Flying Taiwan To China: Do You Need a Pre-arranged Visa?

Im sure this has been discussed on the forum before, but from what I understand, many changes have occurred recently with flights from Taiwan to China. Last I remember, in order for an American to enter China, he or she would have to go to Hong Kong first. I believe this was to get the visa.

With all of the changes, can we Americans take direct flights to China now or is Hong Kong the only means possible? I would love to save some money by avoiding Hong Kong. Also, does anyone know how long it takes for the visa process?

Thanks for the help and sorry if this is a re-post.


This thread does provide some information but does not note anything of change. Has anyone here used a travel agency to get the visa. I’m really hoping to make this as convenient as possible which may mean I might have to bite the bullet and head to Hong Kong. Again, I dont really want to do that.

Getting a china visa from a travel agency seems to be possible for quite a while already. I did it, and even I am not American, they mentioned it is possible for you guys - albeit more expensive due to multiple entry only. Details here: Travel from Xiamen -> Kinmen -> it possible?

And as soon as you have a VISA, I think nothing would hold you from getting on any plane directly to China…

If you have a visa for China, you can fly directly from Taiwan to China. No restrictions, plenty of flights, you might even get a flight from Songshan!
You can easily get a visa through a travel agent. If you have an ARC with at least 3 months or 6 months (depending on whether you’re getting a 3 month or 6 month visa) validity left, they will send your passport to Hong Kong for the visa, which will take 1 to 2 weeks (they might tell you a week, but plan on two). If you don’t have an ARC, or it expires too soon, you can find a travel agent who will send your passport to the US, which will likely take longer.
So as long as you have the time to wait a few weeks for your visa, there is no need to set foot in Hong Kong.

You can directly go to China without facing any difficulty if you posses a vaild visa. There are many flights that go directly to China from U.S. Go through a proper authenticated travel agent so tas to avoid any trouble.

I’ve heard it costs NT$ 10,000 and takes about a 1 week if you go through a travel agent while you are in Taiwan. Ask your travel agent for details. When I lived in Taipei, my regular travel agent for personal travel was Sheree of Champion Travel ( Although I did not ask her about this specifically, I expect her to be uptodate and thorough about all this.

I recently got a 6-month multiple entry visa for China from the China Travel counter at HK’s airport. They tell me the earliest I could get it back was 2pm the next day, and it cost less than HKD 3,000 for US passports (it might be cheaper if you can wait a 3 to 5 days – hope you have a friend in HK to crash with). I returned to the counter the next day at 12:30pm and my passport and visa were ready.

I normally crash with a friend when I am in HK. This time around, everyone was booked with other guests or traveling. So I easily booked myself a room in Tsim Sha Tsui – I think I used (forget their new name) to find a hotel. I pre-paid US$40 for the room online – got a “upgraded” to a double room for free, and had my own bath. If you look go for a bedspacer, you’d pay much less. Incidentally, it’s very easy to reach TST from HK Airport with your luggage these days. Airport Express to Kowloon Station and take either the free shuttle buses (take the K2 bus) or walk to the (relatively) new MTR line that goes from Austin Station to East TST

what about just mailing your passport back to the US, to the chinese embassy there? i don’t really feel like spending the extra $100USD to get it done here, esp. since it’ll be at the end of my contract and i’m not sure i’ll have another ARC that soon. that is, my plan is to mail my passport, supporting documents, pictures, and a check to the chinese embassy in san francisco or seattle, then having a family member pick it up and mail it back to me. or having it mailed to a family member. it’ll take longer, but i’m pretty sure it’ll be cheaper. and it annoys me to have to pay other people to do stuff i can easily do myself.

At least in Canada the embassies will only take special delivery packages so the cost ends up being more (it’s a passport so you can’t just send it regular mail). Plus, with you living outside the country they may not accept the application anyway and tell you to go to the nearest embassy, which is HK. Of course do not under any circumstances mention that you are planning to go to Tibet.

good point

but why would they know i’m living outside the country? i could just have family in the US handle it all.


Can you do that? I remember looking at this for Canadians and I recal it was not possible. They wanted to see you pick it up, or have it delivered back by UPS. Also, at least in HK you need to state where you work and live. I suppose you could just fill out unemployed but that might not look good for a visa application.

It may be different for you as an American because you don’t have to give up residency when you live abroad so there is no real record of your living overseas.

dunno, i haven’t looked at the form, yet. i will update this when i have more information.

on that note, when can i get my chinese visa? i won’t be going for another few months, but can i get the visa now? if not, how close to my departure date should i get it?

PRC visas are usually valid for only three months from the date of issue. So I would advise not applying any earlier than that.

NB: If your visa expires on October 1, as long as you enter by September 30 you can stay the full length of your visa; you wouldn’t be limited to just one day.

Also, FWIW, I recommend just paying the money and having a travel agency here handle it for you.

I’m from Uk, but had this problem last year, trying to get a 2 mth visa for China. In May-2010, the most a Taiwan travel agency could get me was a 1 mth visa (business visa!).

I could’ve gone to Hong Kong and tried to arrange it, but that’s time and hassle.

So mailed passport & application form back to my sis in Uk, who forwarded it on to a London agency who handle Chinese visas. They hadn’t got a clue I was out of Uk (and nor did they care). They took their fee, got the visa, and returned passport to sis. Who DHL’ed it back to here. Not particular happy having my passport fly around the world without me, but it worked out.

just a month is fine for me, since that’s all i have off between semesters anyway. i guess i’ll price-check a couple taiwanese travel agencies. if they can get me my train ticket too (and my tour company can’t), i’ll probably do that.

thanks for advice and experience!

why does someone without an ARC have to have a travel agent mail the passport/visa app back to the US while an ARC holder gets there’s mailed to Hong Kong?

The rules in HK state that you have to be physically present in HK to get the visa there, UNLESS you are a foreign business person residing in Taiwan. The ARC proves that you live in Taiwan and are therefore eligible to apply in HK through the mail.
(although it’s not like they verify that you’re actually in HK when you use a HK travel agent, so it seems very easy to get around)

The rules in HK state that you have to be physically present in HK to get the visa there, UNLESS you are a foreign business person residing in Taiwan. The ARC proves that you live in Taiwan and are therefore eligible to apply in HK through the mail.
(although it’s not like they verify that you’re actually in HK when you use a HK travel agent, so it seems very easy to get around)[/quote]

One time I sent my passport with my friend who was visiting HK for a few days and they declined her application on my behalf because they checked for an HK entry stamp in my passport and didn’t find it.

Ok, so you can get an L-visa by using a travel agent or sending the docs back to the US for a family member/friend to apply on your behalf.

Anyone know if this works for the Z-Visa?
Apparently you need a health check and China won’t accept health checks from Taiwan?
Which would make a trip to HK necessary anyways.

the best way is go to hong kong , it will take you 24 hours , so just do this before you fly to china , or i knew there are couple travel agent to help people sent the passport back to US or HK to apply visa

Hmm this is a sticky post, but nobody has posted in three years? is this information accurate?

I’m planning to go to China next month for 10 days. I don’t have an ARC currently, thanks to a screw up by my job. I won’t be able to get a new ARC until at least the 20th or 30th even. I planned to go to China mid May. Will this be enough time? If I can’t get the ARC, what do I need to do?