For all the noise I’ve made about the recent visa situation here in China, or bureaucracy here in general, I tend to forget that this isn’t a China-exclusive thing.
Before I can get my visa renewed next month, I need first to renew my passport. No big deal really, a couple of photos, an application form signed by a person of substance that has known me for 2 years and a fee – voila, presto chango I’ve 5 more years of stamp collecting.
But wait – A/Bing the process with that which befalls my brothers and sisters not fortunate enough to live abroad, and I’ve noticed one major difference – I’m being screwed. Royally (Canada being part of the Commonwealth and all).
- The fee for a 48-page passport renewal in Canada is $105 (710 RMB) – the fee for us folks here in China is 810 RMB ($120).
- Due to simplified passport processes (because the US is going to be demanding we produce ’em while border-crossing after 2009) – Canadians at home are no longer required to get the signature of a guarantor (a doctor, lawyer, judget, etc. that has known you for 2+ years) to certify you are indeed you. But us chumps abroad, despite being in a situation where we may or may not have known anyone in this country for more than two years, let alone know “professional” folks, are required to get this signature.
- Additionally, one of the stipulations is that the guarantor must sign without a monetary reward (can’t pay some opportunistic SOB to do it). However, should you not be able to get the signature of a guarantor, the Canadian embassy or consulate here in China is happy enough to assume you are you, and sign it for you – for a 385 RMB ($55) “legal” fee. Yeah… that’s stretching the term “legal” just about as far as it can go.
So, simply because I am not in my home country, and am in the process of actually using the damn passport, I am forced to pay 75% more than were I to be back in Canada.