This time is only for a short holiday too, but until we are married Kimi cannot leave her job and come and live with me. The main reason for this is the one and only gripe for her and fellow Chinese citizens travelling outside of China: the visa. For Kimi to come on holiday to the UK she has to apply for a visitor's visa (sometimes known as a tourist or travel visa). Now when I, as a British citizen, go to China on holiday I also need a visa. This consists of travelling to the nearest Chinese Embassy or consulate, paying about £30, answering a double-sided A4 form with questions such as "Do you have a criminal record?" and "Do you have any fatal diseases?" (I've never really seen the point of questions like this, I'm pretty sure they check out all such information regardless of whether you say "Yes" or "No"), oh, and a couple of passport photos. But for poor Kimi, as a Chinese citizen, she has to compile a portfolio of information just to get a visitor's visa for a short holiday. Take a deep breath as I list the requirements of her visa application (just remember this is for a holiday, not for emigration):
- One completed and signed 10 page visa application form
- A current and previous passport and photocopy of recent passport
- One recent passport photo
- Household register
- An invitation letter from my father allowing her to stay in his house and be responsible for her
- My father's utility bill, birth certificate, photocopy of driving licence, bank statements, home insurance, and council tax bill.
- Evidence of current employment status including the organization code of the company and business license.
- Permission of leave from her boss
- Certificate of employment and income
- Evidence of her financial status which meant freezing 50,000RMB (approximately £5,000) in her bank account
- Bank statements for the last 6 months
- Evidence of her relationship with me including boarding passes of recent holidays, emails sent between us dating back to 2007, and photographs of us together at various locations and times
- A photocopy of my passport and Chinese working visa
- Payment of 715RMB (approximately £70)
Shocking isn't it? And all of this does not even guarantee a successful application. Luckily Kimi has received hers on both occasions which should stand us in good stead for the future. It could be a myth, but I have heard that applications can be rejected on a random basis, they just have to reject some for no apparent reason. For the lucky ones who are successful in their visa applications, they receive a lovely sticker in their passport saying they can stay in the UK for 6 months -- Kimi only needs three weeks.
After all of this hard work, I hope Kimi is enjoying her 20+ hours of sleepless aeroplane travel from Wenzhou to Manchester....
|The joys of travel|