Chinese visa in Bishkek

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Re: Chinese visa in Biskek

Post by steven »

I haven't heard anything new since then, Richard really frightened people :-) Almaty has now become the standard option. So please go ahead and let us know how it went!
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Re: Chinese visa in Biskek

Post by steven »

Got this message today:

After a pause where people would have to make a side trip to Almaty to obtain a Chinese visa people are once again getting their visas here in Bishkek. Namely via an agent named Dinara (+996770440540). Processing is 3-5 days and costs 150USD.
I personally know 2 people who obtained the visas via her.
Cheers
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Thomas_HH
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Re: Chinese visa in Biskek

Post by Thomas_HH »

Hello,
we are trying to apply for the chinese visa within the next month. We are in contact with Mrs. Liu and she says, that the visa will be valid for only 1 month before entering china, instead the 3 months as it used to be.

Can anyone confirm this??? :shock:
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Mel
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Re: Chinese visa in Biskek

Post by Mel »

Hi,
I live in Bishkek and I'm thinking about travelling to China this year. I called Kyrgyz Concept today (05 August 2015) and thought I could share the info I received from them.
So here's what you need for a Chinese visa:

1) Passport (original and copy)
2) 2 Passport photos (33x48)
3) Bank statement or work reference (whatever shows that you have sufficient funds to cover your travel costs in China)
4) Proof of hotel booking (there are some travel websites where you can cancel the reservation for free, I've done this before and it works just fine)
5) Invitation letter (I will ask my family/friends to write me one, otherwise travel agency?)
6) Flight tickets

Visa application takes 6-8 working days and will costs 150$ with Kyrgy Concept (I've read before that it costs only 40$ (5 working days) and 60$ (3 working days) if you do it yourself. Also the lady from Kyrgyz Konzept said that there have been some changes at the Chinese embassy: Travelers must now submit their application in person (which makes me wonder why these agencies still charge 150$?).

The visa applications can be submitted at the Chinese Embassy/Consulate (?) at Mira Avenue 145.

Hope this helps!
Best,
M.L
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Re: Chinese visa in Biskek

Post by Mel »

@Thomas_HH: Yes, Kyrgyz Concept also mentioned that visas can only be issued 1 month in advance (so the visa must be used within 1 month)
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Mel
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How to successfully apply for a Chinese Visa in Bishkek!

Post by Mel »

Hi there,

we successfully applied for a 1 month single-entry tourist visa at the Chinese consulate in Bishkek today and thought we would share our experience.
Collecting usable information regarding the visa application process was time-consuming and nerve-wrecking (we don’t recommend calling the Chinese embassy, since they didn’t even ask for our citizenship and therefore gave us completely wrong information). I must have called the travel agent Kyrgyz Concept a dozen of times, since they seemed the most reliable in terms of the documents needed (I pretended that I was going to apply through them and that I wanted to know which documents I would need). However, for reasons I will explain below, I do not recommend taking an agent (neither Ms. Liu or even Kyrgyz concept)! Preparing all you documents is really not that difficult and considering the time you will have to invest in the visa anyway (such as waiting in front of the embassy for at least 3 hours) the prices of such agents are completely ridiculous. Therefore I encourage anyone to apply for a visa on your own and meticulously prepare all the documents that you need.

Here’s some short background info. We live and work in Bishkek and are in the possession of German technical passports (similar to diplomat passports), which helped me reduce some of the waiting time in the queue. However, for reasons of fairness and solidarity, I decided not to show them in the beginning, but after we had waited for nearly 2,5 hours without any noticeable improvement and after my three year old daughter was getting tired, I decided to show them and was granted immediate access.

