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My girlfriend has a Chinese passport, but lives in the UK and has permanent residence here. We are going on a holiday to Japan for 30 days so she needs a tourist visa, however when we tried to apply for the visa here in the UK they said they can only issue it max. 3 months before we enter Japan. At this time we will be in China (we are travelling around Asia), and for Chinese citizens the tourist visa is only normally valid for 15 days!

I would like to know if we apply for the visa whilst in China would it only be valid for 15 days? Or can she still get a 90 day visa like if she applied from within the UK.

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    Why do you think she would not get only 15 days when applying from the UK? The visa durations depend on your citizenship, which does not carry depend on the physical consulate location. – Roddy of the Frozen Peas May 20 '18 at 14:39
  • On the site for the Japanese embassy in the UK it states that the visas are valid for 90 days (uk.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_en/index_000070.html) and UK citizens don't actually need a visa at all. We also talked to the people in the embassy and they confirmed this. When we look on Chinese sites however it states 15 days only (vacations.ctrip.com/visa/p49336s2.html) - there are visas for 30 or 90 days but they have certain requirements e.g. must earn over 50,000 yuan/year which she obviously doesn't meet since she lives and works in the UK. – Michael Jerred May 20 '18 at 21:20
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    "ctrip.com" is not an official site. The Japanese ministry of foreign affairs page for Chinese visitors clearly says that individual visitors can apply for a 15- or 30- day single entry visa. – Roddy of the Frozen Peas May 21 '18 at 0:04
  • This is definitely not true because both my mother and I have been approved for Japanese temporary visitor visas with 90 days stay. I applied in the US though, but she got her visa from the Consulate General in Guangzhou. – xuq01 May 21 '18 at 1:56
  • @xuq01 do you know if your mother had to provide evidence of a shanghai ID or a certain income etc.? – Michael Jerred May 21 '18 at 18:05
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According to the Embassy of Japan in PRC, the length of stay of tourist visas is not predefined unless you are travelling with a tour group. The Embassy asks you to contact a pre-approved travel agent, which handles visa applications for you. To minimize risk (the travel agencies are supposed to pre-screen applications), some travel agents might place arbitrary limitations on your stay. However, if you go to a large and established travel agency, such as the China International Travel Service (中国国际旅行社), they likely would help you get a visa for stays of 30 days. From personal experience, I am very certain that one person I know of (my mother) has been approved for a 90-days visa, and many other people I know have been approved for 30-days. So in terms of possibility: yes, it is definitely possible.

So, you have two options here:

  1. when you arrive in China, apply for a visa at a CITS (or other major travel agency's) office. Prepare her household register (Hukou), bank statement, salary sheets, etc.

  2. if you (and your GF) have a decent income, she can try to apply now for a multiple-entry visa. Depending on where you live, you need to contact the visa section of either the Embassy of Japan in the UK (in London), or the Consulate-General in Edinburgh, to ask for the qualifications & documentations required for the visa. A quick Google search will tell you the email address.

I'd go for the second option because: (1) she gets a multiple-entry visa, and (2) she might have problems finding proofs of her resources in RMB (the agency & consulate might not accept bank documents/salary sheets in GBP). But then it all depends on the circumstances.

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