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I am an Indian national living in the United States and am flying from the States to India with a 2-hour transit in China, and then back to the States with a 3-day gap between the India-China and China-US flights.

Even though I only need a single-entry tourist visa, both the agencies I consulted advised me to apply for a double-entry instead.

Has anyone experienced something similar? Has anyone had their tourist visa denied owing to such ambiguity?

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You don't require a visa on the 2 hour transit, as you are an Indian national. For the return trip, you can use the Single entry tourist visa.

You can apply for multiple entry or double entry if it costs the same. Otherwise, its just a waste of money to apply for multiple entry visa, where you intent to enter only once.

  • Thanks for your response. I've rephrased my question for clarity, since my concern is about the consulate misinterpreting such an itinerary - I'd be highly surprised if this were the case, but oh well. – Raghav Gupta Oct 30 '19 at 5:55
  • Just for curiosity, what is the cost difference? – Anish Sheela Oct 30 '19 at 7:49
  • USD 15, so not that much ultimately. – Raghav Gupta Oct 30 '19 at 18:04
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As Anish said, you only need a single-entry visa for the transit on the way back. Your application is not going to be denied if you apply for double or multiple entry, but regardless of what you apply for, the consulate will give you the visa type that they believe you need, so make sure they correctly understand your situation.

When applying for the visa, you have to indicate your planned date of entry and the duration of your stay in China. If you fill these out correctly, only mentioning the transit on the way back, there should be no ambiguity. If the outbound and return flights are booked as two separate tickets, only provide the itinerary for the return section of your trip. You can also explain your needs to the consular officer when handing in your application to remove any doubt.

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