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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 Jan. 11, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on How to Apply for a China Visa
Asked by Dale from USA | Feb. 24, 2021 22:57Reply
COVID vaccination
If I get the COVID vaccination, will I still have to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival in China? And what kind of proof is needed to show that I was vaccinated?
Asked by CAPT. M M JOLLY from UNITED STATES | Feb. 21, 2021 09:51Reply
I am President of a ship management company in Los Angeles. We wl hve ships going to China fr repairs.
It is essential that travel there to supervise the repais.
Answers (1)
Answered by Sandy | Feb. 25, 2021 00:30

You can ask the Chinese business partner to issue you a PU letter, so that you can apply for a business visa of China.
Asked by CATELYNE from SOUTH AFRICA | Feb. 21, 2021 08:09Reply
Travel Visa
I want to know the process for applying for a travel visa . I'm from South Africa. Also how long can one stay in China when a travel visa had been granted.
Answers (1)
Answered by Candy | Feb. 25, 2021 00:29

A travel visa allows you to stay in China for one month in general, but be aware that it is not available currently because of the Covid. After China reissues visa, you can apply for one at the Chinese application service center in South Africa.
Asked by Frank from PHILIPPINES | Feb. 19, 2021 18:19Reply
Travel to China for Filipino
Hi, Im a Filipino that will go back for work in China. If I have a valid RP Visa issued last June 2020 from China can I use this to travel to China? or do I need to get a new Z visa?
Answers (1)
Answered by Pauline | Feb. 25, 2021 00:27

You need to get a new Z visa.
Asked by Steven from UNITED STATES | Jan. 26, 2021 00:59Reply
I am a USA citizen and I want to visit my Uncle
I want to visit my uncle and other family members in China
What visa do I need?
Answers (1)
Answered by Paul | Feb. 09, 2021 18:22

Dear, if you are in an urgent case and have to enter China, you may apply for a family reunion visa, but it is not assured you can get it. China now does not tend to issue this kind of visa due to pandemic control.
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