Chinese Consulate Houston – 4 Easy Steps to Apply for China Tourist and Travel Visa
What a fascinating country China is! Not only is it a huge expanse of land, but it’s filled with some of the most beautiful wilderness in the world. The diversity of it is staggering – high mountains, grasslands, deserts and more. With buzzing cities and charming villages, friendly people, and some delicious things to eat and drink, China is one place you will return to again and again! In this article learn more about how to apply for China Visa at the Chinese embassy in Houston, Texas, China visa appointment booking, Processing time at the China visa application center, China Visa Application Process at the Houston consulate, itinerary or round trip air ticket booking or flight reservation, Chinese visa types, insurance, Hotel reservation or proof of accommodation.
Citizens of the following countries do NOT need a visa for China:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina, San Marino – for stays up to 90 days
- Mauritius – for stays up to 60 days
- Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Ecuador, Fiji, Grenada, Qatar, Serbia, Seychelles, Tonga, United Arab Emirates – for stays up to 30 days
- Brunei, Japan, Singapore – for stays up to 15 days
If you are from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, or Turkmenistan and are part of a tour group, you can go to China for a maximum of 30 days. However, a representative of the tour company must be with you and the tour company must be registered in both countries.
If you are from any other country and currently reside in the US, you can apply at the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in your area. The consulate in Houston accepts applications from residents of the following areas:
If you live in any other area, you must contact the embassy or consulate in your area. Take a look at the jurisdiction of each office, if this applies to you:
Types of visas for China
You need to apply for the correct type of visa. The one you need will be related to your reason for traveling to China. For example, if you wish to visit for tourist purposes, you would apply for category “L”:
- D – Permanent residence in China
- F – Exchanges, visits, study tours, and other non-business activities. Issued as single or double entry
- G – Transit through China en route to your final destination
- J1 – Foreign journalists stationed in China (180 days or more)
- J2 – Foreign journalists who intend to engage in short-term news coverage in China (up to 180 days)
- L – Tourism 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 180 days or more. Issued as single entry.
- Q2 – Family reunification with Chinese citizens/foreigners with permanent residence up to 180 days. Issued as multiple entry
- R – Professionals whose skills are urgently 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 reasons for 180 days or more. Issued as single entry.
- 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 reasons up to 180 days. Issued as multiple entry
- X1 – Study for 180 days or more. Issued as multiple entry
- X2 – Study up to 180 days. Issued as single entry
- Z – Employment in China. Issued as single entry only
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
Further information on visa types can be found on the website of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Houston.
Applying for China visa from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Houston
Applying for your China visa is easy. First, go to the website of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Houston and click on: “Visa and passport”:
Then, on the next page, click on: “Chinese visa”:
On the next page, you’ll find all the links for information about applying for your China visa, including requirements for each type of visa, processing times, and fees:
The Chinese Consulate in Houston offers 3 types of processing services:
- Regular service – 4 working days
- Express service – 2-3 working days
- Rush service – 1 working day
However, you should be aware that express and rush services are only available in extreme circumstances and must be approved by the consulate.
Please note, your application could take longer to process than the timescales mentioned above. This depends on the type of visa you are applying for and, also, where you come from.
You should apply for your China visa at least 1 month before your trip. Then, there should be ample time for it to be processed. Don’t apply more than 3 months ahead because single entry visas are only valid for 3 months, so this would mean that it would expire before you used it.
To help you apply for your China visa, follow these steps in order:
Step 1: Complete your application form
It’s important to note that you cannot submit a handwritten form, so you must download the application form onto your personal computer and type the information before you print it. The consulate will not accept handwritten forms, so bear that in mind when you submit your file.
Go to the website of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Houston, and click on: “Visa application form V2013”:
You will be directed to the application form:
Step 2: Get your documents ready
Getting your documents ready is an important part of applying for your China visa. If you fail to comply with the requirements of the consulate they won’t accept your application and/or they will reject it. So, take time to understand what the requirements are by going to their website first.
In addition, your documents should be originals, but you must also provide photocopies of everything. If you don’t, your application won’t be accepted, so remember to do this.
Required documents are:
1) Passport with at least 1 blank page and must have at least 6 months remaining
2) Photocopy of the passport’s data and photo pages
3) Visa application form – completed in full, signed. Typed applications only!
4) 1 x photo on a light background. Please see the full requirements for acceptable photos
6) Invitation letter with Chinese host’s ID plus information about the applicant and host, and details of the planned visit to China
7) Proof of legal status (non-US applicants) E.g. proof of residence and employment, student, or another legal status
8) Previous Chinese passport and/or Chinese visa
9) Proof of foreigners permanent residence status
10) Letter of guarantee issued by the relevant company
11) Onward travel ticket to the destination country
12) Proof of visa notification and letter issued by the relevant authorities (if applicable for journalists)
13) Proof of family ties and passport of host – birth/marriage certificate etc.
