Chinese Consulate San Francisco – 4 Easy Steps to Apply for China Tourist and Travel Visa
Visitors to China can revel in all the wonder the country has to offer. Hectic but exciting cities, traditional villages, friendly people, and delicious cuisine. That’s just the tip of the iceberg! Venture further afield and you’ll find spectacular mountains, flowing rivers, serene lakes and much more. China really is one of the most remarkable countries you’re ever likely to visit! In this article learn more about how to apply for China Visa at the Chinese embassy in San Francisco, California, China visa appointment booking, Processing time at the China visa application center, China Visa Application Process at the San Francisco consulate, itinerary or round trip air ticket booking or flight reservation, Chinese visa types, insurance, Hotel reservation or proof of accommodation.
If you currently reside in the US but do NOT come from the following countries, you will need a visa to enter China:
- 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
Nationals from the above countries do NOT need a visa for China for the maximum amount of days specified.
Also, if you are from any of the following countries and are traveling in a tour group with an agent of a tour company registered in both countries, you are permitted to enter China for a maximum of 30 days:
Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Turkmenistan
For those who need a visa, you can apply at the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in your area. If you are looking to apply for your China visa at the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco you must live with their consular district of
You can find the full list of Chinese missions in the USA on the website of the Chinese Embassy in Washington.
Types of visas for China
Your reason for traveling to China will determine the category of visa you need to apply for. Most people require tourist visas which is category “L”, but you need to apply for the one that best suits your circumstances:
- 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 of news organizations stationed in China (180 days or more)
- J2 – Foreign journalists who visit China for short-term news coverage (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, but the required residence permit is valid for multiple entries
- Q2 – Family reunification with Chinese citizens/foreigners with permanent residence up to 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 180 days or more. 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 up to 180 days. Issued as multiple entry
- X1 – Study for a period of over 180 days. Issued as multiple entry
- X2 – Study for a period up to 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
China visas are valid for a period of 3, 6, or 12 months depending on the type of visa you are applying for. For further information regarding China visas, check the website of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco.
Applying for China visa from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco
First, go to the website of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco and click on: “Passports and visa”:
Then, on the next page, click on: “Visas”:
On the next page, click on: “Visa for China (mainland only)”:
Then, you’ll find everything you need to know to apply for your China visa:
The Chinese Consulate in San Francisco processes visa applications in 4 working days, but, depending on the type of visa you are applying for, it may well take longer.
This consulate does not provide an express service unless there is an emergency and you need your visa quickly, but this needs to be approved by the consular official, and there will be an extra fee to pay.
You can apply for your China visa up to 3 months ahead of your trip, but it’s recommended that you apply at least 1 month before. If you apply too early, your visa may expire before you have had the chance to use it.
The visa application process can seem daunting, so here are a few steps to follow to help you apply for your China visa:
Step 1: Complete your application form
You need to complete an application form for your China visa, which you will submit, along with your supporting documents, to the consulate in San Francisco. To find this form, go to the website of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco, click on: “Visa application form of the People’s Republic of China”:
You will be directed to the application form:
Please note, application forms will only be accepted by the consulate if they are typed. You need to download the form onto your personal computer and type the information before printing it. The consulate will NOT accept forms if they are handwritten and this will lead to your application being rejected.
Step 2: Get your documents ready
Before you begin to get your documents ready, it’s a good idea to spend time looking at what the requirements of the consulate in San Francisco are. If you miss anything or fail to provide any required documents, this will mean your application for your visa will be refused. There are no exceptions.
In addition, you must also provide photocopies as well as original documents. Again, if you don’t do this, the consulate will see this as an incomplete application and they will not accept it.
Documents you need to get ready are:
1) Passport – with more than 6 months remaining and blank visa pages, and a photocopy of the passport’s data and photo pages, if separate
3) Proof of legal stay or residence status (applicable to those not applying for the visa in their country of citizenship) If you are not applying for the visa in the country of your citizenship, you must provide the original and photocopy of your valid or visa of stay, residence, employment or student status of the country where you are currently staying
4) Previous Chinese passports or previous Chinese visas (for those who were Chinese citizens and have obtained foreign citizenship)
5) Letter of guarantee or an invitation letter
6) Proof of residence in China (if applicable)
7) Proof of onward travel out of China
8) Notification and an official letter stating details of events etc.
