How to apply for a chinese tourist visa

Before embarking on your China trip, it’s necessary to obtain a Chinese tourist visa, aka L visa or travel visa, unless that you are eligible for China’s visa exemption policies. No matter you will join a group tour or travel independently, you need to apply for the visa on your own in most cases, but there is a slight difference in the two scenarios.

How to apply for a chinese tourist visa
Sample of China Tourist Visa

Join a group tour

If you book a tour from a China agency like TravelChinaGuide, the process might be easier. You can ask for an invitation letter from the agency, which is of great help in visa application and can improve the chance for visa approval to some degree.

Travel independently

Round-trip tickets and hotel reservations are required for tourist visa application for independent travelers. Submit as detailed supporting documents as you can to justify your travel itinerary. Usually the hotel bookings should cover your whole stay length in China and be consistent with the dates of arrival and departure shown on your tickets, otherwise your visa may get rejected.

What Are the Requirements for China Tourist Visa?

Generally the required documents include:
1. Your passport, which should be valid for at least six months
2. A complete Chinese Tourist Visa Application Form attached with your passport style photo
3. Round-trip tickets and hotel reservations or an invitation letter from from a travel agency in China
4. For some first-time applicants or citizens from certain countries, they may need to provide extra documents such as bank statement, employee certificate and tax return form to prove their financial status.

How to apply for a chinese tourist visa
China Tourist Visa Requirements

5 Steps to Apply for a Tourist Visa for China

1. Prepare your passport and ensure its validity is no less than six months.
2. Book round-trip tickets and hotels, and print the booking records. Alternatively, book a tour from a travel agency and get the invitation letter.
3. Complete the application form. (See 8 Tips for Filling out Chinese Visa Application Form)
4. Submit the above documents to the Chinese embassy / consulate or CVASC which has jurisdiction in your residence area.
5. Collect your passport and visa on the appointed date and pay the fee.

How Much Does a China Tourist Visa Cost?

US Citizens Canadian Citizens UK Citizens Australian Citizens
USD 140 CAD 142 GBP 151 AUD 109.5

Here we only list single entry tourist visa fees for some major countries. Click on China Visa Fees for more information.

How Long Does It Take for the Application?

It normally takes only four working days. In case you are in a hurry, you may apply for the expedited services like same day collection service or 2-3 day collection service. Of course, such services require an additional fee.

How Far in Advance Do I Apply for a Tourist Visa for China?

It’s recommended to apply six weeks ahead of your planned visit, which is neither too early nor too late.

How Long Is a China Tourist Visa Valid?

A China tourist visa is normally valid for three months from the date of issue. For US citizens, they may get a multiple-entry tourist visa valid for 10 years. The allowed stay duration ranges from 30 days to 90 days decided by consular officers on the basis of your travel itinerary.

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How to apply for a chinese tourist visa

How To Apply For Chinese Tourist Visa in the Philippines (Updated)

  • Post author:dantravels
  • Post published: March 18, 2019
  • Post category:Visa Application
  • Post comments:2 Comments

How To Apply for Chinese Tourist Visa in the Philippines

How to apply for a chinese tourist visa

By DAN FORTEZA

This post may contain affiliate links which means if you purchase something through that link, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you. Think of it as buying a cup of coffee for me on someone else. Thanks & enjoy!

It is a dream of mine to personally see of ALL of the New 7 Wonders of the World before I die. China’s Great Wall is one of them. If you have that kind of dream too, then let’s make that happen! I will guide you on how to get your Chin ese Tourist Visa as well as share my experience during my tourist visa application.

But first, let me start off by saying that no one can give you the guarantee of your Chinese visa’s approval – not me, not even a lawyer or a travel agent. If anyone does, is most likely a scammer.

As a travel blogger, what I can offer you here is just a guide with helpful tips to increase your chances of getting that Chinese Tourist Visa.

So let’s get started.

GET YOUR CHINESE TOURIST VISA IN 3 EASY STEPS!

STEP 1: PREPARE THE REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

1. Duly Accomplished Visa Application Form – Please download the application form here . Fill it up completely. Put N/A if the question is not applicable to you. Handwritten is NO LONGER acceptable!

