Basic Procedures for Visa Application
You will need a current passport, visa application form, letter of invitation, a photo that conform to requirements, means to pay the fee. More detail is provided below. Some additional material may be required according to what country you applying from. It is best to contact your nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulates General, or Chinese Visa Application Service Center to confirm what you will be asked to provide, and the required timeframe to submit your application.
In some countries applications are handled by the Chinese Embassy and Consulates General. In other countries your application needs to go through your nearest Chinese Visa Application Service Centre. You are strongly advised to confirm where to direct your application, to avoid unnecessary delays.
Foreigners require a Chinese visa when visiting China
Foreigners must apply for, and obtain, a Chinese visa before entering China. There are some small exceptions where certain groups of people are entitled to a visa-free policy. If you have an existing visa, do ensure that that you have not already used the permitted number of entries, and the time has not expired. In either of those cases you will need to apply for a new visa.
The type of visa required for traveling to China
A Tourist Visa (L Visa) is issued to foreigners who come to China for tourism, to visit family members or friends or for other personal affairs. An L Visa is essential for foreigners to enter China.
Visa Validity and Duration of Stay
The validity of a Single Entry or Double Entry "L" visa is 90 days or 180 days from the date of issue. The visa holder shall enter China before the visa expired. Normally the duration of stay of a single entry "L" visa is 30 days, which means the visa holder may stay in China for up to 30 days from the date of entry. If your estimated stay is over 30 days, please make it clear in the application form and ask for the Visa Officer's approval when you submit your application.
Invitation letter for tourist visa application
We shall send you the necessary letter of invitation for your tourist visa application. Return tickets, hotel bookings and a complete itinerary are all required.
The invitation letter can be issued by an organization or a person within the Chinese territory, and must include the following:
1. Information concerning the invitee: name, gender, date of birth.
2. Information concerning the invitee's itinerary: date of arrival and departure, destination.
3. Information concerning the inviter (organization or person): name, phone number, address, official seal, the signature of the legal representative or the inviter.
We send you the invitation letter as soon as we receive your confirmed payment, and offer assistance in your visa application. You need apply to Chinese Embassy or Consulate General, or Chinese Visa Application Service Centre in your region, or you can entrust an agent to do it on your behalf.
Double and multiple entry
This depends on your itinerary. If you visit mainland China first (eg Beijing, Shanghai and Xi'an), then visit Hong Kong and then back to the mainland (such as visiting Guilin and Chengdu), you need to apply for double entry. If you don't apply for double entry in such a case, you will not be allowed to re-enter the mainland after your stay in Hong Kong. If you have such an itinerary, remember to apply for double entry. If you plan to enter the mainland three times or more, then you need to apply for multiple entry.
If you are on an international cruise which calls into more than one Chinese port, and you want to go ashore (for example, Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai), then you need to apply for double or multiple entry depending on whether you call at two or more ports.
The following are required for an application:
1. Passport: your original passport, valid for six months or more, with a blank visa page, and a copy of the passport photograph page. You need to apply for a passport in advance. Visa requirements vary according to region, so you should consult the nearest Chinese Embassy, Consulates-General or China Visa Application Service.
3. Photo: 2-inch (48mm×33mm); one recent color passport photo (full face, front view and bareheaded).
4. Proof of residence: non-USA citizens who apply for a Chinese visa in the U.S.A, need to provide valid proof of residence in the U.S.A for study or work, or provide the original and copy of their valid American visa.
5. Original Chinese passport: Anyone who was born in China (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) but later took foreign nationality should provide their original Chinese passport, a copy of the passport photograph page and a copy of the delay page (if there is one).
6. Proof of name change: If your name in your new passport is different from that in the original one, you need to provide proof of name change issued by the relevant authority.
7. Original Chinese visa: Overseas Chinese who were born in China who have previously obtained a Chinese visa should provide the original passport photograph page and copy of their Chinese visa when applying for a visa with a new passport.
Foreigners traveling to China are entitled to visa exemption in any of the following situations:
1. Direct transit
Foreigners holding confirmed interline air tickets do not require a visa if they stop in China for direct transit for up to 24 hours, and do not leave the airport.
Citizens of the following countries are exempted from visa requirements while in Shanghai for a transit of up to 48 hours regardless which type of passport they hold. They may leave the airport, but must have entered China through Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport or Shanghai Pudong International Airport:
USA, South Korea, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Switzerland , Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary.
2. Travel to the Pearl River Delta area and the Hainan Island
(1) Foreigners in Hong Kong and Macau holding passports of a country that has established diplomatic ties with China are exempted from visa requirements if they enter the Pearl Delta River area of Guangdong Province (referring to Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Zhaoqing and Huizhou) for tourism for up to 6 days in a tour group organized by travel agencies that have been registered in Hong Kong or Macau.
(2) Citizens of the following countries holding ordinary passports are exempted from visa requirements if they travel to Hainan Province for up to 15 days as part of a tour group (at least 5 tourists) organized by an international travel agency that has been registered in Hainan with the approval of China National Tourism Administration:
USA, Malaysia, Thailand, Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Germany, UK, France, Austria, Italy, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Netherlands, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Japan and Singapore. Among all these countries, South Korean, German and Russian citizens can stay for up to 21 days if the group is comprised of at least 2 tourists.
3. Singaporean, Bruneian and Japanese citizens
Singaporean, Bruneian and Japanese citizens holding ordinary passports are exempted from visa requirements if they enter China through the ports open to foreigners for tourism, business or for visiting relatives or friends or while in a transit for up to 15 days, with the exception of the following situations:
(1) Ordinary passport holders travel to China for tourism, business or for visiting relatives or friends for over 15 days;
(2) Ordinary passport holders travel to China for study, work, settlement, official visit and interviews.
(3) Japanese diplomatic and service passport holders.
4. APEC Business Travel Card holders
The APEC Business Travel Card is a travel document issued to business travelers who are citizens of APEC participating economies. Valid for three years, the card eliminates the need for its holder to possess a visa when visiting China as long as pre-clearance has been obtained during the application process. No stay in China may exceed 2 months.
5. People's Republic of China Foreigner's Permanent Residence Card holders
6. Holders of a valid Residence Permit for Foreigners in the People's Republic of China issued by the Chinese Public Security Bureau
Foreigners and resident correspondents who travel to China for study and work should go to the public security bureau to apply for a Residence Permit for Foreigners in the People's Republic of China after their entry. While the permit remains valid, they can enter and exit China several times without having to applying for a separate visa.
7. Bilateral agreements
According to the bilateral agreements reached between China and other countries, foreigners of some of these countries are entitled to visa exemption if they meet the requirements. For more information, please see the List of Agreements on Mutual Visa Exemption between the People's Republic of China and Foreign Countries