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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 Dec. 30, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on China Visa Entries / Validity / Duration of Stay
Asked by Kathlynn Keith Jabilels Abaquita from PHILIPPINES | Jan. 23, 2020 18:45Reply
Is it alright to process Chinese Visa Application 10 months prior to the actual date?
My trip to Shanghai, China will be on November 15, 2020. Is it alright if I process my visa this February, about 10 months earlier on my trip? Thanks
Asked by Jim from USA | Jan. 20, 2020 10:34Reply
Cruise ship stop in Shanghai
We will be traveling on Norwegian cruise ship coming from Hong Kong. Stopping in Shanghai, with a overnight stay. Then proceeding to Japan. Do we need to obtain a Chinese Visa?
Answers (1)
Answered by Jerry from AUSTRALIA | Jan. 20, 2020 19:34

Jim, your route qualifies for the 144h visa-free transit in Shanghai, so you don't need to obtain a Chinese visa.
Asked by Ranko from USA | Jan. 19, 2020 09:23Reply
When to enter
My visa is for one year, but it says ENTER BY February 7, 2020. Can I travel to China on February 5 and stay for 30 days. Is that counted as an overstay?
Answers (1)
Answered by Selena from AUSTRALIA | Jan. 19, 2020 18:40

Yes, you can travel to China on February 5 and stay for 30 days. This is not counted as an overstay.
Asked by Gene from IRELAND | Jan. 18, 2020 17:10Reply
Can I re enter China?
My passport and work visa expire in May. Is it possible to re enter China, despite the passport being below the 6 month validity rule?
Answers (2)
Answered by Mandy from IRELAND | Jan. 18, 2020 21:51

Yes, you can.
Answered by Eugene from FINNEGAN | Jan. 19, 2020 05:58

Thanks Mandy but can you forward a link where you got that info?
Need solid terms and conditions that I can quote if I need to.
Asked by Florence C from CANADA | Jan. 17, 2020 14:41Reply
validity/#of entry/duration of stay
I am Canadian, I will be applying for M visa in a couple of months with multiple entries.
(Wanting to get the 10 year M China Visa) Is it possible to get the 10 year china visa if this is my first time applying? I am starting a business and will be needing to go to China often within the year.

if the duration of stay each entry is 60 days, If i leave for the weekend to HK or out of China, and come back to China, does that reset the duration of stay to 60 days again?

Thank you for all your help!
Answers (1)
Answered by Gabby from USA | Jan. 18, 2020 22:00

Florence, it's possible to get the 10 year China visa even if this is your first time applying for China visa. However, be noted that the validity of your visa depends on the remaining validity of your passport. It can't be longer than the remaining validity of your passport.

You can leave for the weekend to HK or out of China of and come back to China to reset another 60 days of stay duration.
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