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How to Apply for a China Visa

To apply for a China visa, you need to complete an application form attached with your recently-taken color photo, prepare a valid passport, and submit them along with other supporting documents to the Chinese embassy or consulate which is in charge of your residence area. Check the step-by-step guide on how to apply for a China visa below for details.

How to apply for China visa

1. Check whether you need a visa

An essential thing to do is to check whether you need a visa before starting the following process. As long as you are eligible for China's visa-free policies, you don't need the visa, but some documents like your passport, in and out transportation tickets and sometimes sufficient funds still need to be prepared for immigration check.

2. Check which visa you need to get

Based on your travel purpose, determine which visa you are going to get. Read China Visa Types to select one which suits you most. For tourists, the L visa is suitable.

3. Prepare all documents needed

Documents required for all types of visa include passport and visa application form attached with a recently-taken photo. Besides, other supporting documents are required, but they vary according to the visa type you are applying for. For instance, if you apply for a tourist L visa, the supporting documents will refer to round-trip tickets, hotel bookings or an invitation letter from your China travel agency. See detailed China Visa Application Requirements.

Be sure your documents meet the requirements of Chinese embassy or consulate.

Passport: with a remaining validity of at least 6 months; have blank visa pages.

Visa Application Form: truthfully completed; type-written with no blanks left.

Photo: taken within latest six months; full face against a light background; size: 48mm x 33mm; bare-headed unless for religious causes.

4. Submit the application

Visit the Chinese embassy, consulate or Chinese Visa Application Center (CVASC) which serves your residence area. You can show up in person or ask an agent to do this for you. In some consular offices and CVASCs, mail service is also available.

The normal processing time is four working days including the day you submit the application and the day you collect. Remember there might be additional non-working days for Chinese public holidays. By paying an additional fee you can usually have your application processed faster. It is normally possible to have your application processed overnight, for collection in the following afternoon, though some offices might offer a same-day service if you arrive in the office soon after opening. In general try to apply for it well in advance to allow for any delay.

5. Pay the fee and pick up your visa

Go to the place where you apply for China visa on the date appointed at the pick-up slip. Pay the fee and you will get your passport back with visa. See China Visa Fees.

Best time to apply for a China visa

The best time to apply for China visa is one or two months before your departure date. Usually, a China visa is valid for only three months from the date of issue, which indicates that the earliest time you can apply is three months before your departure.

Usually you cannot renew and extend China visa once you are granted, but it can be done when you are in China at the local Exit and Entry Administration under the Public Security Bureau.

Sometimes you may need to get China visa while you are en route or residing in a third country. Things may get different for such cases. A proof of legal stay in the country where you apply for a China visa is usually additionally needed unless you enjoy visa-free access to the third country.

Further Reading:
8 Tips for Filling Out Chinese Visa Application Form
Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid in Completing a Chinese Visa Application Form
Top 8 Reasons Why Your China Visa Gets Rejected

- Last modified on Mar. 07, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on How to Apply for a China Visa
Asked by chris watson from TURKEY | Mar. 18, 2019 06:44Reply
I need visas for my wife and me. We are UK passport holders but we are living in The TRNC.
Asked by Julius Oduro from GHANA | Mar. 08, 2019 20:06Reply
How can i apply for Chinese visa for visiting and back(im going to inspect machines and back)
Answers (2)
Answered by Tami from GERMANY | Mar. 10, 2019 19:46

If you apply for a Chinese tourist L type, you should first prepare a filled-out application form affixed with 1 passport-style photo, your passport and its photocopy, your introduction letter, round trip air tickets and hotel reservation and an invitation letter from your friend, bank statement. Next, go to the embassy of China to submit the application.
Answered by Ace aggabao from PHILIPPINES | Mar. 15, 2019 18:55

How if I don't have work? And I can't get a certificate of employment
Asked by Dana Jo from USA | Mar. 08, 2019 14:31Reply
Can I bring the Visa to the consulate for my daughter? As I live in the area and she does not? Than
Answers (2)
Answered by Ray | Mar. 10, 2019 19:42

You can bring the Visa to the consulate for your daughter, but she should apply from the consulate general where her living area belongs to.
Answered by Dana from USA | Mar. 11, 2019 09:19

thank you so much for the quick and considerate response.
Asked by Maila from PHILIPPINES | Mar. 07, 2019 01:52Reply
Can my sister-in-law submit my visa application on my behalf?
Answers (1)
Answered by Alton from UKRAINE | Mar. 07, 2019 17:57

I think she can submit your application on your behalf.
Asked by Shingai from SOUTH AFRICA | Mar. 02, 2019 23:26Reply
Working hours and processing days in Cambodia
Hi. I would like to know the working hours of the embassy in Phnom Penh. Also what is the fastest processing time for a tourist visa? Are foreign passport holders eligible for rush service?
Answers (2)
Answered by Sandy from DENMARK | Mar. 03, 2019 23:09

Open Hours of Consular Office: 08:30-11:30 Monday-Friday. It usually takes four working days for the processing, and you can try to apply for rush service.
Answered by Shingai from SOUTH AFRICA | Mar. 04, 2019 02:08

Thank you so much, Sandy!
So you mean foreigner passport holders can apply for rush service yeah? Sweet!
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