Since we will be moving to China in about 6 weeks we had to go through the process of getting visas to enter the country. This has been a long process since China has recently tightened restrictions. We had to get authenticated translations of our marriage certificate, one of the harder things to do since this had to be authenticated at the Chinese embassy. We did this in Japan since we could trust courier services there. We then had to send that authenticated translation along with my criminal clearance from my home country (which I got through an FBI courier service) and my resident country criminal clearance which I had to get in KL. What a pain that was. In order to get my criminal record in the US I had to submit fingerprints. I have done this before, so why I have to submit new ones each time I move is a mystery to me. Anways, I thought I would go to the local police station in Batu Ferringi to get it done. Last time I did this when I was living in Japan I went to my local police station in Aizu-misato (a town of roughly 15,000) and got them done. However, the Batu police said yes, then no and told me to go to Tanjung Bungah which is a slightly larger station. Once there the police told me to go to Georgetown central police station. I went there and the detective laughed and told me to go to KL to the central police station there to get it done. (a side note, while I was in the police station all 4 tires on my car were slashed. I was parked right next to the station). I don't know if this is a lack of skill or a distrust of the FBI for Malaysian police but the whole process was a pain in the butt. Once at the central KL station they almost didn't let me in because I wasn't wearing long pants! The joy of living in Malaysia. Ok, so I got the finger prints finally and had them sent off to the US. My criminal record went to my mothers in the US since they don't send abroad and she sent it on reaching me shortly after. I then bunched everything and posted to Beijing using EMS to make sure it would be fast and secure. Batu Ferringi Post office is known for theft and especially after all of that I wasn't about to send it via local post.
Once those documents reached Beijing my new school had to then produce a letter of employment for us. We then had to take that letter along with another authenticated copy of our marriage certificate (didn't know this at first, so had to get the marriage certificate translated again and authenticated at the Chinese embassy again), copies of the marriage certificate, letters from employer, copies of passport pages, current country visa pages, past Chinese visa pages (which for me was in an expired passport), two head shots each, about 800myr for processing fee, and documents to the visa center in KL. On Friday morning I went to the center to apply for an expediated service. The visa center is housed in Hampshire Place, a tall glass building about 2 blocks from the main road of Jalan Ampang. I went to the 5th floor, was checked to see if I had the proper documents then given a number. I opted for the earliest time slot of 9-930am assuming later would be busy. At 915 it was not busy, there were about 12 counters services an equal number of applicants. My number was called within minutes and then I stood with the center rep as she made sure I had everything and understood that I would have to return for an interview on Monday.
So I left knowing that Aya would return on Monday to do the interview and to collect the passports. Spouses are allowed to apply and collect without each other. That part of the process was fairly painless.
The interviews are at the Bank of China building right along Jalan Ampang. Its a tall white building with the Plaza Osk sign along the main road. Aya said the interview consisted of 2 or 3 very mundane questions like, "So your husband has a job in Beijing?" and took just a few minutes. She then had to return in the afternoon to the other building, Hampshire place, to pay the fees and collect the visas. So now we have my Z visa and Aya's short term tourist visa and can enter China. Then within 24 hours we must report to a police station to register and then within a week or so we will be getting our residency permits. At the end it only cost us two trips to KL, 4 nights in a hotel, numerous taxi rides, two authentications/translations, a few photos and copies, and about 8 hours of total document collecting and writing. In monetary terms, probably close to 1800USD. Jeez, Louise.