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I know standing in line to get a visa is never fun, but was wondering if any Americans had experience getting a standard tourist "L" visa in Hong Kong.

I'm leaving on a RTW trip in less than two weeks and I plan on being in China around June. So I either need to get a 6 or 12 month multi-entry visa before I leave the USA - which would entail booking all my flights and accommodation and securing an invitation letter in the next few days - or just fly to Hong Kong before going to China in June.

Hong Kong seems like the simplest answer, but China usually doesn't allow Americans to get visas outside of their home country (HK seems to be an exception). I just wanted to know if any Americans had done it successfully.

Update: The Chinese Visa Office in HK currently has this notice on their website: "If you don't reside or work in Hong Kong permanently, you are required to apply Chinese visa from the Embassy or Consulate-General of Peoples' Republic of China in your resident country." It seems practices may have changed. Any Americans with experience care to contradict this? Link: http://www.fmcoprc.gov.hk/eng/zgqz/bgfwxx/default.htm

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I believe my mom did this several years ago, but I'll check with her to confirm that. That said, the policy could very well have changed in the past few years. In the meantime, the Chinese consulates can, for an expedited processing fee, process visa applications within 24 hours (and in some cases, the same day), so there's another option there. –  waiwai933 Jan 3 '13 at 18:10
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China visa conditions change frequently and fast, and someone's experience last month may unfortunately have no bearing on your visa application this month. Best always contact the embassy directly. –  Andrew Apr 1 '13 at 15:15
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2 Answers

I lived in Hong Kong for nearly a year, and made multiple trips to mainland China while I was there.

I recommend getting your Chinese visa from a processing/expediting agent. I was there around the 2008 Olympics and visas were in high demand so lines were long and visas for US Citizens we're frequently being rejected and/or shortened.

My first visa application in NYC was shortened and reduced to single entry. By going through a visa agency in Hong Kong I was able to get a one year multi-entry visa overnight for a relatively small processing fee.

The website looks super-shady, but I went to this place in person and had my photo taken and they got me the visa the next day. No line, no hassle. Forever Bright LTD.

14 Science Museum Rd,Tsimshatsui East,Kowloon,H.K Rm 916-7, 9/F,New Mandarin Plaza,Tower B

Google Map

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I agree that an agency is really a big help. 'China Travel Service' have many branches in Hong Kong and have done a good job on advising my visa situation. ctshk.com/english/useful/chinesevisa.htm –  Andrew Apr 1 '13 at 15:17
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Too late now, but they usually reject it in Hong Kong unless you have an old Chinese VISA on your passport already. If you did have an old Chinese VISA, I think it's still a next-day thing (apply today, and get it tomorrow deal).

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