It’s been 7 years since I last visited Chinese Consulate in New York. Physically little has changed. I got there at 12:38pm on a Monday, a huge circling line dominated the first floor, the Visa Hall. The second floor was equally crowded. It was a solid 40 minutes wait. When I got to the window, the lady was inexpressive but polite. She skillfully shifting through my document [passport, application, copy of passport and last visa] and said,
“everything is fine except your picture ..”
Thank god I was prepared.
“How about this one?” The one with white background.
She then advised that since my passport will expire in less than a year, she could only grant me a six month multiple entry. I asked for one year multiple due to the cost is the same vs single entry.
“Can I get one year and have it transferred when I get my new passport next year?”
“Can not lah.”
Puff, in less than 40 second, I’m done and began to pave the 42nd Street.
Some protest across the street from the Consulate
My first encounter with this consulate was in late 1980s when I went to apply for my first ever Chinese passport. There was a blond girl before me. The receptionist at the window was all smile and yeses. I instantly felt at ease, my country and my home – 大约还是 我们 北京的哥们儿 .. ..
When it was my turn, the pleasing smile was gone. In place was hard stare and impatience.
Guess he liked blond.
That’s my China.
Sounds so yesterdecade. Well, it was last decade.
Thursday I went back at around noon. Oh lord, the visa hall was nearly empty. Don’t you just hate to see good thing goes waste? Wished that I handed my application in this day instead.
Picking up visa, first I had to wait on line at Window 9 to take a number – got #27. How do you like my green nail polish? .. Then wait on line at Window 8 to pay and pick up the passport. I have no idea what this step – Window 9 – means, it doesn’t make much sense to me. No, the consulate did not ask for my opinion.
Current fee for visa has just increased since March 1, 2010 from $130 (this amount is still stated on their web site) to $140. It’s been good five months and they haven’t even bothered to change it. I’m just wondering what happens when people pay with cashier’s check when the amount has to be exact. Also, $140 is bit steep. Is China fighting back or what? I’ve heard few Chinese friends who complained the high fees the American charges in China. Oh what ever, China is red hot, everyone wants to go. Hmmmmm .. can they not charge us, for we were born in China for Pete’s sake.
We accept money order, company check, Master or Visa Card only. Cash and other payments are not accepted. Money order or company check should be made payable to “Chinese Consulate General in New York”.
Over all, the process is efficient and the manner is professional…. errrrrhhhhh … the hand written note is bit eyesore tho.
On an impulse I shopped around for a Chinese visa (single entry visa; on 8/13 exchange rate) and here is what I got :
- G. Britain £30 or about US$47 for the Brits but for Americans [who will apply a visa to China while in UK] is £70 or about US$109
- France €35 or about US$55 for the Frenchies but for the Yankees it is €75 or $96
- Germany €30 or about US$38 for Germans but €115 or $147 for me if I were to apply a Chinese visa as an American while in Frankfurt
See the second photo [from left] below, I got it from the site of UK – there even a notice posted for the Americans .. what did 美国佬 do to China for getting singled out?
We Americans are dirt poor nowadays, why do we have to pay more? It is just simply not fair.