Because Mr. No-Backpacker is a so-called “foreign specialist” we’ll both (hopefully) get a work VISA. I’m not going to work in China, but because I’m going to commute between China and Norway (!) it’ll make my life so much easier to have a multi-entry VISA so I don’t need to apply for a new VISA every time I want to visit my husband.
To get a work VISA is not that difficult if you know all the steps, but it’s really time-consuming, at least if you forget one step in the middle… I’m sure it’s doable on your own, but I take it it’s easier if you have a Chinese-speaking friend to follow you. Let’s take it from start.
First you will have to have 9 pictures with a 2 inch white background. If we knew this we would have taken them from home, but we didn’t and needed to find a photographer to take the pictures. There was one at the Zhejiang campus, but to be honest, I can’t explain where…
After we got the photoes we took a taxi to a special medical office to get a medical test. THAT was an experience!
You then get a scheme to follow. You don’t need to follow the scheme one after one, but you have to go through all the test before you are finnished. Outside each office there are queues of people waiting. Stand in line in the shortest queue and wait for your turn! Looking at the scheme it seems like a very complicated examination, but in reality every step is finnished within 1 minute. My biggest problem was that I went to the toilet when we arrived and didn’t know they wanted a urine-sample!
I think the whole seanse took around an hour. Becasue we needed the results for the medical tests for the next step, we had to wait until afternnon the next day.
After picking up the medical test results (yey, I passed, but for a strange reason got a new diagnoses from the x-ray: Scolioses… I might need to check that out when I get back to Norway…) we headed for the “Zhejiang provincial administration of foreign experts affairs”. We thought we had all the right papers, but unfortunately we didn’t have the right insurance, at least not in English… We had to come back the day after… At this time I got a feeling I was doing “The big race”!
Third day: We got up early, got a taxi and back to the office. Unfortunately the woman who could help us was out for an hour and we had to take a walk. Luckily the West Lake, one of the most beautiful attractions in Hangzhou, was very close and we had a coffee by the lake. (Hangzhou is one of the “greenest cities” in China, morea bout that later….)
After an hour or so we got a call from the right woman and headed back. Luckily we had the right papers (we used the Norwegian travel-insurance where the insurance-company had a statement written in English) and Mr. No-Backpacker got the blue book telling he is a foreign expert (and I am the wife… for this we knew we needed an official paper, written in English, telling we are married).
New taxi… To the Visa-office. While waiting there we suddnely understood we needed a statement from the local police-office that we actually were living in an appartment… Oh well… new taxi… When we arrived to the police-office it had closed for lunch, 2 hours… A quick call to the administration-office where we live told us we were anyway at the wrong police-district!
The people working at the VISA-office spoke English, but our Chinese friend helped us and everything went smooth until we realized that the VISA would not be finnished before 2 days after I was gong to leave! Fortunately I had the printout of my e-ticket and they made a note on my VISA to do it faster! At this office you have to hand in your passport, but you get a note you can use for travelling within China if you need that. (You will need it not only for airfares, but also to take the train.)
Fingers crossed I will get my VISA (and passport) before I’m returning back home, if not… well… I don’t want to think about it!
In summary, the list is like this (please be aware that this is for people who seek work VISA as a foreign expert):
1. Take 9 pictures, white background, 2 inches.
2. Go to the special medical office to get all your test done. I THINK there are people there who speak English. At least I saw lots of people there who didn’t have a Chinese translator!
3. Pick up the test the day after.
4. Go to the “administration of foreign experts affairs” to get the blue book. They speak English at this office.
5. Find the local police-office and get a statement that proves you live where you live (to be honest, I don’t know how you do this as we had our Chinese friend to help us). They don’t speakEnglish here.
6. Go to the VISA office and fill in the papers there. They speak English here.