China Visa Guide – 5 Easy Steps to Apply for Chinese Tourist and Travel Visa
China is a huge country, so you may not have time to traverse its land, but take time to visit its ultra-modern cities with temples and pagodas, historic neighborhoods, city walls, and mosques. Further afield, you’ve got stunning national parks with impressive mountains – great for hiking – the iconic Great Wall of China, or the Qin Emperor’s terracotta army. Wherever you end up, China will be a jaw-dropping experience! In this article learn more about how to apply for China Visa at the Chinese embassy, China visa appointment booking, Processing time at the China visa application service center(CVASC), China visa application requirements, flight itinerary for China visa or air ticket booking or flight reservation, Chinese visa types, Chinese embassy & consulates, Hotel reservation or proof of accommodation, and China Visa Application Process.
Applying for a China visa
If you are in possession of an ordinary passport issued by the following countries, you do NOT need a visa to enter China. Please take note of the time you are permitted to stay in the country depending on your nationality:
- 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
The following countries are permitted to enter China without a visa for holders of passports for public affairs or ordinary passports endorsed for public affairs:
Please take note of the regulations for each country (if applicable)
- Visa exempt
- Visa-free only for holders of E-passports
- Visa-free for holders of passports for public affairs and/or official trip
- Visa-free for holders of passports for public affairs with AB category and validity date
If you are a citizen of the following countries, you may enter China for a maximum of 30 days if you are traveling as part of a tour group and accompanied by a representative of a tour operator that is registered in both countries:
- Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Turkmenistan
All other nationalities must be in possession of a valid visa to be able to enter China. In order to do this, you must apply at the Chinese Embassy or Consulate General in the country where you reside. Or, depending on which country you live, you may be able to apply through a Chinese Visa Application Service Center – most popular visitors to China are from South Korea, Vietnam, Japan, USA, Philippines, India, Canada, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Chinese Visa Types
There are several types of visa for China that you can apply for. You must make sure you apply for the correct one. There are different categories you can apply for which will be determined by your reason for traveling to China:
- D – If you wish to reside permanently in China
- F – If you want to go to China for exchanges, visits, study tours, and other non-business activities. Issued as single or double entry
- G – If you intend to transit through China (i.e. a change of plane en route to your final destination)
- J1 – For foreign journalists of foreign news organizations stationed in China (for stays of more than 180 days)
- J2 – For foreign journalists who intend to go to China for short-term news coverage (maximum 180 days)
- L – This is for tourism purposes. Issued as single, double, or multiple entry
- M – For those interested in commercial or trade activities. Issued as single, double, or multiple entry
- Q1 – For family reunification with Chinese citizens or foreigners with Chinese permanent residence for more than 180 days. Issued as a single entry, but the required residence permit, which must be applied for, is valid for multiple entries
- Q2 – For family reunification with Chinese citizens or foreigners with permanent residence for a maximum of 180 days. Issued as multiple entry
- R – If you have high-level talents or whose skills are needed in China
- S1 – If you are the spouse, parent, son or daughter 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 a single entry. You must apply for a residence permit in China which is good for multiple entries
- S2 – If you are the spouse, parent, son or daughter 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 – If you wish to study for more than 180 days. Issued as multiple entry
- X2 – If you wish to study for a maximum of 180 days. Issued as a single entry
- Z – If you wish to work in China. Issued as a single entry only. Once inside China, you may apply for a residence permit which is good for multiple entries
Whether your China visa is issued as single, double, or multiple entry, please bear in mind how long they are valid for.
- Single entry – valid for 3-6 months
- Double entry – valid for 6 months
- Multiple entry – valid for 6 or 12 months
This means that you must enter China within these timescales in order for it to remain valid. If you try to enter later you will be refused entry and you will have to arrange a new visa.
Sample China Visa
Where to Apply for China Visa
Depending on where you are located, you need to apply for your China visa at the Chinese Embassy or Consulate General in your region.
