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Applications for a Chinese L (tourist) visas in the United States can't be mailed directly to the Chinese Embassy/Consulate. As a result, many people use third-party agencies who accept applications by mail and drop them to the proper Chinese Embassy/Consulate.

I read on the website of one such agency, http://www.mychinavisa.com/special-requirements (mirror):

Citizens of certain countries, such as France, Turkey, Nigeria, etc., are required to apply in person at the Chinese Embassy/Consulates. The list can change without notice.

I didn't see this restriction on the other agencies' websites I have looked at.

Can't French citizens in the United States apply to a Chinese L (tourist) visa through an agency?

I'm interested in the case where the French citizens are also permanent resident of the United States (= have a green card).

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I've asked a few more people and it seems that indeed French citizens in the United States who want to apply to a Chinese L (tourist) visa have to apply at the Chinese consulate/embassy in person.

  • French citizens typically (always?) require in person interview. It is not written rule. The reason I was given is that the French government requires Chinese citizens in the United States to apply for French visa in person, so the Chinese are reciprocating (which I understand 100%). https://www.visahq.com/france/requirements/china/resident-united-states/ (mirror): "The applicant must reserve an appointment and appear in person at the nearest Consulate of France to have their fingerprints registered."
  • Agencies can, however, provide pickup service after one submits the application.

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