One of the most traumatic experience one can live making a Visa.
So, you are in Mongolia, having a great time, but your wild spirit just cant have enough. You are a poor bastard born with an adventurous soul, who wants to know whats happening in that countries full of Stories and Mysteries. Suddenly you have realized, it is just at the reach of your palm. Finally, you can know what’s the other side of the Great Wall, all it takes is a few hours of train, taxi, jeep, bus… Oh yeah, and a Visa !
And let me say that even Genghis Khan made an easier entrance in China than us poor travelers.
Be ready to drown in paperwork, queues, and injustice ! Only the strong, prepared and malicious will make it to China from Ulaanbaatar!
First of all you need to know this :The Chinese embassy in Ulaanbaatar only gives away 10 foreign Visas on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday…
So you better start queuing early.
Where is the embassy ?
You mustn’t enter by the main entrance, but on a side door protected by guards.
They are TWO lines, one for Mongolians and another one for Foreigners. The first one is a sad show, more than 50 families waiting all night for a working VISA in China, a hope of a better life…
You MUST START BEING IN THE LINE AROUND 4 O’CLOCK in the morning
( The embassy opens at 9:30 am, but some people have queued all night, slept in the street, hired locals to keep their places, even rented taxi to wait in a heated mobile waiting room…) After 6 o’Clock you will hardly have a chance to enter…
BEWARE : A lot of people will try and take your place in the line or invite others to pass in front. Put aside your politeness, shyness and peaceful yoga open mind travelers crap. If you want to have a chance, you will have to defend your positions, even play it dirty…
What to Bring ?
– Hot closings, snacks, books and gates for the waiting…
– Your PASSPORT (valid 6 month after date of exit)
– ID pictures
– Photocopies : Mongolian Visa, Passport Front Page…
– ASSURANCE Attestation with CHINA written clearly on it
– Print your BANK ACCOUNT BALANCE (they need proof you have enough money to stay)
– PERFECTLY FILLED IN FORM. I will never stress enough the importance of that. One mistake and you are back at the end of the line. You will find at the receptions of your Hostels or, a PDF version is on the internet portal of the embassy. You will have to write a plausible itinerary, with at least 4 different hotel reservations and specify your ways of travelling.
– Print your HOSTELS RESERVATIONS RECEIPT , (Use Booking.com, so you can cancel reservations once your Visa obtained)
– (FAKE?) PLANE TICKETS. Go to the town Center of Oulan Bator and enter an AIR MARKET, politely and discretely ask for FAKE TICKETS to do CHINESE VISA. They will understand, they often do it, and it will cost you nothing.
– Your Old PASSPORT NUMBER. Specially if you recently made a new one. And a hand written signed letter In which you swear it is the real one.
The payment and delays :
Once your dossier is been checked and accepted, you have the rest of the day to find the nearest bank and ask them pay for the VISA. Just give them the piece of paper given to you after your passport and documents were accepted by the embassy. They will then give you a receipt, you will have to submit to the Chinese before the end of the afternoon .
– 30$ for 32 DAYS (maximum days of stay, one entry, one exit, and no possibility of prolonging it, actually there is but it is very complicated, you cant do it in big cities, I’ll write another article on the subject.)
Delay : 3 or 4 days before recuperation
– 60$ for Emergency Procedure = You will receive your VISA on the same day.
[ PANDA’s Good to Know Advises : ]
– The ten VISAS of the day, are attributed by Yellow Tickets distributed at 9:30 am to the ten first ones standing in the Line. A lady from the receptions comes out to gives them, and she couldn’t care less who was their first or not.
– Check and re-Check you have all the documents. You cant afford to forget one piece of paper or to fill in One Line. Ask help from workers of the tourist industry, they will know what needs to be done.
– Once you have your ticket, passed the security check point (you can only g through with a yellow ticket), you are finally inside, but there will be another Line before the Desk.
– GLUE YOUR PICTURE ON THE DOCUMENT BEFORE SUBMITTING IT, if not back at the end of the line. BEWARE : They will maybe not be glue at your disposal.
– Like most people working for government administration expect no sympathy or pity from them, they are as cold as robots. Something I understand when you see how civilians entering turn the place into a lawless jungle.
Example : they was only the last numbers of the date left to be put next of the stamp and I was good to go, but her 10:30 coffee break arrived… I had to wait another half an hour waiting for her to add two letters !