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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 Michael Cara from UNITED STATES | Dec. 04, 2019 19:43Reply
Clarification Please About Shanghai 15 days Visa Free
Great Q & A section - you have done a great job and I think I understand both visa waiver programs but I got a little confused by the answer to the November 26 question from Adrian. Our cruise starts in Japan - then we spend 2 days and 1 night in SH and then move on to another Japanese port. So obviously we are not eligible for the 144 hour transit visa. However, we are still eligible for the 15-day cruise tour waiver if we use the appropriate local tour company - correct?
Answers (1)
Answered by Lexi from USA | Dec. 05, 2019 19:10
00Reply


Yes, your understanding is correct. You need to book a tour for Shanghai in advance from a local tour company.
Asked by Kevin | Dec. 04, 2019 07:32Reply
Why does visa take so long
Am going to do a mileage run to PVG as a US citizen from NYC on dec 16-18. Just went to embassy to get Visa and they’re saying it may take longer than the 4 days even with paying expedited. I thought you could do same day if needed- tachgbfoundation.org why would it take so long??? They did give me an email address to follow up next week but this seems odd.

In the off chance they cannot process it in time and I still want to go, should I change my return on the 18th to a third country like TYO or HKG and fly from PVG to there and then there back home to qualify for the 144 hour visa? So I can stay in PVG on the 17th and then on the 18th fly to TYO/HKG and then TYO or HKG back to NYC?

Pls help!
Answers (2)
Answered by Sally from USA | Dec. 05, 2019 18:18
00Reply


Kevin, if the offcer told you that it may take longer, you have to accept it and have no other choices.

If the visa cannot arrive in time, you can change your route to US - PVG - TYO/HKG - US so as to make use of the 144h visa-free transit. Keep in mind that if you want to do so, don't submit your visa application because your passport will be required for making this trip.
Answered by Kevin from US | Dec. 06, 2019 04:22
00Reply


I hope I can retrieve my passport form the consulate if they don’t have the visa on time!

It is odd though since i thought they had same day and fast service. Guess not!
Asked by AR Hussain from USA | Dec. 04, 2019 02:52Reply
Journalist visiting as a tourist
Hello.
I am TV news reporter in the United States. I love to travel. I have been to over 100 countries - all as a tourist - never as a journalist, that includes sensitives countries such as Israel, Russia, Panama and Cuba. All my visas were approved. But I think there will be a different level of scrutiny for me in applying for a China Visa. I was born and raised in the US, however, I am of a Muslim family background; my parents immigrated to the US from Pakistan, and are now naturalized US citizens. I know that Muslims and people of Pakistani could be suspicious for the Chinese. There are new rules for people who are of Turkish origin, or who have visited Turkey (I have been to Turkey twice) and of Pakistani origin. Any advice? Should I even bother to apply for a visa? I wanted to go to China Spring of 2020.
Please advise.
Thanks!
Answers (1)
Answered by Helen from USA | Dec. 05, 2019 18:10
00Reply


Considering your Turkish origin and occupation as a journalist, I think your chance to get a China visa is not big.
Asked by JJ from PHILIPPINES | Dec. 03, 2019 07:06Reply
Old Passport
Do I need to submit my old passport if I traveled in Macau and Hong Kong before?
Answers (1)
Answered by Donald from UNITED KINGDOM | Dec. 03, 2019 19:26
00Reply


No, only if you have visited mainland China before, you need to present your old passport.
Asked by S hare from UK | Dec. 02, 2019 16:33Reply
What type of Visa do we need if we are on an organised ships tour
We are arriving in Tianjin on a cruise ship from Japan on the 17th March,we then sail on the 17th March for Shanghai arriving in Shanghai on the 20th March ,we sail on the 21st March for Hong Kong.
Answers (1)
Answered by Molly from USA | Dec. 03, 2019 19:33
00Reply


You need to get a tourist visa for the tour.
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