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I'm travelling from EU to China for (academic) work, and the date of arrival will presumably be a day after the departure, which in turn will be a day before I start work. I will need to apply for a visa, and I want to make sure I get the dates right.

Suppose that: I'm starting work on Monday Sept 1, have an invitation which says I'll be working from Sept 1, would like to arrive on Sunday Aug 31, and will depart EU on Saturday Aug 30. My intuition is telling me it should be OK to book the flight and request visa from Aug 31, but I'm not sure about two issues:

  1. Are the authorities issuing visas going to have a problem with the fact that I'm arriving before the date on the invitation?

  2. Are the people at the airport going to have a problem with the fact that I'm departing at a time when my visa is not yet valid?

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    Virtually every embassy knows when one is going for an official event, the participant/applicant needs to arrive before start date. It is perfectly fine to request a visa start date earlier than your work start date. As to question 2, it depends on the airline and the check in agent. Some may allow you to board and some may not. – user 56513 May 19 '17 at 20:24
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Are the authorities issuing visas going to have a problem with the fact that I'm arriving before the date on the invitation?

Virtually every embassy knows when one is going for an official event, the participant/applicant needs to arrive before start date. It is perfectly fine to request a visa start date earlier than your work start date. As to question 2, it depends on the airline and the check in agent. Some may allow you to board and some may not.

Are the people at the airport going to have a problem with the fact that I'm departing at a time when my visa is not yet valid?

Ultimately this is opinion based and there are many variants of such questions here including Arriving in Zurich the night before Schengen visa validity begins. It depends on the airline policy, the check in agent, etc. There is no definitive answer, you will find out if/when you get there.

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