Eventful Couple of Days

On Wednesday we had a date with the Immigration Authorities to apply for Hong Kong IDs. Have HK IDs is compulsory and must be applied for within 30 days of getting a long-term visa. It is also good to have when opening bank accounts and things like that.

So at a quarter to two we entered the Immigration Tower, and headed to the reception. Only to be told that we had to activate our visas first...

Our visas wasn't activate yet, as this could only be done when entering the country. And since we got here before we got the visas, we were in the country as visitors. Bummer. Nothing to do but to go back to the office and plan a trip to where-ever and to book a new appointment at the Immigration Authorities.

When looking for an appointment, they had an opening the day after. Next available time was two weeks later. We grabbed the time and started thinking about how to activate our visas in less than 24 hours.

The guys at the office told us we could get a five day visa at the Chinese border, just take the subway, walk across the border bridge, and pay a small fee, that's all!

First class railway cars to/from the border
Away we went after work. Got thoroughly confused when trying to find the right subway line to take us to the border. The reason behind the confusion was that Mats had looked at a faulty subway map on the Internet.

When at the Chinese immigration police we applied for visas. The officer asked us what we were planning on doing in Shenzen. Have dinner, we replied. Somewhat surprised, she asked again. Have dinner, we replied, again. It actually made her giggle. It is a clear victory to get an immigration officer to giggle!

It took less than five minutes to get the visas. Pretty cheap, too. Only RMB 168 pp. A warning, though: If you are an American or French citizen, it is illegal for you to even apply for a short term visa. You will be fined for trying!

The square outside the border crossing, Shangri La hotel at
other end.
When through the border, we walked across a large square filled with people re-packing tonnes of stuff they had brought with them from HK. All of it either baby formula or diapers.

We had a quite good dinner at the Shangri La hotel: Cantonese cuisine with grilled meats and stir fried prawn. The tea was the most expensive item at RMB 168.

Eventually we went back to the border, had our visas activated by a very friendly border control officer, even though we went to the wrong queue.

Thursday morning, we went back to the Immigration Tower and breezed through the process in practically no time at all. Now we have our (temporary) HK IDs. Now we can call ourselves residents!

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