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The $1,000 Visa To China

written by John Chow on March 20, 2013

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Last week, I was up in Vancouver to give a couple of presentations. While I was there, I also renewed my Canadian passport. Overall, it was a fun and productive one week trip.

A couple of days ago (Monday, March 18), I went to the Chinese Visa office in LA to get a visa for my trip to Shanghai. I had everything filled out properly, and all the required documents. However, because my passport was new, it didn’t have any of my previous visas from China, and I told Canada to destroy my old passport instead of taking it back.

The lady at the visa office told me that without the old passport, they can’t issue me a visa because they don’t have my visa records in the LA office. I would have to go to Vancouver to get a visa since that is where I got all my previous visas. I told the lady, “I just got back from Vancouver!” She replied, “Well, I guess you will need to go there again.”

I booked an 8PM flight to Vancouver that Monday afternoon. The plan was to get a same day rush visa on Tuesday, and then fly home. Just in case they can’t do it on the same day, I book a one-way flight.

Twitter tweet

On Tuesday morning, I went to China visa office in Vancouver. They asked for my old passport with the old visas. I told them Canada destroyed it. They then said they would need to see my Canadian Citizen card. I thought that was pretty stupid because my passport clearly states I’m a Canadian citizen, and my card was back in Orange County!

They told me that without seeing the card, they can’t issue me a visa. Lucky for me, I keep copies of all my documents in Evernote. A quick search of my Evernote iPad app produced the card for me the print out.

evernote rocks

I asked for a same day rush service. They said they no longer do same day, but the card will be ready by 9AM Wednesday.

I picked up my visa at 9AM Wednesday, got on an 11AM flight to the OC, and landed back at the John Wayne airport in time to take Sally to her skating class.

I'm back!

The rushed visa cost $196. Last minute one-way flights added another $804, making this one hell of an expensive visa! If you want to save yourself the pain I went through, then keep backups of your documents on Evernote, and ask for your old passport back when you apply for a new one. Had I asked for my old passport back, the China Visa office in LA would have been able to issue me a visa. That would have saved $1,000 and a two day trip. At least it made for a good blog post.

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