September 10, 2009, at 12:49 PM

Why I Do Things At The Last Minute

Update: here’s a short answer for those wackos asking Google why they do things at the last minute:

  1. You’re lazy
  2. So long as it’s done in time, it doesn’t matter. Only when things go wrong would it have helped to do it earlier. So if you never screw things up, there’s no problem.

My dear, beloved wife doesn’t like me doing things at the last minute. Of course, laziness always pays off now.

Fry: But, you are lazy right?
Sal Maxim: Oh, don’t get me started.

But sometimes doing things early doesn’t pay off so well.

You see, I’m off on holiday in December, to China. As is entirely sensible, the Chinese don’t like us 鬼佬 so we all have to get visas.

The process has changed a bit recently. Before it was:

  1. Fill in a form
  2. Take it to the Chinese embassy, with your passport
    1. They look it over, take it and give you a receipt
  3. Wait for them to check if you’re a terrorist and/or journalist
  4. Go back and pay £30 to get your passport with a visa in it

Now it’s:

  1. Fill in a form
  2. Take it to the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre, with your passport
    1. They take it and give you a receipt
    2. Then they send the stuff to the embassy, who do the checks, etc.
  3. Go back and pay £30 (for the embassy), another £30 (for the CVASC’s “work”), and £4.50 tax (for no known reason, it’s not even a sensible percentage of anything) to get your passport with a visa in it

So it’s a rip off. Annoyance #1. But I didn’t get to the point yet. You see, I’m going on holiday in December. Right now, it’s September. So there’s a touch over three months between now and then.

When you fill in the form you say what day you’re going:

2.3 首次可能抵达中国的日期 / Date of Your First Possible Entry into China (YY-MM-DD)

But, not shown on the form, and in fact distributed across various webpages and documents, are the following facts:

  • The visa will be valid from the date of issue
  • The visa will be valid for three months
  • The embassy/CVASC take no responsibility for you applying at the wrong time (e.g. the day before you leave)

And one thing that isn’t written down anywhere:

  • They pay no attention at all to what you put as an answer to question 2.3; if that’s more than three months away, they’ll happily give you a £64.50 visa you have no use for.

The CVASC’s advice to me was to either go to China earlier, or to apply again. Gah.