I’m headed to Beijing, China next month thanks to the recent $466.50 American Airlines business class mistake fare. The only problem was that I didn’t have a Chinese Visa and it’s mandatory for United States Citizens.
Two years ago I was granted a 12 month multiple entry Business F Visa from the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles for $140. I had an amazing time in Shanghai and wrote a whole trip report about it back in 2013.
Just recently, the Chinese Consulate started issuing 10 year multiple entry visas for tourists instead of the usual 1 year multiple entry visa. The cost is $140 which is fantastic because it will last for ten years. This time around, I had to go through the whole application process again for a tourist L visa. Here’s a guide on How to Get a Tourist Visa at the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles.
Step 1. Fill out the Chinese visa application form in all capital letters. Any blank spaces will need to be written as N/A.
Step 2. Print out the completed visa application. (Make sure you double and triple check your application!)
Step 3. Affix one passport photo to the front of the page and make sure you sign and date the form on the last page.
Step 4. Print out your confirmed round-trip airfare itinerary.
Step 5. Go to the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles (500 Shatto Pl., Los Angeles, CA) with your printed and signed visa application with 1 passport photo affixed to the front page AND a printed copy of your flight itinerary. Also, don’t forget to bring your passport and check the hours on this website (usually M-F 9am-2pm).
Step 6. Once you’re at the 500 building of Shatto Pl, take the elevator to the 3rd floor. I recommend going at 8:45am before opening at 9am. Don’t be surprised by the long line because it will go by very quick once the doors open.
Step 7. Go through the metal detector and the security guard will ask, “What’s your purpose of visit?” Respond with “Visa application” and he will give you a number which will be called on the screen.
Step 8. Once you’re called up to the window, the Chinese Consulate employee will go over your passport to see if it’s valid for 6 months after your travel date and a full blank page. If everything is well, you will be given a pick update and time which is usually 4 business days.
I strongly recommend that you double and triple check your visa application because the Chinese Consular is picky about erroneous applications. If you make a mistake, they will not accept white out or crossed out pen marks. They will reject your application and make you fill out a new form. There’s a place next door which will sell you a form for $3 so it’s a costly mistake. If you forget your passport photo or if your passport photo doesn’t adhere to their guidelines, your application will be rejected. There’s also a place next door that will sell you passport photos for $10.
I got to the Chinese Consular visa office at 8:45am this morning and the line was ridiculous before 9am opening, but I was still able to get a ticket at 9:02am where I waited for 28 minutes before I was called. I was out by 9:30am which went by pretty quick. Here’s a video of my experience getting a Chinese tourist visa at the Consular office in Los Angeles.
Good luck! I’ll be happy to answer any Chinese Visa questions.