That little counter on my iPad is counting down. Well actually there are several counters for different things but the one that is relevant here is the one telling me I have 6 days until arriving in China and the start of my Trans Mongolian trip. Things are starting to come together and we should be all good to go.
I am now the proud owner of a passport that has stamped within it visas for China, Mongolia and Russia. I must say the Chinese and Mongolian visas really were not that much of a hassle. Standard questions that are remarkably easy to fill out.
China seems to be going ahead in leaps and bounds with a visa ‘App’ available for download. At least on Android, the iOS version is pending so I can not give advise on if that simplifies the process at all. Still as indicated the Chinese visa is fairly simple to start with anyway and can be accessed from Visa For China. You choose your Country then Location from the little drop down boxes then wade in from there.
There is an online form where the site will ‘guide’ you step by step through the whole process. Or, if you are on a really bad internet connection like I am you can go to the handily labeled ‘Download’ section and download the old fashioned form and fill it in manually. Either way you will have to print it out and sign the paperwork when done.
Similarly the Mongolian Visa paperwork can be downloaded from the Mongolian Embassy website although they do not have the online or app versions.
The last visa we applied for was the Russian Visa. The Russian visa is online, online or even online. With a problematic internet connection it was painful and took several days. Make sure you write down your login information and save regularly otherwise you may have to start all over again which is annoying to say the least.
The biggest tip for those of you filling out the Russian Visa paperwork, if you have done a lot of travel in the last 10 years make sure you know every country you have been to and your in/out dates. The funny part about that is when you print the form you will find out it is only a tiny little box and if like me you have quite a long list of places instead of the box getting bigger to fit the content the font size of the content gets smaller to fit the box making the content really hard to read. It made me laugh anyway. Maybe that is just my strange sense of humour.
One of the other questions I found slightly problematic was the one telling me if I’d ever worked in another job other than my current occupation I had to write down the employer details as well. I do not know about you but trying to remember the name of a boss in an agency I worked in over 13 years ago is somewhat difficult and the likelihood of anyone in that agency even having the faintest idea who I am is next to nil. Still the only point of that is to make sure, unlike me, that you arm yourself with said information before you hit the online form.
We applied for the Chinese Visa first up, then the Mongolian and last but not least the Russian Visa which takes the longest processing time. We ended up having to pay for faster processing due to all the public holidays, which at first we didn’t take into account when we started the visa process. Still all our passports came back to us the other day complete with that all important visa. Lets face it with out Russian visa it would be a very short trip.