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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 Nov. 05, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on How to Apply for a China Visa
Asked by Jack de bruijn from NEWZEALAND | Dec. 10, 2019 12:58Reply
Request for a visa to China and the cost.
Good morning my name is jacobus de bruijn from tekaha New Zealand, can you please tell me how much it costs for a visa to China, Six months multiple entries. I have had two visas before but the last one will expire early January OK. Thanks so much regards Jack.
Answers (4)
Answered by Nancy from NEW ZEALAND | Dec. 10, 2019 19:50

It costs 280 New Zealand dollars.
Answered by Jdebruijn from NEWZEALAND | Dec. 11, 2019 18:34

Hi Nancy. I have a European Union passport and mine is from the Netherlands OK. I used to pay 135.00 dollars. Can you please let me know if that is correct thanks Jack.
Answered by Nancy | Dec. 11, 2019 19:56

Well, if you are a Netherlands passport holder applying for a China visa in New Zealand, the cost is 120 dollars for 6-month multiple-entry visa.
Answered by Masum md from BANGLADESH | Dec. 13, 2019 17:16

I'm carpenter man door frame installed man can apply sir work visa before I'm Singapore work
Asked by Lungile from SOUTH AFRICA | Dec. 02, 2019 06:28Reply
How do I apply for a visa to China from South Africa?
Answers (1)
Answered by Cindy from INDONESIA | Dec. 02, 2019 19:37

You can apply for it at the CVASC in South Africa by submitting all necessary documents. For details, you can check the website of the CVASC.
Asked by Stawbelly123 from HAPPY | Nov. 28, 2019 15:47Reply
Do they conduct a background check for applicants for Z Visa?
Answers (1)
Answered by Judy from USA | Nov. 28, 2019 23:43

Yes, because you need to provide a non-criminal record when applying for the work permit.
Asked by Kim Long Tan from DANMARK | Nov. 26, 2019 02:13Reply
Visa to China
Do we need to show up at the embassy,for getting visa or we just do it online,?
Answers (1)
Answered by John Doe | Nov. 26, 2019 11:03

In most countries other than the US you need to fill out the application online and go to the Chinese Visa Application Service Center responsible for your jurisdiction with all supporting documents (the form is usually hosted on the websites of the visa centers and you normally need to make an appointment before going there). If you are located in the US, you need to fill in the PDF form downloaded to your computer and go to the visa section of a Chinese consulate or embassy with all the documents.
Asked by LL from USA | Nov. 25, 2019 15:47Reply
Canadian in US
Hi, I am Canadian holding a Canadian passport but living in US (Massachusetts) Should I apply Visa to China (tourist) in US (New York) or in Canada ?
Answers (1)
Answered by Leo from USA | Nov. 25, 2019 18:45

You can either apply in the New York consulate or the CVASC in Canada.
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