The Bar Room > The Legalities Board: Visas, Permits, Taxes, and More! (ON-TOPIC)

Tickets,invitation letter and arrival date

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piglet:
Well it has come to the serious time guys.If my school says that the invitation letter is dated August 26th can I arrive in China before that date? I would really like to arrive in Shanghai around 23rd or so and have a couple of days to acclimatize before heading down to the school.Or can I only set foot in China on the 26th? Also what is the procedure for buying airline tickets? Can I buy a ticket now even though my letter of invitation has not yet arrived? I am getting a bit pressured because on the phone the travel agent said that the open return tickets to Shanghai already have a waiting list? WTF?
If I wait for the letter of invitation to arrive till beginning of August,as the school informs me, will I be stuck for a flight?
HELP! Panic sets in. ananananan

chinalin:
Hi there.

As far as the flight ticket goes, I have always bought a 12-month return flight.  But, once you have a resident permit in your passport, you can leave and return to China as often as you like.  You just need a return ticket for the first time.

When you get your visa, it will be valid for entry to China for three months, and it will come into operation on the day you enter the country.  I do not think that the date on the invitation letter has a lot of relevance, except for when they need you at the school, for orientation, and to start the process of getting the Z-Visa changed to a Residence Permit.

I would be hesitant about buying the air tickets, until you have the Z-Visa in your passport.  But maybe that is just me, being cautious of any (unlikely) delays with the visa processing.

Chinalin
Zhaoqing, Guangdong.

 bxbxbxbxbx

Cassnadra:
Hey Piglet!

I don't know about there but here you can buy a ticket before you get the visa.  The travel agent just warns you that you are responsible for obtaining your own visa.

I just got my invitation letter this week and I'll go to the consulate here and get the visa in August.  The university wants me a week early to do paperwork but I could arrive any time after I get my visa.

I'm sure there are people with much more expertise than I in the saloon but that's my wu jiao worth! :)

randyjac:
Quite exciting, Piglet. The post-dated invitation letter is a new one for me. Obviously the school does not want you to arrive in China before then, and the consulate may honor that.

As far as the air ticket is concerned, a person can buy one at any time, regardless of visa status. Normally, waiting until the last minute to purchase would not not be a wise choice for someone price-sensitive, such as myself. In addition, an open return ticket costs more. In my opinion, it makes sense to choose the return date now based on current information, knowing a change fee might be necessary down the road. Airline ticket prices are a real crap-shoot.

Good luck!   

teacheraus:
The date on the letter of invitation is simply the date on which they expect you to start work. The start date of the contract - not the first day you can arrive in the country. You just need to make sure that you are able to register for the Residency permit within 30 days of arriving in the country - so if you were going to travel around the country for a month before you started work then you would need to make special arrangements with your school to get you registered and legal within that 30 days but if you are just talking a week or two then you would not have any problems in regard to that.

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