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Will visa runs to Hong Kong or a third country be possible?

The statute and State Council regulations are silent on this. As a practical matter, PRC embassies and consulates send mixed messages on this issue. For example:

  • The Hong Kong Office of the Commissioner of the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that “Applicants who do not enjoy HK resident status should apply for visas with the Chinese Embassies or Consulates General in their countries of citizenship or residence.” In practice, the Hong Kong Office is not that strict.

  • The PRC Consulate in New York states, “Applicants who reside or travel away from the country of his or her nationality can apply for visas at a local Chinese Embassy or Consulate.” Along the same lines, the PRC Consulate in Los Angeles states, “If you are not applying for the visa in the country of your citizenship, you must provide the original and photocopy of your valid certificates or visa of stay, residence, employment or student status, or other valid certificates of legal staying provided by the relevant authorities of the country where you are currently staying.”

Our firm checks about current local practices before advising an applicant whether to apply in a country where he or she is not a long-term resident. Also, in our experience, the validity of a visa may be shorter for an applicant not applying in a country where he or she is not a citizen.