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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 Dec. 30, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on China Private Visit Visa
Asked by Sandeep from INDIA | Jan. 14, 2020 18:30Reply
Query Regd S2 Visa
Generally dependents on S1 visa get residence permit which needs to be applied with 30days after entering China.
What is the process for S2 Visa dependent? What is the process for them after entering China.
Do they need to visit Entry/Exit office. Can S2 Visa dependent visit HongKong/Macao ?
Kindly share the details
Answers (2)
Answered by Sandra from INDIA | Jan. 14, 2020 19:11

They don't need to get the residence permit, but they need to register themselves at the local police station within 24 hours after arrival if they don't stay in a hotel. If the S2 visa only has one entry, you can visit Hong Kong/Macau but you need to get another visa in order to return to mainland China.
Answered by Sandeep from INDIA | Jan. 14, 2020 23:54

Thanks for the quick response
Asked by Connor from WILLARD | Jan. 04, 2020 04:27Reply
Can I sponsor a visa for my fiancé?
I’m an Australian citizen working in China. Can I sponsor a visa for my fiancé to visit me in China?
Answers (1)
Answered by Jasper from AUSTRALIA | Jan. 05, 2020 22:15

Yes, but she can only apply for a tourist visa, not the S visa.
Asked by Jeff from USA | Jan. 04, 2020 01:13Reply
S visa for divorced spouse
My x wife wants to live in China to take care of our son while he is living with me and going to school. Can she apply for a S Visa? And if so would it be under my son or me
Answers (1)
Answered by Kira from CHINA | Jan. 05, 2020 22:14

She can apply for an S visa under your son.
Asked by Kimber from UNITED STATES | Jan. 02, 2020 15:37Reply
Sister visit Sister
Hello my sister and I are both US citizens. She is in China for a year to teach english. I would like to visit her. Is the S2 visa the correct one? How do you prove that you are sisters? Thank you
Answers (1)
Answered by Maron from UNITED KINGDOM | Jan. 05, 2020 22:14

If you just visit her for a short time, you can simply apply for a tourist visa so that you don't need to prove that you are sisters.
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