Getting My 10 Year Chinese Visa Was So Much Easier Than I Thought!

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Chinese Visa Passport Service Recommendation

As I wrote about the other day, I am taking my dad to Asia to re-live his younger days when he was stationed there in the Navy. We will be ending our trip in Shanghai and while he will just be using the transit Visa, I wanted to finally get my Chinese Visa since I have been putting it off. I am in the area enough that having the Visa will be convenient and allow me to see some cool new areas and maybe even ride some of the new coasters they are building over there.

Of course getting a Chinese Visa isn’t all that easy.  According to the Chinese Embassy’s website there are 3 steps:

  • STEP 1: Select a visa category that best describes your trip to China and prepare your visa application including necessary supporting documents accordingly.
  • STEP 2: Submit your application to the Visa Office of Chinese Embassy/ Consulate General based on your State of residence (Locate a Visa Office that serves your state)
  • STEP 3: Pay the visa application fee at the Visa Office and pick up your visa. (Click to check fees and payments)

So I got about halfway through Step 1 and started reading about the type of Visa I needed along with the documentation required and my head started spinning. Not that I can’t do this all myself, but it seemed like a steep learning curve and a hassle. While I am generally someone who always does stuff himself, I realized I wanted some help so I looked for a service. The one I had heard about from other blogs was Allied Passport.

Allied Passport 10 Year Chinese Visa Service

Allied had also approached me to see if I wanted to have a referral relationship with them and I thought this would be the perfect way to test out their service. So I went to their website and suddenly things made a lot more sense. They broke it down simply and told me that I needed:

  • One completed China visa application. Save to your desktop before typing.
  • One professionally printed passport photo on hard stock glossy paper
  • Actual passport valid 6 months beyond trip completion and side by side blank visa pages
  • One flight itinerary with passenger name listed on reservation (required, but does not have to be purchased ticket or confirmed reservation, unbooked itineraries are acceptable)
  • One Allied Passport & Visa order form Save to your desktop before typing.

Starting the Visa Process

They made it easy with the instructions. Before long I filled out my application and their order form and was ready to mail my stuff off when… wife and I decided to go to Mexico to join our friends at the Hyatt Ziva! Uh-oh. Eventually I decided to bring the app and all of the other information with me on the trip so I could mail it from the East Coast (where we went from Mexico).

So there we were in New York having a great time and do you know what I forgot to do? Yup! I forgot to mail the Visa application. Thankfully I wasn’t out of luck. My next stop was Washington DC where Allied is located. I emailed Steve from Allied and asked if I could drop my documents off at his office. He said that was fine, but that he was out the rest of the day so I should put them in the security slot. That was Monday September, 12.

You can easily track the status of your Visa on their website.

On Tuesday morning the Allied folks came into work and began processing my application. They have a website setup to allow you to see the progress of your Visa. I did pay for their rush service (see below) which gave them up to 9 business days to complete the process before shipping. On their form they ask for the date you need the passport back. I said September 24 and they agreed to have it for me by then, but they did so much better.

On Thursday, just two days later, I received an email notification from FedEx. I had an overnight delivery coming the next morning from Washington DC. It was my passport. Allied got my passport on Tuesday morning and managed to have it in the mail with a 10 year Chinese Visa two days later.


The bottom line is that Allied Passport paid for themselves by saving me time and effort on figuring out the Visa process.. Had I not been in a time crunch, I simply would have mailed my passport to them and received it back. They make it simple and their website tracking was a pleasant surprise. So let me talk about their pricing.

Visa Fee:

The first fee you will pay is a Visa fee. This is the money that is going to the Embassy for the Visa.

  • 10 business days processing: $140
  • 5 business days processing: $140
  • 2 business days processing: $160

*Add $10 if you are outside of the DC Area jurisdiction.

Processing Fee:

Next, you have the Allied processing fees. This is the fee they charge for the work they do of getting your Passport to the Embassy and getting that Visa taken care of.

  • Standard Processing (10+ Business Days): $49
  • Expedited Processing (4-9 Business Days): $109
  • Emergency Processing (1-3 Business Days): $199

Shipping Fee:

The last cost is for them to ship your passport back to you.

