Small follow-up: a place called StarTravel in Danshui can’t provide China visas. A branch of Lion Travel, near the MRT station, cannot provide your first visa to China, although apparently they can help you if you’ve had one before. So it looks like I need to head into town.
We talked to China Travel Service (thanks tango42!), and wow, there seems to be a fair bit of paperwork. Here’s their page for all the visa applications; here’s the one specifically for Canadians applying for a China visa (um, assuming I’m reading the Chinese correctly).
Long list of things required, including but not limited to:
- Passport size photos in which you’re not showing teeth or wearing glasses. Damn, I need new photos again. I’ve got an envelope full of pictures but I’ve got glasses on in all of them.
- Proof of employment - presumably my contract?
- Information about where you’re staying. This is the hassle at the moment: I need to wait for the school to set this up, so I can’t actually apply yet, I guess. Many times in the past, when filling out arrival forms, I’ve just chosen a random hotel from a guidebook, but I suspect I shouldn’t take that approach this time.
- Passport, of course.
- Copy of APRC.
- Printout of ticket.
- Perhaps - printout of some kind of invitation justifying my presence in the Middle Kingdom. That seems more a requirement for business travelers than for academic thingies.
- NT$9,000 fee for seven-day service for a single-entry visa. Multiple-entry only seems to be $1,000 more - how long is that good for? Maybe I should get that anyway. I’ve got no plans to go again, but if the visa is valid for a few years, what the hell.
You need to apply between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday, and pick up after 11:30am. Fortunately I’ve got enough flexibility in my schedule that this isn’t be a big deal for me, but for many others it’d be a hassle.
I haven’t looked at the other agencies to see how policies or costs vary.
And I’m getting increasingly less interested in going to China.