Mr. Xiongfeng Chen, Counsellor and Consul General of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., had an exclusive interview with the US China Press on July 19, 2011 on the recent launch of the new Chinese Visa Application Form.
When asked about the requirement by the Chinese Consulate General in New York of online completion of the visa application form, Chen explained that the move was taken in the face of huge amount of applications. Handwritten applications, many of which are illegible, often result in deficiency in the review process. This requirement is not yet in practice at other Chinese missions in the US because they are not faced with such large number of applications.
Chen noted that practices of the various Chinese missions in the US may vary to a certain degree due to their different local circumstances and conditions. Chen advised that applicants should look for concrete requirements, read instructions and download application forms on the official website of the Chinese mission to which they intend to submit visa applications, and prepare application materials as required.
Chen pointed out that some measures, such as the requirement of completing the application form online or making an appointment before submitting the application, are parts of the major trend with the aim of ensuring accuracy and efficiency in handling the large increase of visa applications. The Chinese Consulate General in New York has taken the lead in this regard and other Chinese missions in the US may follow suit when necessary. As a matter of fact, it is already the standard practice of US missions abroad to require applicants to submit applications online, seek an appointment for interview, and leave finger prints. To adapt to the changing international security situation, many countries have adjusted their visa forms in order to collect more data, such as fingerprints, from visa applicants. Chen believes that China will follow this general trend in the near future.
Following the launch of the new visa application form, the Chinese Embassy and Consulates in the US will appraise the results and reach out for comments and suggestions about the new form. If any part of the form is found inappropriate or truly unnecessary, recommendations will be made for amendment of the form when it is next updated.
Chen specifically emphasized that the new form is not designed to complicate the visa process. Visa offices will continue to complete the review process within 4 working days, or even 2-3 working days on urgent basis. The existing policy of visa exemption for entry into parts of China by citizens of some countries will remain unchanged. Earlier speculations that the new visa application form would complicate or even cause delay to the visa review process during the peak months of tourism in July and August is unfounded.