  • FedEx 3 Day: $22
  • FedEx 2 Day: $26
  • FedEx Next Morning: $33
  • FedEx Saturday: $45

What I Paid

Since you no doubt think at this point that Allied must be paying me off to write this, that isn’t the case. I want to be 100% clear that I paid for their service with the caveat that they did give me free return shipping. That was nice, but I assure you it would take more to buy me off. 🙂

My Total Fees Were:

  • $170 Embassy Fee
  • + $109 Expedited Processing Fee
  • – $5 Miles to Memories Referral (You get this too!)
  • = $274

Save $5

As I said above, anyone can save $5 on their Chinese or any other Visa through Allied Passport. Simply use the link below and then on the order form put “Miles to Memories” in the referral box. They will subtract $5 from the total. We do get a few dollars as well if you say we referred you.

Allied Passport Website

Final Thoughts

To be honest, I was going to write this article anyway, because I think a lot of people are overwhelmed by the Chinese Visa process. Whether it included Allied Passport or not really depended to me on the service I was given and Steve and his staff really shined. If you plan ahead (and don’t travel out of the country last minute like me), then for $49 ($44 after discount) they take care of the hassle for you. That is pretty cheap.

Do you have a Chinese Visa? Did you do it yourself or did a company help you? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments to help others make up their mind whether using a service makes sense or not!

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  1. China visa update: they received all of my documents (and wife) on Oct 6 and shipped them back complete on Oct 11. I used the no rush service, followed the directions on the example app. and all went very smooth. Have not received the return package (3 days from now) but it says 10 year visa. Thanks Allied and Miles to Memories and for the link!

  2. Shawn,

    How difficult or time-consuming was the application process itself (the time you spent filling it out on your computer)?

    Did Allied provide you with their own China visa application form and was it MS Word, pdf, or other format?

    • @laptoptravel the china visa is available as a .pdf on the china consulate site. Takes about 20 mins if you follow the example from allied. Remember to save to your computer so that you may not have to fill out the blank form again.

  3. Did it myself at the consulate in NYC. You drop things off and pick them up a couple of days later. They check your application on the spot to let you know if something is not done correctly so you don’t waste a trip. When picking up you can even pay by credit card. It was really quite painless and luckily I was in town for a while and could go there in person.

  4. I got one two years ago it was a simple process , I live in Los Angeles though which makes it a two visit process . First is to process application and the next is to pickup and pay fee a couple of days later . The best is to use a expidiator to process your VISA if you don’t live in a city where there is a embassy or consulate .

  5. So anyone can get a 10 year ‘tourist’ entry visa? I always thought, except for the transit visas, tourists have to to go through an official Chinese travel company, i.e. no individual touring around China. Or do the visa processing companies arrange for the ‘invitation’ aspect, like what you have to have for Russia. If you don’t know anyone or are not doing business with any company/person in China how does that work? Always a mystery to me, confusing, costly, cumbersome, and I have avoided countries with such requirements. Not that interested in seeing terracotta statutes when I can hop a plane to Europe and see them in a museum – or here in the U.S. at special exhibits. At least there is one country in the world that has an easy hard and fast law regarding tourist visas: Saudi Arabia officially does not have tourism, and thus no category of that visa.

  6. So simply having a passport doesn’t let you into China? Hopefully you can forgive the stupid question as I don’t travel very much. This topic simply caught my attention.

    • You can transit in certain cities for 72 or 144 (varies by city) if you are coming from one country and going to another, but to travel to China outside of that you require a Visa.

  7. I used this last time after I tried to go to the embassy in DC myself and thought it was reasonable. The only thing I wish I could do differently is pay for the shipping back on my own and send a label or they include it in the processing fee….. I think $22 is a bit steep for 3 day.

    • When I used them (albeit a few years ago), they did allow for me to include my own FedEx label for return shipping…

  8. In the past, I’ve had my China Visa issued in Asia. While the Visa fee is fixed, processing fees vary. Most hotels have relationships with Visa expediters and I paid approximately $100 for next day service in Hong Kong. I realize this arrangement may not work for everyone, but it is an alternative.

    • When I was on the road in 2008 I did the same thing in Hong Kong to get a two entry Visa for the Olympics. Definitely can be done if you decide last minute or if you have time in a place like Hong Kong.

    • I asked this question when applying for my daughter’s visa. I was told I can bring the expired passport with the visa along with the new passport without visa.


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