2. Passport – Original passport that is valid for at least another 6 months with at least one blank visa page, a photocopy of the passport’s information/photo page and emergency contact page. The previous old passport, if available, is required to be submitted; if the old passport is lost, or the applicant never holds a passport before, please make a clear statement in item 3.7 of the Visa Application Form

3. Photo – Please provide 2 colored photos and affix one of the photos on the Application Form. The photo should be recent (within 6 months), front view, white background, in 48mm x 33mm size without head covering. (For specific photo requirements, click here .) Stapled/taped/clipped/detached photos will not be accepted.

4. Plane ticket reservations – Yes, this is necessary! I usually booked my flight tickets at Skyscanner or Kayak.

I suggest you check Kayak (click HERE ) as they usually offer cheap fare rates compared to other booking sites.

5. Hotel reservations – Yes, you gotta need this. You can book your hostel or hotel reservations at booking.com .

Book hostels through booking.com as they have free cancellation or pay-at-the-hotel option.

Use my link to book your hostel and you’ll get 10% of your booking back after your stay. Click this link to get that discount.

Or try Airbnb in finding comfy and cozy rooms! I have used Airbnb on some of my other trips and I loved it!

Have you tried Airbnb? Sign up with my link and you will get up to 42 USD (2,200 Php) off your first stay. Click this link to get that discount.

6. Travel itinerary – Just list down the places you would want to visit in China on a day-to-day basis. Basically, the embassy just needs to see this to have an idea of your tourism activities while you’re in China.

I can share to you my itinerary template, just leave a reply in the comment section below.

You also need to provide financial documents such as:

7. Bank Certificate including 6-month bank statement

8. BIR Income Tax Return (ITR)

9. Certificate of Employment (CoE) – For employed applicants, your CoE should state your salary and length of employment. For Businessmen, you can provide your business papers instead.

10. Professional ID, student ID when applicable

11. All other relevant documents you can think of that could prove your financial capability to support your travel to China.

STEP 2: SUBMIT & FILE YOUR DOCUMENTS TO THE EMBASSY

Note: Applicant may submit his/her visa application in person or entrust someone (with authorization letter) or a travel agency to submit on his or her behalf.

When: You can obtain your Chinese Tourist Visa in 4 working days* after the day of your submission. So applying a week before your intended flight is possible, though I would not recommend it. You should apply at least 2-3 weeks before your flight.

Where: MANILA – Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, 2F, The World Center 330 Senator Gil J. Puyat Avenue, Makati City.

No appointment is required!

Office hours: 09:00 am to 11:00 am Monday to Friday. However, the Embassy is closed during Chinese holidays so better you check their website directly for info.

Single Entry 1400 pesos
Double Entry 2100
6mo Multiple Entry 2800
1yr Multiple Entry 4200

*Regular processing time is 4 working days. For expedited application, additional fee will be collected. Visa payment is made during passport collection. Only cash payment will be accepted.

STEP 3: GET YOUR PICK UP FORM. WAIT. RETURN & CLAIM YOUR PASSPORT WITH VISA (hopefully!)

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:

I followed most of the blogs with regards to the required documents to be submitted. However, at 9:00AM, the time I presented my documents to the security guard at the Embassy, I was told I need to redo my application form as handwritten is no longer accepted. This is a LESSON LEARNED for me and you, too, as future applicants.

At 9:15AM, I have to walk few blocks from the Embassy to get to the nearest computer shop to fix my application form. Thank God it’s just 5-10 minutes walk. I was also with other visa applicants who have the same problem as mine.

At 10:00AM, I was already coursing back to the Embassy to again file my application. It went smoothly. Then, I paid the visa fee. And was given a Pick up form for the visa release. I was done after an hour.

I was scheduled to pick up my passport/visa after 4 working days. It is the release date of the passport/visa for regular processing, but you can also choose for an expedited release to two days or three. You should bring with you the Pick up form!

On the scheduled day, I arrived at the Chinese Embassy in Buendia Avenue, Makati City at around 7:00AM. And oh boy! There’s a long queue already for the “releasing” and “filing” on the ground floor of the building.

For the releasing which I was there for, the guard at the entrance gave me a pink stub with number. And again, don’t you forget to bring your the pick up form.

