Let me just start by saying straight away: most of you reading this cannot get a Chinese visa in South Korea. However, I want to let you know how, in case you actually meet the criteria. And if you don’t – I have a couple of tips for getting one.
First, do you qualify?
Getting a Chinese visa seems to be getting more and more difficult. It’s not too bad, if you’re in your home country. But if you’re an expat in Korea, here’s what you need to qualify:
- an ARC (Alien Registration Card) with 6 or more months left on it; OR
- you’ve had a Chinese visa within the last 2 years; OR
- a Korean passport.
So, if you’ve been in Korea 6 months or less, and/or you have renewed your ARC and it is valid for 6 or more months, you can get a Chinese visa through a Korean company. If your ARC has less than 6 months, skip to reading Option B.
Option A – The Easy Way (you have 6+ months on your ARC)
If you do have 6+ months on your ARC (or a Korean passport), and you want to go to China in the next 90 days, congratulations! You can easily get a Chinese visa. However, you can’t just go up to the embassy and get one – that would be too easy. Instead, you will have to go through a Korean travel agency. There are many of these that will do this for you, though I have no personal experience with any of them so I hesitate to recommend any, though here is a thread on Dave’s ESL Cafe listing tour agents. Interestingly, this option is also available to you if you have been to China in the last 2 years.
Option B – The Hard Way (you have less than 6 months on your ARC or don’t have an ARC)
Sucks to be you! But really, you can’t get a visa for China in Korea. So should you just give up your dreams of going to China? Not necessarily. I certainly didn’t. See, here was my problem: I knew I was going to China months in advance. However, a Chinese visa is usually valid for only 90 days (somehow, mine is valid for 1 year, but I wouldn’t count on that). Therefore, by the time I could apply for the visa, I would have less than 6 months left on my ARC. I toyed with not going to China at all, but decided to try anyway. However, the Chinese Embassy in the US does not accept mailed applications. I did a quick search and found that you can mail in your application if you live in the UK. If you don’t, though, here are a couple of options:
- Use a visa agent in your country of citizenship to procure the visa. Examples include the China Visa Service Center. This will cost you an extra fee on top of your visa, of course.
- Have a friend or family member physically take your application in for you. You will have to pay shipping costs on top of the visa fee.
In summary, it can be very difficult to get a Chinese visa in South Korea. But if you are determined, you will find a way. And then you’ll get to go to China! How awesome is that?
Do you have any other China visa tips?