So these were the documents that we were asked to hand in (as indicated by Kyrgyz concept):

1. Original Passport + Copy
2. Passport photos (size 33 x 48 mm)
3. Bank statements (I printed out my bank accounts and took some copies of my credit cards)
4. Proof of Employment (I copied my stamped contract)
5. Hotel booking (which can be easily done (and cancelled free of any cost) via bookings.com)
6. Invitation letter (I got a Chinese family member to write me one using a template from the internet, additionally you have to hand in a proof of relationship, copy of the inviter’s Chinese passport and his birth certificate. I read on the internet, though, that you can book 1 guided tour in China and ask them to write you an invitation letter for the entire duration of your stay)
7. Copy of previous Chinese visas
8. Copy of Kyrgyz residence/visa
9. Copy of you flight tickets (go to Kyrgyz Concept and let them make a reservation for your. Tell them you don’t have the visa yet and can therefore not buy the ticket yet. Ask them to print out the flight itinerary (stamped). They are very friendly and will do this without hesitance).

So here is how I applied at the consulate today. The Chinese Consulate opens only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9-12 am. It is now mandatory that applicants must show up personally. Their address is Mire Avenue 145 (in the southern outskirts of the city, close to the American embassy. I recommend taking a cab for 150 Som). The consulate processes only 100 applicants each day. They have a guy with a list, to whom you can register in the early morning (Kyrgyz Concept recommended getting there as early as 6 am, I arrived at 6:30 and was number 64 on the list). Rumor has it that some people showed up yesterday evening and put their names on the list. No idea how that would work.

After you put your name on the list, you will have to wait until the Consulate officially opens at 9am. I decided to go back home, since it was raining and cold and since there were no sitting accommodation whatsoever. Some people decided to stand there and wait, but I definitely don’t recommend that (waiting hours are just too long and you’ll be completely frustrated by mid-day). Bishkek is not that big and driving to the Consulate form the city center (Erkendik Park) takes around 15-20 Minutes). I was told that at 9 am they would check who is on the list and whoever didn’t make it at 9 would be removed from the list. However, in reality, they did not check at 9am but at around 10:30-11:00 am, and instead only called the names of the people first in the list (who were then allowed to pass). The processing time was extremely slow and some people were obviously getting a bit emotional (hammering on the door and yelling). By 11:30 am they had only reached number 40 (nobody knew what happens to people who are on the list but didn’t get their application processed during the opening hours). If I had known that it would take that long, I wouldn’t have bothered to show up at 9am. So at this point, I showed them my technical passports and was granted immediate access (even before Ms. Liu and her dozens of passports).

Inside the consulate, it became quite obvious why it was taking so long. There was a table with only 2 guys processing/approving the applications, plus one additional counter were you hand in the documents. However, the guys were quite friendly and since I speak Chinese, they processed my applications fairly quick. After 5 minutes, they put a red stamp on all my documents and wrote Q2 visa on my application form (single entry 1 month stay). I then had to take this form to the counter and hand it in. The counter clerk gave me a small piece of paper, which I will have to take to the KICB Bank and pay.

So how much did I eventually ended up paying? 40 U$ (!) per visa for standard processing time (=5 working days); (60 US$ for quick processing time).
How much did Kyrgyz Concept charge that day? (I know, because I talked to some Belgians and Germans who applied through agents) 200 US$ (!). And these poor guys were even ahead of me on the list and were still in line after I had left (they waited there in front of the consulate from 6:30 am…). I don’t understand why these agents - who profit immensely from this visa business - don’t even bother to provide some kind of service to their well-paying costumers (I mean for 140 US$ service fee they could at least get some chap to show up at 6am and put their client’s names on the list).

So I hope some of you feel encouraged to apply on your own. As said, I think it is well worth your money. Don't waste your time and money with travel agents.

