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Chinese border closure w Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan - 2016

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 5:42 am
by steven
I could not actually believe this when I first heard about this in March, but it now is confirmed by other travelers: the land borders between China and Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are closed to foreigners.

Heard it first by e-mail on March 17th, has since been confirmed in this forum post.

At the same time, Chinese visas have also become more complicated in Almaty and Bishkek.

I will keep the Chinese visa page as up-to-date as possible throughout the summer. All news about the border closure more than welcome below!

Re: Chinese border closure w Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan - 2016

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 6:58 am
by steven
Have been looking a bit further into the matter now: recent reports indicate that Irkeshtam is open from the Chinese side. No reports yet from the Kyrgyz side.

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1617

Re: Chinese border closure w Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan - 2016

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 9:19 am
by LukeKUSA
Well this is quite concerning, as I am planning on taking a bus from Almaty to Urumqi on Sunday. Do you have other reports/sources of information on the potential border closure? I had a bit of tough time with the Chinese visa process here in Almaty, but I've been told I should be able to pick up my three-month, single-entry visa on Friday. I can update you on that/provide more details on the experience if you are interested.

Update: I called both the US and Chinese Consulates here in Almaty and both told me that they had not received any notice of any border closings and they both think everything is normal. The gentleman at the Chinese consulate also said, and I quote, "Huh. We haven't given out a tourist visa in almost a year," so I'm we'll see if I get my visa tomorrow as I was told.

Re: Chinese border closure w Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan - 2016

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 10:12 am
by steven
Ok, false alarm then it seems. Still wonder why the visa agents are saying this then...

Please update us when you get your visa! It's quite funny because I know for a fact many people got their tourist visas through Serik in the past year, so what the guy told you is definitely not entirely accurate.

Re: Chinese border closure w Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan - 2016

Posted: Fri May 20, 2016 8:02 am
by ontheroadfinally
Luke; can you please let us all know if you've been allowed to purchase a bus/coach ticket anyway. Any other info is deeply appreciated. Thanks.

Myself (UK passport) and my girlfriend (USA passport) are going to be wanting a Chinese visa soon, and we're wondering where we should go to get it.

Cheers.

Re: Chinese border closure w Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan - 2016

Posted: Fri May 20, 2016 8:10 am
by steven
Just to add, I talked to some more people on the Chinese side: they had never heard of this. So it seems ok to cross if you manage to get a visa.

@ontheroadfinally: I would try at home first, then Tblisi if you can, Tehran second option.

Re: Chinese border closure w Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan - 2016

Posted: Fri May 20, 2016 10:22 am
by ontheroadfinally
Hello Steven,

the problem with getting a Chinese visa at home is that after I leave London, it'll be about 6 weeks before I want to enter China. Apparently, entrance into China has to be effected within one month after a visa has been issued. If that's true, then that's no good for me.

Re: Chinese border closure w Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan - 2016

Posted: Sat May 21, 2016 4:41 am
by steven
Hi,

there are also visas with 3 months validity before you enter. Check with the London embassy if they give them, it will save the hassle of getting it on the road.

Re: Chinese border closure w Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan - 2016

Posted: Sat May 21, 2016 8:17 am
by ontheroadfinally
Hello Steven, and ta for replying again. I've been trying to contact the London Embassy for yonks. Nobody picks up the phone or replies to my e-mails. Plus, as I plan on going to Mongolia also (and then return to China), I want to get a double entry Chinese visa. If I get one in London, that means that I'll have to get another visa somewhere else, as I won't be able to effect both entries into China within the 3 month validity period. Consequently, I'd rather get a double entry visa closer to the time when I want to enter China.

Do you know if Luke got his visa ok?

Re: Chinese border closure w Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan - 2016

Posted: Sat May 21, 2016 12:29 pm
by LukeKUSA
Howdy,

I've not yet received my visa. Hopefully I'll have it in hand Monday. I'll update with details of the process once I get my passport back. That said, unless you speak Russian I 100% do not recommend getting a China visa in Almaty. I speak Russian and I've still had a hell of a time with the process.