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China Visa Application Guide

Getting a Chinese Visa can be a tough task because there’s a lot to consider and foreign travellers have little idea about the relevant resources in terms of Chinese Visa Application procedure. Since you don’t have much access to the Chinese Visa Application, we Explore China Tibet Travel are here to help you out and below we’d like to walk you through a traveler’s guide to China visas.

First, we’ve prepared a list of questions for foreign travellers. Feel free to go through this entire guideline or go to a specific section which may be helpful under your circumstance.

  • Q 1: Do I need a Chinese Visa?
  • Q 2: Which type of Visa should I apply for?
  • Q 3: How long will the application take?
  • Q 4: How much does a Chinese Visa cost?
  • Q 5: What is the 10 years China Visa?
  • Q 6: What documents should I prepare?

 Who Needs China Visa?

Foreign traveller will generally require a Chinese Visa while there are several groups of people not required to apply for one.

1. 24-Hour Direct Transit: Stay in China for no longer than 24 hours as a transit country to your destination.

2. 72-Hour Visa-Free Transit: Stay in one of fifteen cities that has a transit policy that allows travellers to stay for 72 hours or less.

15 Cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Shenyang, Dalian, Harbin, Xian, Guilin, Kunming, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Tianjin, and Xiamen

Qualified countries:

  • A) European countries: United Kingdom, Russia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Ukraine, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Albania.
  • B) American countries: United States, Brazil, Canada, Argentina, Chile, and Mexico.
  • C) Asian countries: Japan, Korea, Brunei, Singapore, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates.
  • D) Schengen Agreement countries: Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Czech Republic, Finland, Estonia, Germany, France, Iceland, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Luxembourg,   Portugal, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden, Spain, Slovakia, and Switzerland.
  • E) Oceania countries: New Zealand and Australia.

3.  144-Hour Visa-Free Transit: Enjoy a visa-free stay up to 144 hours in Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Guangdong if travellers are from the above countries.

4. Nations of Singapore, Brunei and Japan: Plan to conduct business, visit family, or vacation for less than 15 days.

5. 15/21-Day Visa-Free Stay for Tourists Visiting Hainan.

Next, we will step into the different types of Chinese Visas.

Which Type?—China Visa Types

  1. Tourist (L) Most visitors to China will only require a tourist L which will allow them to travel freely in most parts of China as tourists. Except for individual visa, you’ll need a group L if you are travelling in an organized tour group.
  1. Business (F/M)  F is issued to foreigners invited to China on a noncommercial exchange, investigation or visits for scientific-technological, education, cultural exchanges, health or sports activities. M is a new business visa category from 1st Sept 2013, which is issued to foreigners coming for commercial and trade activities.
  1. Student (X) Student Visa allow foreign students to study or perform fieldwork in China. It is divided into X1 and X2. X1 allows students to remain in China for longer than 6 months while X2 only permits a student to stay for 6 months or less.
  1. Work (Z)  Work visa is for those who want to work in China and get paid. It is only granted if you and the employer meet certain requirements.  Also, the company you are going to work with should be able to employ foreign workers.
  1. Talent (R) Under the regulations from September 1, 2013, the R Visa is issued to foreign high-level personnel and much-needed highly talented people who need to stay in China.
  1. Family Reunion (Q) & Private Visit (S) From September 1st, 2013, relatives of foreign residents in China have more opportunities to visit their loved ones under new regulations. The Q visa or Family Reunion Visa is for those wishing to visit family members who reside in China for a long period of time.
  1. Crew / Resident / Journalist (C & D & J)

(1) Crew Visa (C) Persons arriving as crew on international planes, ships or trains and their family members should apply for it.  Clearly, they should obtain information and complete formalities via their employers.

(2) Resident Visa (D) In summary, the regulations state that a person who has lived 5 years in China and is a desirable person may obtain permanent residence status.

(3) Journalist Visa (J-1, J-2) There are 2 types of Journalist Visas, J 1 and J2. J1 is for journalists who will be spending a substantial amount of time in China while J2 is shorter term. After you figure out which type of Visa you apply for, then you can have a look about how long it will take.

