Worst of all, I was about to send them my passport, social security number and credit card number. If I were a con-artist, this would be a gold mine.
I had to rely on recommendations from people who had traveled before me and thankfully everything worked out just fine. What I learned, however, is that a good recommendation brings peace of mind when applying for a Chinese visa. I invite you to benefit from all the research that I did prior to using an online visa service for my China visa.
Below are four of the best and most trustworthy services online that can help you apply for your China visa, no matter what kind of visa it is.
PassportVisaExpress.com Review (plus Discount Code!)
This is the service my family used on a recent trip to China (May 2015). A highly-respected company in this industry is PassportVisaExpress.com. For over 15 years they have been working with the U.S. Passport Agency and they have offices in Washington D.C., Chicago and San Francisco. They serve all U.S. citizens as well as anybody who is legal resident of the U.S.
I’ve been very impressed with the personal response that I’ve received with Passport Visa Express and that’s something that they seem to take pride in with their “Live Online Chat” feature. Personally, I put a high priority on customer service because this, in my opinion, is what separates good companies from great companies. Below is what else makes Passport Visa Express.com different:
- Emergency Service: Do you need your new visa or passport in days, not weeks? It’s going to cost you quite a bit of money, but Passport Visa Express can do it.
- Customer Service: Whether you do better chatting online or speaking to somebody over the phone, both options are available to you here.
- Clear Instructions: They tell you exactly what they need and the reasoning behind it – there’s even an entire page walking you through common problems filling out the China visa application.
- PassportVisaExpress.com Discount Code: the fine people at PVE has been so kind as to offer all readers here at TravelChinaCheaper a discount code that will give you 10% off at checkout. Just type in “TCC10” to save 10% instantly!
Overall, PassportVisaExpress.com provides great value for a competitive price – especially with the discount code “TCC10“! Check them out by clicking the button below:
Travel Visa Pro Review (Plus Discount Code!)
Over the past decade, TravelVisaPro has become another respected name in the passport and visa service industry. They are one of the only companies I’ve seen that posts pictures of their staff on the about page so you can see exactly who you’ll be working with. Unfortunately the photos aren’t professionally done, so even though I like the thought, it does make them feel a bit “mom-and-pop”-ish.
TravelVisaPro is very open on their website about pricing and options, which is something you usually have to dig through with other companies. Thankfully they have updated their website so it’s easy to use. Aside from these very subjective opinions, here’s what makes TravelVisaPro different from its competitors:
- 24-Hour Emergency Service: Need your passport or visa in 24 hours (or even 8 hours?)? This is one of the only services I’ve found that claims to provide 24 hour turnaround, although you’ll be paying quite a hefty fee for it (and you have to get in your paperwork to them by 8:30am).
- Document Authentication Services: This is important if your wife or child will be joining you in another country and will be dependents on your visa. Authenticated marriage certificates and birth certificates are necessary to prove they are legally your wife/child.
- Online & Offline Application: they offer you the option of either filling out your application or downloading and filling it out yourself to mail in.
- Various Delivery Options: TVP not only gives you the option to get your visa by mail, you can also pay for them to drop off your new passport or visa (select cities only).
- TravelVisaPro Discount Code: TVP is offering all readers here at TravelChinaCheaper a discount code that will give you 15% off at checkout. Just type in “TCC15” to save 15% instantly!
Their pricing is average for the industry ($79 for regular visa service up to $399 for 24-hour service) but even better when you apply the 15% discount code!
Opened in 2003, VisaHQ has offices located in Washington D.C., New York, Houston, San Francisco, Toronto and London among other cities and countries. This is typical of most visa service companies, although for some companies these “offices” are just leased addresses that are run by one man. That’s not the case with VisaHQ.
What gives me the most confidence about VisaHQ is that ever since 2011 they have been ranked in the Inc 500 for the travel industry and continue to climb the chart. They are internationally respected and recognized as a reputable company you can trust. Below is a little of what you can expect from VisaHQ:
- Paperless Application: you still have to fill out an application, but VisaHQ is one of the only ones that eliminates the hassle of printing the form or trying to work with a PDF by allowing you to do it all online. Simple…done.
- Dedicated Account Manager: if you have any questions during the process, just email or call your account manager.
- Online Tracking: gone are the days of sitting and wondering how far along you are in the process. VisaHQ gives you access to online, real-time updates on the application process.
VisaHQ is competitively priced, ranging between US$79 to US$89 (not including the standard embassy fees) depending on the type of visa you require and how fast you require it. All in all, I give VisaHQ five stars and confidently recommend it as a reliable option.
China Visa Service Center Review
Rated with an A+ by the Better Business Bureau, China Visa Service Center is a company that works exclusively on obtaining China visas. The advantage here, obviously, is that they can focus on doing one thing and doing it right. Although they started in Houston, they now have offices in D.C., New York, San Francisco, L.A., Chicago and Vancouver so it’s obvious that their main customer lives either in the U.S. or Canada. Their website is pretty simple to navigate but the information is, in my opinion, a bit scattered and difficult to understand at times. That said, here’s what they do offer:
- Competitive Pricing: ranging from $49 for regular service to $159 for Emergency, 24-hour service (cheaper than TravelVisaPro above, but not offered for all consulates).
- Toll-Free Phone Support: toll-free isn’t that big of a deal anymore, but reliable phone support is. If you prefer, just call them and have them walk through what you need.
CVSC is an excellent service, but I can only offer them a 4-star rating for one reason: security. The page where I input my credit card information, while secure, offers me no assurance by Authorize.net or other company that my information is being transmitted and stored securely.* Is your information safe? Probably. But I’d rather be 100% sure than 99%. That’s my only complaint.
*A CVSC representative has assured me that credit card transactions are 100% secure and they’ve had zero complaints or security issues since they began accepting cards in 2010.