How to get a visa for walking the Great Wall

All the planning in the world won't help if you can't get in to China. If you only plan to walk the Great Wall of China for a few weeks, then you can get by with an ordinary tourist visa. Read on to see how I handled the visa challenge while walking the entire Great Wall of China.

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​This post is about how I managed to stay in China for the 20 months I needed to walk the entire Great Wall of China. A post on current visa regulations and tips (coming)

As for most things in life, preparing and planning can give you a very good start.

Before leaving for China in April 2009, I read up on the current visa regulations. Seeing that they were pretty stringent, I decided to find a suitable partner in Oslo that might be able to help me on the red tape of living in China.

Through a friend, I was introduced to the Norwegian Chinese Chamber of Commerce.​ They agreed to help me get a 180 day visa for China, and I committed to holding a lecture about the walk upon my return. That gave me a flying start, not having to worry about going to Hong Kong for the first third of my walk when I was the most rural parts of China along the Ming Dynasty Great Wall.

VISA REGULATIONS WHEN I WALKED

​Before leaving I got a 180 day special visa from the Chinese Embassy in Oslo. This was done with the help of a sponsor.

Tourist visa for 30 days, renewable twice giving a max stay of 90 days in one go.

Renewing visa in China was done in large towns, typically with a populationis of more than 1 to 2 million.​

When I needed a new visa, I flew to Hong Kong.​

The NCCC also helped me with a letter of recommendation. ​I advise that you do the same if you are doing a long distance walk along the Great Wall. This letter of recommendation and others, helped turn the tides in my favour on several occasions along the Great Wall.

Having to fly to Hong Kong every three months, and renew my visa once every next two months was very time consuming. If you are committed to walking the entire Great Wall of China, then you will definitely run into similar issues, so I advise you to plan ahead, and partner up with an organisation that might be able to help you with visa issues.