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We are a Dutch-British couple living in Netherlands. We want to visit China for 2-3 weeks. We both need a visa for that. Due to my partner needing his (British) passport (to enter work), we can't just send off his passport. This is not such a big problem for me, as I have a Dutch national ID card too.

I read about e-visas. They are a printed thing, so you don't need to send your passport off. Apparently you need to travel with two people, so we tick off that box too. This sounds useful for us.

This Dutch website offers e-visas for China. They appear to offer them for Dutch, Belgian, German, French and Spanish citizens. They apparently allow a 21 days stay. They also mention that you need to enter with two people. That seems perfect for us, except they don't offer it to British citizens.

This US based website also offers e-visas for China. They appear to offer them to more Nationalites than the Dutch website (at least including UK and Dutch which I require), but they are only for 15 days and require a US shipping address.

Neither of these websites seem to work for us. We can make a trip to the embassy if required, but we really can't miss the passport for more than a single day. What are our options to get a (e-)visa for China as a British citizen in Netherlands while restricting the time without ID to no more than a day? We're fine with options that leave him without a passport for a maximum of one weekday (up to two times, not in the same week), get him a second ID (even if valid only in Netherlands) or otherwise solve the problem of needing an ID for work (taking time off is not an option).

Note: we're not business travelers, so business traveler exceptions do not count for us.

Update: We've been in contact with e-visums.nl. It appears they do offer e-visas for UK citizens after all, on their UK website and just updated their Dutch website to now offer it to UK citizens too. This may be an option, but we cannot be sure yet until we are ready to apply. Answers with different options and/or personal experience still very much welcome!

  • See also this answer: travel.stackexchange.com/a/66957/36405 – Belle-Sophie Sep 28 '18 at 7:02
  • I find it hard to believe that they would actually impose a fine on someone who is without ID because their only ID is a passport and they have submitted for a visa application. – phoog Sep 28 '18 at 12:28
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    @phoog They do, but that’s secondary concern anyway. For reasons outside the scope of the question, he needs that ID. – Belle-Sophie Sep 28 '18 at 12:32
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    There is a way for UK citizens to obtain a second passport. There are hurdles attached but I would imagine this to be one of the cases where it turns out useful. Check whether this is a solution for you. pointstobemade.boardingarea.com/2018/02/22/… – mts Sep 28 '18 at 16:49
  • Can you expand on why your partner needs a passport to "enter work"? That seems quite unusual. Don't they accept any other form of ID or have some kind for exception policy? – lambshaanxy Jun 8 at 1:24
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How the Dutch do it

We are a Dutch-British couple living in Netherlands. We want to visit China for 2-3 weeks. We both need a visa for that. Due to my partner needing his (British) passport (to enter work), we can't just send off his passport. This is not such a big problem for me, as I have a Dutch national ID card too.

Well, this sums it up quite nicely. Since your partner does need that specific passport it can't be sent away. You on the other hand, do not have that problem because you have a national ID to use in the meantime.

The tricks seems to have been there all along, your partner needs an extra form of identification. If I understand it correctly, your partner needs this specific passport in the meantime. Since you'll need a passport to go to China, a national ID card won't suffice. Instead, a second passport would.

This isn't super easy, but it's not impossible either. What you need is a good reason for needing a second passport. Now, the reason your partner needs their passport in the meantime might be a good enough reason, but it's not tried and tested.

A tried and tested reason for getting a second Dutch passport is travelling to different countries that are in some conflict. For example, travel to Israel and Palestine is a valid reason (for Dutch nationals) (because it may lead to additional questioning at the border).

The situation may arise that your first passport contains stamps from countries in conflict with the countries that you need to visit. This can cause problems when trying to enter those countries. A second passport could be the solution.

source: The Hague Municipality

How the Brits do it too, but more inconveniently

In your partner's case, we need a second British passport (assuming that's their only nationality). I cannot find a UK government source on this, but multiple blogs do mention the same reasoning as the Dutch.

I should note that that does mean making some extra travel plans. While I cannot advocate making plans and presenting them to an official to get official documents and then not using them for the reasons given, I don't think they will check afterwards.

boardingarea.com has a blog on this. I'll quote the relevant steps but note that the article linked is much more extensive:

Broadly speaking you will need to encounter one of the following two situations to convince the Her Majesty's Passport Office to issue you another UK passport:

[...]

  1. You are a business traveller who needs to visit countries that are in conflict or incompatibility with each other, e.g. Israel and Iran/Lebanon/Syria/Iraq etc.

[...]

You can apply by post inside the UK, outside the UK , or at one of the passport interview centres.

[...]

In all cases, be sure that you are choosing the option to “Apply for a 1st adult passport”, and specifically request not to cancel your existing passport. If calling by telephone the operator should be aware of the process for business travellers obtaining a second document.

As this is a ‘1st passport application', they check your proof of UK citizenship with extra rigour. Depending on the nature of how you became a UK citizen (e.g. by birth or by naturalisation), the Passport Advice Line can advise you on what supporting evidence of your citizenship you need to bring to your appointment or submit by post. Normally this will include any one or more of the following documents:

  • Your current UK passport – This is the easiest option if your name has changed since birth or issuance of other accepted certificates. See below.

[...]

In addition to the normal passport application form, passport photos signed by a person of good standing who has known you for at least 2 years, and the correct fee, you need to justify why you are requesting a second passport. This will mean showing detailed travel plans which causes you to request second passport. E.g. flight confirmations/tickets.

You will also need a letter on headed paper explaining your circumstance that is dated no earlier than 4 weeks prior to your application. I have adapted a template that I found on a forum post in Business Traveller which you will need to edit to suit your individual needs:

[...]

Perhaps easier for some Brits: become Dutch

If you're already living in the Netherlands, it might make sense to consider becoming a Dutch citizen so you can apply more easily for a second Dutch passport. How much easier this is will depend on your personal situation (see the long list of exemptions on the linked page), but I think it's worth mentioning.

  • If he became Dutch he wouldn't need to apply for a second Dutch passport; the first Dutch passport or even the ID card would suffice. Also, as the blog you link to notes, but you have not included this in the quoted material here, it is not generally possible to get a second passport as a leisure traveler. – phoog Jun 7 at 22:43
  • @phoog where there's a will there's a way. From my understanding of the question, OP's partner needs a passport for work and can't go without it for a few days. Since the ID cannot hold a visa, a second passport seems to be necessary. – JJ for Transparency and Monica Jun 7 at 22:49
  • but if the partner naturalizes in the Netherlands, the fact that one can apply "more easily for a second Dutch passport" doesn't matter. If it's not possible to use the Dutch ID card at work, it would still be possible to apply for the visa with the (first) Dutch passport. – phoog Jun 8 at 0:31
  • @phoog true, it seems to be a rather specific situation that isn't entirely clear. I think the answer stands in general though. For example, there are some industries where passports are necessary (e. g. certain industrial settings dealing with chemicals) but that mostly doesn't mean one cannot change the passport at some point. – JJ for Transparency and Monica Jun 8 at 6:13
  • @phoog Dutch ID card would suffice. Anything that shows it’s legal for him to work there. – Belle-Sophie Jun 8 at 7:27

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