Dreaming, planning, inspiring family travel. starting here, starting now.

How to apply for a chinese tourist visa

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We are headed to China in 2018! We’re especially excited because the children are learning Chinese and my Grandmother is Chinese. It will also be the longest trip we’ve taken with the kids so there is a lot of preparation to do. The most important piece of preparation was to apply for and receive our visas. China does not offer any visa upon arrival so you have to take care of this in advance!

The China Embassy website has instructions but we still ran into some unexpected requirements at the Consulate. This post is everything we learned in the process so your application process can go more smoothly than ours did.

Obviously, the Chinese government can change their requirements at any time. This is not meant to replace the information found on the China Embassy website but is meant to help make it easier to understand. Our experience was with the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco, the process may vary slightly at different Consulates.

Type of Chinese Visa

First, we applied for a Tourist Visa “L”. This is because we are not Chinese passport holders and we only plan to be in China for tourism which will never exceed 60 days.

We chose to apply for a 10-year multiple-entry visa. This is the longest visa option available but it costs the same ($140/person) as a single-entry so you might as well. We hope to visit every year or two to help reinforce the children’s language learning.

Please note, the 10-year visa is not listed as an option on Form V. Check other and fill in “10-year multiple-entry.”

Chinese Visa Application, Form V

Supporting Documentation

The following are requirements that were listed online as well as additional documents I was required to produce when I reached the consulate.

  • Form V
    • Filled in completely and signed.
    • Each individual will need this form completed. There is a section to include people who share your passport, but this wouldn’t apply to Americans.
  • Daily itinerary as required by Form V section 2.6
    • If your trip is longer than 5 days you will need to include your itinerary on a separate piece of paper. I made ours with 3 columns: date, address, itinerary.
    • For the itinerary column, I kept it simple with categories like “Travel Day”, “Recovery Day”, “Sightseeing Day.”
    • I made copies for each person so there was one copy for every Form V.
  • Passport
    • You must have 6 months of validity remaining on your passport. They will also keep your passport and it will be 7 days before you can get it back. Make sure you time this to correspond with any other travel you have coming up.
  • Black and white photocopy of passport
    • I didn’t see this requirement online so I had to make this copies at the consulate. They have copy machines and I recommend you bring quarters (even if you think you have everything) just in case.
  • For adults, black and white photocopy of Driver’s License or other Government Issued ID.
    • Another requirement I couldn’t find online.
  • For children, copy of birth certificate
    • Again, not listed online, but required.
  • Flight receipt. Must show everyone’s names as well as entry/exit dates.
    • This is a big one, you cannot get a visa without flight details.
    • We booked nonrefundable tickets and then made sure to start the visa process well in advance in case we got rejected and needed to reapply.
    • I have heard of people getting refundable tickets and then canceling and rebooking cheaper tickets once their visa is approved. I’m not sure how the Chinese Embassy feels about this, so I cannot recommend this. If your trip is coming up quickly, it is certainly a way to ensure against a visa rejection.
    • Only one copy is required for the family onlyif all names are listed on the reservation.
  • Photos meeting all requirements.
    • Walgreens was not able to take pictures that met China’s size requirements. I ended up taking these at home with a tripod and then editing them in Photoshop.
    • There is a photo station inside the Consulate. This is a good back up option if your photos get rejected. Just make sure you are not wearing a white shirt.
  • Copy of hotel reservations or a letter of intent from your host.
    • Per the instructions online, I brought our hotel reservations but they did not end up asking for them.
    • Only one copy is required for the family onlyif all names are listed on the reservation.
  • Payment (due on pickup)
    • They accept Visa, Mastercard, Certified Check, or Money Order.

The Process

I showed up at the San Francisco Consulate at 1 pm on a Tuesday. The line was out the door and wrapped down the sidewalk. A security guard was handing out numbers so we grabbed ours and left to eat some ice cream.

We returned at 2 pm and waited for an hour before our number was called. Once our number was called we waited in another line for half an hour before speaking to a representative. She reviewed our documentation and informed us of what we were missing. After making some photocopies we got back into a shorter line to speak to the same representative again. This line took quite a while and we finally left at 4 pm.

