The history of China goes back about as far as the recorded history of mankind itself, and in all that time the country has had some remarkable visitors. Every year, tens of millions Continue reading
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There are very few things that last a lifetime. Great art, true love, most allergies…the list is definitely not long, and unfortunately, passports aren’t one of the items on it. For people who are sixteen or older, a passport’s validity will only last ten years (for minors of fifteen years and younger they are valid for five years). This means that every ten years American adults who travel regularly or have plans to travel in the future have to stay on top of their renewal, because that expiration date can sure sneak up on you if you’re not paying attention. To properly take care of business ahead of time you have to find the right passport service, so you can travel without all the stress it usually involves. Here are some things to look for in your hunt for the perfect service:
1. Government Approval
It seems like a no-brainer, but let’s put it out there anyway just to be safe: any independent resource dealing in federally issued documents must have the authorization of the government backing them up. The end. Luckily, the State Department does allow citizens to go through reliable independent visa service companies like Choice Passport, which provides all the necessary passport-related services, as well as anything visa-related to boot. They deal directly with the State Department, possess all the same applications and know-how, and can assist you in the process with just as much expertise as an actual government-hired administrator. In short, you don’t just want mere government approval from your passport source; look for government-level proficiency as well, because when it comes to traveling internationally you deserve the luxury of not taking any chances.
2. Range of Available Services
It’s clearly best to look for one company that can get everything done for you in one place. Legal processes are complicated enough – why not simplify as much as possible? Seek out a site that not only offers, but walks you through every potential passport need out there, like Choice Passport does. These include passport renewal; replacement in the events of loss, damage or theft; applying for a brand-new passport for a minor; adding pages to an existing valid passport; and name changes. In this case, the company also provides every service you would need for visas to any country in the world, so you really need to look no further. The ability to get everything done in preparation for a trip in one fell swoop is truly invaluable, and Choice Passport wholly recognizes that.
The unfortunate truth of paperwork is that things often get left until the last minute because, well, human nature. Many of us tend to forget, or procrastinate. Sometimes a travel situation just calls for immediate results due to unexpected urgency or spontaneity. Whatever the case, your perfect passport service is able to expedite the process to suit your needs. At Choice Passport, there are several options to up the speed for whatever you’re looking to get done, including Rush service (6-10 business days), Priority service (3-5 business days) and Next Day service. These choices do cost a little more, but to be fair, you can’t put a price on peace of mind, especially when it comes to international travel.
This is kind of the kicker, since without reliability all the speediness, variety of options, and government approval in the world can’t necessarily help you get a passport. The best companies know this and act accordingly to get those documents in your hand without any hitches, as promised, every time. For instance, Choice Passport’s slogan boasts precisely that: “The #1 Choice When Your Visa or Passport Must Be On Time & No Surprises.”
Well, you heard ‘em! All the research is right here, Choice Passport checks every box on the list and then some. So for all your passport needs, explore our site or call us now at (855) 246-4243 for quick, reliable, government-sanctioned service that gets you where you need to go, when you need to go.
We could all use a little guidance for getting through the ordinary routines of life. But for most people there has not been any classroom to teach us how to do our taxes, fix plumbing issues, or take care of important travel procedures like immunizations, passports, and visas. Admittedly, we can’t help you when the faucet starts to leak, but for all those pesky travel documents, here are some helpful tips to get you through the necessary procedures with a minimal amount of stress:
1. Choose Your Service Provider
You could go directly through the source – in this case, the State Department – if you want. Think about it, though: do you really want to put more on the Government’s plate? Haven’t they got enough to deal with already? Wouldn’t it maybe be more prudent to take your needs to a business specifically designed to get your new passport and visa to you quickly and efficiently? We say yes. It’s easy to find an online company where you can go to take care of all the minutiae of international travel. Choice Passport, for example, is a Government-approved purveyor of travel docs and will do everything to help guide you through the required steps.
2. Do the Research
Choice Passport always provides every bit of information so you can understand ahead of time what is needed, how much it will cost, and how long the process will take. In short, planning and research alone will cut down on a huge amount of the pressure you might feel if everything is being done late in the game and/or on the fly. The site is incredibly user-friendly and will help you navigate the choppy waters of administrative policies to the last click, so that you can feel secure in obtaining that visa to Russia or China or anywhere else that suits your fancy and your business needs.
