Previously I wrote about how I scored an amazing deal from New York to Italy and then from the Czech Republic to Beijing, China. Both flights for just $132, taxes included.
But with a visit to China came the need to pick up a Visa. While U.S. citizens have very generous rules when it comes to visiting other countries, sometimes even we need pre-permission to visit. China is one of those countries, and unless you’re traveling through specific parts of it, you need to apply for a travel visa.
There’s a bit of a process, making sure your passport is up to date, has enough free pages and won’t expire. You’ll need passport photos, need to fill out an application form and include information on your flight and hotel.
There’s no need to go through a service, you can just head down to the embassy or consulate and do it yourself if you’re near a central location. However to me the time and process it would take was well worth having someone else handle it, so I looked at companies that help acquiring visas. There were a few I came across, and one that was highly recommend by a blog I follow. That one was called Allied Passport, and while everything seemed good to go with them, they were a bit expensive.
So I decided instead to go with CVSC (China Visa Service Center) on the net as MyChinaVisa.com. They seemed to provide the same service for a little bit of a cheaper price. I’m going to ruin the surprise, my review of them is absolutely glowing. The job they did was unbelievable and I recommend them completely. While they do offer visas to other countries, my experience with them was only for China, and it seems that’s their major focus, so I’ll just be touching on that.
CVSC offers four different levels of service depending on when you need your Visa completed by. For China, the Visa is good for 90 days, so you do need to time it properly. You can’t get it out of the way six months early, rather you need to indicate when your first visit will be. I found the fees and costs to be reasonable, and as I mentioned, cheaper than some other companies offering visa help.
It pains me to admit it, but I had a bit of an, “Anti-Live Smart” moment. While my trip to China is still two months away, I’m headed to Vancouver, Canada next week and therefore I need my passport. I couldn’t send off my Passport to CVSC for the cheapest rate. I’ve had enough time to complete the application over the past month or so, but just never got around to it. Working on some side projects, the business with my sister’s wedding, and a trip off to Alaska all hit consecutively. So a few extra dollars out of pocket that I would not have otherwise needed to spend.
I finally got around to completing the application. I filled out the pre-documents online and made my payment on Monday, September 8.
I needed my passport back about a week later, no later than 10 days, so just to be careful I selected the “Rush” option. The Processing Time listed above is CVSC’s reference for the time it might take the Consulate to process the visa, so with shipping and handling and the time I expected CSVC to take, even five business days was cutting it close. So I decided the extra money was worth it and opted for the Rush option to guarantee it. I printed up the documents on Tuesday, September 9th and I mailed it via fedex (recommended. It was picked up at about 4:00pm.
I received an email when their New York office had received my payment the night before. I was able to track my packing easily with fedex and determined their office had received it the morning of Wednesday, September 10th.
The next day, Thursday, September 11th I received an email from fed ex telling me a package was on it’s way! CVSC had already completed my visa and it was en route to me.
Friday morning, September 12th at 11:30am, I had my package on my front door. There it was, a receipt, a business card, and my returned passport, complete with the visa attached.
Wow! Super fast service isn’t the word. Less than two days after I shipped out my application and passport, I had my completed visa in my hand. Great service, a reasonable price and again, SUPER FAST service was that I received from CSVC, aka My China Visa. I was confident with the increased rush service I’d have it back in time for my trip to Canada, but I certainly didn’t expect I’d have it in less than two days.
One time to mention about your visa that I’d never realized before. While you’re applying for the visa from that point and able to stay 90 days forward, you can make a request for the visa to be good for multiple entries over a longer period. “Multiple entries over one year period” was the option I chose, because might as well right? If you notice, (it’s blocked out a bit) my visa is good up until September of 2015. There was no extra cost for this, so if you think you might come back to China again within the year, select this option when you fill out your paperwork.
A Special Thanks
Since CVSC included a business card, thanks to Kayllen Zhang, Branch Manager. Overall I would highly recommend CVSC/My China Visa. I only have the single experience to go from, but my experience was fantastic and they were moderately or sometimes even significantly cheaper than some other china visa services. And if you aren’t in a huge rush, you can definitely save a few dollars and opt for the Regular service.