Chinese Embassy in Western Asia and North Africa
Chinese Embassy in Europe and Central Asia
Chinese Embassy in North America and Oceania
Chinese Embassy in Latin America
Chinese Consulates General
Chinese Consulate in Western Asia and North Africa
Chinese Consulate in Europe and Central Asia
Chinese Consulate in North America and Oceania
Chinese Consulate in Latin America
In order to find the correct office, go to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China and click on: “The Ministry” tab:
Then click on: “Chinese Embassies” for the list of Chinese Embassies around the world:
Or the Chinese Consulate’s around the world:
From there, all you need to do is find the country where you live and click on the link which will take you to the website of the embassy or consulate that you will be dealing with.
If you can’t see your location, click on: “More”:
However, if you live in certain countries within Asia, Africa, America, Europe, and Oceania, you can apply for your China visa through a Chinese Visa Application Service Center (CVASC). To check whether this applies to you, go to the CVASC’s website and see if your country is there:
The China Visa Application Process
It takes around 4 business days for your visa application to be processed, but these times may differ depending on the Embassy or Consulate you are dealing with. Plus, your nationality and the type of visa you are applying for could increase the processing times. The best thing to do is check the website of the embassy or consulate you will be dealing with.
Some visa offices offer an express service for an additional fee, which means your China visa could be processed in as little as 2-3 days. Also, same day rush processing could also be available, again for a fee, but this is only offered in some countries and in emergency situations only.
It’s best to apply for your China visa between 60 and 15 days before your intended travel dates. You can’t apply too early because once approved, some visas are only valid for 3 months, so you need to use it within this time. You should be aware that applications received more than 3 months prior to your departure will not be accepted.
Applying through a Chinese Embassy or Consulate
If you are applying through a Chinese Embassy or Consulate, you must:
- Choose the correct visa category – this is very important because if you apply for the wrong one, your visa application will be denied
- Submit your application to a Chinese Embassy or Consulate in your location – there is no need to make an appointment. All you need to do is to submit your application and supporting documents during the embassy or consulate’s opening hours
- Pay the visa application fee and pick up your visa at the office
Please note, you must submit your application in person. If you send it by mail, it will not be processed.
If you are applying this way, check the website of the embassy or consulate you are dealing with. You will find instructions on how to apply. For example, take a look at the Chinese Consulate in Chicago’s website:
Applying at a Chinese Visa Application Service Center
If you are applying at a Chinese Visa Application Center, first go to www.visaforchina.org and find your country and click on the one where you are located:
Next, click on: “How to get a visa – step by step guidance”:
On the next page, you’ll have to answer the following questions in order to find out the visa application requirements:
- How are you going to submit your visa application – by visiting the center or by post?
- How are you going to collect your passport – by visiting the center or by post?
- What kind of visa do you wish to apply for? – you need to choose the correct category of visa from the list of options
Once you’ve done that, click on: “The next step”:
You’ll see a list of terms and conditions which you need to read:
At the bottom, you need to key in a verification code, and click on: “The next step”:
Then, you’ll get a list of required documents that you need for your visa type. Once you’ve made a list of what is required, scroll down and click on: “The next step”:
On the next page, it gives information about submitting your application. You should read this, so you understand what you need to do. Once you’ve done that, scroll down and click on: “The next step”:
Next, you can find out about paying for your visa application and collecting your passport:
Step 1: Make an appointment
If you are applying through a Chinese Embassy or Consulate, there is no need to make an appointment. You just need to turn up at the office during their submission hours and hand over your application and supporting documents.
If you are applying through a Chinese Visa Application Service Center, you need to make an appointment to hand over your documents.
Go to www.visaforchina.org and click on: “Quick access”:
On the next page, scroll down and click on: “Appointment (Application)”:
And then you will be able to make a suitable appointment for submitting your application:
Step 2: Complete your application form
If you are applying through an embassy or consulate, you can find the application form on their websites, but please note, only typed applications are accepted, so you can’t just print off and fill it in by hand. You must download the form and complete it on your computer before printing and signing it.
If you are applying through the consulate in Los Angeles, they have their own application form that they use, so make sure you use their version rather than the standard one.
