If you want to visit China but didn’t get a visa in your home country, there’s a way to gain entry to China whilst on the road.
You can go to Hong Kong, where you can gain entry without a visa in most cases, which allows you to stay in Hong Kong from 7 to 90 days, depending on your home county. In that time, you can secure a visa to China.
Unfortunately, getting a Chinese visa in Hong Kong doesn’t apply to people from the following countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Congo, Egypt, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgizstan, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Saudi Arab, Sierra Leone, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey and Uzbekistan.
We were living in Australia when we were planning our last backpacking trip in Asia. We applied for our tourist visas for India while we were in Adelaide, but we didn’t have time to send our passports away twice for our Chinese visa. (Plus our India visas took a long time to get processed, making for a stressful lead up to our departure date!)
Luckily, we discovered it’s possible to get a Chinese tourist visa in Hong Kong.
This worked out really well for us, as it was an excuse to see Hong Kong, and meant we could leave Australia for Asia as planned.
How to get a tourist visa for China in Hong Kong
Where to get your Chinese tourist visa in Hong Kong
Option 1 : Airport
It is possible to obtain a visa from the airport in Hong Kong.
You go to Counter A04 in the arrivals area in Terminal 1.
It is meant to be possible to secure a Chinese tourist visa at the airport in one working day, so long as you apply before 8.30 am, but it is on a first come first serve basis. Otherwise, it can take 2-4 working days, so I would advise you plan for that.
When we landed in Hong Kong, we were really tired and didn’t see any sign of the office, so we decided to get it in one of the visa offices in the city.
Option 2: Go to tourist office or visa service in the city
We chose to stay in Kowloon, at the Chungking Mansions.
There was a visa service located really near to our place. You come out of the Mansions and you’re on Nathan Road. Across the road there is an iSquare shopping centre to the right. On the left hand side of that road you will find Shoestring Travel located close to the corner of Nathan Road and Peking Road.
Shoestring Travel Ltd.
4/F Alpha House,
27 Nathan Road,
Tsim Sha Tsui
What do you need to get your Chinese visa in Hong Kong?
In order to get a tourist visa in Hong Kong, you will need your passport, a passport photo, details of where you’re staying in China, and proof of onward travel from China.
Your passport must be valid for the next six months. You must also bring your ticket stub/ landing strip that you get when you arrive in Hong Kong.
We went to the office the afternoon we arrived in Hong Kong from Indonesia. We had passport photos with us (it’s always good to carry a few passport photos with you when you’re backpacking through countries, as it makes visas so much easier.) and the cash to pay upfront.
How long does it take to get a visa for China in Hong Kong?
The lady took our passports and our money and told us the passports would be ready three days from now.
We left our passports on April 21 and collected in the afternoon on April 24.
We planned to leave Hong Kong by train, so we picked up our visa on the day of our departure. We were able to get our visas and get to the train station in time for our 4.30pm train to Guangzhou, China.
How much does a China visa cost in Hong Kong
A 30 day single entry tourism visa costs $200 HKD ($26 USD / €23 )
You will then need to pay for the rush service, which costs an extra $200-300 HKD.
Ours came to $650 HKD each in total. That’s about $84 USD or €75.