If there was any one lesson we learned from IMS’s first visit to China last year, it’s that China doesn’t operate quite like the rest of the world.
So we’ve gathered all the experience from bringing the very first electronic music conference to China and compiled a list of pro-tips to know before joining us at IMS Asia-Pacific from September 29th to 30th!
APPLY FOR YOUR VISA EARLY
If you’re traveling from a Western country, it’s best to start planning ahead for your trip to China. Apply as early as possible for your Chinese visa to avoid any complications and delays in the process later on.
- You must apply for a visa beforehand – China won’t issue you a landing visa.
- Choose a Visa Type:
- L: Foreigners who intend to go to China as a tourist.
- G: Foreigners who intend to transit through China.
- Passport: Have an original signed passport with at least six months of remaining validity and blank visa pages, and a copy of the passport’s data page and the photo page if it’s separate.
- Fill in the Visa Application Form: http://www.china-embassy.org/chn/lszj/bgxz/P020130830121570742708.pdf
- Use a recently-taken color passport photo for the application. (Bare-head, full face) against a light colored background.
- Proof of legal stay or residency: Provide original and photocopies of valid certificates (residence permit, employment, student status) that indicate by authorities where you are currently staying/living.
- If you have a previous Chinese visa, present a photocopied page of it either from your current passport OR old passport.
- If you picked the G VISA: Have an onward air (train/ship) ticket with confirmed date and seat to a destination country or region. This CANNOT be a round-trip, meaning the location MUST be a 3rd destination on this trip.
- IF you picked the L VISA, HAVE THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTS:
- Itinerary including air ticket booking record (roundtrip)
- Proof of a hotel reservation, OR an invitation letter issued by a relevant entity.
- If you require an invitation letter, please contact IMS: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Submit your application to a Visa office of a Chinese embassy/Consulate General based on your state of residence.
- Pay the fee and pick up your visa.
Traveling from the US:
- Read through this “How to Apply” (http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/visas/hrsq/) document.
- Find the closest Chinese Embassy or Consulate General to you (a quick Google search should let you know where to go) and bring your completed form, passport photo, passport and extra documents. (Usually appointments are not needed, but double check with your local Chinese Embassy.)
- Allow at least 4 business days for the visa to be processed and ready to be picked up. Rush services (2-3 days or overnight) are available for an extra fee.
- All visas (single entry, multiple entry) cost $140. 2-3 days express costs an extra $20 and rush (overnight) is an extra $30.
Traveling from Europe (EU):
- Depending on which country you are traveling from, you will either be asked to visit your local Chinese Embassy, visit a Chinese Visa Application Center or apply by mail. We recommend finding the official Chinese Embassy website for your home country and following the visa instructions from there.
- Allow for at least 4 days for the visa to be processed (may vary depending on country).
- Costs of the visa will also vary depending on your country.
Traveling from Australia:
- Read through this “How to Apply” document: http://au.china-embassy.org/eng/ls/vfc/t1038750.htm
- You may apply by visa through mail or at a Chinese Visa Application Center in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Brisbane.
- Fill out a Visa Application Form (http://au.china-embassy.org/eng/ls/bg/P020160114417040761211.pdf), bring a passport photo and support documents (proof of flight, hotel stay, invitation letter, IMS Asia-Pacific tickets)
- Allow at least 4 business days for the visa to be processed and ready to be picked up. It may take longer if you apply by mail. Rush services (2-3 days or overnight) are available for an extra fee.
- A single entry visa to China will cost 109.5 AUD (regular fee). Find other fees and options here: http://www.visaforchina.org/CBR_EN/upload/Attach/mrbj/281944.pdf
DOWNLOAD A VPN
Once you’ve got your visa sorted and are readying to head to China, you may want to look into acquiring a VPN for your stay. Because of China’s stringent regulations on Internet access, some frequent websites you use may not be accessible within the country. The full list of websites that are restricted can be found here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Websites_blocked_in_mainland_China) but popular ones include Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.
A VPN (virtual private network) is an application that you can download onto your laptop and smartphone that allows you to bypass the country’s regulations and access these websites like normal. Most VPN platforms require you to pay a fee (one time or subscription). Here are a few we recommend: