Get a Chinese #Visa in #Seoul

7 Jul

china L visa에 대한 이미지 검색결과

Lived in China for 3 years, but there is still so much we haven’t seen!  So we were planning a tourism trip around some famous spots, but our Residence Permits expired in early July, leaving us no time.  

We ended up booking a last minute trip to Seoul, South Korea (beautiful city and country! Definitely recommend a visit.) in order to leave before our visas ran out and needed to get new tourist visas to go do our travel plans. But I had a pain in the neck time figuring out if I could actually GET a Chinese visa in Seoul.   

A couple websites told me that only certain embassies offered it.  Other sites said I had to have an ARC (Korean Alien Resident Card).  Since those cards are only give to foreign residents, that was kind of a blow for me.  (THIS IS ACTUALLY NOT TRUE — SEE BELOW).  I did learn from a few people that having a Chinese visa in the past could help.  

I decided to run with it and here is the step-by-step process I used for getting a Chinese Tourist Visa (L Visa) in Seoul! 


Contact Information:
Call:  1670-1888
Fax: 02-6260-8855


1) Many “copies” are needed in this process (passport copies, visa copies, etc).  Black & White were acceptable. My hotel didn’t have a printer, so I went to a local Kinkos in Seoul.  Just google “Kinkos in Seoul” to find the addresses. They are open 24 hours and weren’t a bad price. The copies were EXCELLENT quality paper–perfect for me. 

2) You can get a passport photo at the Visa Application Center if you don’t have one.  It’s on the “Pick-Up” side of the office.  A photo booth.  Charges 10,000KRW ($8.66) for 6 copies (expensive).  

3) You can actually print documents from computers in the Visa Application Center if you forget anything.  They have computers available with internet access.  The first copy you print is 100KRW.  Two or more is a total of 200KRW.  I forgot my flight home, so I printed my copy there.

4) We applied to the embassy as USA citizens.  

The rules are probably different from country to country? Not sure–so you might want to email the visa application center ahead of time for country-specific instructions.  When I filled out the application, it was not country specific so that part should follow for everyone.  

Also, the time of your visa length will vary from country to country.  Some of you will have the option to apply for short visas of 30 days.  Others will have choices between single- and multiple-entries.  For Americans, you don’t get a choice. The application is for a multiple entry, ten-year visa. 🙂  Congratulations!  That’s actually excellent since you don’t have to worry too much.  (**Rule– you must leave every 60 days, although you can immediately re-enter.  Just don’t have a trip longer than 60 consecutive days)

First: What Kind of VISA Do You Need?

This splits itself into two issues: 

A) Do I Need a Visa to China at All?  

I’m gonna go with a great big, fat “YES!”  Sure there are certain rules and “exceptions” for diplomats, special passports, etc.  You can read the rules here on the Visa Application Website. But no country loves VISAs more than China. So you probably do need a visa to go there.  Even for some layovers!

B) What Kind of Visa Then Do I Need? 

They have 16 different kinds of VISAs.  All sorts of different types for different things.  I’m no visa specialist, so if you aren’t sure what kind of visa you need, contact the VISA Application office ahead of time.  I’ve heard there is an F Visa that might be for students?  It says “Issued to those who are invited to China for exchanges, visits, study tours and other activities.”  If you are a student, perhaps ask about that one.

The two I have some experience with are the L Visa (tourist visa) and the Z Visa (work visa).  The Z Visa is what you get when you have a job in China.  They will transfer the Z Visa into a Residence Permit at the Public Security Bureau in your province within 30 days.  According to the Visa Application Office in Seoul, you can apply for both of these here without an ARC card!  If you are a tourist that is–not if you are working or residing in Seoul. Then you need the ARC card.  

The instructions below are JUST for the L Visa (Tourist Visa) to be used for a planned itinerary to tourist sites in China.  Only if you are actually touring the country (going to the China National Museum, seeing the Oriental Pear Tower, etc). –the visa does not apply to other situations.   For instructions on other visas,  follow the rules on the online Visa Application process


Second: Get the Paperwork Ready.  

The paperwork is probably the part that takes the most time.  It’s just busy – tedious work.  The following is a list of the documents I was told to provide by the online system. 

