China visa: two blank pages on arrival or application>
June 10, 2016 1:07 PM   Subscribe

I currently have a valid mainland Chinese visa, and the facing page is totally blank. It is the last blank visa page in my passport. Will I be denied entry or refused boarding?

Chinese visas require two blank passport pages.

Last month, I had exactly two blank pages facing each other, and applied for a Chinese visa. A 10-year Chinese L visa was granted, which ate one of the pages, leaving the other facing page blank for stamps.

Is that two blank pages on application for the visa (in which case I am fine), or is it two blank pages on arrival (in which case I am screwed)?

The trip is within a month and I live in close proximity to a US passport center if necessary.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College to Travel & Transportation around China (7 answers total)
"The trip is within a month and I live in close proximity to a US passport center if necessary."

Just get a new passport especially so that there will be a place to stamp when you return back to the States.
posted by I-baLL at 1:30 PM on June 10, 2016

I was going to suggest getting additional pages inserted into your existing passport, but it looks like as of Jan 1, 2016 that is no longer an option.
posted by Phredward at 2:10 PM on June 10, 2016

Just renew your passport. Your existing passport (with the valid China visa in it) will be returned to you cancelled (with holes punched in the front cover) along with your new passport.

The 10-year China visas remain valid in a cancelled passport (assuming your name, gender, DOB, and nationality haven't changed.) You'd just carry your new passport and your old passport for entry into China.

Remember to request a 52-page book when you're applying for the renewal so you are less likely to run out of pages again.

Disclaimer: I work for a visa & passport services company, but I am not your visa & passport services person. Caveat emptor, sic semper tyrannosaurus, etc.
posted by bdk3clash at 2:23 PM on June 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm guessing the reason they specify two pages is so that there is at least one page available for entry/exit stamps after they apply the big giant visa sticker. I think you're probably fine* for entering and exiting China this time**, and in my experience, US customs agents are pretty haphazard in where they stamp your passport so as long as there's a blank quadrant somewhere in there you're probably fine for the US return entry stamp too.

*Your personal risk-tolerance and the amount of italicized text I've used might suggest otherwise. I'd be weighing this against passport renewal processing times, expediting fees, and the possibility of not getting your passport back in time. (If you had a little more time before the trip, I'd definitely also say just renew it.)

**UNLESS you're also going to Hong Kong or otherwise planning on entering multiple times on this trip, in which case I'd probably suck it up and rush a passport renewal.
posted by yeahlikethat at 2:58 PM on June 10, 2016

I have a Chinese visa in my passport and they used the facing page for all my entry/exit stamps, so I think you'll be fine. But, that page filled up after a single trip (including re-entry from Hong Kong). For any subsequent trips you'd need more blank pages (and thus a new passport).
posted by timelord at 3:40 PM on June 10, 2016

Agreed, they will use the facing page for entry/exit stamps. You are fine for one trip, but they do use big stamps, so probably not more than that.
posted by ssg at 3:56 PM on June 10, 2016

Response by poster: Update: I went with the original passport and it went off without a hitch. Going to send it in for a regular-speed renewal now. Thanks!
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 9:01 AM on July 6, 2016

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