Mainlanders trying to get visas to Hong Kong are complaining of bureaucratic chaos and long delays. Various departments have the right to issue visitors' visas but a circular from the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office declares it has the sole right to issue permits for those travelling on government business. Chinese officials say it is more difficult to obtain permission from the office than from the British Embassy which took about five or six working weeks to process applications which had to be accompanied by a passport which mainlanders can only obtain from their work unit. In addition, mainlanders can now also apply to the provincial-level offices of the Public Security Ministry which have exit and entry bureaus. These are supposed to be authorised to issue visas to those wishing to travel to Hong Kong to visit relatives, or for tourism and business. However, no regulations have yet been issued by the Public Security Ministry. 'Before certain policies are made and certain regulations are published, one can only go to Hong Kong as a tourist,' an official at the Public Security Ministry said yesterday. 'For the moment, you simply cannot go there for private reasons,' she said. 'I don't know when the regulations will be published.' Those wishing to travel on business must first go to an office of the China Travel Agency to obtain a form which must then be stamped by a bureau level work unit. Such offices hold the personnel file of each Chinese citizen which is then examined before approval is given. A Chinese passport cannot be used. Applicants are then required to wait at least a month before they are allowed to join a package tour to Hong Kong. They must travel together each way. The price from Beijing is 5,830 yuan (HK$5,448) for a return flight and a stay of either five or eight days, roughly the same as before the handover.