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China Private Visit Visa (S)

Chinese private visit visa, more familiar to foreigners as S visa or sometimes as the dependant visa, is issued to family members of foreigners who reside in China for work or study or to those who intend to go to China for private affairs such as marriage, lawsuit, heritage, adoption, and medical treatment. It is further classified into S1 visa and S2 visa. The former is for a longer stay duration of more than 180 days, while the latter is for a stay duration not exceeding 180 days.

Differences between S1 Visa and S2 Visa

Type Application Conditions
S1 visa 1. Intended Duration of Stay > 180 days
2. Applicants restrictions:
Family members of foreigners residing in China for work or study, including spouses, parents, sons or daughters under the age of 18 or parents-in-law;
those who intend to go to China for private matters
S2 visa 1. Intended Duration of Stay ≤ 180 days
2. Applicants restrictions:
Family members of foreigners residing in China for work or study, including spouses, parents, sons, daughters, spouses of sons or daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandsons, granddaughters and parents-in-law;
those who intend to go to China for private matters

Perceptive applicants may find that the Duration of Each Stay is 000 when they receive the S1 visa. It means the exact stay duration needs to be further determined when they apply for the Temporary Residence Permit within 30 days after entering China. The residence permit can be granted with a maximum validity of five years and can be used to exit and enter China freely as long as it's valid.

China Private Visit Visa (S Visa) Requirements & Documents

1. Passport

- Applicant's passport with blank pages and at least six months validity left. Note: US citizens wishing to apply for a 10-year S2 visa should provide a passport valid for at least one year.

2. Application Form

- One truthfully completed China S Visa Application Form attached with a recent color photo.

3. Invitation Letter from the Foreigner Who Works or Studies in China

- The letter should contain:
a. Information on the applicant (full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)
b. Information on the visit (purpose of visit, arrival and departure dates, address of intended residence, relations between the applicant and the inviting individual, financial source of living expenditure, etc.)
c. Information on the inviting individual (name, contact number, address, signature, etc.)

4. The Inviter's Passport and Chinese Residence Permit

- A photocopy of the inviting individual's passport and residence permit of China.

5. Kinship Certification between the Inviter and Invitee

- Original and a photocopy of certification such as a marriage certificate, birth certificate, certification of kinship issued by the Public Security Bureau, or other notarized certification of kinship showing their family relationship.

For private affairs, a document explaining personal details such as marriage, heritage, adoption, and medical treatment is required.

How to Apply for China S Visa

Applicants aged 14-70 must submit applications to Chinese embassies or consulates by themselves and a prior appoinment is required. Mail and mail-back services are not available at most embassies and consulates. However, for applications through the Chinese Visa Application Service Center (CVASC) wherever available, such as Canada, UK, Australia, France, Germany, India, and Singapore, mail-back may be available.  

Processing Time

Regular processing currently takes four working days at Chinese embassies/consulates/ CVASC. Express service is also available. Same-day collecting service requires an extra charge of US$ 30 while two or three-day collecting service needs extra US$ 20. If applying from CVASC, you may also need to pay express service fee to the center.

China S Visa Fees

The fees differ in accordance with nationalities, number of entries and requested processing time. For S1 visa, as it only has one entry, the single-entry visa fee is applicable. For S2 visa, the fee varies with the number of entries.

China Business Visa Types US Citizens Canadian Citizens UK Citizens Australian Citizens
Single Entry USD 185 CAD 142 GBP 151 AUD 109.5
Double Entries USD 185 CAD 142 GBP 151 AUD 139.5
Multi Entries for 6 Months USD 185 CAD 142 GBP 151 AUD 169.5
Multi Entries for 12 Months or Longer USD 185 CAD 142 GBP 151 AUD 229.5

*The table is for reference only. For more details, please click China Visa Fees.

Further Reading:

8 Tips for Filling Out Chinese Visa Application Form

- Last updated on Jul. 04, 2024 by Kate Liu -
Questions & Answers on China Private Visit Visa
Asked by Syed Zakaria from CHINA | Jul. 04, 2024 08:49Reply
Is applying for residence permit necessary for S2 visa holders after they arrive China
Im a student currently studying in china and my mother got an S2 visa, im concerned if she would need to apply for a residence permit after she comes to China or she just can live here with me without a permit.
Answers (1)
Answered by Daniel | Jul. 04, 2024 23:26

As it's a short term visa (no more than 180 days), she doesn't need to apply for the permit, but she will need to go to the local PSB to do the temporary accommodation registration upon arrival.
Asked by Jullie from UK | Jun. 19, 2024 07:49Reply
S2 Visa
I'm currently working in china on a Z visa, and i have a residence permit. My parents want to come and visit me for a couple of weeks, maybe travel some of china whilst they're here. Would it be an (S2) visa they need or (L)?
Answers (1)
Answered by Marcy | Jun. 19, 2024 22:44

They can apply for S2 visas, L visa also works.
Asked by Graham Riley from EGYPT | May. 20, 2024 05:32Reply
Certification requirements for S1 visa
My wife has obtained a Z visa for her employment, I require an S1 visa as her non working spouse. We are British citizens, currently living in Cairo, Egypt. We have been told by the visa centre here that we must have our marriage certificate certified and stamped by the Chinese embassy in London before we can proceed. Is this correct? Clearly this would cause us a problem. If it is accurate, we are returning to the UK for around a month in the summer before our move to China. Would this be enough time, and would I be able to process the S1 visa while back in the UK?
Answers (1)
Answered by Emily | May. 22, 2024 01:51

Yes, it's correct. I think one month is enough for the requirements preparation and the visa application.
Asked by Asaf Khan from PAKISTAN | Apr. 15, 2024 07:01Reply
For residence permit of my family, medical examination is compulsory for my wife and children
I am a PhD student and i want to relocate my family to China. I need to know that up to which age limit the medical examination of children is exempted for residence
Answers (1)
Answered by Rita | Apr. 16, 2024 19:38

I find no information about the age limit for medical examination. If they live no more than one year in China, the examination is not needed. If over one year, then it's a must.
Asked by sulaiman khan from PAKISTAN | Mar. 15, 2024 03:48Reply
For S1 visa, my spouse university is not providing documents for resident permit, what should I do?
Answers (1)
Answered by Marcy | Mar. 18, 2024 02:59

It is a must to apply for a S1 visa. I advise you to contact the university. Or you can contact the China local Exit and Entry Administration agencies.
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