Extending Your Stay in China

Once you have your Chinese visa, it is impossible to have it renewed, extended, or altered.  However, it is always possible to get a new visa in order to prolong your stay.  If you are currently within the country, you won’t even need to travel back to your own country to make a new visa application, as it is just as easy to get a visa from inside China.

The process of applying for a visa within China is largely the same as the original process you probably went through before you came to the country in the first place.  The main difference is that, instead of going to a consulate or embassy, you will be taking your application to the Public Security Bureau Exit and Entry Administration Office for the municipality wherein you plan to reside on the night after your application submission.  If you don’t know where to find your nearest Public Security Bureau, try asking the staff at your international hotel.

While a lot of Public Security Bureaus are likely to have an English-speaking staff ready to accommodate international visitors, the offices in some smaller or more remote regions might be less equipped to do so.  Try to bring along a Chinese-speaking friend, if you have this luxury.

When you receive your new visa, it is important to remember that this visa begins on the date it is issued.  Any pre-existing visa is immediately negated, and any time you might have had left on this visa will not count towards your remaining stay in the country.

As of 2013, you are not allowed to apply for a new visa in China unless you have at least seven days before your current visa expires.  The Public Security Bureau will give you a return receipt when you submit your application and give you a final decision within seven days.

The current standard period of time that a regular tourist can expect when applying for a new visa is one month.  In some circumstances, longer durations may be available.  Consult your Public Security Bureau to find out more about the options that are available to you.

Getting a Chinese Tourist Visa

Most visitors to China who are not applying with the assistance of a business, government body or academic institution will be issued a tourist “L” visa.  These visas allow foreigners to travel freely throughout most of China.

When you are applying for a Chinese tourist visa, you should be prepared to present the following:

  • Your passport, which should be valid for at least six more months at the time of your application.
  • A visa application form, which must be filled out in full.
  • A recent color photo, passport-sized and with a white background.  This photo will be affixed to your application form.
  • Documents detailing your itinerary, like round-trip air ticket booking records and proof of a hotel reservation or a letter of invitation from an individual within China and appropriate details on the inviting individual (full name, sex, birth date, contact information, etc).  If you are submitting an invitation from an individual in China you are planning to stay with, this letter should come with an official stamp and a signature of the inviting individual or his or her legal representative.
  • If you are not applying for this visa within your own country of citizenship, you will need to provide proof of your legal status within the country you are applying in.
  • An income statement, a six-month bank statement, or other certification that reflects your financial viability.
  • If you have visited the country before, you may be required to submit a personal statement. This statement will detail the reasons for your visit, the places you intend to visit, and the dates and locations you visited in the past.
  • Applicants who are planning to travel to Tibet must also apply for a Tibet Travel Permit, which can be acquired by joining a tour group or by applying through the Tourism Bureau of Tibet Autonomous Region.
  • NOTE: If you are visiting the Hainan province as part of an organized group, you might not be required to apply for a visa.

You should be prepared to apply for your visa in person at a Chinese Embassies, Consulate, or other appropriate Chinese diplomatic center, as mailed applications are not generally accepted.

Vietnam visa requirements

More than 6 million international visitors entered Vietnam during the first 10 months of 2013 – up more than 10 percent from the same period in 2012, the Vietnamese National Administration of Tourism reports.

If you’re planning to join this ever-increasing number of tourists, adventurers, history buffs and foodies who cannot resist the allure of this exotic country, you may begin the process of obtaining a visa to Vietnam no longer than six months before their planned departure dates.

As with most countries today, the Vietnamese embassy’s Website provides detailed instructions on applying for a visa to Vietnam. Here are the Vietnam entry exit requirements in a nutshell:

-          A Valid passport issued at least a month prior to the visa application, and with at least six months remaining before its expiration

-          Either one or two* identical 2-inch by 2-inch portraits of the applicant

-          A completed, signed Visa Application

-          Payment of a visa fee** by money order or cashier’s check

-          Prepaid U.S. Postal Service Express Mail or FedEx postage slip, if the visa is to be returned by mail

Once these requirements are met, those who need a visa to go to Vietnam should send their completed materials, photos, return postage and fees to the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington, D.C: Embassy of Vietnam, 1233 20th St. NW, Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20036.

*If you need a visa to go to Vietnam but do not wish to send your whole passport to the Vietnamese Embassy, you may opt for the “loose-leaf” visa option, which is a sheet of paper, and not a sticker or a stamp added to your passport. To use this option, applicants for a visa to Vietnam provide a copy of their passports and two photos, along with all the other required materials, in lieu of their actual, physical passports.

** Fees for Vietnam tourist visas vary depending on the length of stay and whether plans include exiting and re-entering Vietnam during the visit. These fees vary from time to time and are therefore not posted on the Embassy’s Web site. They are available by calling or e-mailing the embassy. As of this writing, the fee for a one-month, single-entry visa is $100. For a one-month, multiple-entry (up to three reentries) visa, the cost is $150, as of this writing. For a three-month single-entry and multiple-entry visas, the costs as of this writing are $140 and $180, respectively.

Thailand visa requirements

The Bangkok Post reported an unprecedented number of tourists to Thailand in 2012, with more than 22 million arrivals.

One Thai government official credited the mild disposition of international relations for Thailand’s popularity with those looking for a visa to Thailand.

“Last year, the world was generally at peace and there were no major geopolitical, economic, environmental or natural disasters and no health pandemics,” said the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Suraphon Svetasreni in the Post article.

If you’re eager to join the Thailand tourism wave and want to learn about Thailand entry exit requirements, a great place to start is the United States Department of State Web page on travel to Thailand.

Citizens of certain countries who hold valid passports do not need to pay to obtain a travel visa to Thailand. United States citizens are among this group. So, as long as you have a valid U.S. Passport, you do not need to pay a fee to obtain a travel visa to Thailand. The complete list of visa-fee-exempt countries appears on Thailand’s Immigration Bureau Website.

For U.S. citizens, Thailand entry exit requirements for tourists are pretty simple: 30 days if you’re accessing Thailand by air and 15 days if you’re approaching by land

To fulfill Thailand’s travel visa requirements, your passport must be at least a month old, or it has to have at least six months remaining before its expiration. While business and work visas to Thailand require additional verification, a simple tourist visa to Thailand requires only proof of outbound travel reservations and sufficient funds to accommodate one’s stay.

For stays in Thailand longer than 30 days – 15 days if you’re arriving by land – those looking for a visa to Thailand should apply to the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington, D.C. before their trips for a 60-day tourist visa:

Royal Thai Embassy,

1024 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.
Washington D.C. 20007

Tel. (202) 944-3600
Fax. (202) 944-3611

Additionally, U.S. visitors to Thailand may want to consult the U.S. state department’s Web page about Thailand travel for up-to-date news, warnings and travel advice.