When she accepted our paperwork she gave me a receipt and instructions to come back 7 days later. The security guard had suggested 2 pm as the best time for pickups.

I waited in line for half an hour to pay for and pick up our visas. There were no mistakes with any of the 4 visas I had applied for.

Although I’m very happy to have received our visa, I am definitely going to make sure to have copies of our itinerary, exits flights, and hotel reservations when we arrive at customs in Beijing. You just never know!

If all of this just sounds like too much, or if you don’t live near an Embassy, you can pay a travel agent or service to submit everything for you. Plan on it taking an extra couple weeks and costing roughly $100/person.

I hope this helps! We can’t wait for our trip to China!

eVisa Requirements for Chinese Visitors

Saudi Arabia —one of the most exciting destinations for Chinese travelers— is opening its doors through its Saudi Arabia eVisa. As part of Vision 2030, the Kingdom is offering visitors from China a historic opportunity to discover Saudi Arabia’s breathtaking landscapes and its people’s warm hospitality.

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, and his government have implemented an electronic visa for Saudi Arabia that allows citizens of 49 nationalities, including travelers from China, to spend up to 90 days in the country.

Learn how to obtain the Saudi Arabian eVisa from China and become one of the first tourists to travel to the Kingdom under this program.

Saudi Arabia Offers eVisa for Chinese Citizens

For the first time, Chinese travelers may enter Saudi Arabia by simply filling out an online form. The application to obtain a Saudi Arabia eVisa from China is part of an entirely electronic procedure. This means that it can be completed online from the comfort of your home or office, without having to visit a Saudi Arabian embassy or consulate.

From September 27th, 2019, visitors from China will be able to request a one-year, multiple-entry eVisa from Saudi Arabia that will grant them a stay of up to 90 days in the Kingdom. This is enough time to get to know the country’s rich heritage, vibrant culture, and its wonderful natural environment.

Chinese families traveling to Saudi Arabia together are required to apply for individual Saudi Arabia visit visas. All travelers, including minors, must carry an approved Saudi Arabia eVisa in order to be granted entry into the Kingdom. You may apply for an eVisa Saudi Arabia on behalf of your children by filling out the application with their personal and passport details.

The Saudi Arabia eVisa fee includes health insurance that covers Chinese visitors for up to 100.000SAR in case they have a health emergency during their stay in the Kingdom.

How to Apply For a Saudi Visa For Chinese Passport Holders

The new visit visa system for Saudi Arabia is a historic milestone in opening the Kingdom to tourism. Chinese citizens can apply for the electronic visa through a simple and easy-to-use eVisa Saudi Arabia online form.

Travelers from China can obtain their Saudi Arabia eVisa by following these simple steps:

Complete the online application form with the following personal information:

  • Surname
  • Given Name
  • Gender
  • Date of Birth
  • Country of Birth
  • Country of Citizenship
  • Country of Passport
  • Passport Number
  • Passport Date of Issue
  • Passport Expiry Date

Next, you will have to type the contact details for where you wish to receive your Saudi Arabia eVisa as well as notifications regarding your application:

  • Email address
  • Mobile phone number

Carefully revise all the information you have completed on the form to ensure there are no mistakes or typing errors, since any discrepancies may result in a delay in the processing of your application.

Finally, you will need to fill out your credit or debit card details to cover the fees and click on the submit button to complete your application for a Saudi Arabia eVisa from China.

You will receive your approved Saudi Arabia eVisa via email at the address you provided while filling out your contact details. Most eVisas for Saudi Arabia are approved within 24 hours, although some applications may take up to 72 hours, or more.

Chinese travelers can apply for a Saudi Arabia visa for tourism purposes online, ahead of their trip to the country. Tourists are advised to request their eVisa at least 72 hours prior to their intended date of departure from China, in order to account for processing time.

Saudi Arabia Visa Requirements for Chinese Citizens

Travelers who wish to visit the Kingdom must have the following visa requirements for Chinese citizens traveling to Saudi Arabia on hand in order to obtain their eVisa online:

  • A current Chinese passport with at least 6 months validity beyond the intended date of entry into Saudi Arabia
  • Valid email address to receive the Saudi Arabia eVisa and notifications regarding your application
  • Debit or credit card to cover the fees

Additionally, Chinese visitors applying for a Saudi Arabia eVisa will be required to provide an accommodation address in the Kingdom, although it is not necessary to have a booking confirmation.

