Who knew getting a China visa in Kuala Lumpur could be so easy? The China Visa Service - that manages all China visa applications - is a slick machine, super efficient, on time, courteous and just blew my expectations out of the water.
I was so nervous about getting this visa. I’d heard it could be difficult and reading through posts I found on a google search didn't make me very confident. However our experience was awesome and simple and I want to share it with you to help set your mind at ease if you're planning on getting your visa out-of-country.
So if you’re a non-resident planning on getting your China visa in Kuala Lumpur (or Singapore) here are some tips and an outline of our experience to help you along. So don’t be scared! It’s painless and easy.
NOTE: Non-resident applications can only be made within one month before arrival in China. We tried to do ours in Singapore (before we knew) and the staff checked our documents and let us know we were too early. So we continued traveling through Malaysia and returned to Kuala Lumpur 20 days before our flight to China and gave it another shot
1. WEBSITE: For Kuala Lumpur visa applications go to the China Visa Application Service Centre website. For other countries, find the local service centre website.
2. APPLICATION FORM: Download, print and complete the application form.
3. TAKE COPIES OF EVERYTHING REQUESTED: Make sure you gather all the required information including copies of passports, copies of entry stamps or visas for the country you're applying in. We took photocopies of the Malaysian entry stamps in our passports. Don't worry if you forget to make copies of anything as the service centre has a photocopier and printer - and a staff member to help you. It costs something like 10 ringgits per photocopy. NOTE: They do not have WIFI.
4. BOOK YOUR APPOINTMENT: Book a time to submit your application in person through the online booking portal. I prefer the first spot in the morning at 9.00am as there is less likely to be a lengthy queue. We got there a little earlier than opening, around 8.45am so we didn't have much of a queue ahead of us. This is not a formal interview, it is simply submitting your application. You will receive a confirmation email for your submission time with a reference number, booking time and address details.
The address for the Kuala Lumpur China Visa Service Application Centre is:
Level 5 (submissions) and 6 (collection)
Hampshire Place Office
Jalan Mayang Sari 50450
It's so close to the Petronas Towers you can walk to or from there - we walked over after putting our application in.
4. BOOK YOUR FLIGHTS: Do book your flights into and out of China. When we first applied in Singapore I didn't have our flight details out and simply wrote border crossing from Shenzhen into Hong Kong which was accepted however as we didn't formally submit this application (as we were outside of the month) I can’t say 100 per cent whether it would have worked. By the time we applied in Kuala Lumpur I had our flight out. The copies of these flights were taken by the staff member with our application.
5. BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION. We took a booking.com accommodation confirmation with us. We like booking.com because they have free cancellation and should you change your plans or decide to stay elsewhere you can always cancel the booking without being penalised. In fact, you can cancel it straight after you print the confirmation, if your plans change that quickly. Our booking confirmation print out was not taken by the staff member, however you need to list the address and other contact details of the accommodation in your application form.
6. THE APPOINTMENT: When we arrived a staff member checked over our application and gave us a number. We moved into a bright, clean modern waiting area and within 10 minutes our number was called. A staff member checked over our application and pointed out to me where clarification was needed or boxes I'd forgotten to tick.
She was very helpful and very quickly she had taken our application, passports and photocopies of required information. She gave us a return slip - we were to come back four days later from 9am to collect our visa. At this stage the visa wasn't guaranteed as it still needed approval but I was feeling pretty good.
7. COST: The cost was $188.30 ringgit per visa - around $53 Australian dollars. This is paid on collection.
8. IT TAKES FOUR WORKING DAYS: We put our application in on a Friday morning and collected it at 9am the following Wednesday.
9. COLLECTING YOUR VISA: You can collect your visa from 9am on the day you're asked to return. We arrived at 8.40am and queued behind around five other people. The doors opened by 9am, we were given a number and by 9.05am we had our visas.
And that was it! Simple, stress free and easy peasy. Good luck!