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China Visa Entries / Validity / Duration of Stay

A holder of a valid Chinese visa can enter China during its validity and stay there for the allowed duration after each entry. It's important to carefully check the number of entries, validity and duration of each stay after your visa is issued to avoid any problems.

Number of Entries: Single (01), Double (02) and Multiple (M)

China Visa Sample
China Visa Sample (click to enlarge)

China issues single, double, and multiple-entry visas. A single-entry visa only allows you to enter China once, a double-entry twice, and a multiple-entry visa enables you to exit from mainland China and re-enter on the same visa for multiple times during its validity.

Once you leave mainland China, you must either have another valid entry on your original visa or obtain a new visa to return. Remember that even a few hours in Hong Kong or Macau is an exit from mainland China in this context. Also, remember that you cannot gain extra entries on a visa once it has been issued. In case you need more entries, you would have to apply for a new visa.

When filling out China Visa Application Form, you can tick the intended number of entries and validity of your visa in Section 2.2. For UK, US, Canada, and Argentina citizens, they can also tick the last option "Other (Please specify)" and express their wish for getting a 10-year China visa with multiple entries in the blank after. However, you are not guaranteed to get the intended number of entries you select. The consular officers may judge by your actual itinerary and make their own decision. It seems that they are less willing to issue multiple entries if you apply outside your home country.

China Visa Validity: 3 Months, 6 Months, 1 Year, 10 Years

The validity of a China visa is the period between the "Issue Date" and "Enter Before" date shown on your visa. It is usually 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and sometimes even 10 years. Holders please note that they must enter mainland China before 24:00 of the "Enter Before" date. Otherwise, the visa will expire and cannot be extended no matter whether there are entries left, and reapplication is required.

Read more:
10-year China Visa for US & Canadian Citizens
10-year China Visa for UK Citizens

Duration of Each Stay after Entry

Duration of each stay is clearly shown on a China visa, which refers to the maximum number of days the holder is permitted to stay in the mainland of China each time and is counted from the next day after entry.

The granted duration of stay ranges from 7 to 180 days. For transit visas, the duration of stay is 7 to 10 days. For a regular single-entry tourist visa, it's often 30 days. The longest durations of stay for X2, S2, Q2, and J2 visas are 180 days. If you receive Z, Q1, S1, J1, or X1 visas, you may find that the stay duration shown on your visa is 000. In this case, you need to apply for a temporary residence permit from a local exit and entry administration within 30 days after entering China. During the validity of your residence permit, you can stay in China for any number of days as you wish.

Travelers need to keep in mind of the time limit in order not to overstay. Overstaying is against the Chinese laws and regulations, punishments such as fines or even expulsion will be made.

In need of an extended stay, applicants should apply for it at the Exit and Entry Administration of local public security at least 7 days before the allowed stay duration runs out. See China Visa Renewal and Extension.

- Last modified on May. 31, 2020 -
Questions & Answers on China Visa Entries / Validity / Duration of Stay
Asked by Christabel from MALAYSIA | Jul. 04, 2020 04:10Reply
Can i apply for a M visa and enter china?
I have applied for an M visa before and is expired, is china open for application given the pandemic crisis now?
Answers (1)
Answered by Fiona from SINGAPORE | Jul. 08, 2020 23:17

Sorry, it has suspended visa application.
Asked by Ana from VIETNAM | Jun. 25, 2020 22:28Reply
Can I apply Chinese visa
Please help me. I’m a foreign student of a university in China, but now staying in my country. I have some problems with my health which I have been treated in China before. Now the same situation is going back and I want to go back China to take a health check and medical treatment too. So can I apply for emergency visa? Thanks you!
Answers (1)
Answered by Edward from RUSSIA | Jun. 29, 2020 01:00

It seems not much likely to get the emergency visa, which is mostly applicable to businessmen.
Asked by adrian grzesiczek from VIETNAM | Jun. 23, 2020 20:01Reply
I am currently in vietnam, my chinese family residence visa has now expired.
What is going to be the best visa for me to return to China and then get a new family residence visa.
Answers (1)
Answered by Harry from UNITED KINGDOM | Jun. 29, 2020 00:58

Why don't you directly get a new family residence visa?
Asked by Karsten from HONGKONG | Jun. 18, 2020 21:20Reply
My M visa expire on September 18 2020 - so if I enter September 17th can I still stay 30 days?
if I enter September 17th and stay until say October 12 is that permitted or considered overstay? I enter before the enter day but stay past that date but not over the 30 days
Answers (1)
Answered by Ken from UNITED KINGDOM | Jun. 21, 2020 20:24

If you enter on September 17th, it will be fine.
Asked by Jackson from USA | Jun. 17, 2020 15:43Reply
Residence Permit Time Remaining Requirement
I hold a China residence permit that expires in late February, 2021.

Is there a minimum amount of "time remaining" on the residence permit that is required to legally enter China?

Like all foreigners in this position, my re-entry privileges have been suspended, but I'm trying to plan in advance for different return scenarios. If the ban were lifted effective, say, 1 January 2021, and I tried to enter China on, say, 8 February 2021, would that be allowed under current regulations, or does the Chinese government require a minimum (as in, say, 30 days) amount of time to remain on permit for valid entry?
Answers (1)
Answered by Barry from USA | Jun. 21, 2020 20:30

Jackson, as far as I know, there is no regulations on the minimum amount of time remaining on the residence permit that is required to legally enter China. However, you should leave at least 15 days so that you will have enough time to renew it after entering. If the schedule is too tight, you might be denied entry.
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