Chinese Visa Application Instructions – Shanghai

  • Due date: Monday, March 7, 2016
  • Submit to: Chinese Flagship staff (Nate Flake), in person, or under the office door. COME SEE ME IMMEDIATELY IF YOU WILL NOT BE READY ON TIME
  • Required Items:

    • $165*


      • Cash
        – EXACT AMOUNT

      • Check
        – made out to “THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI”

      • Money Order
        – made out to “THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI”

      Why $165?:

      • This is extremely cheap
        – it represents the $140 charged by the consulate, plus a $25 fee charged by the broker (brokers often charge more than $100)

      • Postage
        – as long as you submit your application through us on time, we FedEx all visa applications together and save you the cost.

      • A great company
        – this visa brokerage is extremely generous to us and our students. If you or your family are ever traveling to China in the future, we highly recommend them. They have always given a discounted rate to any UM Chinese Flagship student, and they are very good about catching any errors before submission and handling tough situations for students with special circumstances.

      * Note, if you are preparing your visa application in advance, be sure to check with us to insure that the exact amount has not increased for this coming summer.

    • Physical Passport
      • Why can’t I just send in a copy?

        Your visa will be affixed to one of the pages inside your passport, so it must accompany your application.

      • Do I need a new passport?

        Your passport must have at least three blank visa pages remaining (most people will, unless they travel a LOT and have filled up most of the pages with visas and stamps)
        You do if your passport expires prior to April 1 of next year (the year after your summer at Shanghai).
        Why? China visas are valid for 1 year from the issue date. They will not issue a visa that is good for longer than the passport to which it is affixed.
        If this is you, get started on a renewal immediately!

      • What if my passport gets lost in the mail?

        Students (and parents) can be nervous about sending their passport through the mail.
        Using FedEx and requiring a direct signature, we have never had a passport get lost.
        Passports HAVE been lost by students who sent them through regular mail.
        Result: they had to apply and pay for new passports!

    • Old Passport (if applicable)
      • Do I need to include my old passport, too?

        If you have a new passport that was issued within the last 12 months, the consulate also requires that you send in your old passport (yes, the physical passport)

      • Why?

        Most likely this is a “tit-for-tat” measure. The U.S. often has very stringent and costly visa requirements for citizens of certain countries, and China usually sets the same requirements for Americans’ China visas. Other countries do the same, which is why you may find that you are charged more for a certain country’s visa than citizens of other countries (Canadians, Brits, etc.).

      • Don’t have it?

        Don’t assume that the consulate will let you slide if your old passport was lost or stolen. Do everything you can to find it or to obtain official documentation indicating that it has been lost or stolen.
        If you do not, it’s very possible that your visa application will be rejected.

    • passport photo

        – a homemade selfie picture printed out on regular paper will be cause for your entire application to be rejected (even if it is the right size and has a white background)

      • Where to go:
        – Walgreen’s is the best place in Oxford. The Post office works, but usually hours are limited and the wait is usually longer. Neither CVS nor Wal-Mart work here. Chaney’s pharmacy may work.

      • Cost:
        – a pharmacy, or anywhere else, should charge between $15 and $25

      • One is enough
        – you have to buy them in sets of two. If you used one for a recent passport, you can use the second one. If you had to buy a new set of two, just keep the second one for next year, when you likely apply for a new China visa.

      • No need to match your passport
        – some students who just got a passport made assume that the passport photo for the visa needs to match exactly the one for their passport. This is not the case. Any professional-quality passport style photo will do.
    • Submit 2 Photocopies of Passport Vitals Page

      This is usually the first page inside front cover, containing your photo, issue and expiration dates, etc.

      • Why two?

        We will include one copy with your visa application and save the other in our files as a backup.

    • Keep 2 Photocopies & 1 Scan of Passport Vitals Page

      This is usually the first page inside front cover, containing your photo, issue and expiration dates, etc.

      • Why two Copies?

