Documents needed for a Chinese Tourist Visa

I just got a tourist visa (L) to go to ICML from the Chinese Consulate in New York, and it was significantly less difficult than I had been led to believe. However, the information on the website is a little hard to parse (since there are so many visa classes), so here’s a quick list of the documents you need:

  • Passport with at least six months of remaining validity and blank page for the visa.
  • A photocopy of passport photo and information page.
  • Copy of the application form with 1 passport photo attached.
  • Printout of your plane ticket confirmation and hotel booking confirmation \textbf{OR} a formal invitation letter. The hotel need not be for the entire duration of your trip.

You will need to make two trips, the first to drop off the forms and your passport, and the second (4 days later) to pick up your passport and pay (currently $140). A tip that holds for New York (and probably elsewhere): don’t go right at opening time, since there is a huge rush. The line tends to thin between 10 and 11, and your wait will be significantly shorter. Depending on how annoyed the guards are, they may yell at you for using your phone (technically not allowed), so bring a magazine or some knitting or something in case the wait is long. When you pay, it’s MasterCard/Visa only, or cashiers check/money order.

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