China Travel Tips
Customs and Entry Requirements
All travelers to China must have a passport that is valid upon arrival for at least six months thereafter (with two blank pages remaining) and a visa that is approved and stamped into the passport at a Chinese embassy or consulate before departure to China.
The first step is to determine the location and visa policies of the nearest Chinese embassy or consulate.
Contact information worldwide can be found on the official website of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng).
Some consulates require visa registration in person, some by post, and the process usually involves filling out a simple form and enclosing a passport photo, along with the current application fee.
Ití»s prudent to start the visa application process at least 90 days before you travel. Most tourists apply for a single-entry í«Lí» visa that begins on the day of actual entry into China and is good for 30 days.
An increasing number of private travel agencies in North America and Europe will take care of the visa paperwork and some times expedite it for travelers to China, all at an extra fee.
Chinese customs allows each visitor to bring in three cartons of cigarettes, four bottles (0.75 liters each) of alcoholic beverages, and electronic items for personal use including cameras, video recorders and portable computers (laptop).
Items prohibited from entry include animals, drugs, firearms, plant material an media in any form deemed í«detrimentalí» to Chinaí»s social and political well-being, such as pornography or religious works.
Note that no one can take out of China any purchased antique item created before 1795, and that antiques made in China from 1795 to 1949 must have an official red wax seal to be allowed out of the country.
In addition, some Chinese translation companies not only offer translation service but also the visa paperwork service.
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