          This will save you a lot of trouble if you lose your passport in China or otherwise need to go to the U.S. Embassy without it.

        • Leaving one at home with your emergency contact

          This will save time in making any necessary contacts should you find yourself in an emergency or have difficulty arranging things from China.

      • Why a Scan?
        • Save an electronic copy of your passport in a place you can readily access from China (i.e., NOT Google Drive, since Google is often blocked)
        • Send an electronic copy of your passport to your emergency contact so that, in case of an emergency, they can send it wherever it needs to go with no delay.
    • Additional Requirements for Applicants Born in Mainland China or Taiwan
      • First time applicants who were previously Chinese citizens must submit their original Chinese passports.
      • American born children of Chinese descent must provide a copy of their birth certificate and a copy of one parent’s passport or green card when applying the first time.
      • Applicants who were previously Chinese citizens and who changed their US passports must submit a copy of their old US passport and old Chinese visas.

      The Chinese government wants to prevent fraud. In east asia, there are people called, “snake heads,” who traffic people illegally, often to the U.S., and usually with ill intentions (i.e., stolen “adoptive” babies, or enslaved restaurant workers who were promised wealth and freedom abroad)

      Is this really necessary?

      Do NOT assume that what they are asking for is so “impossible” to obtain that the consulate will make an exception for you.
      For example, if you were born in China but moved away as an infant and no longer have a Chinese passport or birth certificate, or if your English or Chinese names are not spelled the same on your Chinese and American records, you should make every attempt to secure the required documents in advance. Prepare for your application to be rejected multiple times and for the consulate to require additional documentation before your visa is issued.

    • Get Your Photopies Right The First Time
      • Submit only full-sized (8×11) paper.
      • All copies should be single-sided
      • Only one document copied per page
        (don’t copy your passport and driver’s license at the same time, or even your driver’s license and student ID)
      • You do NOT need to copy the back side of your driver’s license or UM student ID
      • Use a full-sized (8×11) sheet of paper as a backdrop to you copies.
        This will insure that the copier has the right size and orientation and makes for a cleaner, clearer scan.
    • Copy of Correct ID

      If you have a valid driver’s license from one of the following states, include a copy of the front side of the license only:

      • Texas
      • Oklahoma
      • Arkansas
      • Louisiana
      • Mississippi
      • Alabama
      • Georgia
      • Florida

      If you do NOT have a valid license from one of the states above, you should instead submit a copy of the front side of your UM Student ID card only.

      The states listed are those that the Houston consulate normally services (see listings).
      The Houston consulate allows for others if they reside in one of those states. Your UM ID card proves that you do, even if your permanent address is elsewhere.

    • Travel Itineraries & Hotel Reservations for extra trips

      If you are will be staying in China before or after our normal time window, then you must include printouts of your travel itinerary and proof of lodging.

    • The Completed Application

      Not all answers are intuitive, and mistakes can easily lead to REJECTION of your application.

      • Section 1.2 – Name in Chinese:
        [Unless you have a Chinese name on your passport (some Heritage speakers have Chinese middle names), we recommend that you leave this blank. If you are able to type Chinese characters into the form, you may do so. Do not write in the Chinese characters by hand after printing.] Section 1.9— Local ID: [leave blank, do NOT list your SSN or driver’s license] Section 1.13— Place of Issue: [in the past, U.S. visas listed the city in which they were issued. Newer passports may not include this, in which case you can simply put “U.S.A.”] Section 1.15— Current occupation(s): “Student”

      • Section 1.16 — Education:

      • Section 1.17 – Employer/School:

        Name: The University of Mississippi
        Address: Modern Languages, Bondurant Hall C-115, University, MS 38677
        Phone number: 1-662-915-7298”
        Zip Code: 38677

      • Section 1.25 – Country or territory where applicant is located when applying for this visa:

      • Section 2.1— Major Purpose of Your Visit:
        Short-term study for less than 180 days (left-hand column, near bottom)

      • Section 2.2—Intended Number of Entries:
        Check the fourth box: “Multiple entries valid for e year from the date of issue.”
        (For American citizens, this option is the same price as single-entry).

