There are two ways to get express China visa service. Either you apply in person or you find someone who can submit the application for you. Either way, you can have your China visa application processed as quickly as the same day if you submit the required documents and pay the appropriate fees.
There are several types of China travel visas and each one has specific requirements. However, they all have the following three requirements in common: a completed visa application form, a valid United States passport with at least six months of validity remaining after the intended date of your arrival to China, and one passport-style photo that is 2X2 inches in size.
The three Chinese visa requirements listed above are all that is needed to obtain a Chinese tourist visa. For a business visa, applicants also need to submit a Visa Notification issued by an authorized Chinese unit, a business letter describing the nature of your business and duration of stay, and a letter of invitation from a Chinese company addressed to the Chinese embassy and written on official company letterhead. Applicants for a crew visa must submit a copy of their Crew Member Badge ID and a flight or vessel crew visa cover letter issued by the airline or shipping company in addition to the three basic requirements.
The visa fee for United States citizens is $130. It can be paid by credit card, money order, cashier's check, company check or cash. Personal checks are not accepted. Regular processing time is 4 business days. For an additional fee of $20, you can have your China visa application processed in 2-3 business days. And you can have the application processed in only 1 business day if you pay an extra $30. You can even receive your visa on the same day if the application is submitted before 12:30 p. m.
The Chinese consulate services require that applicants either appear in person or send their application with someone who is authorized to represent them. This can be a family member, friend, travel agent or private visa expediter. Travel agents usually charge an extra fee for this service as do visa expediters. The amount of the fee depends on how quickly you want your China visa application to be processed. It can be as little as $39 or as much as $169 for same day expediting service.
If you need to request express China visa service, it usually means that you are pressed for time. While personally submitting the visa application could save you some money, it is not always possible in such situations, especially if you live far from any Chinese consulate. Besides the consulate section of the Chinese embassy in DC, there are Chinese consulates located in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, New York and Chicago.
One option is to see if you can get a connecting flight through one of the cities where a Chinese consulate is located. You can then request a one-day layover which would allow you the necessary time to personally submit the applications. Of course, you would have to make sure that the layover did not fall on a weekend or a holiday for which the consulate would be closed.
However, if you think attempting to squeeze in this process in a one-day layover is too big a risk and you do not have a relative or friend who can do it for you, then a private visa expediter may be your best option. While there is the disadvantage of the additional fee, there is the advantage of having an experienced professional submit your application and free you up to spend your time making other preparations. And when you are in a hurry, time is one of your most valuable assets.