Fondest memory: I just returned from a trip to Hong Kong (january 2011) in order to get a workvisa for working in China.
There is a slight change in procuring visas, which I'd like to share.
There are now 3 ways to get the visa:
- rush service (request in morning, pickup next morning; OR request in afternoon, pickup next afternoon). costs 250 HKD on top of normal visa costs.
- express service (3 days including request day)
- normal service (4 days)
The workvisa (Z visa) costed 150 HKD. I'm not sure if this is the same cost for other visas such as business visa (F).
I got my visa from Wan Chai island, in the south of Hong Kong. There are 2 immigration towers, one on Gloucester Road number 7 and one on Gloucester Road number 26. You should be at number 26. There will be 2 queues at the entrance: 1 for Chinese passport holders (short queue) and 1 for foreign nationals (longer queue).
Note that you won't be allowed to carry much luggage inside. Usually only a small bag (laptop case, handbag) will be allowed, everything else will have to wait outside, where there is NO guarding for the luggage.
Inside the office is the usual security check. On the 7th floor is where foreign nationals can request and pickup their visa. When I visited there, there were 8 counters, a receptionist who hands out application forms, a few desks where you can fill in the application forms (no glue or clips available here, bring them yourself if you can), and a large waiting room. At peak hours there may be 50-100 people waiting which means 1 hour sitting.
To the left of the visa counters is 1 payment counter (leftmost) and 1 collection counter. They have hardly any queue and don't require a ticket for waiting, just stand in line.
Hong Kong is a great jumping off place for other destinations. Macau and Shenzen are great places to visit if you have a few extra days. Macau can be reached by ferry from Hong Kong rather easily. It is about one hour and isn't really expensive.
Shenzen (PRC) can be arranged from Hong Kong as well. Several places at the airport offer visa services as early as the next day. This is a little more expensive but, not too much more than getting the visa before you arrive. It probably is a little faster getting it in Hong Kong if you didn't have time before you started your trip.
This can also, be done in Macau to other parts of China as well. Macau is the 'Las Vegas' of Asia-great one day trip or just stay one night.
Fondest memory: Great Transportation system.
To be safe you had better get your Visa while in Hong Kong.
You can get the visa the same day, or pay less and get it overnight or 3 days later.
The reason that you hear conflicting reports is that:-
1) The regulations change. A big change happened during the Olypic period but every now and then other changes happen.
2) For each nationality there is a specific rule. As a UK citizen I cetainly cannot get a visa at the border. But Irish MAY be a different matter and expect Phillipino passport holder could not.
There are plenty of travel agents in HK that can get the Visa. Just remember a passport sized photo.
There are different types of visas but the most common for touring China is a single entry tourist visa valid for up to 30 days from issuance, that can be easily obtained through an China embassy or a China Travel Service branch office.
Address: 1/F., Alpha House,27-33 Nathan Rd., Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Tel : 852-2315 7188 Fax : 852-2315 7292
You can also get a 5-day visa at the Lo Wu border crossing (valid for Shenzhen only). Once you clear HK immigration, you'll walk over a bridge to China immigration. There'll be a small sign on the left hand side directing you to the visa office one floor higher.
Remarks: UK/USA passport holder cannot get visas at the Lo Wu border since August 2004
Fondest memory: 1. Single Entry Visa - 3 working days HK$210 / 2 working days HK$360 / 1 working day HK$480
2. Double Entry Visa - 3 working days HK$350 / 2 working days HK$500 / 1 working day HK$620
Well this was not quite in Hong Kong, but on a day trip to Shenzen across the border in Mainland China... take a look on my China page for tips and warnings about doing this excursion. We spent most of our time in the giant shopping mall filled with deals, mostly chinese clothing, bags and purses, shoes and jewellery- it is all fake but some of it is very good quality and if you bargain well, it will be cheap!!! (In Shenzen you should get a product for at least half of what the merchant is asking)
We were lured (though willingly) into a small boutique for manicures and pedicures. Sitting around talking cantonese gossip, visiting with the other customers (older chinese ladies) and the young chinese beauticians, watching chinese karaoke playing on the tv. My friends also opted for a wax wrap for their legs and arms. Warm wax coats the skin and it is wrapped and placed in a sort of oven mitt. Funny looking. Skin smells great and feel so soft afterward. At our meek request, they ran off to grab us some delicious bubble tea during our 'cures and ended up not charging us. I got a manicure and pedicure for $60 HK and my friends bargained a good price for all of theirs. The beauticians were super nice and very curious (of course my friends are Hong Kongers and native tongue is cantonese...) I was called by a few people in China, 'the girl with the golden eyes' as I guess my dark brown eyes change to a lighter hue under certain conditions. This amazed them, but they also commented on how 'all westerners look alike'. This was an interesting stereotype that I have heard said on the opposite end from westerners about Asians. Wonderful girls and very giggly and smiley and eager to jump into pictures with us! Pictured is some of the scenery you may see on the KCR (Kowloon-Canton Railway) on your way to the border at Lo Wu.
Visitors to Hong Kong must hold a valid passport. Passports should be valid for at least one month after your planned departure date from Hong Kong. For some nationalities, this condition extends to six months. Nationals of most countries are not required to obtain visas for periods varying from seven days to six months, depending on nationality. Check with any Chinese embassy or consulate for the latest status.
Visas for mainland China can be obtained in Hong Kong. They require one photo and usually take three working days to process. Visas can be obtained through the Consulate Department, Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China in Hong Kong, China Travel Service (HK) Ltd, or China International Travel Service HK Ltd.