The application process for a Chinese visa is a lot more time consuming than any other Asian country we have been to.
We considered applying via an agent but in the end decided to fly solo with it all.
We felt we just needed to get organised with prolonged access to a computer and printer.
While we waited for the Myanmar visas we made our way north to the Chinese Embassy to pick up the forms.
First things first, the visa application centre is NOT in the Chinese embassy like it is in every other consulate. You need to go to New Pretchaburi Road to Level 5 in Thanapoom Tower (10 min walk).
Going to the embassy first did prove quite useful in the end because they showed us examples of some of the supporting documents we would need to submit.
It seems that the Embassy, no doubt because the application process is so onerous, has subcontracted the management of the first phase of the application procedure out to a private company. http://www.visaforchina.org
This company offers advice, information and runs a first stage tick box exercise on your application before its sent to the Embassy for final approval.
In a way it’s sort of good because they give your application a thorough once going over before you handover and wait for the outcome… Also unlike other consulates you pay on collection.
They are open 9:00am to 15:00 Mon-Fri. But if you want the 2 day express service you need to drop off before 11am.
We were told it was only possible to apply for a 1 month tourist visa in Bangkok, although we have heard of others successfully applying for three months in other cities… (we hope to extend ours at least once when we’re there).
The form is very detailed and requires supporting flight bookings (!), accommodation bookings (!), a detailed day by day itinerary, bank statements and a ‘Letter of Certificatin of myself’ which details your intent of travel, employment status etc. Having a bank statement was important, especially if you are currently unemployed.
Everything has to be done on a computer and printed off. You also need photocopies of your current immigration exit stamp (Thai in our case) and passport page.
We had also read that including other supporting documents like our travel insurance document was a good idea, but these weren’t needed in the end.
The detailed itinerary itself took a long time to write out and then there were flights and accommodation bookings to organise.
If you want more information on any of the above and how we went about it please leave a comment and we can try and answer your query.
Anyway, everything was good and efficient and we submitted on Tuesday and collected on Friday morning paying 3200 baht total.