3. Time it Right
This goes along with the whole planning phase, of course; the further ahead of time you can get the ball rolling on your documents, the better. With Choice Passport the regular processing time for a new passport is 11-15 business days. There are, however, faster processing times available for a few dollars more, including Priority, Rush, and Next Day, in case you’re operating on a tight schedule due to last-minute plans or an emergency situation.
For countries that require a visa, be aware that the processing time for applications can be much longer depending on the destination, which is why getting these measures out of the way as far in advance as possible is always, always the best course. A travel visa to China, for instance, can take up to 45 business days with regular service, and up to 15 for the most expedited option (the Consulate fees will also vary depending on the country).
4. Stay Connected
Once you have the necessary info and send those applications, the customer service department is there to answer any questions or concerns, and with courteous efficiency. They will also be sure to get in touch regarding any potential issues, because they recognize that staying up-to-date is important for your peace of mind. Feel free to check in during the process for updates, hitches, or just a quick query to make yourself feel better.
5. Get on a Plane!
Once you visit Choice Passport, everything else will just fall into place. Your forms and applications will be filled out and submitted, your payments processed, and that fresh passport and visa will appear in the mailbox before you have even a moment to wonder about them. In fact, the only thing you’ll have left to think about will be remembering to pack those documents in your carry-on. For any destination on earth, whether you’re traveling for pleasure or work, visit Choice Passport online or call us at (855) 246-4243, and feel calm and safe about your impending travels. Let someone else deal with the leaky faucet – you’re on vacation!
When it comes to staying up to date with government-issued documents (not to mention parking tickets, wedding plans, and condiment expiration dates), anticipation is the name of the game. Always plan way, WAY ahead of travel dates, making sure passports are current and visas are taken care of, etc.; after all, a stitch in time saves nine years hacked off your lifespan due to heart-stopping stress. However, we all know that the whole planning thing can often go off the rails. If that happens, or you’re the kind of person who’s into spontaneous globe-trotting, or you’re the kind of person who just likes things done at warp speed, there are a few steps you can take to expedite the process of securing your passport or visa before you step onto the tarmac.
Option 1: Pay Up
Finally, one instance where throwing money at the problem really works! The U.S. State Department does allow for faster processing of passport procedures…for a fee, of course. For the arguably-better-than-pulling-your-hair-out price of $60 in addition to delivery costs you might just be able to wrangle a shiny new passport within three weeks, whereas standard applications take 4-6 weeks just to process. Of course, this is if you can demonstrate to the government that the situation necessitates a passport, like, really fast. Just be advised that if this is your first time applying OR if you are attempting to replace a passport that was lost, stolen, or issued over 15 years ago, the application form (DS-11) must be submitted in person, and at an authorized facility.
Option 2: Call the Hotline
The State Department website does provide the number for the National Passport Information Center, or their after-hours number, and directs inquirers to call them. However! They are very careful to caution that this resource is only to be used in emergencies of life-or-death proportions. So, basically, let’s hope you never have to use that one. But if your need for a passport or travel visa in a pinch is rooted in an emergency situation, know that the Information Center is there to answer questions and help you sort everything out.
Option 3: To the Internet!
No one likes dealing with the red tape that unavoidably surrounds any bureaucratic process. Thankfully, there are independent companies out there, like Choice Passport, for instance, that exist to help you out with all your travel needs. Having a lot less to deal with than the government, they have the resources and focus to provide efficient, fast, personable service so that you can save enormous time and hassle. We’re talking a government-approved one-stop shop that’s certified to provide for whatever you need, passport-wise. In addition to renewal, these independent suppliers give you all the necessary options: adding pages or changing the name on an existing passport, replacing a lost, stolen, or damaged one, and obtaining a child’s passport so you can tote your family along on trips too.
