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You've booked a ticket, bought a guidebook and Netflixed a documentary; it's official that you're excited to travel to a new destination. That is, you were excited until you read that the country requires a visa. We're not talking about the plastic credit card, but a little piece of paper or sticker that means you've filed paperwork and paid for the privilege to cross a border.
Obtaining a visa can either go the hard way (like Brazil) or the easy way (like Australia), and we're thrilled to announce that one visa-requiring country has made the decision to take their process completely online. Beginning April 11, 2014, Turkey will require visitors to file an e-Visa.
In order to visit China as a US citizen, you've got to apply, pay, and be approved for a visa. In order to apply for that visa, you've already got to have a China trip booked, including round-trip ticket. It's a true Catch-22, because what if you're denied for some reason or make some small mistake in the application process?
Luckily for all who want to quickly cross China off their bucket list, both Beijing and Shanghai have just cut the need for visas completely for visitors on the ground for 72 hours or less.
Essentially you'll be "in transit," but 72 hours is much more than a sneeze in Shanghai's direction; 72 hours is 2-3 nights in town, meals, museums, gardens and perhaps a little shopping. All in all, moving quickly could mean a very good taste of one of these two metropoli before committing to a longer trip and the headache of getting one of those compulsory visas.
The only clincher to the new 72-hour, visa-free policy? Well, you've got to eventually continue on, and you have those 72 hours or less to do it. It's just a transit visa, after all, which you can apply for and be instantly approved at immigration.
Isn't it just the worst when you've taken a chunk out of your day and money out of the ATM to head on over to the Chinese consulate to get your Chinese Visa paperwork submitted, and then find out you've filled out the wrong form? #worldtravelerproblems
Even if this hasn't happened to you, it most likely will at some point because scoring that necessary visa for travel to China is only getting more convoluted with the addition of extra documentation.
Up until recently, Americans with China travel on the horizon needed only to complete a form, turn in their passport (valid for at least another 6 months), turn in a 2x2" passport photo and $140, then make it over to China within 90 days of the issuing of the Tourist Visa to keep it valid for the year. On August 1, new requirements came into effect and now you'll not only have to be ready with all of the above, but also provide the following: