Jump to content

Beijing Residents Hosting Foreigners?


lplove
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone-

In Beijing, I had planned to stay with a friend's relative (my friend is not staying with me and I do not existingly know the relative but they were ok with me staying). They had agreed to host me at no charge (although I would happily pay to stay). Recently I found out that they can't host me anymore because the Beijing Olympic Committee will not allow them to host foreigners. This sounds quite odd (I thought Beijing wanted to display a friendly front) and I am wondering if there is a misunderstanding on one of our parts. I tried searching online for this regulation to no avail. Has anyone heard of a similar rule?

thanks in advance for your help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Chinese government security apparatus, and particularly in Beijing, has since March been changing one or more regulations almost on a weekly basis. Usually without communicating what the changes are. Up until about a month or so ago, a Beijing resident could have a guest, as long as they went to the police to register the "temporary residence" upon the guest's arrival. Sometime in the last few weeks, this has morphed into "no overnight guests" unless the guest is a relative of the resident, and the relationship can be proven. Friendship doesn't count. If your friend is Chinese, they probably do not want to invite extra scrutiny or jump through hoops to try to get around this, unless you also look ethnic Chinese and can pass for long-lost "Cousing Wang" or something. If your friend is a foreigner, it may still be possible to get around this, with a bit of additional trouble if the friend is willing AND able.

You should be aware that there is a long-standing regulation on the books in China, stating that all visitors (foreigners and domestic) must register with the local police station where they will be staying overnight, when they first arrive and whenever they move to a new location. Visitors who stay in commercial hotels and hostels (and some serviced apartments) do not do this personally, as the hotel does this step for you. But anyone staying in private housing (rented apartment, with a friend or relative, etc) must go to the police in person, with passport, usually with the landlord or inviting friend, and get an official piece of paper that certifies their temporary residence. Until late last year, this regulation was pretty much ignored in Beijing and most other cities, except for some foreigners living in Chinese housing in stricter local police districts. Since then, this has been enforced with increasing strictness--including police "sweeps" of housing areas--and fines for noncompliance. This has been a hassle for all, including expats living in their own apartments.

If you do not already have a Chinese visa to use for entering the country, you will obviously need to apply soon. For the last couple of months and for the foreseeable future, anybody submitting visa application (i.e. for tourism visit) needs to provide proof of tickets entering and leaving China, and confirmed accommodation bookings. Depending on your passport and where you apply, sometimes the "confirmed accommodation bookings" is waived for everything but the first night or so, or not asked for at all. People staying in private housing normally need to provide a letter of invitation from the host, sometimes the host's ownership certificate (or rental agreement). This is a big hassle to do in real-time. You cannot press your friend to accommodate you and provide the necessary paperwork, if they feel they can't (it may put them at risk for increased security scrutiny that they may not be comfortable with).

This latest version of the overnight stay regulations puts the entire issue of homestays and renting private apartments into question. As to this foreigner-stay-away unfriendliness being in contrast with the We Welcome the World official BOCOG message....well, welcome to China. Consistency in logic across the various government bureaus has never been a particular Chinese strong suit. And to be fair, the Beijing authorities are also checking residence papers of the local Chinese, with anybody not a legit Beijinger or having official temporary residence in the city, being shown the door until after the Paralympics conclude.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I yesterday called our Ministry of Foreign affairs regarding the VISA for China.

I first also had friends where I wanted to sleep. But they told me some later it was better I could sleep at a University campus. So now I have a room there.

The Ministry told you need your flight schedule, and exactly where you are each night with confirmations from hotels, or other places where you will sleep, a recent picture of yourself, a valid ID, and Olympic tickets (very important). China has restricted foreign students allowed to stay in Beijing in this summer to at most 150,000. The others have to leave China. It's not allowed to go to China without Olympic tickets. Tourists who only are going to see the forbidden city, chinese wall and not have any olympic tickets don't get a VISA.

I first have to request a new ID, that's valid thourgh half July. I think I will request my VISA in the week of July 7.

I have a flight schedule, next week I get my accommodation confirmation, I have a valid ID next week, picture I already have, I have a list with confirmed olympic tickets on my name. I think that's enough.

Has anyone a VISA already?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I yesterday called our Ministry of Foreign affairs regarding the VISA for China.

I first also had friends where I wanted to sleep. But they told me some later it was better I could sleep at a University campus. So now I have a room there.

The Ministry told you need your flight schedule, and exactly where you are each night with confirmations from hotels, or other places where you will sleep, a recent picture of yourself, a valid ID, and Olympic tickets (very important). China has restricted foreign students allowed to stay in Beijing in this summer to at most 150,000. The others have to leave China. It's not allowed to go to China without Olympic tickets. Tourists who only are going to see the forbidden city, chinese wall and not have any olympic tickets don't get a VISA.

I first have to request a new ID, that's valid thourgh half July. I think I will request my VISA in the week of July 7.

I have a flight schedule, next week I get my accommodation confirmation, I have a valid ID next week, picture I already have, I have a list with confirmed olympic tickets on my name. I think that's enough.

Has anyone a VISA already?

Having Olympic tickets as a prerequisite for getting a Chinese visa this summer is only a rumor and is not being enforced by most Chinese Embassies/Consulates. It certainly has not come down from on high from central gov't in Beijing. There are plenty of tourists all over the world who have just received visas for visits this July or August, and whose visits have nothing to do with the Olympics, and who don't have Olympic tickets. The government HAS stated that just because you HAVE Olympic tickets, doesn't mean you will automatically be granted a visa. The foreign student limitation number of 150,000 is a crock, as generally in the summer in a "normal" year, there aren't that many students around anyway. What is being restricted for students whose visas expire between July 1-end of August is a renewal, or issuance of new student visas until just before term beings in early September.

Also being restricted to most nationalities is the number of entries allowed (generally, only single entry) and duration of stay (generally, only 30 days with a big ??? on whether extensions in-country will be allowed after July 1). There are also restrictions in many countries about accepting applications from non-citizens/non-residents of that country--sometimes an outright refusal to accept the application, or a higher burden of proof. Citizens of many countries in Asia, Middle East, North Africa are on the "blacklist" and must apply in their home countries. Remember that once you get the Chinese visa in your passport, you can pretty much change your itinerary to whatever you want, subject to the entry and stay restrictions of the visa itself. Many people are doing this, and getting refundable tickets/accommodation bookings that are cancellable with minimal penalty, only to satisfy the visa application game.

What visa a specific individual gets depends partly on passport, where application is made, the disposition of the visa officer who processes, etc. Torch, understand that regardless of what this person at this "Ministry of Foreign Affairs" told you on a particular day, it doesn't necessarily mean that the information is correct, or being interpreted the same way by Chinese visa officers, or being enforced, or that there aren't more "hidden factors" that you will never be told. The person on the other end of the phone may not be in the best position to know the latest. Chinese Embassies--when you can reach them by phone--are notorious for giving out crap or incomplete information. It also doesn't mean that any other official at the same or different Embassy location in another country will quote the same thing. This is China, and the torrent of illogic and confusion is pretty much Standard Operating Procedure. It's just much worse this year due to Olympics and other factors, as the official and hidden regulations have been coming faster than usual and are more burdensome, especially for overland and independent travellers. Remember that what you were told over the phone in the end counts for nothing, the only thing that counts is getting the visa you need in your passport, in timely fashion. I definitely think that plans to stay with a friend or in a private residence/rent an apartment could complicate your application, compared to having commercial hotel or hostel bookings.

For those who still need to make application for Chinese visa, I submit that Gamesbids is not set up to provide up-to-date information on what's really happening. I'd suggest immediately going to travel discussion forums where this is a hot topic. Lonely Planet's Thorntree, Northeast Asia Branch, has as threads 2 and3, a Chinese Visa Alert and Chinese Visa Sticky with active daily input, as it is now 79 pages long, I suggest you either start at the end and work backwards, or search the thread itself for your location to see what results are being obtained for a given set of hoops to jump through. Chinese Visas

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...