11) Itinerary of your plans in China
12) Chinese host ID and/or residence permit
13) Letter of consent and birth certificate
14) Marriage certificate and/or other proof of family ties
15) Student admission letter
16) Employment permit
Please note, the consulate is within their rights to request additional information if they think it necessary.
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 San Francisco does not accept mailed, faxed, or online applications. You must submit your file in person during the consulate’s opening hours. There is no need to make an appointment: Monday to Friday, 9.00 am – 2.30 pm
This office is closed over the weekend and during holidays.
When you arrive to submit your China visa application, you must remember to take all the necessary paperwork with you, otherwise, the visa official cannot make a decision.
If they need any more information from you, they may call you to attend an interview. They could ask you questions like:
- What do you know about China?
- What is your salary?
- Are you going to work in China?
- Who do you know in China?
- What are you going to do when you return to the US?
If they do, simply answer the questions honestly, precisely, and calmly.
You will also pay the fee for your visa. The consulate in San Francisco accepts payments by credit card (Visa or MasterCard), money order or cashier’s check payable to “Chinese Consulate General”
The fee is paid when you go to collect your visa once it has been processed. This fee is not refunded, even if your application gets refused.
Please also note that these fees could vary for citizens of certain countries.
China Visa Fee
Number of entries
|Multiple entry for 6 months||$140|
|Multiple entry for 12 months or more||$140|
- Express service: an additional fee $25 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 should be processed within 4 days, so you can collect it from the consulate in San Francisco on the 4th day. This consulate does not return passports by mail.
You should aim to collect your passport on time as visas not collected within 90 days will be seen as abandoned.
When you collect your passport, you should find your China visa inside, but visa applications sometimes get rejected. Hopefully, this won’t happen to you, but be aware of some of the reasons why they get refused:
- You haven’t signed the application form
- You haven’t included an invitation letter when you should have
- The reason why you wish to go to China hasn’t been made clear to the visa official
- You have a current China visa
First, check that you don’t already have a China visa – it could still be valid and there will be no need to go through a new application process. The purpose of your trip is vital information and should be made clear to the visa official. If you are being invited by someone already in China, such as a company or person, you must include an invitation letter. Lastly, don’t forget to sign the relevant documents, so check the paperwork before you hand everything over.
Contact details of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco
Address: 1450 Laguna Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
The entrance to the visa office is on Geary Blvd. (From the main office, walk up north to the first traffic light, turn right and walk 1/2 block)
Tel: 415-872-9091 – 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
Hours: Monday to Friday, 9.00 am – 2.30 pm
1) Where should I apply for a China visa?
You can apply at a Chinese Embassy or Consulate General in your area. You must apply to the one whose jurisdiction you belong to
2) What type of visa should I apply for?
This depends on your reason for traveling to China and you should apply for the one that exactly matches your circumstances
3) I am a US citizen. Can I get a visa for China when I arrive there?
No. You must arrange a visa prior to arriving in China
4) How long before my trip should I apply?
You should apply around 1 month before your trip. If you apply too early, your visa may expire when you need it. If you apply too late, your visa might not be processed in time
5) How quick can my visa application be processed?
There are 3 different services offered:
- Regular service – 4 working days
- Express service – 2-3 working days (additional fee and approval by the consular official must be given)
- Rush service – 1 working day (additional fee and approval by the consular official must be given)
However, not all Chinese missions offer additional services. You can check with the one you are applying through to see if they can offer these additional services
6) Can you mail my passport back to me?
No, there is no mailing service available. You must collect your passport from the office
7) I don’t live close to a Chinese Consulate. How can I apply?
You can arrange for someone to submit your application to the consulate on your behalf. However, the consulate will not be responsible for anything that happens with this arrangement. Plus, if the consulate requires you to attend an interview, you must appear in person
8) When will my China visa become valid?
Your China visa is valid from the date of issue
There is not really a lot to do when it comes to applying for your China Visa at the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in San Francisco. All you need to do is to follow these steps:
- Complete your application form
- Get your documents ready
- Submit your application
- Receive your visa
And you’ll soon be jetting off on your amazing journey to China!
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