      • Section 2
        IF YOUR PASSPORT EXPIRES IN LESS THAN ONE YEAR, contact us before completing this section (to be safe, you should treat this criterion as “less than one year from the date you are reading this”; NOT one year from the date you plan to arrive in China).

      • Section 2.3—Are you applying for express service?:
        check “NO”

      • Section 2.4—Expected date of your first entry into China on this trip:
        IF YOU HAVE IT ALREADY, consult your airplane ticket. Otherwise, do not complete this section until you are fairly certain of when you intend to arrive. If, for example, you intend to travel to China early (and have discussed your plans with us to make sure that there won’t be any conflicts in dates OR funding policies), you will want to pin down your intended arrival date with reasonable accuracy and probably give yourself a few days’ buffer. Keep in mind that 90 DAYS IS THE MAXIMUM CONTINUOUS STAY on this visa, even if it is valid for 1 year. If you intend to arrive several weeks before our start date, calculate in reverse, beginning from the date you intend to leave China (i.e., the day after our program ends). Conversely, if you intend to stay in China after our program ends, make sure your departure date is within 90 days of your arrival. Even if you don’t intend to go to China early, you should choose a date that is a few days before our program begins, just in case the fares on the normal arrival date end up being significantly more expensive than those leading up to it. Make sure you WIRITE THE DATE IN THE FORMAT GIVEN, beginning with the year. Talk to your classmates or known participants immediately if you think you would like to travel with them before or after the program. Changing/extending a China visa can be a major endeavor — one for which we can offer very little help.

      • Section 2.5—Your Longest Intended Stay in China among all entries:
        “90” Days.

      • Section 2.6—Itinerary in China:

        • First Column:
          Departure and Arrival Dates as published on our offical page
          USE CORRECT FORMAT: yyyy/mm/dd
          (of course, this will be different if you are arriving early or staying after the program ends. Make sure your entire time in China is no longer than 90 days)
        • Second Column:
          School of International Exchange
          99 Shangda Road, Baoshan District,
          Shanghai, CHINA
          (fit all lines in one cell)

      • Section 2.7—Who will pay for your travel and expenses during your stay in China?:
        (we will be giving you a scholarship, but in most cases and for most charges, we will not be paying them directly)

      • Section 2.8—Information of Inviter in China

        Shanghai University
        No.149 Yanchang Road, shanghai
        Relationship with the Applicant: Institution providing short-term language training and housing.

      • Section 2.9—Have you ever been granted a Chinese Visa?:
        If you mark “yes,” and it was in the past 2 years, YOU MUST INCLUDE A COPY OF THAT VISA WITH THIS APPLICATION

      • Section 3.8—If someone else travels and shares the same passport…:
        LEAVE BLANK and DO NOT ATTACH YOUR PHOTO HERE. Your photo should be affixed to Page 1.

      • Section Part 4—Important:

      • Part 5 —Application Form Completed by Another Person:
        (We presume that you will be filling out this document yourself and will therefore leave this section entirely blank. DO NOT LIST US IN THIS SECTION. You are to complete this form and sign it before giving it to us.
  • Submission & Collection (regular students in CHIN 212)

    • Submission

      Nate will come and collect visa applications at the beginning or end of class on the due date (with passports, money, and all supporting documents)
      If possible, enclose all items in a large envelope (do not seal because he will need to double-check that everything has been included)
      All passports and other documents will be placed in a locking file cabinet in Nate’s locked office until they are all in and FedEx’ed to the broker.
      Money will be recorded in a receipt book and then deposited via the UM Bursar to an account used by the Modern Languages Department specifically for visa application and proficiency testing invoices.