Information and services about visas can also be obtained at the same source, the better to simplify the whole travel document process. This affords anyone the ability to take care of any kind of visa online – student, work, or just-for-fun getaway visas – for any desired destination. Be sure to use the company site for research, as well; while many countries allow tourists to stay for a certain amount of time (this frame generally ranges from 30 to 90 days, on average), many require visas for either business travel, recreational travel, or both. No matter what, though, applications can be found, filled out and submitted through sites like Choice Passport, with options for regular service (20-45 business days), express service (15-25 business days), rushed service (3-15 business days), and even same-day service. The company will also be in immediate, direct contact with you regarding verification and any hitches or essential details, managing your needs in the smoothest, quickest way possible.
Make the Right Choice
No matter where you’re going and why you’re going there, nothing beats a stress-free travel experience. What is the ‘Age of the Internet‘ good for if not to simplify the tedious legal measures that modern life inevitably requires? If you prefer sluggish, exasperating service we suggest looking elsewhere, because Choice Passport is committed to delivering fast, convenient service to get you out the door and into the world on your schedule.
It has been 50 years since the U.S. had a diplomatic relationship with Cuba, whose Communist government was officially cut off by the Eisenhower Administration in 1960. The embargo of arms, trade, and travel continued until December 2014, when President Obama formally ended it and reestablished diplomatic dealings with the Central American country’s president, Raul Castro. Both leaders are now intent on building a relationship based on communication between the two cultures.
The path forward involves many steps, including the institution of an American embassy in Havana and the release of several dozen inmates from Cuban prisons at the behest of the U.S. government. One significant step, the implications of which have been discussed at great length among the American citizenry and media, is the resurrection of travel between the two countries. However, this is still a work in progress and does not mean that any U.S. citizen can now obtain a visa to Cuba and a plane ticket. This is all very new, and many restrictions remain in place that must be understood by anyone wishing to visit the Republic.
1. Restrictions on Independent Travel
While both governments wish to encourage cultural contact between the two societies – which after all reside a mere 90 miles away from each other – there still exist a complex layer of prejudice based on historical, political, and economic factors that could potentially jeopardize the safety of American travelers. Therefore, travelers to Cuba must go with an official, government-sanctioned tour group, the focus of which will be to bridge the cultural gap between the countries. In other words, a Cuban vacation as of now cannot simply be a recreational adventure, but is by definition an educational journey meant to inform.
2. Money Money Money
Due to the lingering legal restrictions and widespread attempts to circumvent them and travel to Cuba illegally, U.S. credit and debit cards do not work there. Thus American tourists are forced to travel with cash or travelers’ checks, options that both present inherent dangers. Moreover, the value of Cuban pesos, or convertible pesos, is quite low, and the current exchange rate guarantees a very costly trip, as visitors are required to exchange their dollars and American currency will not be accepted on Cuban soil.
3. Legal Protection
Visitors to Cuba are advised to be extra careful during their tours, as the U.S. embassy has not yet been established in the capital. This means less protection for Americans while within the country’s borders; if you get into legal trouble in Cuba it is not a simple matter of having the government bail you out as in other countries. Because the diplomatic and cultural relationship with Cuba has only been very recently unfrozen, the risk factor for U.S. citizens is higher as the authorities there retain enduring suspicions regarding America. This not only puts additional pressure on tourists to behave properly and within the parameters of what the State Department allows, but also places a limit on the rights an American might expect to have based on what is endorsed on home turf.
As with any international travel, going to Cuba requires a valid passport and a tourist visa. Be advised that these can take some time to procure – in the case of a new visa, allow up to 45 days for your application to be processed. To expedite this you can go through an independent company, such as Choice Passport, which serves all of your needs for visas and passports online with speed and efficiency. For a few dollars more you can expedite the visa application process and receive your Cuban visa in under 15 business days, so getting on the road almost immediately is totally possible.
In many ways, Cuba is the next frontier of exploration. After 50 years of isolation, Americans can finally set foot on no-longer forbidden earth and start down the road toward intercultural friendship. Whether your wish to visit Cuba is born of historical and anthropological fascination, or from the desire to join the U.S.’s effort of rebuilding old cultural ties and support, the possibilities are there. The short answer is: yes, you can go to Cuba now. Visit Choice Passport online or call (855) 246-4243 and launch your exciting Cuban adventure today.
A visa is a travel document issued by authorized government agencies to foreign citizens applying to enter, exit from or transit through the host country’s territory based on the host country’s laws and regulations.