Best,
M.L.
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Re: Chinese visa in Biskek

Post by steven »

Thank you Mel! Nice to hear these type of stories. But how do you see the chances for people who do not speak Russian and Chinese like you, with ordinary passports?
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Re: Chinese visa in Biskek

Post by Mel »

Hi Steven, even with ordinary passports - the procedure of getting the visa is the same (my passports only cut the waiting time). I recommend keeping in touch with Kyrgyz Concept (their visa department can be reached under +996 312 903232)! Best of luck, Mel
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Re: Chinese visa in Biskek

Post by rodarpelmon »

Hi all,

Just to confirm that is possible with a Spanish ordinary passport to self apply the Chinese visa at Bishkek consulate.
Consider write your name at the “no official list” the day before, we arrived at 6:30 pm and were at 9 & 10 positions, at 9 pm were more than 25 names.
As we are travelling in a camper van, we decided to overnight in front of the consulate, no body disturb us. Early in the morning, at 7 am there were several cars and more than 50 people waiting, in the list about 70.
Before 9 the guy with the list was checking the first names, just to be ready when consulate opens. It was at 9 o’clock, and the first 5 people access in. After 15 minutes the next 5 (me and my wife included).
Two people are checking all the documents and, if everything is correct, they stamp the apply form and LOI and you can go to the next window, where after a new check they give us the ticket to pay the tax (40$ US dollar each) at the Bank ( KICB, Manas st. / Moskovskaya St, is the correct and actual name address...).

What documents we show?
1. Apply form in English (downloaded)
2. Original Passport
3. Passport colour copy
4. 2 photos, correct size
5. LOI from travel agency in China (in our case was a colour copy, because we are group of 17)
6. Detailed itinerary, with all cities, hotels/hostels, roads, and list of participants (we are going to drive from Kyrgyzstan to Laos, joining a group of several vehicles)

No other documents were asking (bank account, proof of employment) but everyone must check, depending on passport, nationality, type of travel…

In our case since the consulate opened at 9, we were in at 9.15 and out at 9.30, with a expected 40 day visa to pick it up next Wednesday, one week ordinary process time, shorter and more expensive if urgent process.

Next Wednesday if something changes I will update new info.

Salut i milles!!!

Sergi
http://www.rodarpelmon.com
http://www.facebook.com/transasia2015

PS. Thank you Mel and all for your post!!!
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Re: Chinese visa in Biskek

Post by Thomas_HH »

Hello again,

I can fully confirm all what Mel and rodarpelmon wrote. We are two germans without any russian language abilities, neither working or living in Bishkek.

As we have been in Bishkek in beginning of August 2015 and asked around at four different agents and kyrgyz concept, when to apply, what we need and if our documents we already got were ok, it seemed that kyrgyz concept was the only agency that answers your questions quite honestly.

We found out, that the chinese embassy changed laws in 2015 and that the tourist visa is no longer valid than one month. So we had to come back after our tajik trip.

As we are driving by our own car, we need a guide and a booked tour to be allowed to drive through china. This tour we organized in advance from Germany, just before our trip started. (You can organize such a tour three months in advance from everywhere) The tour agency provided us a Letter of Invitation, the most important document despite your passport for the application in Bishkek. So, if you booked a tour or plan to book a tour through a travel agency you will definitely receive a Letter of Invitiation. You don't need one of the agents in Bishkek doing this again for you!!!

As we had booked a guided tour, we received also the travel itinerary and hotel bookings.

This may be true for all Overlanders with cars or motorcycles.
But as a Backpacker or Cyclist you have to provide a Letter of Invitation as well. Unfortunately you will get those only through an agent as you don't have to book a guided tour like overlanders.

The big issue with these LOIs is, that you need an ORIGINAL one, no copy from an email or photograph. That is, what we were told. The consul at the embassy wants to see the original stamp on it. That was the problem with ours. How to manage to get the original LOI, travel itinerary and Hotel bookings to Bishkek, while you are on the road?
Our agency send the documents by coincedence to famous Mrs. Liu and I thought "Oh no!" I read and heard so much strange things about her. But at least Mrs. Liu was a good adress to receive the original documents as we don't live and work in Bishkek. We managed to get the documents from her and were free to go without any charge.

