If you've reached the point where someone is telling you to go get your China visa health check, then congratulations - you're on your way to securing a Chinese visa. However, this isn't just a health check, it's an experience. For those of you who haven't yet taken the test, here's what you can expect. For all of us who have, get ready to relive the joy that is getting your China visa medical check.
You’re given the address for the clinic, which is the ONLY place in the city that can do these health checks for foreigners. When you look it up on a map, you’re wondering why you have to go to the middle of nowhere and can’t just hit up the hospital closest to you. It’d be no fun if they made it easy on you!
There’s a list of instructions to bring your passport, five passport photos, a copy of your visa and a copy of your exit & entry stamp. You’d might was well bring anything else you can think of, like your residence registration slip from the police, too. You never know what they might throw at you once you’re there. Spend some time plotting how you’ll get there, free up an entire morning and set an early alarm. You’ll want to be in and out before the rush.
Once you arrive at the clinic, you’re a little confused, as the word “clinic” doesn’t seem to suit the random all-purpose building you’re pretty sure is the correct address. You’re also hungry as hell because the instructions told you not to eat any breakfast.
Once inside, you’ll likely see a few other foreigners, all equally as tired and confused as you are. Fill in the form, approach the counter and pay the exorbitant fee of 500 RMB, (or whatever it may be for your type of visa). You’ll be handed a piece of paper that loosely resembles a checklist. You look at it, then look back at the nurse who has repeated the following sentence over a thousand times, “Go to every room.”
Each room will check one of the following, but note that you don’t have to visit them in order:
1. Blood work
2. Ultrasound (yep, even for guys)
3. ECG (Electrocardiography - records activity of the heart)
4. Eye test (Pro tip: all the letters on my board were E)
5. Weight, height
6. Blood pressure and Chinese pulse checks (Traditional method using fingers on wrist)
7. Breathing and lungs
8. X-ray of torso
It’s begun. Your medical health check is now underway. Choose a room and enter. Don’t worry about not knowing what’s going on and feeling like you’re undergoing some kind of cold war experiment. The medical professionals in each room have done this more times than they’d probably care to remember.
They’ll usher you in, go through the motions alarmingly quickly, sign or stamp your paper in the designated spot and send you on your way. Each room takes less than a minute. The only room that takes a little while longer is the one where they check your internal organs using an ultrasound machine; putting on and then wiping off the icy cold gel takes a while. (Pro tip: if you’re male, don’t crack a joke to the doctor about you not being pregnant. She’s heard it a million times already just this morning.)
Other than that, the entire health check is simply a matter of hitting all the rooms and getting those signatures/stamps. When done, you have a “complete” health check. You can now go get that breakfast you’ve been waiting for and be thankful that you made it through alive.
Getting your results
When your blood work comes back from the lab a few days later, you can either come back to the middle of nowhere to pick up your complete report or arrange on health check day for the clinic to send it to the address of your choosing. Either because you have nothing wrong with you or the medical professionals completed their tests so quickly they didn’t register anything, the results will likely show that you’re healthy.
You’ve now joined the elite ranks of other foreigners who have also gone through the same weird process. There’s nothing like an awesomely bizarre China experience to bring us all closer together.
Any weird experiences on your China visa medical check? Tell us in the comments section below.
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