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FAQ about Chinese Visa Application

 Do I need a Chinese visa?
 Foreigners are generally required to apply for a China visa before departure, but some needn't if they enjoy visa exemption or visa-free transit policies, for example, passport holders from 53 countries enjoy the 72-hour visa-free transit and 144-hour visa-free transit in major Chinese cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. For more detailed information, you can see the Chinese Visa Exemption.  
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 Can I apply for a visa on arrival at entry ports?
 In Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Xiamen, Shantou, and Hainan, passport holders of most countries can get the visa on arrival. It is difficult to get one in other cities, unless you are in real urgent situations.
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 When is the best time to apply for a visa?
 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.
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 How long does a China visa last?
 Generally, the validity of a single-entry visa is 3 months, counted from the date of issue.
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 Where can I submit my application?
 Aliens should apply from the Chinese embassy, consulate, or Chinese Visa Application Service Center (CVASC) which is in charge of their residence area. For example, if you live in Colorado, you should submit application to the Chinese Consulate in Chicago.

Applicants who reside or travel outside their home country can apply at a local Chinese embassy, consulate, or CVASC.
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 Do I need to make an appointment to submit application?
 It depends. Almost all Chinese embassies and consulates don't ask applicants to make an appointment. Most CVASCs offer visa application appointment service, but it’s not compulsory. US citizens don’t need to do so while UK citizens must book an appointment before going to the CVASC. Canadian and Australian citizens can choose to make appointment or not at the official website of CVASC in their countries. Please check with the embassy, consulate or CVASC in your residence area before you go there.
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 Can I send application by mail?
 Few Chinese embassies and consulates accept visa application by post. However, if you apply from the CVASC, it's possible to use the postal application service. You should visit the official website of Chinese embassy, consulate or CVASC to check whether it accepts application by mail or not. See more at China Visa Mail Service.
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 Can I apply for China visa online? 
  No, you can't.
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 Can I entrust someone else to submit my application and pick it up on my behalf if I can't go there in person?
 Yes, the application can be presented by someone else, such as your friends, relatives, or a travel agency, but the application 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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 What documents are needed for Chinese visa application?
 Basic requirements are your original passport with at least 6 months validity and two blank pages, one legibly, completely and honestly filled Application Form, one recent passport photo affixed on the application form. You also should submit additional documents for different categories. For more information, please refer to China Visa Application Requirements.
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 Where can I get China Visa Application Form?
 The easiest way is to download it from internet, but the form is in PDF, you should have installed the software of Adobe Reader. Click to download China Visa Application Form.
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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 stamped 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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 Hong long does it take to get a visa to go to China?
 Generally speaking, it takes 4 working days. 1 working day service and 2-3 working days service are available, but you need to pay extra money for the service.
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 How much is a visa for China?
 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 you want more entries. However, the fees are the same for American citizens no matter what number of entries they apply for. See China Visa Fees.
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 What are Entries, Enter Before, and Duration of Each Stay on a visa?
 The number of entries on a visa indicates the times that you can enter mainland China during its validity. The visa becomes void if it goes beyond the date of ENTER BEFORE even if there are some ENTRIES left. 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).

ENTER BEFORE means the last date for the holder to use it to enter mainland PRC. You must enter before 24:00 on this date. A visa comes into effect since the date of issuance, which is the starting day that the holder can use it to enter mainland PRC.

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 UK, US, Australian, and Canadian citizens go to China without a visa?
 UK, US, Australian, and Canadian citizens need a visa for China unless they are covered by the visa exemption policies.
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 How long can I stay in China on a tourist visa?
 It depends on the duration of stay shown on your visa. Generally speaking, the duration of stay of a tourist visa is one month. However, it can be longer determined by your travel itinerary and the consular officers.
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 Can I apply for an extended stay when I'm in China?
 Aliens who are already in China holding a valid visa can apply for an extended stay at a local Public Security Bureau of county level or above. You can read China Visa Renewal and Extension 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 it for Hong Kong. You can read the List of Visa-free Countries to Hong Kong 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 the List of Visa-free Countries to Macau.

- Last modified on Nov. 05, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on FAQ of Chinese Visa Application
Asked by Jim Vance from USA | Nov. 18, 2019 05:36Reply
Can I apply for tourist visa when residence visa not expired?
Hello, I have a Residence visa which is valid until December 31, 2019. I am scheduled to visit China December 18-30 using it. However, I would like to apply for Tourist visa because it is highly likely I will return to China in early January. Can I apply and receive a tourist visa while my Residence visa is still active or do I need to cancel my Residence Visa and apply for tourist visa before my trip in December?
Answers (1)
Answered by Gill from USA | Nov. 18, 2019 18:58
00Reply


Jim, you can't apply for a tourist visa while your residence visa is still valid. Otherwise, the consular officer will cancel your residence visa before issuing you a tourist visa. Your choice is to use the residence visa for the trip in December and then apply for a tourist visa for the trip in January.
Asked by Carmen from UNITED KINGDOM | Nov. 18, 2019 00:51Reply
Shanghai Visa application submitted
I submitted my 144 hrs visa application and I haven’t received any answer yet. Flight from London, leaving to Philippines 3 days after. How long does it take? Please advise on further steps. Thanks
Answers (1)
Answered by Helen from UNITED KINGDOM | Nov. 18, 2019 17:34
00Reply


Carmen, did you submit the 144hrs visa application online? I heard that the system does not work well. If you don't get any answers before your departure, you can apply for it upon arrival and it won't take long at the airport.
Asked by Karl Dunne from AUSTRALIA | Nov. 14, 2019 18:52Reply
Walk in - pick up Visa?...........
Can I just walk in and pick it up my Visa ??....in other words,....Can I just walk in and pay... Walk out 3-8 minutes?..... Or,. Take a seat and wait an hour for an available assistance, at the window!.......
Answers (1)
Answered by Oliver from AUSTRALIA | Nov. 17, 2019 19:45
00Reply


Karl, if you have already submitted your application, you can just walk in and pick up your visa on the date shown on the pick-up form. It's much faster than submitting an application.
Asked by Mojo from USA | Nov. 13, 2019 21:36Reply
Dual passport, dual visa ?
Can I use my American and African passport to get a student visa in one and a work visa in the other ?? Is that ok ? Please I want to know !!! Before I make a mistake
Answers (1)
Answered by Isabel from UNITED KINGDOM | Nov. 14, 2019 19:00
00Reply


Mojo, a person cannot have two Chinese visas at the same time, even if they are on different passports!
Asked by Cathy Gladen from USA | Nov. 13, 2019 06:46Reply
Listing relatives on the Chinese visa application
We are 67 years old, our parents are dead and our children are all over 40. We do have adult grandchildren. What relatives do we have to list? Someone told me to be careful about listing my stepson/husband's son on our application. His occupation is "missionary" in the Philippines. We are not religious and never go to church. Will having a professional missionary effect our application?
Answers (1)
Answered by Simon from USA | Nov. 13, 2019 19:24
00Reply


You need to list your children, not your grandchildren. If you have other offspring, you may omit filling in the information about your husband's son. It may effect your application but not surely to lead your application to be denied.
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