Chinese Customs - the paperwork.

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Chinese Customs - the paperwork.

Postby long_way » Thu Feb 21, 2008 2:39 pm

Before you enter/leave China you will have to go through minor customs formalities (no different than when you enter any other country).

First of all you will have to have a valid passport and Chinese (tourist, "L") visa in it.

Here is how Chinese visa looks like: ... e_visa.jpg

Even before landing the flight attendands will hand out three forms that all visitors need to fill out. The first one is called "BAGGAGE DECLARATION FORM FOR INCOMING PASSENGERS" and here is how it looks:

Front side: ... ion_in.jpg

Back side: ... _in_ba.jpg

The second form is called "HEALTH AND QUARANTINE DECLARATION FORM ENTRY" and here is how this foorm looks: ... h_card.jpg

(Chinese version of the same form is printed on the back side).

The third form is called "ENTRY CARD (For FOREIGN TRAVELLERS)" and here is the picture of that card: ... y_card.jpg

(Chinese version is printed on the back side).

You will hand in your healt card first and after that the other two cards. Before you pick up your luggage you will get entry stamp in your passport: ... _stamp.jpg

At that point you are free to roam pretty much all over China (with the exception of Tibet, for Tibet you would need additional permits, usually issued by travel agencies within China. In fact everyone can get them, and you don't get any special kind of paper, you just need to PAY FOR IT, that's all).

Before you leave China you will have to fill out another two forms (similar to those you filled out when you arrived).

The first one is called ""BAGGAGE DECLARATION FORM FOR OUTGOING PASSENGERS", here is how it looks:

Front side: ... on_out.jpg

Back side: ... _out_b.jpg

and the second one is called "DEPARTURE CARD", here is the picture: ... e_card.jpg

and the back side: ... d_back.jpg

(Please notice the warnings which one would expect to be printed on the ENTRY CARD, not Departure Card, but maybe they want to warn you just in case you come to China again ;)

Chinese tourist visa ("L" visa) is usualy issued for 30 days, but it can be originally issued for 60 days if you request it at the time of application. "L" visa can be extended in China, at the local police station (PSB). You will have to pay for the extension, I'm not sure how much but I would assume somewhere between 100 and 500 RMB. Also you will have to explain why you want to extend your visa. If you say you just want to travel more than you will have to show that you have $ to travel more. If you say you have to stay longer because of the medical treatment then you will have support your claim with some medical documents.

Make sure you don't overstay your visa, even for one day, because when you hand your passport to the immigration officer at the airport they will ask you to pay a hefty fine (probably around 500 RMB) before they allow you to clear immigration. Your attempts to explain that one day is not such a big deal may cost you a missed flight.

******INFORMATION UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 20, 2008************

I eneterd China on October 04, 2008 at Shanghai Pudong international airport and this time we had to fill out only ENTRY CARD (DEPARTURE CARD was attached to the ENTRY CARD). That's all.

It appears the Chinese have simplified the process (except now there is an x-ray machine in the customs area so you have to put all your luggage on the conveyer belt to be scanned before you continue towards the exit).
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