The Day After – Recap of Border Crossing Into Shenzhen (China Visa)
Wow, what a trip! Typing this up “the morning after” and we are going to give some highlights here.
After landing in Hong Kong and the excitement – I felt I should get a new visa? Why – my 10 year (2019-2029) was cancelled due to covid – being stuck in China and overstaying the 60 day visit limit – we converted it to a marriage visa under Wendy.
The marriage visa is actually valid, and the expiration date is May 2023! But Wendy told me when we left China to Thailand, I could no longer use that visa (because now I work in Thailand?)
Yet I waited in line at the HK visa agency for almost 2 hours (with my partner and good friend Ray at Unipro HK ) – to show them my various visas. The visa agent looked at my marriage visa and said it would still work. That the date was in the future and it was a multiple entry.
So – had to try. Why do an application when the lines are long and the wait time in Hong Kong is 7 days (everyone is rushing in to China for the Canton Fair).
One way to find out – go to the border and try to enter China. Yet I had a bunch of meetings and events planned in Hong Kong – I had to test the visa to ensure it works (as am organizing a Canton Fair trip that starts on April 23 and if I do need to wait 7 days, I’d need to do that asap).
Then, on this trekking around Hong Kong (bank fixing, CPA transfer documents, a nice HK diner lunch) – I found out Zack Franklin is also processing his China visa and would get it 4pm today too.
So let’s go together – nice! Make this a little dynamic duo trip.
We meet at the Jordan cross border bus station and depart about 615pm on Wednesday April 12, 2023 – he had his approved 10 year business visa, and was ready to roll. Zack had done the 7 day wait in Hong Kong and was anxious to return to China after being “locked / blocked / delayed” to re-enter since covid days in early 2020.
What trauma we have all been through. As we took the bus together, he asked if I knew others returning. I just realized how many had left. How many may come back. How frustrated this cross border business community is.
After 45 minutes, approximately 7pm – we arrived at the Huang Gang border. Only about 6 people on the bus, and we seemed the only “Westerners” (again just eyeball check) – Zack and I approached the border.
No lines! Still very empty.
New forms to fill out, new Qr codes, apps, things to fill out. Fingerprints, face scan, reporting countries you have been to. Intense stuff.
Then I approached the counter – turned in my passport, documents, and the 2 people (yes 2 officers at the counter) reviewed my passport and documents.
They flipped to the marriage visa. They asked who on my family was in China. My wife is now in Thailand, so I couldn’t tell what they knew but assumed they could figure it out – so I said I am coming to see my parents in law. They said “my parents”. I said no my wife’s parents. Then they took my passport to a back room, not sure exactly, a third agent came out with it. More discussions I couldn’t understand or interpret. But then they asked “your wife is chinese?” I said “yes”, then more discussion , a stamp on my passport, and I was allowed in.
Zack was behind me and overhearing most of it. A ten minute ordeal and I made it in.
Wow, intense, long, paperwork, fingerprints, “interrogation” – as I scanned my bags in the detectors I said “i just can’t go back to Hong Kong tomorrow for these trade shows and events and meetings”. It is too much hassle and too risky if I will even be allowed back into Mainland China if I leave again.
So sorry to those friends and business colleagues who I arranged meetings with, I’ll be messaging you this morning to explain how I cannot leave Shenzhen until after the Guangzhou Canton Fair. Will have a day or 2 in HK on April 26,27 – and then fly back to Thailand on April 27.
Yet this makes me really feel – I am not welcome in China. Sheesh. I can’t tell if it is because of coronavirus, trade war, politics, me personally, my visa, or whatever. But Zack also had a 10 minute session at the counter too and agreed I shouldn’t risk leaving and trying to come back same day. Just too much hassle.
Some have asked question the border asked, so here is from memory:
I entered on spouse visa, not sure if it makes difference. But people ahead of me, behind me, and my other friend also had 10 min of questions.
Why am I coming
Where am I going
What family do I have in china
Why am I going to see them
How long will I be
When do I leave.
Where have I been, what other countries
What do I do for work
It was just unending honestly