READING THIS WARNING CAN SAVE YOU AT LEAST $10,000
You cannot visit China for any reason from abroad without a visa. China is now the 2nd biggest tourist destination in the world and with western economies still struggling more and more young university grads are looking East to work in the fastest growing economy in the world - China. According to SAFEA and the CFTU, over 800 new foreign teachers go there every month for jobs that don't pay very much by western standards, but which provide a very comfortable life in China. Add to this the 1 million tourists and businessmen that arrive every day in China and you can see that selling visas is a big business for the Chinese government.
It is also a very big business for some 3,000 unlicensed self-professed "Visa Consultants" or visa agents who offer to get your visa for a fee of perhaps $200 - $300 making it seem like a complicated process and even lying and and saying the application form is in Chinese! In fact that is a lie. The application process is simple, and offered at the Chinese embassy website in 5 different languages including English. It is so simple that my 13 old daughter filled out all the forms for us (I double checked of course). See here for yourself: [url]http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/visas/zgqz/[/url] So why then all the visa agents and deception?
It is called "Latent Identity Theft" a fraud that few ever realize cam from their trip to China. What this means is that long after you received your visa and friendly service from your China visa agent, you become a victim of identity theft. You already forgot that six month earlier the visa agent called you and [b][i]"Sorry to bother you Mr. Heinz, but there is already another Ralph Heinz in the system, and we need to know your Taxpayer ID number or we cannot process your visa."[/i][/b] You have no reason to suspect "Philip Gao" is a front for ID thieves, after all his web site is beautiful and full of great testimonials and links to even better third party reviews. How would you know all praise is either fake or bought and paid for?
To be legitimate, a real China visa "consultant" has to have a SAIC business license issued by the Chinese government and be registered with the provincial tax bureau where they must have a Chinese registered office. If they cannot show you a color scan of their SAIC license (not a black and white copy) they are a scam to be avoided. Likewise they should be able to send or show you their real Chinese name on a government ID card that looks like this:
Giving you fabricated Chinglish names like "Peter Chen", "Gloria Wu", or "Steve Wang" are absolutely worthless. These names are ghost names that only exist in cyberspace. Their email are usually free email addresses like gmail.com, hotmail.com, 126.com, sina.com, 163.com, etc. with telephone numbers that are disposables. If and when you can connect the dots of how and why you are being arrested for credit card fraud, IRS tax refund fraud, Automobile loan fraud, mortgage fraud, immigration fraud, or check fraud, they simply evaporate. Sure you will straighten it all out with a lawyer but it will cost you ten grand to do it and get your get credit rating restored as well.
China Scam Patrol started stinging all of these agents one by one about three months ago and probably won't finish for a year. Their report lists the top 12 offenders to avoid and they give these basic red flag warnings to look for if you are too lazy to visit the local Chinese embassy or consulate and do it yourself:
1) Avoid agents whose web sites do not have any real street address for a real office that can be verified
2) Avoid visa agents that use websites with a .org domain
3) Avoid visa agents who refused to provide scans of their SAIC license and ID cards
4) Avoid visa agents who have no website at all or who have one less than a year old (whois.com)
5) Avoid China visa agents who have no land-line telephone number on their website & business cards
6) Avoid overseas visa services that display a "BBB- Approved" Logo
7) Avoid visa agents who insist on meeting you at a coffee shop or restaurant[/b]
8) Avoid visa agents who only come to your office and never let you come to theirs.
9) Avoid agents who claim to be "partners" or "affiliates" or "agents" for any Chinese ministry.
10) Avoid any visa agent who insists payment must be in cash only or who won't give you a signed receipt
Here are the Top "Dirty Dozen" Visa Scammers below. They change their names often so you can get updates directly by contacting inquiry@ChinaScamPatrol.org If five or more identity theft victims used the same visa agent, and that agent has no SAIC license that can be verified, they join this growing list according to CSP.
China Visa Bureau ChinaVisaBureau.org
Visa For China VisaForChina.cn
Golden Bridge Visa ChinaGoldenBridgeVisa.cn, GoldenBridge.org, GoldenBrigeVisa.cn
Beijing Service Center Beijingesc.com
Great Wall Visa Center GreatWallVisaCenter.com, GreatWallVisa.cn
Great Wall Visa Service GreatWallVisas.cn
Panda Visa Panda-Visa.com, PandaVisa.cn, MyPandaVisa.com
AK Visa MyChinaVisa.cn
China Visa Agency ChinaVisaAgency.com, ChinaVisaAgency.org, ChinaVisaAgency.cn
Chin Visa Pro ChinaVisaPro.cn
Free China Visa FreeChinaVisa.org
China Visa Center ChinaVisa4You.cn, ChinaVisa4You.org, ChinaVisa4You.com