--On Wednesday, August 25, 2010 07:54 -0400 "Richard L. Barnes"
FWIW, I was required to provide such a letter for a visa to
Saudi Arabia earlier this year. So it's not without precedent.
On Aug 24, 2010, at 11:59 PM, Andrew Allen wrote:
It seems you now also need a support letter from your own
When I tried to get my business visa for China last year they
refused to process my application without such a support
letter. This was the first time I had been asked for such a
Several countries routinely require such endorsement letters.
Some don't list them as a requirement, but the consulate has the
right to ask for any additional materials it decides it needs
before it processes an application... and some, routinely, do.
To make things even more complicated, visa agencies don't like
wasting their own time and so often impose requirements based on
what they've been asked for in the past so that they only need
to submit one package to the consulate. So, if you are not
going to hard-carry your application to the consulate and then
pick the visa up yourself (and can't find a friend), you may see
such requirements from whatever agency you hire to get the visa
processed for you.
Nothing above applies specifically to China; the comments apply
more or less to any country that requires that visitors obtain
visas in advance of arriving especially from countries that
won't accept mailed-in applications.
Let me give four bits of advice to anyone who has been lucky
enough to always travel on visa waiver or visa-at-entry programs
and hence hasn't been through this before:
(1) It isn't about China. We've met in Australia and, at the
time, they required paper visas for travelers on US passports.
In the competition to have the most difficult, and probably the
most arbitrary, visa application and issuance process, the US is
probably the hands-down winner. Indeed, several countries have
apparently imposed especially difficult requirements and/or high
fees on via applicants who hold US passports in response to
their perception of how the US treats their own citizens.
(2) Another common requirement is that you actually have
round-trip airline tickets purchased prior to making the visa
application. China doesn't appear to want that any more, but
individual consulates probably have the right to insist and some
visa agencies may do so.
(3) If you have questions, ask the relevant consulate or, if you
plan to use a visa agency, find an experienced one and ask them.
If the visa agency won't handle an application from you without
particular documentation, your belief (or some third party's
belief) that you don't really need those documents will get you
exactly nowhere except an opportunity to have your application
delayed until after the meeting. And, if the relevant consular
official has a different opinion about what you need from
whatever you hear on this list, guess whose opinion counts.
(4) Partially as a corollary to (2), believe what you hear
directly from the relevant country's immigration authorities or
foreign ministry. Remember that, if you take other advice and
things go wrong, you are the one who is responsible and that
some countries have a really bad attitude toward those who break
their immigration laws (again, the US may be near the top of the
list). As far as advice from others (including me) is
concerned, remember what you are paying for it. Remember too
that different countries have different category definitions.
Some consider that "tourist" extends to "short-term non-work
purposes" and others don't. Some will allow some business
visits in conjunction with a tourist visa as long as one spends
most of one's time doing tourist-things. Others believe that
even an hour of business on a trip requires a business visa no
matter how much time one spends sightseeing. And some have
special visa categories for, e.g., attending professional
meetings or conferences while others don't. You need to
understand the rules for a particular country and, as needed,
get advice from those with authority to give it.
Finally, independent of what can be done on an "unlikely to be
caught" basis, IMO giving people advice on a public list about
how to circumvent or violate the laws of a country one intends
to visit would seem to me to be a bad idea, whether the estimate
of the odds of being cause is accurate or not. Not being an
expert on the visa and immigration laws of any country,
including my own, I have no opinion as to whether such advice
has been given in this particular thread.
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