If you are applying through a visa application service center, go to www.visaforchina.org and click on: “Step-by-step guidance” and continue until you reach: “Step 1 – prepare documents”:
You can download the application form, but you must still complete it on your computer before printing it. Click on the link and you will be directed to a new screen with the link for the application form:
You can also complete an online application form. On the “Step 1 – prepare documents” screen, click on the other link and you will see instructions for completing your online visa application form and a list of terms and conditions:
Once you’ve read these, scroll down and click on: “Agree”:
On the application system, you’ll need to key in the location of the visa application center, a verification code, and choose from 3 options – A, B, or C. Then, at the bottom, click on: “Start”:
Then, you’ll be able to continue through and complete your application:
Step 3: Get your documents ready
This part of the process is probably the most important part. You must get all the necessary documents required for your visa application ready prior to submitting it to the embassy, consulate, or visa application service center.
It’s a good idea to spend time looking at what is required by the office you are dealing with. Any missing information and/or documents could result in your application being refused which is obviously not the outcome you are aiming for.
In addition, you need to submit original documents and photocopies of everything, so remember to do that too.
Documents you need to get ready are:
1) Passport with at least 6 months remaining and at least 2 blank visa pages plus a copy of the passport’s data page and photo page (if separate). If you are a dual national, you need to submit all current passports and previous passports (if applicable)
2) Visa application form fully completed and signed. Remember the application form cannot be handwritten
3) 1 x photo on glossy photo paper and glued to the application form. Your photo must meet the specifications
4) Declaration form (if you are applying through a Chinese Visa Application Service Center)
5) Proof of legal stay or residence status
6) Proof of employment or student status
7) Previous Chinese visas and/or passports
8) Letter of guarantee or invitation letter
9) Proof of Chinese residence status
10) An onward transport ticket (air, train, or ship) to the destination country
11) Proof of participation in any type of event
12) Flight booking or confirmation and itinerary for China and proof of accommodation such as hotel reservation
13) Chinese host’s ID and residence permit
14) Birth/marriage certificate
15) Proof of student enrollment
16) Parent’s passports and proof of parental consent for minors
17) Work permit
18) Bank statements and/or tax returns
19) Travel insurance – required for some nationalities
20) Your appointment receipt (if applicable)
Please be aware, that this is not an exhaustive list and the visa authority may request other documentation to support your application that is not listed on their websites.
If you’re planning to obtain your flight reservation for visa without paying for the ticket or proof of hotel reservation, 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 or hotel reservation in email
Step 4: Submit your application
If you haven’t made an appointment to submit your application to a Chinese Embassy or Consulate, you still need to go there during their office hours in order to hand over your application.
If you have made an appointment through a Chinese Visa Application Service Center, you need to arrive on time.
In both cases, it’s a good idea to dress appropriately as this helps to make a good impression. Plus, you need to remember to take all the necessary documents otherwise you might have to start the application process all over again.
The visa official will examine your application and supporting documents and if they need to check anything with you, they will ask you extra questions. They will do this in order to have all the necessary information in order to make a decision about whether to agree to your visa or not. So, answer any questions put to you honestly and be confident. They may ask you:
- Why do you want to visit China?
- Who will be paying for your trip?
- What do you do in your country?
- Are you planning to return to your country after your trip to China?
- What are your plans in China?
When you are at the visa office, you’ll also pay the fee for your China visa. It depends where you are submitting your application, but most embassies or consulates will accept money orders, cashier’s checks or Visa/MasterCard. However, the CVASC will also accept cash. You need to check with the respective visa office prior to going there to submit your documents. In addition, if you are using the CVASC, there will be an additional service fee that you need to pay. Fees payable to the CVASC are normally paid when you go to collect your visa and passport.
These fees are non-refundable even if your application is refused.
|$110 (Except for 5 year/10 year multiple entry visa)||$134|
|$219 (Multiple entries for 5 years)|
|$329 (Multiple entries for 10 years)|
|$75 (Single entry)||$99|
$99 (Double entries)
|$148 (Multiple entries)|
|$36 (Single entry)||$61|
|$54 (Double entries)|
$72 (Multiple entries for 6 months)
|$108 (Multiple entries for 1 year and above)|
Please note, these fees will be charged in the local currency of the country you are applying from.
