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The Visa Jungle

Friday, September 13, 2013

New info on Chinese Visa in Bishkek updated May 2014 – scroll down

We (myself and Clive) picked up the last of our ‘Stans’ visa’s today. Now we simply wait for the ferry to Aktau in Kazakhstan, then through Uzbekistan to the start of the Pamir Highway at Dushanbe.

Here is a guide for the benefit of other travelers trying to navigate through the Visa jungle.

1. Azerbaijan Visa

Azerbaijan Visa

Batumi Embassy


The Embassy Consul speaks excellent English and is very nice and helpful. You need:

2 Passport Copies
2 Passport Photos
2 Application Forms
For UK citizen = 210 GEL

I called Wednesday afternoon, picked up visa Monday morning. 3 (working) days.

2. Kazakhstan Visa  (I picked mine up in Tbilisi, Clive got his in Baku).

Kazakhstan Visa

Tbilisi Embassy


The Embassy Consul speaks little English, so a secretary will come and translate. Very nice and helpful, both consul and secretary. You need:

1 Passport Copy
1 Passport Photo
2 Application Forms (filled in with help from above)
For UK citizen = $60

I called Monday morning, picked up visa Friday afternoon. 5 days.

Baku Embassy


The Embassy Consul speaks excellent English and is very nice and helpful. You need:

1 Passport Copy
1 Passport photo (white background)
1 Application Form
For UK citizen – $40 for double entry!!

Clive called Thursday, picked up Tuesday. 4 days.

3. Tajikistan Visa

Tajikistan Visa

Baku Embassy


The Embassy Consul speaks excellent English and is very nice and helpful. You need:

1 Passport Copy
2 Passport photos (white background)
2 Application Forms
Complete a letter to Ambassador requesting visa
For UK citizen (x2) = $50 each (we paid cash – this will soon change when they introduce bank payments)

GBOA Permit not available here. Pick up in Dushanbe.

We called Thursday, picked up Tuesday. 4 days.

4. Uzbekistan Visa

Uzbekistan Visa

Baku Embassy


The Embassy Consul speaks excellent English and is a very nice older gentleman, with a wicked sense of humor. You need:

1 Passport Copy
1 Passport photos (white background)
1 Application Forms
For UK citizen (x2) = $75 each (we paid cash into the International Bank of Azerbaijan)

We applied on Wednesday and were informed an email would be sent to confirm visa the following Wednesday. No email arrived and on Friday morning we went to the embassy. We were told to make our payments into the bank and return for the visa’s, which we did. I think had we gone up on the previous Wednesday it would have been ready.

All in all the visa process was pretty good for both of us. It seems Baku is the place to get visa’s, particularly the Kazakhstan one.

Ferry Ticket Office

This is a few kilometers from the center of Baku along the coast road. Here are a couple of pictures which may help you locate it.

On the right just after barrier.

Ticket Office behind steel door with bike stickers on it.


Chinese Visa

The news that Miss Liu in Bishkek had stopped issuing visa’s had myself and Clive contemplating sending our passports back to the UK, but I was also aware that the situation could also change back to the status quo just as easily. This is exactly what has happened and I had no problems getting my visa in Bishkek, other than actually finding her office. Actually it was a nice lady colleague called Asel that I dealt with.

New Info – updated May 2014

To get a Chinese Visa in Bishkek at Miss Liu, you need to be registered in Kyrgyzstan. Do it in the first couple of days somewhere at a police station, otherwise you have to pay a fine in Bishkek before applying for the Chinese Visa. The Chinese embassy will not issue any visa without this registration, even if it is not necessary for Kyrgyzstan any more.

So to help others, here are the details and a picture of the location:

Miss Liu or Asel
Avia Travel Club
142 Chuy Street

GPS Co-ordinates:
42.875217° N
74.594008° E

Get your Chinese Visa here!

Here is what it costs:

5 day service = $130 for a 30 day visa
3 day express service = $150 for a 30 day visa

You have 90 days to enter and can extend the visa for a further 30 days.

You will need 2 passport photos, but be aware they are a special size = 33 x 48 mm. Get these at one of the photography studios in town, I paid 80 com ($2) for 4.

Give them a rough itinery, you do not need flight details or anything fancy. You don’t even have to fill in forms, they do all of this for you. Simply turn up on the agreed day and pick up your visa. If you give them a telephone number, they will call you.

This is the easiest visa I have obtained on my travels so far!

Extending a Chinese Visa

I extended my Chinese Visa in Leshan, because I’d heard it was a relatively straightforward procedure. This turned out to be true. I applied over the New Year, or more precisely on New Years Eve (31st December) which meant I didn’t pick up the visa until the 2nd of January at 16:00 hrs. Note: I picked up the passport and new visa from desk 6.

What you’ll need:

Passport photocopy (information page)
Chinese Visa photocopy (original tourist visa and any additional extensions)
Visa application form (which you’ll be given)
Passport Photo
Hotel registration receipt
Travel plans itinerary (to be filled out at counter, forget taking your own document)
Fee 160 Yuan

Not needed:  Flight itinerary/bank account details.

GPS Coordinates:
Lat: 29.603358 N
Lon: 103.745370 E

OK the PSB is easy to find, even signposted on the main road in English. Below there are a couple of pictures (the second taken from the front of the hotel) which may also help. Walk up the steps and through the middle glass doors, then turn right and on your left is a stairwell up to another floor. To the left is the entry-exit PSB administration hall. You will find a young Miss Song on desk 3 who speaks passable English and will guide you through the proceedings.

The only cheap hotel within easy reach I could find was the Dragon Phoenix Hotel (120 Yuan for a comfortably large room) just across the road intersection and to the left. Picture below. I was turned away from two other hotels nearby.

The PSB, Leshan

The PSB viewed from the hotel lobby.

The only budget hotel in Leshan?

Vietnam Visa in Kunming

This was very straightforward, the hardest part being finding the place! The consulate is located in the Kai Wah Plaza International Hotel on Beijing Road. Once you see it (picture below) you need to go round to the side entrance and then up to the 5th floor. Here is a link to an excellent guide I found on-line with the pictures showing how to find the place.

Easy to spot hotel on Beijing Road, Kunming

What you’ll need:

Passport photocopy (information page)
Visa application form (which you’ll be given, or they’re on the desks)
Passport Photo
Fee: 550 Yuan for a multiple entry 30 day visa

It’s that easy, you’re given a ticket and told to return two days later at 5:00-5:30 p.m.


Patrick Hugens
Friday, September 13, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Great information Derek, thank you! When the visa says “valid from 08/20/13” and “valid to 09/20/13”, and “duration of stay 30 days” does that mean you only have between those two dates to be in the country, or can you enter anytime between those dates and then still have 30 days?
Have a great ride through the Stans!

    Friday, September 13, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Hi Patrick, unfortunately you only have those 30 days and the clock starts ticking when you hit the valid from date, whether you’re in the country or not.

    Planning the journey duration and allowing for overlap has been quite challenging and I just hope I’ve got it right. I’ll report all in the blog!


Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 3:18 pm

very useful information as Im planing to travel some of these countries

    Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 5:29 am

    I’ll post more details (ferry crossing, ticket office location etc.) when I get decent WIFI.

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