My 30 day visa for mainland China had expired and even though I had only been in Hong Kong for a day I knew that I wanted to go back and explore more of China. So, it’s off to do a visa application for China while in Hong Kong.
There are many ways to go through the visa process while in Hong Kong including at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or via the many travel agents offering visa services, and even via some accommodation houses, particularly backpacker hostels.
I’m not sure which way is best but for my first time I went with the relative safety of the state owned travel agency, China Travel Service, commonly known as CTS. CTS have branches all over Hong Kong, so they were not to hard to find. Hong Kong – CTS Branch Map
The visa process can take three working days, and I’d landed in HK before the weekend so I was going to have some extra days in Hong Kong. I found out later that I could have paid a little more and asked for an express service, ah well.
Unless you want to stay in Hong Kong for several days its worth paying for the fast visa service as it will probably cost less than the accommodation and daily expenses…
The CTS branch in Mong Kok had a designated visa desk with English speaking staff who can help you with the right visa type and to fill in the form. You pay the fee and hand over your passport, they give you a receipt and an exact time to return to pick up your passport with its newly stamped visa. If the visa application is unsuccessful they refund the fee minus a 50HKD service charge from memory.
I also needed two passport photos which is pretty easy as there was a couple of people out the front waiving signs offering ‘visa photos’. I followed the lady around the corner, under the building and into the shop where I jumped in front of the camera and seconds later, for not much more than a couple of Australian dollars, I had passport photos.
I left the CTS office with several days to explore Hong Kong….
update.. aslo see the latest post on getting a China mainland visa in HK