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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: How to Apply a China Visa in Hong Kong

- Last modified on May. 27, 2020 -
Questions & Answers on How to Apply for a China Visa
Asked by Emma Fenning from UNITED KINGDOM | Jul. 09, 2020 02:44Reply
As a british citien can I apply for a chinese visa currently?
I've recently been offered a job in China. I'm having trouble sifting through all the jargon on the internet. Can I currently apply for visa to work in china with the global situation? if not, when will I be able too.
Answers (1)
Answered by Winnie from UNITED KINGDOM | Jul. 13, 2020 00:43

Emma, you can't apply for a visa to work in China currently. When you can do this depends on the global situation.
Asked by Roman Kulynych from SOUTH AFRICA | Jul. 03, 2020 11:34Reply
Is there any news, when Chinese embassy will be open in South Africa
Do you have any information, when Chinese embassy planing to reopen in South Africa.
My girl friend is Chinese and we haven't seen each other for long time

Answers (1)
Answered by Lydia from UNITED KINGDOM | Jul. 08, 2020 20:58

Sorry, there isn't any news so far.
Asked by Wei from AUSTRALIA | Jun. 26, 2020 01:43Reply
What employees are considered "essential"?
I know that China has allowed some businesses to apply for special visas for employees that are deemed essential to business operations. Is there any clear guidance on which businesses can apply and which employees are deemed essential?
Answers (1)
Answered by Lydia from SINGAPORE | Jul. 01, 2020 23:54

As far as I know, there is no a clear guide to this. You shoudl ask your business partner or employer in China to consult it at the local Foreign Affairs Office.
Asked by Ashlin from RUSSIA | Jun. 22, 2020 00:40Reply
Which visa should I apply
My husband is Chinese, but I’m in Russia now, which visa should I apply to reunion with my husband
Answers (1)
Answered by Sally from UNITED KINGDOM | Jun. 22, 2020 02:48

You can apply for a Q visa.
Asked by from USA | Jun. 20, 2020 23:47Reply
Chinese embassies located in the U。S。
I understand that the embassies are temporarily closed here in U。S。 but I do not know if it is the same for Chinese consulates?As the only other option for getting a visa is through the consulates。
Answers (1)
Answered by Ruth from USA | Jun. 21, 2020 23:58

Yes, the consulates are also closed.
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