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FAQ about Chinese Visa Application

 Do I need a visa to China (not including Hong Kong & Macau)?
 Foreigners are generally required to apply for a visa before departure, but some aliens needn't if they come to Mainland, for example, ordinary passport holders from Singapore, Brunei and Japan enjoy free access for up to 15 days. For more detailed information, you can see the Chinese Visa Exemption.  
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 Where can I submit my application?
 Aliens should apply from Chinese Embassies or Consulates. Each Embassy or consulate has its own consular districts. Usually, applicants are required to lodge their application to the relevant Embassy or Consulate according to consular districts. For example, if you live in Idaho, you should submit application to Chinese Embassy in USA.

Applicants who reside or travel away from their country can apply at a local Chinese Embassy or Consulate. 
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  Can I apply for a visa at entry ports?
 It is very difficult to get a VOA at the entry ports; however, you can get it in real urgent situations which are listed in details on Visa on Arrival (Issued at Entry Ports)
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  Can I get a visa on arrival to Shenzhen or Zhuhai?
 Shenzhen and Zhuhai are the Special Economic Zones; they can issue a special economic zone visa to aliens at the entry ports. Shenzhen issues 5 days Single-Entry at the entry ports. Aliens can also apply for 3 days Zhuhai one at the entry ports.
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 When is the best time to submit my application?
 Please apply only 1 or 2 months (at least 2 weeks) before your planned date for visit. If you apply for it too late, you may not have enough time for the application. If you apply for it too early, it may become invalid before your departure. Generally, the validity of a single-entry one is 3 months, counted from the date of application.
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 Where can I get the Application Form of the PRC?
 The easiest way is to download the Visa Application Form of PRC from internet, but the form is in PDF, you should have installed the software of Adobe Reader. The form is also offered by the embassy or consulate for free.
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 Do I need to make an appointment to submit application? 
  It depends upon the embassy or consulate. More than 90% of the Chinese embassies and consulates don't ask applicants to make an appointment. However, you need to make an appointment at Chinese Embassy/Consulate in Nigeria. The CVASC has been in operation in UK, Italy, Australia, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, which also requires applicants to make an appointment in advance, so check with your nearest embassy or consulate before you go there.
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 If I can't go to the embassy or consulate in person, can I entrust someone else to submit my application and pick it up on my behalf?
 Yes, the application can be presented by someone else, such as your friends, relatives, or travel agency, but the form should be completed and signed by yourself. Someone else can pick up it on your behalf as long as he can show the "Pick Up Form".   
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 Can I send my application by mailing? 
 More than 98% of Chinese embassies and consulates don't accept application by mailing. You should visit the official website of Chinese embassy or consulate to check whether it accepts application by mailing or not. Even though the Mail Service is available, the embassy or consulate is not responsible for the loss or damage of your passport and other documents due to mishandling by mail service.
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 Hong long does it take for the application?
 Generally speaking, it takes 4 working days for processing the application. Many embassies or consulates also provide 1 working day service or 2 – 3 working days service, but you need pay extra money for the service.
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 Do I have to submit my actual passport for application? Can I submit the copy of my passport because I need my passport every day?
 Yes, you must offer your original passport because the visa should be pasted on the blank page of your passport. If you need your passport every day, you can apply for 1 working day service and pick up your passport on the day of submission.
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 Requirements for application?
 Basic requirements are your original passport with at least 6 months validity and two blank pages, one legibly, completely and truly filled Application Form, one recent passport photo affixed on the application form, you also should submit additional documents for different categories: Tourist (L), Business (F), Student (X), Work (Z), Transit (G), Crew (C)  or Journalist (J). For more information, please refer to Visa Types.
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 What is the "Invitation Letter of Duly Authorized Unit" or "Confirmation Letter of Invitation" ?Where can I apply for it?
 The invitation letter is issued by an authorized governmental organization prescribing the visa validity, number of entries and stay period. The company/institute/company which invites you can apply this certificate for you in the Ministries and Commissions of the State Council, the Government of all Provinces, Autonomous Regions, and Municipalities directly under the Central Government, and Foreign Affairs Offices and Bureaus of Economy and Commerce hereunder, and departments and units recognized by the Department of Consular Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC.
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 How much should I pay?
 The visa fees vary greatly according to your nationality, the number of entries, the country you are applying in and whether you need an express service or not. Generally speaking, the fees are more expensive if it has more number of entries. However, the fees are same for American citizens no matter what number of entries they apply for.
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 Can I renew my Chinese visa? It will expire on 20th next month, but I will visit on 24th.
 No, it can't be renewed or made any changes once it is issued. You have to apply for a new one again. It is pasted on your passport and any change on it makes it invalid.
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 I am an American citizen, I will fly from Los Angeles, plan to visit Guangzhou first and then Hong Kong for a short trip, after that I intend to go to Beijing. How many entries are for my trip? 
 American citizens do not need a visa to Hong Kong for a short trip less than 90 days. But you should have a valid one for the mainland PRC. From Los Angeles to Guangzhou is one entry, and from Hong Kong to Beijing is another entry. So you should apply for a double-entry.
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 What are ENTRIES?
 ENTRIES vary from single, double and multiple. A single entry is printed as 01(壹), while double as 02(贰), and multiple as M(多). Entries means the number of entry you can use it to enter mainland PRC during its validity period. It becomes void if it goes beyond the date of ENTER BEFORE even if there are some ENTRIES left.
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 What is ENTER BEFORE?
 ENTER BEFORE means the last date for the holder to use it to enter the mainland PRC. You must enter before 24:00 on this date. All visas come into effect on the date of issuance. For example, your single entry L was issued on 18 May 2013. This date is the starting day for the holder to use it to enter mainland PRC.
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 What is Duration of Each Stay after Entry?
 Duration of Each Stay after Entry means the maximum number of days the applicants are permitted to stay in China. Duration of Each Stay is counted from the date of entry.
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 Can I apply for extension of duration of stay after I arrive in China?
 Aliens who are already in China holding the L or F can apply for an extension of duration of stay at a local county level Public Security Bureau. You can read the Chinese Visa Application in China to get more useful information.
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 Do I need a visa to Hong Kong and Macau?
 About 170 countries or regions don't need one for Hong Kong, you can read the Non-Visa to Hong Kong for Foreign Countries/Areas to check whether you need it or not. Passport holders from 65 countries enjoy free access to Macau for a certain period; other aliens can apply when they arrive in Macau, please refer to Macau Visa to get the list.