Visas have always bored me. Not that I have been immune to visa problems. Not long ago, I was en route to Qingdao via Seoul (and when I say en route, I mean in the air half-way between the two places) when I noticed for the first time that though the date on my visa was still plenty good, I had already maxed out on the number of visits.
My sweet talking the Chinese customs guy did no good and I had to return to Seoul and spend the weekend chillin’ at the Westin Chosun until the Chinese Embassy in Seoul opened back up on Monday. Or the time I was held by the police in Vladivostok, Russia, until 2:00 a.m. because I had failed to get a visa for that particular city. So I agree visas matter, but they are still not very interesting.
China is cracking down on entries into China every which way it can and it is doing so to such an extent that it is affecting business. It is impacting business because businesspeople are getting stuck in Hong Kong where they had gone to get visas to re-enter China and are now being told they must return to their “resident country” to get any such visas. It is impacting business because companies that were hoping to delay having to form Chinese entities to do business in China are now having to register a WFOE or Representative Office to ensure their people have a basis for coming into China — another case of lawyers’ benefitting from others’ bad fortune. And it is impacting business because it is creating massive uncertainties.
Rather than explaining what is going on, I am just going to link you over to the newly (and timely) formed China Visa Blog, which is valiantly trying to keep up with the constant changes in China’s visa situation.
Me? Thanks for asking. I have a one year multiple entry visa, secured just in time to skirt this mess.
Would love to hear any and all China visa stories in the comments below. Let’s try to build up a “database” on what is happening with China’s ever-changing visa situation, with you-all helping with the grunt work.