  1. Your Original Passport (with 6+ months left on it — counting after you plan on EXITING China, not from when you apply or enter).   Your passport must also have enough room for the stamps and visa, so 3+ pages in it.  Chinese visas will take up an entire page in your passport!
  2. One Copy of your Original Passport Face and Information Page.  Black and White is acceptable.  To be honest, she just copied mine again before seeing I already had it and gave me back my copies. 
  3. One Copy of all the past Chinese Visas you’ve had.  They said it would be easier for you to do this without an ARC card if you had the old Chinese VISAs.  I’ve had SEVERAL visas here in the past, so I carefully printed a copy of each.  She just handed them all back to me — said they didn’t need this.  She did say that they needed see my last “exit stamp” from China.  Which meant I needed my old passport with me, since that was where my last stamp from China was marked.  Luckily I took that with 😛
  4. One Passport Photo with VERY specific rules.  I actually brought perfectly acceptable copies with me — they had been accepted for a government physical and my visas the previous year.  But they made us go take these again at 10,000KRW ($8.66) for a set of 6 copies.   I noticed they were telling everyone to go do that, so I’m not so sure it isn’t just a money-making thing for them.  Anyway, the rules they had us follow were:
    1. No Smiling,
    2. No Glasses,
    3. No Headdresses,
    4. MUST SHOW YOUR EARS.  Seriously, I’m like WTheck?  Show my ears?  They actually were seriously telling me to go take it a second time to show my ears.  My ears don’t show, even with my hair pushed back!  I said no, try it.  They did, and it was accepted.  It was just a very strange ordeal over a very strange rule.  Anyway,  bring a photo that shows your ears if possible 😛 
  5. Flight Reservations into China with your name and passport number on them.  If you are applying as a family, EVERYONE’s name has to be on them.
  6. Flight Reservations out of China with your name and passport number on them.
  7. Hotel Reservations for every single day you plan on being in China.  With your name and passport number on them.  If you are applying as a family, EVERYONE‘s name has to be on the Reservation.  I booked through — they allow you to book up to 30 days in advance.  For trips longer than 30 days just book it twice.  Problem was it just had my name on it.  So, once you book, you must go to “modify or change my booking” on your account.  Where it says the name of the guest, change it to “Person A, Person B” (full names as on the passport).  
  8. Filled Out ITINERARY-FORM.  You need this specific form–not just any one will do.  This rule isn’t actually in the Visa Application online rules, but they made us fill it out anyway.  You must account for every single day you plan on being in China. One day for one line. I was told that “stayed at the hotel and rest up” was acceptable for the first day.
    1. Date: July 1, 2017  |  Travel City: Shanghai  |  Itinerary:  Visit the Oriental Pearl Tower.
    2. Date: July 2, 2017  |  Travel City: Shanghai  |  Itinerary:  Yuyuan Gardens
    3. Date: July 3, 2017  |  Travel City: Shanghai  |  Itinerary: Rest in the Hotel, Swimming in the Pool
  9. Filled Out Visa Application Form.  Very simple!  Just have your passport and hotel information handy 🙂   You can fill it out two ways. Application and fill out by hand.  Or go to the Visa Application Website and go step-by-step to fill it out online.   After printing this off, go back in the application to the “itinerary section” where you put the addresses of the hotel.  Now write in the hotel phone number too, for every hotel on the list.   Make sure to sign it!
  10. ARC Card.  The instructions say to bring your Korean ARC card–only given to Korea Foreign Residents.  I did not have one because I am a tourist in Korea.  So I was told I needed to have a copy of my Korean entry stamp from my passport. I brought a copy, but she handed it back to me. She said as long as it was in my passport, that was okay because they would keep my passport during the application process.  

Third: Print Your Docs and Go to the Visa Application Center in Seoul Square

You can find location information here on the Visa website.  


6th Floor, Seoul Square building,416 Hangang-daero,Jung-gu,Seoul,the Republic of Korea[Post code: 100-714]


Go to Seoul Station Subway Stop.  You need Exit 9.  Before you even leave the subway, in front of you (before you climb the stairs up out) you’ll see doors to “Seoul Square” — that’s the right building.  You’re gonna want to go to 2nd floor.  Follow the sign to the middle of the hallway–there is an elevator. The sign will say “Chinese Visa Application Center.”  The elevator ONLY goes from floor 2 to floor 6 – the center. It makes no other stops.  Coming off the elevator, turn right for drop-off.  When you pick it up you’ll turn left instead.  Nice side fact — Twosome Place, Quiznos, Dunkin Donuts, and a lot of other food is there if you need a refresher after the stress of dropping stuff off!


9:00am – 11:30am Monday-Friday you can submit Rush applications
9:00 am – 3:00 pm Monday-Friday  you can submit Regular applications
9:00am – 4:00 pm Monday-Friday you can Pick Up your Visa 


Step 1: Go to the Drop-Off room.  There will be a desk to your right with a woman.  Stand in line. Show her your documents. Once she approves them, she’ll give you a number.  Go sit and wait for your number to be called.

Step 2: Go to the counter. Hand the second person your documents and passport.  They will go through them again.  Follow their instructions.  

Step 3: When they are finished, they will give you a receipt. Put it in a safe place and DO NOT LOSE IT.  You must have that to get your passport and visa back later.  

Fourth:  Wait, Wait, Wait


  1. Regular Service: Usually 4 Days (Drop off Monday, Pick up Thursday)
  2. Express Service: Usually 2 Days
  3. Urgent Service: Usually 1 Day

You can check the status of your application online at their website.

Fifth: Pick Up & Pay

On the day listed on your receipt, go back to the Visa Application Office and pick up your passport.  If your visa processed, you will have to pay the visa fee. If your visa was rejected, you’ll need to pay a service fee.   This Visa Center will accept Cash or a Bank Card.  The website says something different, but these were the rules listed at their office.  

The cost is different for each country.  For Americans, it was 190,000KRW ($164.62). Here is a list of all the different Visa fees by country.  


Sixth: Go Enjoy Your Trip to China!  

Shanghai Yuyuan Gardens are pretty sweet.  So is the Summer Palace in Beijing, Kaifeng’s Millenium Park, etc.  Totally rock it!  China is a beautiful place so enjoy yourselves immensely!

One Response to “Get a Chinese #Visa in #Seoul”

  1. thomas January 10, 2018 at 3:16 am #


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