Alternatively, if you are planning a vacation, business trip or are visiting, friends and family, in Saudi Arabia, you can also apply for an eVisa for Saudi Arabia online. This can be completed via any smartphone, tablet, or personal computer.

How to apply for a chinese tourist visaA China travel visa and a valid passport are required documents for entering into the mainland. If you arrive without a valid travel visa, you will not be allowed to enter, may be fined and will be immediately deported at your own expense. In fact, without a proper visa, the airline will most likely not allow you to board.

Applicants are required to appear in the visa office to apply. If you cannot apply in person, you can send a relative, friend, or travel/visa agent to submit the application on your behalf. Travel document expediters are professionally qualified to obtain visas quickly and efficiently. Expediting services are usually located in major cities where embassies and consulates are found. If you are in need of such service, click the link to apply online for an expedited China travel visa.

» Visa Requirements
» Visa Application
» Visa Fees
» Tourist Visa
» Student Visa
» Entry Options
» Business Visa
» Work Visa
» Visa Expediting

China Visa Requirements

For all visas to China, the Chinese Embassy and Consulates require the following:

  • a valid passport with a minimum of 6 months validity remaining
  • at least 1 blank visa page;
  • a photocopy of the passport’s information page;
  • a recent passport photo (48mm x33mm size);
  • completed Chinese visa application form;

There are special requirements beyond these for each specific type of visa (below) and for applicants under age 18. Minors are required to submit a clear copy of his/her birth certificate and the following:

A minor who will travel with both parents must include copies of the information page of passports, and driver’s licenses of both parents.

A minor who will travel with only one parent must submit copies of the information page of both parent’s passports or driver’s licenses and a completed authorization letter from the non-traveling parent.

A minor who will travel with neither parent must include copies of the information page of both parent’s passports or driver’s licenses and a completed authorization letter from both parents.

China travel visas are affixed in your passport on the pages specifically marked for them. Countries require that visa stamps be placed on those pages that do not contain any other stamps

Chinese Visa Application Form

You can open the application forms by clicking the link below. The document includes special instructions for completing the Chinese visa application form. The application has 6 sections on 4 pages. The form must be completed on your computer and then printed. Handwritten applications are no longer accepted. Review the application before submitting it.

There are a variety of visas available depending on the purpose of travel to China. Each type of visa has additional requirements not listed here.

After filling out the application form and gathering the appropriate documents, you need to choose how to process your visa. The China Embassy and Consulate General only accept applications submitted in person. Processing your China travel visa takes 4 business days for regular service and 2-3 business days for express service. Same day rush visa processing is available for an additional fee. The application must be submitted before 12:00 pm in order to be processed by 3:00 pm.

Apply online for your China travel visa.

China Tourist Visa

A Chinese tourist visa, also known as an L visa, is usually valid for 30 days from the day of entry according to the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco. It might be extended through applications to the local public security bureau. You have the option of a single-entry or double-entry or multiple-entries visa.

Upon arrival, your documents will be examined by an inspection agent. If everything is correct, they will be stamped with an entry seal.

The tourist visa allows you to travel to China for sightseeing or to visit family only. If you want to travel to any area not yet opened to the tourists, you will have to apply for a Foreign Travel Permit at the local public security organ.

China Business Visa

Chinese Business Visas (also known as the M visa) are also valid for 90 days with a duration of 30 days for each entry. To apply for a single or double entry visa, you must have an official invitation from a Chinese host company or government department or organization.

U.S. citizens may apply for a six-month or one-year M visa valid for single, double, or multiple entries. U.S. citizens with business licenses or investment certificates may apply for two-year multiple entry M visas if they have been granted shorter M visas at least twice in the last two years. Another group of U.S citizens eligible for long-term F visas are Chinese-Americans born in the PRC or spouses of Chinese citizens.

China Visa Fees

IMPORTANT NOTICE: New fees for getting a visa for China are listed below:

How to apply for a chinese tourist visa

Although Hong Kong and Macau, two of the most popular tourist destinations in China, is implementing a visa-free policy, US citizens need a visa when entering mainland China.

