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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.

- Last modified on Dec. 29, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on How to Apply for a China Visa
Asked by Soetkin from BELGIUM | Jan. 22, 2020 20:13Reply
Visa application from Laos
Hi, me and my friend are traveling over land trough Asia. We applied for a Chinese visa in Bangkok and only one of us got it. We submitted the same documents so we find this very strange. We want to enter China from the Laos border over land (bus/train). Can my friend apply one more time in Laos? We will be there 2 weeks before we would like to enter China is that to short notice? What should she be prepared for? Thank you!
Asked by H.rithy from CAMBODIA | Jan. 22, 2020 03:24Reply
How to apply Elisa going to shanghai
I am Cambodian, stay in Thai border, I would require about EVisa going to Shanghai!
How can do or I ought to go directly to China embassy in Phnom Penh !
Please kindly
Waiting .
Asked by Tomsett from UNITED KINGDOM | Jan. 17, 2020 08:51Reply
Visa from hk
Can I get a visa last minute in HK ...

I’m going by private bus for just one day .... how can I show tickets ... we don’t have tickets ... bus supplied by a club ?
Answers (1)
Answered by John Doe | Jan. 17, 2020 21:03

You can get a visa on arrival at Luohu border crossing if just visiting Shenzhen.
Asked by Rhealyn Guevarra from PHILIPPINES | Jan. 15, 2020 18:29Reply
Chinese tourists visa
Is there an interview for applying Chinese visa?
Answers (1)
Answered by Jasper from USA | Jan. 15, 2020 19:01

Normally you don't need to have an interview, but sometimes you may if the consular officer requires.
Asked by Ian Read from AUSTRALIA | Jan. 15, 2020 07:54Reply
Criminal convictions
20 years ago, during a period mental problems (chronic depression) I inappropriately touched 3 females on the outside of their clothing. I admitted to the offences, never challenged the charges, and pleaded guilty. The judge said my offences were of a minor nature, but because I was in a position of authority at the time I received 2 years in prison. Will my convictions prevent me from getting a visa to visit China? is there anything I can do to improve my visa approval chances?
Answers (1)
Answered by Michelle from UNITED KINGDOM | Jan. 16, 2020 01:07

Ian, as it happened 20 years ago, it should have no big influence on your visa application, especially if you are just applying for a tourist visa.
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