    • Mail-In

      All applications will be FedEx’ed together to the Broker in Houston, who in turn will check that they are correct and then deliver them physically to the consulate for processing.
      When they are complete, they will be FedEx’ed back to Nate in a single package.
      This process usually takes 2-4 weeks.

    • Collection

      When the visas are issued, the broker will FedEx them back to Nate, who will distribute them to you individually.
      The visas will be affixed onto one of the stamp sheets within your passport.
      Make sure to find it and check that the dates are accurate.
      The visa is valid for 1 year from the day it it issued; not based on your travel itinerary.

  • Submission & Collection (special cases)

    • Before Anything: Email Nate a scan of your VALID PASSPORT
      • You cannot apply for a visa until you have an invitation letter from the host institution in China. They will need your passport info in order to generate that letter.
    • Decide Whether to Submit Now or Wait
      • In most cases, you want to immediately send in your China visa application, including your passport and all supporting documents you have, while you wait for the invitation letter to be generated.
        As soon as we receive an electronic copy of that letter, we can email it to the broker for you, and they can submit your application to the consulate the next morning.
      • The only reason to wait would be if you will need your passport for some reason in the coming days/weeks, just in case it takes Shanghai University longer than expected to generate the letters (not very likely, but still possible).
    • Submission

      • Call the Broker:
        (see website).

        • Explain that you are from the Chinese Flagship at the “University of Mississippi” (they probably don’t know what “Ole Miss” is), and tell them that Nate told you to call.
        • Confirm the cost (it should be $165), not including postage.
        • Confirm that you have all the right documents. IMPORTANT: if you are an incoming freshman from a state not serviced by the Houston consulate, you will not have the option of sending in a UM Student ID instead of a driver’s license (unless you were a UM StarTalk participant and still have an ID without a valid expiration date?). You will need us to prepare a letter from our dean verifying that you will be a University of Mississippi student.

      • Get return (FedEx) mailing label:

      • Submit:

        • Make sure one last time that you have signed both your passport and your application
        • Make sure you have included all documents, including the return mailing label
        • Make sure you are sending in your package via registered mail or FedEx, and that in either case, it needs to be signed for. You do NOT want to take the risk of your passport being lost.

      • Inform Nate:
        Email Nate and let him know the day that your package goes in the mail. He will want to confirm that you are on track to get your visa well in advance of your travel date.
    • Mail-In

      All applications will be FedEx’ed together to the Broker in Houston, who in turn will check that they are correct and then deliver them physically to the consulate for processing.
      When they are complete, they will be FedEx’ed back to Nate in a single package.
      This process usually takes 2-4 weeks.
      Note: if you do not turn your application in on time, you will be required to submit them directly.

      • Call our broker (see website).
        Explain that you are from the Chinese Flagship at the University of Mississippi (they probably don’t know what “Ole Miss” is).
      • Make sure that you confirm with the broker that you will be sending in your application.
      • Make sure that you confirm with the broker the exact amount (most likely the same as above) and, if paying by check, the correct info.
      • Get a FedEx mailing envelope and TWO mailing labels.
        Fill out one label for mailing to the broker’s address in Houston (it is prominently displayed on every page of their site).
        Fill out the other with the broker’s address at the top and yours as the recipient.
        Make sure you have thought through the best address. On campus? At your parents’ home?
        Make sure someone will be there to pick it up.
        We highly recommend that you check the box requiring a direct signature at both locations.
        Losing a passport is a stressful and expensive problem to have.

        You will have to determine how you will pay for the label in advance. Your local mailing agency (i.e., PakMail) can help you.

      • Inform Nate of the date on which you mailed in the FedEx package.
    • Collection

      When the visas are issued, the broker will FedEx them back immediately.
      Make sure that you have someone at home at the time when the package is delivered.
      The visas will be affixed onto one of the stamp sheets within your passport.
      Make sure to find it and check that the dates are accurate.
      The visa is valid for 1 year from the day it it issued; not based on your travel itinerary.