How Long—Schedule of applying China visa

A Chinese Visa typically takes four working days to process if all the accompanying documents meet the requirements. Service options provided by the Visa Centre (in the case of all the required documents are provided)

  1. Regular service:The processing time is usually 4 working days.
  2. Express service:The processing time is usually 3 working days.
  3. Rush service:The processing time is usually 2 working days.

**The above example is for reference only.

Fees for Chinese Visa Application is quite acceptable even if it can vary from country to country.

How Much—Cost on Chinese Visa and application

Fees can vary depending on where you are applying, your nationality, and required entries. One can expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $140 USD.

**The chart is for reference only and is based on U.S citizenship. Please check with a Visa Office for special fees.

PS:  Express service:  an additional fee of $20 per visa

Rush service: an additional fee of $30 per visa

Methods of Payment for your China visa:

  1. You must pay your visa fee upon collection of your visa. (Some HKSAR or Macao SAR visa applicants need to pay a Communication fee prior to submission.)
  2. Acceptable methods of payment are:  credit card (Visa or Mastercard only), money order, cashier’s check or company check.
  3. Please make your check or money order payable to “Chinese Embassy” (for applications submitted to the Embassy), or to “Chinese Consulate in XXX”(for applications submitted to the Consulate General in XXX city)
  4. Please make sure you have the exact and correct amount written on your check/money order. No erroneous check will be accepted.
  5. Cash, personal check or online payment is NOT accepted. NO credit card other than a Visa or Mastercard is accepted.
Since the release of  new policies, many foreign travellers can benefit from 10-year Chinese Visa!

10-Year Chinese Visa Application

This visa allows you to enter and leave China as many times as you want within the 10-year period.

The 10-year visa is for short term tourist or business visits only. The requirements for a 10-year visa are the same as that of a 1-year visa. Besides, its processing time as well as cost remains the same. For 10-year multiple entry visas, the duration of stay (the number of days you can stay in China per entry) is 60 days for L & M visas; 90 days for S2 visa and 120 days for Q2 visa.

After all the above information, let’s see what documents you need to prepare for your Chinese Visa Application!

What documents do you need for China visa application?

Here are the documents you shall prepare in terms of Chinese Visa Application:

1.Basic Documents

(1) Passport

Original passport with at least six months of remaining validity and with blank visa pages, a photocopy of the passport’s data page and the photo page if it is separate.

(2) Visa Application Form and Photo

One completed Visa Application Form with a recently-taken color passport photo (bare-head, full face) against a light background (size: 48mm x 33mm) attached.

(3) Proof of legal status

If you are not applying for the visa in the country of your citizenship, you must provide the original and photocopy of your valid certificates of residence, employment or student status, or other valid certificates of legal stay provided by the relevant authorities of the country where the Visa Centre is located.

(4) Photocopy of previous Chinese passports or previous Chinese visas

Applicable for those who were Chinese citizens and have obtained foreign citizenship.

2.Special Notes

(1) The invitation letter may be in the form of fax, photocopy or computer printout, but the consular officer may require the applicant to submit the original of the invitation letter. An issuer of invitation letter who is an individual in China should also provide a photocopy of his/her Chinese ID.

(2) If necessary, the consular officer may require the applicant to provide other proof documents or supplementary materials, or require an interview with the applicant.

(3) The consular officer will decide on whether to issue the visa and on its validity, duration of stay and number of entries in light of specific conditions of the applicant.

Now that you have a good understanding of which type of visa you’ll need and how you can prepare for the Chinese Visa Application. Next step is to begin the process! Our website,, always has up to date information. You can check requirements by visiting our site.

Most importantly, our company provides foreign travellers with one-on-one human friendly service, including Chinese Visa Application, Tibet Travel Permits, Airport Pick-up, Tibet Car rentals, Accommodation, etc. In addition, we have a wide range of destinations within China that foreign tourists can choose from, which are Tibet, Chengdu, Xi’an, Guilin, Lijiang Yunnan, etc. If you choose us, we will offer you the most incredible and unique travel experience in China!

In conclusion, we Explore China  Tibet Travel are here to provide you the best personalized service for our customers. We hope you enjoy your stay in China and please feel free to ask us for help!

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