In accordance with international law and practice, any sovereign state is entitled to decide on whether or not to allow a foreign citizen to enter or exit from its territory, and whether to issue a visa, decline a visa application or to cancel an issued visa in accordance with its national laws.
Chinese consular officials are entitled to decide on the type, number of entries, validity and duration of each stay of a visa to be issued based on Chinese laws and regulations. Consular officials reserve the right to decline a visa application or revoke an issued visa.
- Visa is required for a foreign citizen to visit China
Foreign citizens must obtain a Chinese visa before entry into China, with the exception of visa-free entry based on relevant agreements or regulations.
- Visa Types
Chinese visas fall into four types: diplomatic visa, courtesy visa, service visa and ordinary visa. Ordinary visas are further divided into the following categories:
|Visa Categories||Description of Visa|
|C||Issued to foreign crew members of means of international transportation, including aircraft, trains and ships, or motor vehicle drivers engaged in cross-border transport activities, or to the accompanying family members of the crew members of the above-mentioned ships.|
|D||Issued to those who intend to reside in China permanently.|
|F||Issued to those who intend to go to China for exchanges, visits, study toursand other activities.|
|G||Issued to those who intend to transit through China.|
|J1||Issued to resident foreign journalists of foreign news organizations stationed in China.The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days.|
|J2||Issued to foreign journalists who intend to go to China for short-term news coverage.The intended duration of stay in China is no more than 180 days.|
|L||Issued to those who intend to go to China as a tourist.|
|M||Issued to those who intend to go to China for commercial and trade activities.|
|Q1||Issued to those who are family members of Chinese citizens or of foreigners with Chinese permanent residence and intend to go to China for family reunion, or to those who intend to go to China for the purpose of foster care. The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days.”Family members” refers to spouses, parents, sons, daughters, spouses of sons or daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandsons, granddaughters and parents-in-law.|
|Q2||Issued to those who intend to visit their relatives who are Chinese citizens residing in China or foreigners with permanent residence in China. The intended duration of stay in China is no more than 180 days.|
|R||Issued to those who are high-level talents or whose skills are urgently needed in China.|
|S1||Issued to those who intend to go to China to visit the foreigners working or studying in China to whom they are spouses, parents, sons or daughters under the age of 18 or parents-in-law, or to those who intend to go to China for other private affairs. The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days.|
|S2||Issued to those who intend to visit their family members who are foreigners working or studying in China, or to those who intend to go to China for other private matters.The intended duration of stay in China is no more than 180 days.”family members” refers to spouses, parents, sons, daughters, spouses of sons or daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandsons, granddaughters and parents-in-law.|
|X1||Issued to those who intend to study in China for a period of more than 180 days.|
|X2||Issued to those who intend to study in China for a period of no more than 180 days.|
|Z||Issued to those who intend to work in China.|
- Validity, Number of Entries and Duration of Each Stay of Chinese Visas
1) Visa Validity (“Enter Before”) means that the visa is valid, or can be used for entry into China from the date of issue to the “Enter Before” date indicated on the visa (Beijing Time). If a visa has unused entries, the bearer can enter China before 24:00 (Beijing Time) on the expiration date.
2) “Entries” refers to the number of times the bearer is permitted to enter China during the validity of a visa.
A visa becomes invalid if there are no entries left, or there are entries left but the visa validity expires. If a visa becomes invalid, its bearer must apply for a new visa before entering China. Traveling with an invalid visa to China will result in refusal of entry.
3) “Duration of Each Stay” refers to the maximum number of days the visa bearer is permitted to stay in China each time, which is calculated from the date of entry into China.
A foreign citizen who overstays the end date of his/her authorized stay in China without going through extension formalities is subject to fines and other penalties for violation of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Control of the Entry and Exit of Aliens and its Detailed Rules for Implementation. If a visa bearer is to stay in China longer than the duration of stay allowed on the visa, approval must be obtained from local public security authorities above the county level before the duration of stay expires. Approval of an extension of stay may or may not be granted. Please check the website of the local public security authorities in China for more information. Chinese Embassies and Consulates overseas are not authorized to extend a visa.
