wo zhong guó qian zhèng

We booked a flight to China early this year, and I could have started applying for the Chinese visa long ago, but I guess I’m too busy procrastinating in the last two months that’s why I end up (you guessed it) cramming.

Here are my struggles in getting the much coveted L Type (Tourist) Visa:

There are different types of Chinese visas. But for a first timer Filipino passport holders, the L visa is what we need. Since I only have less than 2 weeks to burn before hitting the airport to Shanghai, I decided to process the application by myself, assuming It will be faster to cut down transaction time with a third party processor. So I went through the whole 9 yards from completing requirements to queuing-up the line at the embassy. WRONG MOVE!

I got misled by their website that they have an expedited visa processing (Two days processing/extra-urgent). Apparently, they scrapped this one since last year and the fastest would take two days to work on. I thought it’s going to be a walk in the park since I have all the requirements at hand, but it’s  not. Imagine, you have to be at the embassy as early as 5:00 AM to queue-up the line to get a number. I went there at 6:00 AM and I got off the hook at 11:50 AM.

You will be racing side by side with liaison officers from travel agencies, that means most of them got at least 5 passports with them and they really are the early birds. And since these people are embassy regulars they pretty much know everyone and they can easily talk their way around the office. Bottom line—have an agency process the visa on your behalf. That will spare you of wasting long waiting time and the hassle of driving to Makati on a rush hour.


Fee Schedule:

Single : 1400 (4 working days); 2500 (3 days); 3100 (2 days).
Double : 2100 (4 working days); 3200 (3 days); 3800 (2 days).
6 mos multiple : 2800 (4 working days); 3900 (3 days); 4500 (2 days).
12 mos multiple : 4200 (4 working days); 5300 (3 days); 5900 (2 days).


1. Applicant’s passport with blank pages and at least 6 months validity left before expiration.
2. A truly and completely filled application form affixed with one passport-size or 2×2 colored photo, with white background. Photo must be glued on the application form. Stapled pictures will not be accepted. Scanned photos will also not be accepted.
3. A copy of the round-trip plane ticket
4. Hotel reservation / invitation letter with a copy of the inviter’s valid Chinese residence visa and passport information page of inviter’s or Chinese national identity card.
5. Previously used China visa in old or new passport (Only visa stickers will be accepted.  Those with stamped visas must submit additional documents for first time China visa applicants. Please refer to the list below.)
6. For first time applicants to China (Philippine passport holders, 18 years old and above), they are required to provide the following:

  • original NBI clearance valid for travel abroad
  • original bank certificate with receipt or original passbook, updated within the month that you are applying
  • employment certificate, company ID, SSS ID and contributions, TIN ID and latest ITR
  • for businessmen, provide business registration of company, TIN ID and latest ITR
  • Personal appearance is required for those who are 16-21 years old.

7. The emergency contact information page in the applicant’s passport should be filled out and photocopied.
8. Other documents required by the visa officers if necessary.

On the day of scheduled releasing of my visa, I decided to cut my shift to 2 hours under time so that I can hit the embassy at 5AM. I’m at number 6 and waited for three hours for the gate to be opened. I got my visa at around 9:30 AM, from the window counter, I immediately grabbed my passport, went home to pack my bags and hit the road to Clark International Airport for my flight to Borneo.