 2 completely empty pages. I applied through the agent and passport was rejected as not having 2 empty pages. I asked for it to be re-submitted with a note about the 2 blank pages. Rejected again. Third time the blank pages were marked with post it notes and an enterprising person in the Chinese Embassy rotated the passport 180 degrees and then he had 2 blank pages on the right of the passport. If you look at China Visas they are always on the right hand page. It caused fun for a year as each time I entered China I had to rotate the passport so that the immigration officer could find the valid Visa.

    3 years ago I had to renew my China Visa and the agency told me that I would probably only get 6 months, instead of the usual 2 years, as the rules were tightening. Imagine my surprise, and delight, when the passport came back with a 10 year Visa


    TiredOldHack2
    Participant

    rejected as not having 2 empty pages

    An application I made for a Chinese visa, in London, was rejected because my photo “looks too much like you”.

    I did feel as if I’d fallen into Alice in Wonderland, and pointed out that it was exactly the same as in my passport (came from the same machine, and I just stashed it away).

    The guy disappeared. Minutes ticked by. Then he returned, and explained that they wouldn’t accept it because it was the same as my passport picture. I had to have another picture taken “which is a good likeness but not exactly the same”.


    AlanOrton1
    Participant

    I had the exact same experience at the visa processing centre near Bank last year!

    Fortunately they had a photo machine that gladly relieved me of some money in exchange for photos that looked extremely similar.

    Never come across an option for any more than a 2 year visa, so will doubtless look forward to re-visiting again early next year.


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    Just read the Independent article. They mention how draconian the Chinese are when applying for a visa and how much it costs. Actually it’s just as bad when applying for a UK (£110) or Schengen visa, where you also have to do biometrics etc, though it is more expensive.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    stevescoots
    Participant

    rejected as not having 2 empty pages

    An application I made for a Chinese visa, in London, was rejected because my photo “looks too much like you”.

    I did feel as if I’d fallen into Alice in Wonderland, and pointed out that it was exactly the same as in my passport (came from the same machine, and I just stashed it away).

    The guy disappeared. Minutes ticked by. Then he returned, and explained that they wouldn’t accept it because it was the same as my passport picture. I had to have another picture taken “which is a good likeness but not exactly the same”.

    If you think that’s odd. 12 years ago i applied for my first China resident visa. At the time you had to use the official police approved photographer. Well…seems they did not like my receding ginger hairline and pasty white skin so took it upon themselves to photo shop my hair black and my hairline akin to where it was when I was in my teens and tan my skin a little. Docs submitted, and visa/work permit given. I have to renew it every 2 years and of course every time I go up to the desk they look at my permit photo, and my passport photo, then follows a lot of quizzical looks before my assistant tells the tale which then follows many a laugh from the immigration police…and visa/permit approval. Of course, now I am 12 year older, my hair has changed from golden to grey and there Is less of it…but the insanity prevails. At my last new visa interview 18 months ago, the difference was so much from old visa photos to the new ones I had just done, they decided to copy the old photo shopped ones instead! I guess us middle aged white guys all look the same to them! Well at least I did not have to do the pregnancy test this time, but that’s another story.
    And you have not experienced bureaucratic hell on earth until you try dealing with a local branch of any Chinese bank

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    stevescoots
    Participant

    correct, for GBR passport holders 2 years is the max for tourist and business. Longer resident and specialist ones can be had but you have to already have an existing visa and do the renewal in China. the rules are also mixed. I have had resident ones for 12 years and have to renew every 2 years. I am registered investor and legal rep of a Wofe company (B level in new system) yet i know other Brits in the same town who are classified C level, employee level who have get 3 and 5 years from same district. I guess just like the OP its really down to who is manning the desk that day


    Silver Sea
    Participant

    correct, for GBR passport holders 2 years is the max for tourist and business. Longer resident and specialist ones can be had but you have to already have an existing visa and do the renewal in China. the rules are also mixed. I have had resident ones for 12 years and have to renew every 2 years. I am registered investor and legal rep of a Wofe company (B level in new system) yet i know other Brits in the same town who are classified C level, employee level who have get 3 and 5 years from same district. I guess just like the OP its really down to who is manning the desk that day

    Though not an option on the application form I asked for and was given a 5 year business visa in London this February.


