Chinese Consulate Chicago – 4 Easy Steps to Apply for China Tourist and Travel Visa
What an exciting country China is! Not only is it a huge country, but it’s full of wonder and surprises around every corner. Head to any of its striking cities to witness the buildings that almost touch the sky or the historic neighborhoods nestled among them. Get out into the wilderness and see some of the most amazing nature you’ll ever see in your life. If you’re planning on going to China, you’ll soon discover one adventure after the other! In this article learn more about how to apply for China Visa at the Chinese embassy in Chicago, China visa appointment booking, Processing time at the China visa application center, China Visa Application Process at the Chicago consulate, itinerary or round trip air ticket booking or flight reservation, Chinese visa types, insurance, Hotel reservation or proof of accommodation.
If you come from any of the following countries, you do NOT need a visa for China, but you are only allowed to stay for the maximum number of days mentioned:
- 90 days – Bosnia and Herzegovina, San Marino
- 60 days – Mauritius
- 30 days – Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Ecuador, Fiji, Grenada, Qatar, Serbia, Seychelles, Tonga, United Arab Emirates
- 15 days – Brunei, Japan, Singapore
Also, holders of passports for public affairs and ordinary passports, agreed for public business, of the following countries, do NOT need a China visa:
Please take note of the regulations for each country:
1 – Visa exempt
2 – Visa-free only for holders of E-passports
3 – Visa-free for holders of passports for public business and/or official trip
4 – Visa-free for holders of passports for public business with AB category and validity date
If you are traveling as part of a tour with a representative of a tour company, registered in both countries, you are permitted to stay in China for a maximum of 30 days. This applies to nationals of the following countries:
Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Turkmenistan
All other nationalities must arrange a visa to enter China. You can submit your application to the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago if you live in their jurisdiction. The areas included within this are:
If you can’t see your area here, go to the Chinese Embassy’s website and take a look at the jurisdiction map:
Types of visas for China
There are many categories of visa which can be confusing, but the one you need to apply for will be determined by why you wish to travel to China. For example, if you are going there as a tourist, you will need to apply for category “L”; if you are planning on working, you will need to apply for category “Z”. Make sure you choose the right one, otherwise, the consulate may reject your application:
- D – Residence in China
- F – Exchanges, visits, study tours, and other non-business activities. Issued as single or double entry
- G – Transit through China if you are changing planes en route to your final destination
- J1 – Foreign journalists stationed in China (for stays of more than 180 days)
- J2 – Foreign journalists who visit China for short-term news coverage (maximum 180 days)
- L – Tourism and sightseeing purposes. Issued as single, double, or multiple entry
- M – Commercial or trade activities. Issued as single, double, or multiple entry
- Q1 – Family reunification with Chinese citizens or foreigners with Chinese permanent residence for more than 180 days. Issued as single entry, but the required residence permit is valid for multiple entries
- Q2 – Family reunification with Chinese citizens/foreigners with permanent residence for a maximum of 180 days. Issued as multiple entry
- R – Professionals whose skills are needed in China
- S1 – Dependents under the age of 18 or parents-in-law of someone who is working or studying in China OR to those who intend to go to China for other private affairs for more than 180 days. Issued as single entry. You must apply for a residence permit in China which is good for multiple entries
- S2 – Dependents under the age of 18 or parents-in-law of someone who is working or studying in China OR those who intend to go to China for other private affairs for a maximum of 180 days. Issued as multiple entry
- X1 – Study for more than 180 days. Issued as multiple entry
- X2 – Study for no more than 180 days. Issued as single entry
- Z – Employment in China. Issued as single entry only. Once inside China, you may apply for a residence permit which is good for multiple entries
China visas are usually issued as:
- Single entry – valid for 3-6 months
- Double entry – valid for 6 months
- Multiple entry – valid for 6 or 12 months
More information on China visas can be found on the website of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago.
Applying for China visa from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago
The first thing you need to do when you apply for your China visa is familiarizing yourself with the website of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago. Go to their website and click on: “Services”:
On the next page, choose: “Visa and passport”:
Then you will find all the links for applying for your China visa:
The processing times for your China visa are different, depending on which service you choose:
- Regular service – 4 business days
- Express service – 2-3 business days (additional fee applies)
- Rush service – 1 business day (additional fee applies)
Rush processing is ONLY available in extreme emergencies such as emergency illness or death of a family member. However, this must be approved by the consulate beforehand.
These processing times are only a guide, your application could take longer to process depending on your circumstances.
You should really aim to apply for your China visa at least 1 month prior to your travel dates. You can apply anytime up to 3 months ahead.
Here are 4 steps to help you apply for your China visa. Follow them one-by-one and you should find the process fairly simple.
Step 1: Complete your application form
You need to complete your application form and you can find this on the website of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago:
Click on the link and you will be directed to the application form:
It is very important to be aware that this application CANNOT be handwritten. You must download it to your computer and type the information before you print and sign it. The consulate in Chicago will NOT accept handwritten forms.
Step 2: Get your documents ready
When you start to get your documents ready for your China visa application, you must know ALL the requirements. If you fail to provide anything, the consulate will reject your application, so it’s a good idea to have a look at the consulate’s website before you begin.
In addition, you must provide original documents AND photocopies of everything. Again, if you don’t, the consulate will view this as an incomplete application and reject it!