This rule applies regardless if you’re entering straight to the mainland or you’re coming from these two visa-free destinations. But don’t worry! This article will help you get the idea how to apply for a Chinese tourist visa for US Citizens the simplest way possible!

Which type of visa should I apply?

China is one of the most strict countries when it comes to issuing a visa. But do you know that in-transit passengers can enter China for 72 to 144 hours even without a visa? You can get a visa-free entry for 72 hours if you’re transiting in Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Guangzhou, etc.

However, you are only allowed to stay within the borders of the city you landed and you should only arrive on a plane and not by other modes of transportation.

Transiting in the following provinces/cities, on the other hand, allows you 144 hours of visa-free entry to China: Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Beijing, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, and Qinhuangdao. To know more, this guide here explains this scenario in full detail.

This information may be helpful for those who are not planning to stay longer in mainland China but for those who want to stay for a couple of weeks, a Chinese visa is your key. Depending on the purpose of your trip, there are 12 types of visa that you can apply on.

If you’re traveling to China mainly for tourism or for visiting friends or relatives, you should apply for the L Visa. Just remember that C Visa (which in some countries is commonly the visa type for tourism and visiting friends/relatives) belongs to another category in the Chinese visa. It is not for tourism. Instead, L Visa is the type of visa you’re looking for.

Types of L Visa

You can apply for a single entry or multiple entry tourist visa but the most popular ones are the Single Entry and Double Entry. A Single Entry Visa allows the visa holder to enter China ONCE and can stay for at most 30 days.

The Double Entry Visa allows the visa holder to enter China TWICE and can stay for at most 30 days each entry. There is also a special type of tourist visa which is valid for 10 years. To be able to qualify for this visa, the applicant’s passport must be valid for more than 12 months (1 year).

How to apply for a chinese tourist visa

Requirements when applying for a Chinese tourist visa

An original passport that must be at least 6 months valid with at least two blank pages.

Photocopy of the passport details page

Photocopy of previously issued Chinese visa, if applicable.

Passport photo with size 48mm x 33mm.

Proof of legal status (for those applying outside their country of citizenship)

Completely filled in application form

Original invitation letter from a recognized entity in China. This can also be a hotel reservation valid for the entire duration of your trip.

A copy of a roundtrip ticket to China.

Proof of financial capability

The proof of financial capability is usually not mandatory but there are cases where the consul asks for this document. Just prepare it to be sure or better call the consulate before your application schedule.

Chinese visa processing time

Assuming that you have all the requirements, the waiting time for your application should be between two to four working days.

How to apply for a chinese tourist visa

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U.S. citizens traveling to China as tourists can apply for a tourist visa allowing multiple entry into the country over a period of one year. This kind of multiple-entry visa, known as a “type L,” is vital if you plan to visit either Hong Kong or Macau during your vacation before returning to China. Do not apply for your visa until you have booked your travel and hotel because staff at the Chinese embassy will ask to see written proof of your travel arrangements. Once you submit your application, your visa will be ready within four business days.

Step 1

Check that your passport is valid for at least 18 months before making your visa application. If you do not do this, Chinese officials might issue your visa for less than a year. If your passport will expire within this 18-month period, have it renewed.

Step 2

Download and complete the visa application form on the Chinese embassy website. The form asks for information about you and details about your travel, including the addresses of hotels you plan to stay in and information about any previous trips you’ve made to China.

Step 3

Get a passport-style photograph of yourself against a plain, light-colored background. The image should be in color and measure 1.9 inches high by 1.3 inches wide. Affix this photograph to the designated space on the application form.

Step 4

Make a photocopy of your airline tickets and hotel reservations. If you are traveling as part of an invited group, make a photocopy of the official invitation letter.

How to apply for a chinese tourist visa

Chinese Tourist Visa – Index

  1. Do I need a visa to visit China as a tourist?
  2. When should I apply for a Chinese visa?
  3. Where can I apply for a Chinese tourist visa?
  4. How long will a Chinese visa last?
  5. How much does a Chinese visa cost and how long will it take to get one?
  6. What documents will I need to get a visa?
  7. How do you read a Chinese visa?
  8. Can I extend the length of my Chinese visa?

