Chinese visas. What is more nerve racking than trying to attain a Visa for China? Well, try being a Chinese national and trying to get a Visa out of the country!
Believe me, there is nothing worse…
The past few months Jin and me were secretly working on getting him a visa to come visit my family over Christmas in Germany. The journey was hard, lots of hair turned grey, sometimes we were nearly on the brink of collapse, or about to storm the embassy to punch everyone in their faces…
I remember when I came back from China end of July this year. A terrible feeling to leave your loved one behind (again). To make me feel better, my mother asked why we don’t invite him for Christmas. I will be in Germany anyway, and he has never even met my mother, not talking about never even left China before. Ever.
So, we went on the Visa quest. Determined to get it done latest by the end of October (so naive, so naive). Being myself I started a meticulous research on the internet on what documents are required to obtain a Schengen Visa. And dear god, they want a lot! I will write a more detailed post about Chinese Visa another time, so I am not going to go into specific details.
I had all documents together he needed from the German site by mid-August. German bureaucracy can be tricky, but if you know your way around you can get things done pretty quickly. Not so in China.
The moment I told him we are going to try to apply for a Visa, he started preparing. That was beginning of August. But his home town is not a town at all. A village at least. And as they have never ever seen a foreigner, they also have never ever processed any documents for a German Visa. You have to know, before you can get Chinese documents ready to use for a Visa application, you need to get them translated into German, than notarized by the main office in the town he was born, than again notarized by the capital of the province he was born, and then send to the German embassy to get it legalized. That’s the simple version of it. But as those people didn’t know what to do, they did it wrong. And it took them till mid-October to do it wrong. When the documents arrived in the capital of Anhui, Hefei, they realized its useless. So, we had to do the whole procedure all over again! From scratch. And of course you pay, right. You made the poor office people work twice. How dare you give them such a difficult task? If they do it wrong, it’s your fault, so you pay AGAIN.
Second round. This time they managed to do a better job. It was already end of November when the documents reached Hefei. The extremely motivated ladies in the office in Hefei told us, everything is ok, they will send it to the German embassy in Shanghai to get it legalised. “When will it be done?”, I asked. “Why would we tell you? Do we look like we are working here?”, the overly bored office lady. I know people told me, if you get on the visa adventure you need a lot of patience. But, sorry, patience is the one thing I don’t have. Never had. Especially in that situation.
As long as you have no Visa, you cannot book a flight. It’s too risky. And we were running out of time. It was already mid-November. We were still waiting.
Meanwhile, he was also waiting for all those documents I sent from Germany. Mid of August, remember? It is not the first time mail took ages to reach its destination in China. But this time it was ridiculously long! After 13 weeks, and still no mail, I had to redo all German documents, and find a miraculous mail carrier. The only way to get your mail safe to a Chinese countryside? Do it yourself, not by post.
It was already end of November and I kinda gave up on the whole idea of spending my first Christmas with my loved one. We planned for him to come on December the 15th. Even when he finally got the legalised documents, I had not much hope. It was already November 29th, a Friday. So, the earliest he could make it to the German Embassy in Beijing was Monday, December the 2nd! Not even two weeks till the planned arrival date!
And man I can tell you, the people in the embassy are evil. We really had every document you can think of. More than necessary. BUT they still thought of something to make us cry. My invitation letter was not enough with its original signature. They wanted a handwritten invitation letter. Yes, in the digital age of computers and printers, they want it handwritten! I could not find this rule anywhere. That I was really upset seems to be obvious. Within days I had to get that nicely handwritten invitation letter to China. By post? Are you kidding me? The last one never made it. But luck was on our site. A friendly soul took my beautifully handwritten invitation letter by plane to China.
So, the actual date he applied for his Visa was last Friday, December the 6th! My hope was shattered. Again no one was willing to tell us how long it will take to process. And if he gets a visa at all. They told as five days to five weeks, depending on the mood swings of the friendly ladies processing your application. You can imagine that it seemed hopeless to say the least…
Can you imagine my shock when I opened my WeChat today to find a little picture.
I still can’t believe it… We actually made it. And the application went through in less than two working days! Santa must have heard my wish.
This Wednesday is epic. And a turning point. It will be the first time for him to leave China. The first time to go take an international flight over 10 hours. The first time he will visit a foreign country. But more importantly, it will be the first time he meets my mother…
I am not sure who is more excited. Him or me. I guess both equally. He will be coming next week on Monday, I hope (still has to get a ticket).
This visa ordeal turned out to be all worth it; doesn’t even seem that stressful anymore.
Did any of you ever experience something similar? Or was it easy to get a visa for your Chinese boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife?
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