Documents you need to get ready are:
– Regulations for passports:
– Must have more than 6 months remaining after your trip
– Must have at least 2 blank pages
– Also, need to provide a copy of the data and photo page (if applicable)
2) Visa application form – remember the consulate only accepts typed applications
3) 1 x photo – printed on glossy photo paper and glued to the application form. Check the guidelines for acceptable photos
4) Proof of residence status or legal stay for non-US citizens
5) Previous Chinese visas and/or passports – if you were a citizen of China in the past but now reside in a different country
8) Invitation letter from a business or individual – confirming applicant’s and inviting person’s details and plans in China
9) Proof of air, train, or ship ticket for onward travel to the destination country
10) Evidence of events of any kind if you are taking part in any way
11) Chinese host’s ID and proof of residence
12) Birth/marriage certificate
13) Admission notice or proof of enrollment etc., for students
14) Passports and consent of parents – if it is a minor traveling
15) Proof of permission to work in China
16) Proof of financial status – bank statements and/or income tax return
If you’re planning to obtain your flight reservation for visa without paying for the ticket, all you have to do is follow the 3 simple steps below:
- Visit the Visa Reservation website to choose the right package
- Submit the travel details and make the payment online
- Receive flight itinerary in email
Step 3: Submit your application
There is no need for an appointment to hand your documents in, as the consulate in Chicago only accepts walk-in applications. You cannot mail, fax, or submit your application online.
All you need to do is go to the consulate in Chicago during their office hours and submit your application and supporting documents.
It’s important to dress appropriately, this may not seem important, especially if you are just handing over your documents, but if they ask you to attend an interview, it won’t look good if you are dressed too casually.
Please do NOT forget anything. The consulate cannot process your application without the necessary paperwork, so they will reject your application and you will need to apply again when you can provide everything.
In the event that the visa staff needs further information, they may request that you attend an interview where they will ask further questions about your application. They may ask:
- Have you been to China before?
- What are your plans there?
- I don’t think you will return to your home country! What is your answer?
- Are you working in China?
- What is your salary?
Just answer any questions put to you honestly and precisely, sometimes a simple confirmation is enough. However, if they require more information, just give it to them politely, even if they can find what they are looking for in your application file.
You will also pay the fee for your visa. The consulate in Chicago accepts payments by credit card (Visa or MasterCard), money order or cashier’s check or company check payable to “Chinese Consulate General”
The fee is usually paid when you go to collect your visa once it has been processed. You will have to pay this fee even if your application is refused.
China Visa Fee
Number of entries
Multiple entry for 6 months
|Multiple entry for 12 months or more||$140|
- Express service: an additional fee $25 per visa
- Rush service: an additional fee of $37 per visa
You may also have to provide biometric data in the form of a scan of your fingerprints and a digital photo.
Step 4: Receive your visa
When you submit your China visa application, you will be given a pick-up form which will give you the date on which you can collect your passport. If you don’t get this, the consulate will contact you and let you know the date. The consulate in Chicago does not offer mail service.
When you arrive at the consulate, you need to present your pick-up form (if you have one) and you’ll be able to collect your passport.
With any luck, you’ll find your China visa inside your passport. But, please be aware that China visa applications do get rejected for a variety of reasons:
- Application not complete
- Invitation letter not included
- No proof of a return flight
- Invalid passport
- The wrong category of visa applied for
First and foremost, you must apply for the correct type of visa, so that’s why it’s a good idea to have a look at the different categories on the consulate’s website and choose the one that exactly meets your circumstances. Your passport should be valid as per the above regulations and your application should be completed in full and signed. Lastly, it is very important to include all the appropriate documents with your applications, including invitation letters and proof of flights.
Contact details of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago
Address: 1 East Erie Street, Suite 500, Chicago, IL 60611
Hours: Monday to Friday, 9.00 am – 12.00 pm and 1.00 pm – 2.30 pm
1) Do I need a visa to travel to China?
Foreign nationals generally need a visa to travel to China, unless you are from a country that has visa-free status (see above)
2) My approved visa says that it is multiple entry. What does this mean?
Multiple entry means that you can enter and leave China as many times as you want within the maximum number of days allowed
3) May I use an agent to help me apply for my China visa?
Yes. You can use an agent who can submit your application and collect your passport on your behalf
4) Why is the fee not refunded when my application was rejected?
The fee is not refunded because it is charged to cover the costs of the consulate for processing your application
5) Why do I have to prepare so many documents for my China visa?
Because the consulate needs all the information from you in order to make an informed decision about whether to grant your visa or not. Without all the necessary documents, they simply cannot do this
6) I need a visa for China in 3 days, is this possible?
Yes, you can choose the Express Service when you submit your application, but there will be an additional fee for this. Your application should be processed within 2-3 days. However, the consulate cannot guarantee this as some applications take longer to process
7) Do I need to get a medical in order to apply for a China visa?
No, you don’t need to do this
8) What are the requirements for the photograph that I need to provide?
The requirements for the photograph are:
- 1 x color, passport-type photo 2’x2′ in size
- Taken within the last six months
- White background
- Printed on high-quality photo paper
- Full frontal view of your head without any headwear
Overall, there isn’t much to applying for China visa from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago:
- Complete your application form
- Get your documents ready
- Submit your application
- Receive your visa
After that, you can get excited about what lays ahead in the incredible country that is China!
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