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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 must submit applications to Chinese embassies or consulates by themselves or someone else or through a trusted travel/visa agency. A personal appearance is necessary only when consular officials require an interview. 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, applying by post is an option and applicants can also complete the application form online.

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 140 CAD 142 GBP 151 AUD 109.5
Double Entries USD 140 CAD 142 GBP 151 AUD 139.5
Multi Entries for 6 Months USD 140 CAD 142 GBP 151 AUD 169.5
Multi Entries for 12 Months or Longer USD 140 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 modified on Jan. 23, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on China Private Visit Visa
Asked by Aaron Olafson from CHINA | Jan. 22, 2019 23:28Reply
Application Letter Requirements
My daughter and wife would like to come here for a visit. Do I need to write a letter on behalf of me or does my employer need to draft a letter on behalf of them?
Answers (1)
Answered by Emma from ROMANIA | Jan. 23, 2019 17:02

If they apply for S type or L type, you can send the invitation letter from you to them.
Asked by Marine from CHINA | Jan. 22, 2019 08:38Reply
Hello. Can we travel with S2 visa?
Answers (1)
Answered by Greene | Jan. 22, 2019 17:46

Yes, you can travel within China under S2.
Asked by carrie from UNITED KINGDOM | Jan. 22, 2019 03:19Reply
is it possible for husband to apply for S1 visa after wife receives Z visa?
I received a job offer in China and my husband wants to move with me to China. Is it possible for my husband to apply straight away for a S1 after I get my papers back from the embassy for a Z? As we both want to move at the same time.
Answers (1)
Answered by Watson from EGYPT | Jan. 22, 2019 17:49

You can try to ask an invitation from your employer to your husband, and you can apply for work Z and S type visa at the same time. If you are worried, you can contact the visa office to inquire the details beforehand.
Asked by Natalia from NETHERLANDS | Jan. 15, 2019 03:43Reply
S visa for an internship?
I was accepted for an internship in Shanghai where I will be also enrolled in school. The company wants me to get L and then in Shanghai transfer it to S2. However, I do not like the idea of getting L visa and then be transferred to S2 as I read a lot about it and it may not be successful. For some reason the school does not want to issue me all the papers so I could apply for X. Is the possible to apply for S2 for the internship directly or I have to do it the way they advise?
Answers (1)
Answered by Ray from THAILAND | Jan. 15, 2019 18:21

You cannot apply for S2 for the internship directly.
Asked by George from FRANCE | Jan. 13, 2019 22:35Reply
S visa for girlfriend?
I have a tier A work permit and will be in Shanghai for the next three years. I am hoping that my girlfriend will be able to join me; is there any way (given that the government is meant to be encouraging A tier expats) that she can be eligible for an S?
Answers (1)
Answered by Williams from FINLAND | Jan. 14, 2019 00:39

She cannot get S type. She can try to apply for visit L type.
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