Embassy report: Chinese visa in Colombo, Sri Lanka

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fetzky
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Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:19 pm
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Embassy report: Chinese visa in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Post by fetzky »

I stumbled on to the Caravanistan forums from another forum and noticed there was no report from this Embassy, so I've decided to copy-paste my report from that other forum. Note that it applies to both Swedish applicants and American applicant and the report is from late April, 2018. Perhaps Colombo is not the most common place for applying for a Chinese visa, but for this traveler it was very easy and straightforward as compared to some reports I've read. I'd like to add, though, that I tried calling and e-mail this Embassy on numerous occassions and never got a response. Anyway, here goes...
For starters, while the Embassy is located on Bauddhaloka Mawatha, the consulate where obviously you'll apply for the visa is located on Vidya Mawatha, a block north of the embassy. It's pretty easy to find; if you enter the street from the NE, it's on the lefthand side before you reach the cricket field.

The consulate opens at 9:30, though there were already a handful of people in line when I got there at 7:45. My wife and daughter joined me an hour later, at which point there were about thirty people in line. They opened the backdoor and let us in at 9:00 and gave us numbers. There were two windows handling visa applications, and they started 9:30 sharp. At 9:45 I was called up (number 5). I had the following with me:
*Passports (One US, two Swedish)
*Visa application forms filled out
*Photos (one per applicant)
*Exit flight documentation
*Hotel reservations for entire trip (I had separate copies for all applicants)
*Copies of previous passports (including old Chinese visas)
*(birth certificate for my three year old with proof of parenthood)

The lady at the counter went through all the documentation thoroughly and asked some questions which we had answers for, until she wanted to know how we planned to enter China; from Hong Kong, I said.
- And how do you plan to get to Hong Kong?
- By air, via KL.
- And where's the document?
- In my phone.
- You have to supply a printed copy.

Luckily she was cool in helping us with that, across the street there's a place where you can have documents printed and copied. The place is inside some sort of institute building. Ask the guards if need be. It took about fifteen minutes to arrange and when we returned we were let right in and up to the window. This was a Friday morning and we were told we could have express service pickup on Monday afternoon or normal service for Wednesday afternoon. We opted for the latter as we weren't staying in Colombo for the weekend.

The following week I tried calling Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, but never got passed the answering machine. As we were traveling around Sri Lanka I had little interest and coming back all the way to Colombo from Yala, so instead I waited another week and took a morning bus from Kandy. I arrived at the Consulate at 10:00 and there was a looong line outside. People let me pass when I told them I was there to collect. I was then told by the guard visa collection is in the afternoon only. I gestured that I had called, so he let me in. After waiting inside half an hour I got to the window and was told the same thing. But, I said, both the answering machine message and the website says application AND collection in the morning, and after a bit of arguing they finally caved and called a higher authority who gave them the go ahead to return our passports. I told them I really couldn't wait until the afternoon as I had to return to Kandy. After some fiddling with the credit card machine, using my MasterCard I kept getting errors, but after a few attempts and cleaning the chip it finally worked.

US passport got 10 year multiple entry visa (90 days/visit) at 20,500 LKR
Swedish passports got 60 day single entry visa at 5,400 LKR/visa (on the website Schengen countries are supposed to be 9,600 LKR)

All in all I must say it was fairly straightforward, just make sure you have all your documentation ready and try to bring two credit cards at collection, cash is not accepted. I'm not sure, but it seemed to me that all applicants don't have to be there in person. And remember, application only in the morning (9:30-11:30) - collection only in the afternoon (15:30-16:45).

Cheers and good luck future applicants.
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