Visa Policy of China
Reciprocity - the Guiding Principle in China's Visa Policy
It indicates a tit for tat principle that China always sticks to, that is, China makes out visa policies depending on its counterparts. For example, if your country has strict visa policies against China, then it's very likely that China will do the same. If your country's visa is costly for Chinese citizens, you may also need to spend a considerable amount of money for a China visa. Visa-exemption policies for certain countries are also on the basis of bilateral agreements.
Do I Need a Visa for China?
China requires visitors to get a visa in advance except they are eligible for the visa-free policies, which are mostly applicable to tourists transferring in China or citizens of countries who have signed bilateral visa waiver agreements with China. Holders of valid Chinese Temporary Residence Permit or Permanent Residence Permit can also enter China without visa.
For individual passengers making an international transfer in China:
2. 72-hour visa-free transit
3. 144-hour visa-free transit
For tour groups:
2. 15-day visa-free policy for cruise tour groups to Shanghai
3. 6-day visa exemption for tourists to Pearl River Delta
4. 6-day visa exemption for ASEAN tour groups visiting Guilin
For citizens from certain countries having visa-exemption agreements with China:
Can I get a China visa upon landing?
China issues visa on arrival at Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Xiamen, Shantou, and Hainan, but not for all countries. The rules change every now and then, thus VOA is not recommended to guarantee you a smooth trip. Except the cities mentioned above, other port cities also issue VOA but only in really urgent situations.
1. Prepare documents: passport, application form, passport style photo, travel itinerary, invitation letter, etc.
2. Submit application to the Chinese embassy / consulate / Visa Service Application Center (CVASC) in person or by mail.
3. Collect passport and visa on the appointed date and pay the fee.
See more details:
China Visa Application Form
Visa Application Requirements
China Visa Mail Service
China Visa Fees
Possible Factors for China Visa Approval and Refusal
It's a common sense that consular officers won't tell you reasons for approving or rejecting a visa application. However, certain factors may cause your application to be rejected, like your nationality, previous experiences and records, and your country's relation with China.
The rules are not normally applied to their fullest extent but at any time the government may apply the regulations more strict against an individual, to applicants from certain nations, or when special events are taking place such as the Olympic Games. Thus, at any time you might be asked to supply full travel bookings, show a minimum amount of funds, or have invitations from Chinese individuals or organizations.
Hong Kong & Macau Adopt Different Visa Policies from Mainland China
Hong Kong and Macau adopt different immigration systems from mainland China. In comparison, their visa policies are much looser than mainland China. Many countries enjoy visa-free entry to Hong Kong and Macau, with a granted stay duration raging from 7 days to 180 days, depending on the visitor's nationality. Because of the differences in border control policies, a Chinese visa cannot be used to enter Hong Kong or Macau. A separate visa should be prepared if your country is not on the visa-free list.