China Visa Mail Service
Applying for China visa by mail is a way to save your time and money, especially when you live far from the Chinese embassy, consulate or China Visa Application Service Center (CVASC) in your consular jurisdiction or when you are busy with work. Good as it seems, few Chinese embassies and consulates provide visa mail service due to various reasons. However, the CVASC in many countries now accepts mailed visa applications.
To apply for China visa by mail, the premise is that you have to be physically in the country where you do the application in case that the consular officers require an interview.
Visa Postal Service in Chinese Embassy / Consulate - Hardly Available
Only a few embassies and consulates accept mailed visa applications, such as Chinese embassies in New Zealand and Micronesia. Before making the application, you need to check out on the website of the Chinese embassy or make a phone call to see whether it provides such services.
Visa Postal Service in CVASC - Feasible
In countries where CVASCs are available, applicants have a great chance to apply for China visa by mail, such as UK, Australia, Canada, and Germany.
As few embassies and consulates provide mail service, hereinafter the contents related to visa postal service only applies to the situation when you are applying from the CVASC.
How Far in Advance Should I Submit the Application?
Applying visa by mail takes longer time than applying on the spot, so you need to set about the process well in advance but not earlier than three months before your planned departure date. Usually it’s suggested to post the application SIX WEEKS in advance.
Documents Checklist for Visa Application by Post
1. Applicant's passport with at least two blank pages and six-month validity left.
2. A photocopy of the passport’s info page.
3. A completed and duly signed China Visa Application Form without any unanswered questions, with a recent passport photo glued to the photo place in the form.
4. Documents to support your purpose for the planned visit in China, such as round-way air tickets and hotel reservations.
5. Applicants in a third country may be also required to provide additional information, such as valid visa or residence permit.
6. A self-addressed prepaid return envelope of a delivery service provider designated by the CVASC.
7. A signed Payment Authorization Form which can be downloaded from the website of CVASC.
Note: If you miss any required documents or the embassy asks for more documents, the CVASC will contact you to make a supplement. Before the documents are complete, your application will be suspended and the waiting time is excluded from the processing time of postal applications.
How Do I Pay & What Is the Cost?
Cash is not acceptable by the CVASC if you apply for China visa by post. Applicants can usually pay by debit card, credit card, and money order. When your China visa is ready, the center will deduct money from your card and send your passport back after receiving your payment. A receipt will be enclosed in the package as well.
Please be reminded that you should pay not only the visa fee, but also the service fee charged by the CVASC and tax, thus the fee varies in different countries.
Postal Application Processing Time
It normally takes 10 working days for processing a visa application sent by post and no rush service is available. Note that the 10 working days do not include days when the mail is on the way. Applicants can track the processing status on the website of CVASC.
Be Aware of the Risks
Upon sending the mail visa application, applicants would be fully aware of the risks they are undertaking. They may face long processing time and the likely risks of documents' safety if they send the application by mail. It’s better to apply in person in case of any delay, passport loss, or sudden change of the planned trip schedule.
Also - I live in Minnesota, do I need to appear at the Chinese consulate in person? if so which one and do I need an appointment? Will they process that day - or will I need to return?