Digging My Way to China!

Applying for my Chinese Visa has been one of the most bizarre experiences that I have encountered during my time here in the United Kingdom.  Upon discovering that I was going to travel to the country of China after my exams were over, I was told that I would need to acquire a visa.  Unfortunately, it is required for me to submit my application in person which meant I would have to travel to either London or Manchester.  Because I had been to London several times and knew that it was easy to maneuver around, I decided this would probably be the best location to apply.  I was totally wrong.  After arriving, I ran into a flurry of confusion and frustration as the rude receptionist told me I had filled out the wrong application form and needed an invitation letter as well as scanned copies of the invitee’s passport and visa.  After contacting the person that invited me and trying to get all the necessary documents together, it was determined that it was not going to happen that day.  One of the things that really was frustrating was how rude and unhelpful the people who were checking my documents.  I believe the exact words she asked me were “Are you incompetent or have trouble understanding English?”

Because of this, I decided that I would travel to Manchester for my second attempt to apply for my visa.  In this scenario, I was greeted by a friendly and smiling receptionist who waived my straight up to the window to turn in the documents for my application.  It was upon arriving to the window that I was told that my invitee that was living in China was unqualified to be an official invitee (due to his type of visa), but was given other options in order to complete the application procedure.  I was able to discuss with my friend really quickly and the problem was solved.  Although there was a bit of inconvenience, the people at the Manchester Chinese Embassy were so much more helpful than those in London, and I was truly amazed how much location truly matters.  Because of this, I was able to pick up my passport with my Chinese Visa the next week (which is valid for 10 years), and I am anticipating my trip out to Chengdu, China.

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