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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 Nov. 03, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on China Private Visit Visa
Asked by Michael from CHINA | Dec. 03, 2019 16:43Reply
Dependents' Visas
We are a working couple in Shanghai and have two children that go to school here. However, our children will be returning to a UK school in January while we remain in Shanghai to complete our work contract. Can the children keep their current Visas or does this need to change? They will be returning to Shanghai to two weeks in March/April.
Answers (1)
Answered by Jenni from UNITED KINGDOM | Dec. 04, 2019 18:48

Michael, will they continue to study in China after returning? If yes, they can still keep their X1 visa and residence permit.
Asked by Luqman from PAKISTAN | Nov. 25, 2019 21:34Reply
Extending S2 Visa
Hi. I am an English teacher in china and i plan to invite my son and wife on S2 visa. I wanted to know if its possible to extend their S2 visas from within china? If yes, how long can they be extended for?
Answers (1)
Answered by Leona from UNITED KINGDOM | Nov. 26, 2019 18:53

It's possible to extend their S2 visas. The extended stay duration should not be more than the original stay duration they get.
Asked by samab from CANADA | Nov. 18, 2019 23:20Reply
I want to know about extended S1 visa,Is there any rule changed or we can easily extend?
Answers (2)
Answered by Ken from CANADA | Nov. 19, 2019 18:27

Based on my knowledge, no rules have been changed recently.
Answered by Samab from CANADA | Nov. 20, 2019 02:42

What is the procedure?
Asked by Macy from BELGIUM | Nov. 17, 2019 14:12Reply
Can I apply for this visa for an internship within 180 days?
Answers (1)
Answered by Gary from UNITED KINGDOM | Nov. 17, 2019 22:45

It's possible if your internship is not paid.
Asked by Josphat from KENYA | Nov. 11, 2019 20:35Reply
Can I apply an S2 or L visa for my fiance who will visit me for marriage here in China?
Can I apply an S2 or L visa for my fiance who will visit me for marriage here in China?
Answers (1)
Answered by Vivian | Nov. 12, 2019 18:59

Your fiance can apply for an L visa, not the S2. He needs to do the application by himself at his country.
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