Home / Embassy / Visa /

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. 18, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on China Private Visit Visa
Asked by Brad from AUSTRALIA | Apr. 06, 2021 14:05Reply
Can I transfer to an S2 visa if already living in China?
I'm currently on a work visa, but it will soon expire and my company is delaying renewing it. Can I transfer to my wife's visa for a few months to give me more time in China? It looks like I'll have to find a new job anyway as my current company is being very uncooperative. My wife is also a foreigner. I would like to get the S2 visa but wondering if I can apply for that as I'm already in China myself.
Answers (1)
Answered by Anna | Apr. 12, 2021 01:09

Brad, it's possible to convert your work visa to an S2 visa within China. You can have a try.
Asked by Douglas Evans from UNITED STATES | Mar. 24, 2021 17:49Reply
S2 visa
Is it possible for me, I'm American, to get an S2 Visa to China. My fiance and I would like to get married. We have been together for several years and were separated because of the coronavirus 19. She will give me an Invitation Letter as well. We want to reunite as soon as possible. I have already been vaccinated here in the United States.
Thanks, Doug Evans
Answers (1)
Answered by Emily | Apr. 06, 2021 00:13

Douglas, as you two are not married, you cannot get the S2 visa.
Asked by Nathan Bailey from UNITED KINGDOM | Mar. 06, 2021 04:45Reply
Would I apply for an S2 visa to visit my girlfriend?
My girlfriend is Chinese and works in Nanchang would I be able to apply for an S2 visa to see her? Or would I be better off getting a tourist visa? I understand due to the pandemic I can’t get a visa at the moment but am trying to plan ahead for next year. Thanks
Answers (1)
Answered by UK from SHARON | Mar. 15, 2021 01:06

Well, you can apply for a tourist visa the next year.
Asked by viola from MOROCCO | Mar. 05, 2021 02:01Reply
S2 visa transfer to Z visa
I am actually in china since the covid my business visa was transferred to S2 visa ( humanitarian visa) , i found a job that want to transfer my visa to Z visa, is it possible to do the transfer? at the immigartion in shanghai they said it possible , but in Hangzhou they said that it's impossible , I am confused
Answers (1)
Answered by Keith from AUSTRALIA | Mar. 15, 2021 01:11

It's possible to do this.
Ask a Question
Question Summary (100 characters)
Details (optional) (2,000 characters)