A bearer of a Work (Z) Visa, Student (X) Visa, Permanent Resident (D) Visa, or Resident Journalist (J-1) Visa must apply for a residence permit at the local public security authorities within 30 days of entry into China. Members of foreign diplomatic or consular missions in China must apply for a residence permit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or local foreign affairs departments within 30 days of entry into China.
- Visa-free Entry
A foreign citizen can enter China without a visa under any one of the following circumstances:
1) Direct Transit
A foreign citizen who is transiting through China by air is exempted from a visa if he/she will stay only in the airport for no more than 24 hours and has a valid connecting ticket with confirmed seating on an international flight.
Citizens with passport or other international travel document, confirmed interline ticket and valid visa to the third country or region (if required) of the following 51 countries , can apply to stay in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong Province and Chengdu without visa for 72 hours on direct transit via Beijing Capital Airport, Shanghai Pudong Airport or Hongqiao Airport , Guangzhou Baiyun Airport and Chengdu Shuangliu Airport:
Albania, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Montenegro, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.
2) Visiting the Pearl River Delta or Hainan Island
- A foreign citizen holding an ordinary passport issued by any country with diplomatic relations with China is exempted from a visa if he or she is already in Hong Kong or Macao and joins a tourist group organized by a travel agency, which is registered in Hong Kong or Macao, for a visit to the Pearl River Delta region (including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing and Huizhou) and his/her stay is no more than 6 days.
- A foreign citizen holding an ordinary passport issued by any of the following countries is exempted from a visa if he or she joins a tourist group (of 5 or more persons) organized by an international travel agency registered in Hainan with the approval of China National Tourism Administration to visit Hainan Province and his/her stay is no more than 15 days: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the U.K., Ukraine and the United States of America.
Citizens of Germany, Republic of Korea and Russia may join an international tourist group (of 2 or more persons) and can stay up to 21 days.
3) Citizens of Singapore, Brunei and Japan
A citizen of Singapore, Brunei or Japan with an ordinary passport is exempted from a visa if he/she visits China’s mainland for tourism, business, or meeting with friends or relatives, and if he/she enters China through ports open to foreigners, and stays for no more than 15 days.
However, a visa is required for citizens of these three countries under any of the following circumstances:
- An ordinary passport holder visits China for tourism, business, or meeting with friends or relatives, and stays for more than 15 days.
- An ordinary passport holder visits China for the purpose of study, work, permanent residency, official visits and news coverage.
- A Japanese citizen travels with a diplomatic or official passport.
4) Holders of Valid APEC Business Travel Card
The APEC Business Travel Card is a substitute of a multiple-entry visa valid for 3 years. A card holder who presents a valid passport whose image and biographic data exactly matches that on the APEC Business Travel Card can enter China multiple times during the validity of the card for a stay of no more than 2 months each time.
5) Foreigner’s Permanent Residence Card Holders
6) Holders of Residence Permit for Foreigners issued by the Ministry of Public Security
Foreign citizens entering China for the purpose of study or employment or as resident foreign journalists must apply for a residence permit at local public security authorities within 30 days of entry into China. Permit holders may stay in China and enter or exit China multiple times without the need of a visa during the validity period of the permit.
7) Bilateral Agreement
Based on bilateral agreements signed or reached between China and foreign countries, foreign citizens of some countries who meet certain requirements may visit China without a visa. Please see the list of agreements on visa exemption signed between China and foreign countries for more information.
Visa on Arrival Facility is available for holders of passport of following countries
Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Djibouti, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, New Zealand,
Niue Island, Norway, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands,Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, USA, Vanuatu, Vietnam.
- International Travellers whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation , sight seeing , casual visit to meet friends or relatives, short duration medical treatment or casual business visit.
- Passport should have at least six months validity from the date of arrival in India. The passport should have at least two blank pages for stamping by the Immigration Officer.
- International Travellers should have return ticket or onward journey ticket,with sufficient money to spend during his/her stay in India.
- International Travellers having Pakistani Passport or Pakistani origin may please apply for regular Visa at Indian Mission.
- Not available to Diplomatic/Official Passport Holders.
- Not available to individuals endorsed on Parent’s/Spouse’s Passport i.e. each individual should have a separate passport.
- Not available to International Travel Document Holders.