You may also have to provide biometric data in the form of a scan of your fingerprints and a digital photo.
Step 5: Receive your visa
When a decision has been made about your China visa application, you will be notified and you can arrange to collect your passport from the embassy or consulate where you submitted your application. The Chinese Embassies or Consulates DON’T provide a mail-back service.
If you have applied through a Chinese Visa Application Service Center, you will have been given a collection date. You need to remember to take the pick-up form as you will need this when you collect your passport.
You also have the option of having your passport mailed back to you from the CVASC. You will have to provide a self-addressed, pre-paid envelope and pay an additional fee for this service.
You can also track the status of your visa application by going to the CVASC’s website and clicking on: “Quick access”:
Then, scroll down to “History” and click on: “Status”:
Then you can check the status of your application by keying in the pick-up form number, your phone number or application number, and your passport number:
Hopefully, your visa has been approved and it will be attached inside your passport. China has a very strict visa policy, so there may have been a reason why your application got rejected:
- You have submitted a handwritten application form
- You have not provided all the required documents
- You have provided incorrect information
- You don’t have a hotel booking
- You overstayed on a previous visit to China
Handwritten application forms are no longer accepted, so you must complete the form on your computer before printing it. You must provide all the relevant documents for your type of visa because the visa authority cannot make a decision if there is anything missing, including hotel bookings, so check the requirements before you start. Things like spelling errors, wrong passport numbers and/or addresses could lead to your application being rejected, so before you submit your application, check and recheck that everything is correct. If you have overstayed in a country on a previous visit, this could affect the outcome of a new visa application, so the simple answer is – don’t!
Here are the links you need to find the closest visa office where you can submit your application:
1) I am a US citizen, can I get a visa on arrival in China?
No. You must arrange a visa prior to arriving in China
2) If I get a visa for China, does this guarantee that I will be allowed to enter the country?
No. The decision about whether you will be permitted to enter lies with the immigration authorities at the port of entry
3) Do I have to make an appointment to submit my visa application?
It depends where you submit your application. If you apply at any of the Chinese Embassies or Consulates, you do not need a prior appointment. However, if you apply through a Chinese Visa Application Service Center, you need to make an appointment on their online system
4) Can I apply for my China visa via mail?
No. You must submit your application in person
5) How long does it take to process my China visa application?
Generally, it takes 4 working days, but certain types of visas may take longer. You will be told when you can collect your passport when you submit your documents
6) If my application is rejected, will the fee be refunded?
No. The visa fee is payable regardless of whether your application is accepted or rejected. There are no refunds and no exceptions
7) I am planning to visit China for business purposes, but will also meet some friends there. What type of visa do I need to apply for?
You need to apply for a visa based on your main reason for visiting China. You will also need to submit the required documents to take account of the fact that you will be engaging in different activities
8) My current visa is due to expire soon, but I want to stay in China longer. What can I do?
You must leave China before your current visa expires unless you can arrange an extension to your current visa from the local authorities in China. If you need a new visa, you must return to your home country
You can apply for China visa in 1 of 3 ways:
- Apply through a Chinese Embassy
- Apply through a Chinese Consulate General
- Apply through a Chinese Visa Application Service Center (CVASC) – www.visaforchina.org
The office you need to apply through depends on where you live.
Then, all you need to do is follow the instructions laid out above and, hopefully, you’ll have your visa before you know it. Then, all you’ve got to do is get packing for your amazing trip to China!
At Visa Reservation, we strive to simplify the visa process by providing free visa consultations, cover letter templates and no objection letter templates for our clients from US, UK, Canada, Philippines, India, China, UAE, Europe, Nigeria and globally. We also offer flight itinerary for visa, travel medical insurance, hotel reservations for visa , Book Visa Appointment, Travel Guides, Visa Interview Guides and many more. To learn more about how we can help you with our visa services, please feel free to contact us today.