We lodged our documents on Monday 5th of September with following doc's:
  • Original Letter of Invitation
    Travel itinerary in chinese
    Copy of Hotel bookings
    Application form of 2013 (!!!)
    Passport with kyrgyz stamp of entry in it and visas of the next visiting countries
    2 photographs with chinese size 33 x 48 mm
    a copy of the passport AND the kyrgyz stamp of entry
    a copy of bank account
    a copy of our visa card
The List
Of course there is the unofficial list of somebody hanging around the night before in front of the embassy. If you apply on Monday, mostly someone starts the list the night before. You can ask the guards on the huge main entry of the embassy, where and when they expect somebody to start it. They know when people show up as it is the same procedure every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Ok. Already on sunday night a girl was starting a list at 10p.m. As we were going to sleep infront of the embassy in our car, we managed to be on position 4 and 5. We had a look on the list around 6:30 a.m. and 15 people were behind us. During the next 2,5 hours the list extented until position 50 and something. So be there very, very early, if you don't want to wait desperate to get in!

Shortly before 9 a.m. the VIPs and guards will go into the embassy. Everybody is huddling together infront of the door to the consular area. A few minutes after 9 a.m. the guards will let thorugh the first 5 persons on the list. And than the next five and so on. I don't know how it is working, because people organize themselves pretty well infront of the embassy, but the unofficial list really works! Somebody will read out aloud the names and people go as a group of five through the gates. It is ment to bring some order in the otherwise kyrgyz chaos happening without any list. And the chinese like it.

In the embassy:

1) The consul (right side after the first door, you can't miss him) will proof your documents first and problably ask about anything he might find suspecious. In our case there was no issue with the documents. We got a red stamp on most of the papers as a confirmation. If there will be something missing he will explain to you and you have to come back another day.
2) On Desk 2 we had to lodge our documents. The chinese guy behind the window can ask you about your travel itinerary or anything else. But we lodged without any questionaire. He handed us a pink receipt about 40 US Dollar for each visa (regular processing time) and adviced to pay at KICB Bank in the city centre. That's it. You can pay when ever you want before you collect your visa.
3) On Desk 1 we collected the visas today on 11th of September (after 5 days). We handed over the pink bill from monday and the confirmation of KICB Bank and immidiately got the passports with the visas back.

Yes, today on Friday was also a "list maker". This time the list started on 1 a.m. on early friday. We got there by taxi at 6:15 a.m. and have been on position 16 and 17. The list got longer until 9 a.m. to over 50 again.

It is always somebody, who starts the list, mostly a student who wants to study in China. We talked to some locals there and found out, that it can be quite frustrating during summer time as many kyrgyz students apply for the chinese visa to study abroad. Already at 7 a.m. you may find yourself behind 50 others on the list. We were lucky as the semesters abroad started and not many students applied anymore.


Just an advice to the agents.

All agents charge you for the visa, for the LOI and for their service. Mostly from 140$ to 200$ including everything. As long as you still have to go by yourself to the embassy to put your name on the list and bring your documents to the consul to proof them, there is actually no need to do it with an agent. UNLESS you need a Letter of Invitation or need an Express Visa, which is more difficult to get. If you have no time to wait it is better to be on the safe side with an agent than taking the risk of being refused.

If you already got a LOI but still want to try it with an agent, ask them very cleary, if they help you with your LOI. They will not guarantee you, that you will be successful with your LOI from another travel agency, as they provide their own LOIs which are already proofed by the consul. Quite tricky.

Mrs. Liu was the only person who would have charged us less than all other agents and said it is no problem with our original LOI. She offered us 140 US Dollar for 2 visas including her service. I think, this was a fair offer. But Mrs. Liu goes always her own way. When we finally decided to go with her through the application process due to lack of time, she cancelled everything with us at sunday night, right just 6 hours before we should lodge documents as she spontaniously got a bigger contract for monday morning.

So at least we have been very lucky being forced to try it alone at the embassy and saved a lot of many at the end!!! Give it a go!
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