    FaroFlyer
    Participant

    rejected as not having 2 empty pages

    An application I made for a Chinese visa, in London, was rejected because my photo “looks too much like you”.

    I did feel as if I’d fallen into Alice in Wonderland, and pointed out that it was exactly the same as in my passport (came from the same machine, and I just stashed it away).

    The guy disappeared. Minutes ticked by. Then he returned, and explained that they wouldn’t accept it because it was the same as my passport picture. I had to have another picture taken “which is a good likeness but not exactly the same”.

    TOH, My wife also had that recently. We sent a passport photo, part of a strip taken for her passport. Rejected because it was the same. Were asked to send a simple mobile phone photo, white background, which was accepted.

    Having said that, my wife’s UK passport application was rejected 7 or 8 years ago, while she waited in Liverpool, because the photo had been taken in a photo booth in Faro. Paid for another photo in Liverpool and she was OK. Not just China.


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    cwoodward, I think I am right in saying you lived in HK for many years, so if you are a permanent resident why not get an APEC Business Travel Card? Visa-free access to a whole host of countries PLUS (in most major airports) expedited immigration. You even get to use crew lanes at US airports!

    And you have not experienced bureaucratic hell on earth until you try dealing with a local branch of any Chinese bank

    Funnily enough, Senior Offspring (who spent a year in China as part of her degree) found dealing with her Chinese bank incredibly easy. She went into Bank of Communications near the faculty and emerged half an hour later with a bank account and a debit card (which was produced on the spot).


    AlanOrton1
    Participant

    No issues arriving in China on a British passport with standard 2 year business visa on Friday.

    The unique experience was it taking less than 15 minutes from stepping off the plane to clearing immigration, collecting luggage, passing through customs and into a taxi.

    Mind you this was at SHA not PVG. (Where I normally fly into).
    While SHA only serves a few Intl destinations, it was an absolute breeze and I’d highly using it over PVG.
    Sadly I think the only major international routes served are Hong Kong, Korea and Japan.


    AnthonyDunn
    Participant

    I recall one visa application in London to the Chinese Visa Centre was rejected because I had, apparently, used the wrong font on the application form so that the text encroached the black box outline. There is a particular mindset that positively enjoys being a pain in the backside for no apparent reason other than “they can” and you, as the supplicant, are largely powerless to object. Small jobs, small minds.


    cwoodward
    Participant

    IanFromHKG wrote:
    cwoodward, ‘I think I am right in saying you lived in HK for many years,……….’

    Ian
    Thank you for the thought I have been travelling for the past couple of weeks and no time to post.
    I should have done this years ago but back in the 1980 -90s China gave 5 year visa’s and with a British passport and Australian and HK permanent residency and less people flying having an APEC card was something that I did not consider that I needed.

    With the shorter China visas now the norm and no longer being an Australian p/resident I have started the process today……..thanks again !


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    My pleasure, cwoodward! It is a slow process (generally about three months, I have found) as the Immigration Department write individually to each APEC jurisdiction and await their response (except for the US – they don’t give visa-free access but as mentioned do give crew lane access on arrival). You should receive periodic notifications from the Immigration Department explaining which countries have given permission, and you have the option to get the card “early” before all have replied, which may be useful if the ones you are particularly interested in have already granted access. You can then “update” the card later as more countries are added to the list. Some countries never bother to reply so it really isn’t worth waiting for the “hold-out” countries before getting the card! It costs just HK$210 to get the card updated.

    A coupe of drawbacks I would mention – when you renew your passport you have to renew the card, as it is tied to a particular passport (and your passport number will appear on the card). I found that out the hard way when I tried to check in for a flight to Australia relying on the ABTC visa-free access but had changed my passport in the meantime! Also, you have to renew it every three years, so it is worthwhile applying early to allow for the three months or so it takes to get a new one.

    Interestingly, I find that the countries that approve me vary with pretty much each application, and on an apparently random basis. At one point Malaysia specifically rejected my application, the next time round they were one of the first to give approval!

    For anyone else interested in this (and who has citizenship or permanent residence and a business role making them eligible) I would add that it is an incredibly cheap way of getting visa-free access, generally costing less than just one or two visa applications (in Hong Kong, it is HK$540 – about US$70 – but lasts for three years). Add priority immigration lines in most countries and the aforementioned crew lane access in the US and it is a no-brainer for any business traveller.

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