Chinese Embassy Blamed for Visa Denial

China's consular services in Iran have been poor in spite of Iran's lenient reciprocal regulations
 Iranians are obliged to submit various documents without any assurance of receiving a visa. Iranians are obliged to submit various documents without any assurance of receiving a visa.

Recent reports show China is following the footsteps of European and Schengen states in frequently rejecting visa applications of Iranian travelers.

Recent visa rejections right before the flights have outraged a number of travelers at the approach of Chinese Embassy in Tehran.

The director of a travel agency, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told ISNA that the Chinese Embassy has probably become more sensitive to Iranian applications due to a number of invalid invitation letters submitted by travel agencies.

To obtain a visa, Iranian travelers must have an invitation letter from a Chinese authorized unit. Certain institutes in China issue invitations for around €35 ($41) and several of them issue what they refer to as guaranteed invitation for higher prices.

This means that an extra amount tagged to the price of visa (reaching a minimum of $80) is imposed on Iranian travelers, while there is no guarantee that the application will be accepted.

China's ambassador to Iran, Pang Sen, had earlier announced in a press conference that obtaining a visa to China is neither difficult nor expensive. He called on applicants to read the information on the embassy's website carefully and apply for visas in person to avoid paying the commission charged by travel agencies.

However, an Iranian traveler whose visa was recently rejected told the news agency that it is almost impossible to obtain a visa without going through a travel agency because of the requirement for a valid invitation letter.

Certain travel agents also claim that tickets and hotel vouchers are also needed to obtain a visa, although the embassy's website does not mention them among the required documents.

"The Chinese Embassy never states the reason for an application's rejection," the director of the agency said.

This leads to uncertainty and confusion among applicants and travel agents as to shortcomings in documents for securing a visa.

Despite Iran's facilitation of visa requirements for Chinese citizens to boost bilateral ties, the East Asian country has so far offered poor consular services to Iranians.

While a Chinese visitor can easily obtain a visa on arrival in Iran with no need for an invitation, a hotel voucher or a tour guide, Iranians are obliged to submit various documents without any assurance of receiving a visa.

Iran has refused to impose stricter visa regulations, despite reports of illegal activity by Chinese citizens in Tehran's lodging sector.

Several reports had recently surfaced in the domestic media of Chinese nationals renting an entire apartment block and illegally hosting tourists and business travelers without acquiring the permit to operate a lodging center or paying any taxes.

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