If you need information about how to obtain a tourist visa (or L visa) for China, you’ve come to the right place.

If instead you’re interested in another type of visa (work, student, business, etc) then click here to read our complete guide on Chinese visas.

Do I need a visa to visit China as a tourist?

To stay for tourism reasons in Hong Kong or Macao for less than six months no visa is required.

When should I apply for a Chinese visa?

Where can I apply for a Chinese tourist visa?

In your country

In many countries visas are by now handled by the CVASC (Chinese Visa Application Service Center).

As far as the United States goes, you need to contact the Chinese Consulate in your state of residence (here you’ll find a list of consulates).

If you’re not from the United States and your country isn’t on the CVASC list (see the link above), then you’ll have to contact one of the Chinese Consulates in your own country.

Note that, aside from rare exceptions, it’s not possible to send your passport and request a visa through the mail; you have to show up in person at the CVASC or at the Chinese Consulate.

If for some reason you don’t want to, or you can’t show up personally, you can use an agency to get your Chinese Visa. This will have a supplementary cost, but it may still be cheaper than the cost of the trip to the nearest CVASC or Chinese Consulate.

In this case you’ll have to send your passport (and other necessary documents) to the agency and they will handle everything. To apply for a visa service through an agency you can use the form above on the right.

Online

From 2016, in some cases you can also apply for a group visa online. Click here to learn more.

Elsewhere

Even if in theory you can only apply for the visa in your country of residence, in practicality you can also get it elsewhere, so long as it’s a country that holds diplomatic relations with China. The easiest place to get one is certainly Hong Kong. Click here to read our complete guide to apply for a Chinese visa in Hong Kong.

Online

Since 2016, if you have a passport form one of the countries listed on this page, in some cases it is possible to get your Chinese visa directly online. Click here to learn about about this possibility.

How long will a Chinese visa last?

Beginning in 2014, American citizens can also apply for a multiple entry visa valid for 6 months, a year or ten years. Note that the fact that you can apply doesn’t mean for sure that they’ll give you one; the decision is at the discretion of the embassy.

How much does a Chinese visa cost and how long will it take to get one?

In general, to obtain a visa it will take four business days. To get a visa in 2-3 business days you can apply for the Express Service (it costs an additional 20 USD); while to get a visa within one business day you can apply for Rush Service (which costs an additional 30 USD). Note that the Rush Service is granted only in documented cases of extreme urgency.

What documents will I need to get a visa?

  • A passport valid for at least six months (that is it will not expire in less than six months and has at least two empty pages);
  • Photocopy of your passport (both the photo page and pages with Chinese visas);
  • A properly filled-out visa application (you can download it here);
  • Two passport photos;
  • A return air ticket to and from China (click here to read our guide on flights to China) plus your intended itinerary during your stay in China;
  • Your proposed itinerary for your stay in China. Even if, in my opinion, it’s a formality since I’ve never heard of anyone getting in trouble for not having followed the itinerary presented during the visa application process (obviously so long as you don’t go to Tibet – or in other limited access areas – without having the necessary permits);
  • Receipt from the hotel, which must be reserved before applying for the visa and contain the full names of all people that will apply for the visa (click here to read our guide to reserve a hotel in China).
  • As an alternative to a hotel receipt, you can also present an invitation letter from a Chinese citizen or a foreigner with a residence permit. The letter should contain information about the applicant (such as your name, gender and date of birth), information about your stay in China (itinerary, length of stay, etc) and information about the person that is inviting you (name, telephone number, address, signature and copy of their Chinese identity card, or if the person isn’t Chinese, a copy of their passport pages containing their photo and residence permit).

How do you read a Chinese visa?

Validity

The visa is valid for three or six months from the date of issue. If for example you have a visa valid for three months, the visa will become unusable if you don’t enter into China within three months of the issue date (this is the reason that you don’t want to apply for a visa too soon).

Number of entries

The number of times you can enter and exit China with the same visa. If you have a single entry visa, this will expire automatically once you leave China (note that visiting Hong Kong or Macao counts as leaving the country).

The number of days you can stay in China (starting from the day you enter the country). For a tourist visa the stay is a maximum of 60 days.

Can I extend the length of my Chinese visa?

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Comments

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