14) Parental consent and parent’s ID (for minors)
15) Documents to prove permanent residence in China (if applicable)
16) Proof of high-skill talents issued by the relevant authority
17) Notice of admission notice (for students)
18) Employment permit and/or proof of employment approval
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
The consulate in Houston does not require you to make an appointment in order to submit your visa application. All you need to do is visit their office during their opening hours and hand over your file. You must do this in person because they do not accept mailed, faxed, or online applications.
The opening hours of the visa office are: Monday to Friday, 9.30 am to 11.30 am and 1.30 pm to 3.00 pm
You can arrange for someone else to submit your file on your behalf, but if the consulate needs you to attend an interview, you must appear in person.
When you arrive at the consulate, hand over all your documents. Remember to include all the necessary paperwork because if there is anything missing, the consulate will reject your application and this could delay things for you.
If they need any more information, they could ask you questions like:
- What type of visa are you applying for? Why?
- How much do you earn?
- What are you planning on doing in China?
- Do you know anyone in China?
- What did you say you do?
You may be thinking that the visa staff could get all this information from your documents, but don’t say this, just answer any questions put to you honestly and calmly. The staff are only trying to find out if they should grant the visa or not.
You will also pay the fee for your visa. You can pay by credit card (Visa and MasterCard only), money order or cashier’s check or company check payable to “Chinese Consulate in Houston”
The fee is paid when you go to collect your visa. It will not be refunded, even if your application gets refused.
Please note, these fees may be different depending on your nationality, so check with the consulate.
China Visa Fee
Number of entries
Multiple entry for 6 months
|Multiple entry for 12 months or more
- 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
Your visa application should be processed within the timescales given, so on the 4th day, you can return to the consulate to collect your passport. The consulate in Houston does not return passports by mail.
You would have been given a pick-up form with a date when you can return to collect your visa and passport. Don’t lose this as you will need to present it in order to collect your documents.
Once through security, wait in line at window number 2 where you will pay the fee and collect your passport.
When your documents are returned, open your passport and you will hopefully find your China visa attached to one of the blank pages. If it isn’t, your visa application would have been rejected. This happens for a number of reasons:
- Application form not signed
- No document to prove the reason for your visit to China
- Hotel bookings not provided for the whole trip
- Photo does not meet specifications
You must sign the application form, so when you print it off, sign it immediately so you don’t forget. You must prove why you wish to visit China and the documents you submit must reflect this. You must provide proof of accommodation for the entire duration of your trip. Lastly, the photo you provide must meet the consulate’s specifications, so check these before having your photo taken.
Contact details of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Houston
Address: 3417 Montrose Boulevard, Houston, Texas, TX 77006
Tel: 832-240-3780, 713-527-8954
Hours: Monday to Friday, 9.30 am – 11.30 am and 1.30 pm – 3.00 pm
1) I am not sure whether I need a visa for China?
Unless you are from a country that is permitted to enter China without a visa (see above) then you will need a visa for China
2) I have a visa for China. Does this mean I will definitely be able to enter China?
Having an approved China visa does not guarantee that you will be able to enter China. It is up to the immigration authorities at the port of entry
3) I have an “L” type visa. Do I need a residence permit too?
“L” visas are for tourism purposes, so you don’t need a residence permit. Types: Z, X1, Q1, S1, and D visa holders only are required to apply for a residence permit in China
4) Do the consulates provide mailing services?
No. The Chinese consulates do not offer any mailing services. Therefore, you cannot submit your application by mail nor can you have your passport returned by mail
5) What do I need to know when I go to the consulate to submit my application?
You need to know the following things:
- You must have prepared all the necessary documents BEFORE you come to the visa office
- Oversize baggage or hazardous objects are NOT permitted to be taken into the visa office. You must pass a security check at the entrance of the visa office.
- Take a queue number and wait for your turn
- Proceed to the window that shows your number and submit your application
- You will be given a pick-up slip for your application which you need to keep for when you pick up your passport. If no pick-up date is shown on the slip, you will receive a call from the consulate and they will advise you when you can return to pick up your visa. You can also contact the consulate for an update
- You need to pay for the visa on the pick-up date
6) My passport does not have 6 months remaining? What can I do?
Unfortunately, this is one of the stipulations, therefore you must apply for a new passport before you apply for your China visa
7) Can I check other applicants’ visa application?
No, you cannot do this
8) What does “Number of entries” mean?
This relates to the number of times you are allowed to enter China during the validity of your visa. Depending on the type of visa you are applying for, it will be issued as single (1 entry), double (2 entries), or multiple (unlimited entries).
There are just 4 simple steps to follow when you apply for your China visa at the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Houston:
- Complete your application form
- Get your documents ready
- Submit your application
- Receive your visa
It isn’t really a lot to do when you compare it to the wonderful adventures you are going to have when you get to China!
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