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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 Sep. 06, 2020 -
Questions & Answers on China Private Visit Visa
Asked by Vutivi from SOUTH AFRICA | Oct. 20, 2020 00:56Reply
Is it possible for me to move with my son?
I am a South African ESL teacher. I will be moving to China in January( if border will be open) to start work. Will it be possible to move with my 5 year old son or will I have to move first then come back and fetch him at a later stage.
Answers (2)
Answered by Nelly | Oct. 22, 2020 19:14

You can apply for your visas at the same time and then go to China together.
Answered by Vutivi | Oct. 23, 2020 02:13

Thank you so much for your reply. I will do that, once able to do so.
Asked by Dawn, US citizen living in India | Oct. 18, 2020 23:02Reply
If I have an S2 visa that is still valid, can I enter China during COVID?
I received a ten year S2 visa in 2018.
Answers (1)
Answered by Candy | Oct. 22, 2020 19:12

No, you cannot enter China during COVID with this S2 visa.
Asked by Dana Ghiban from ROMANIA | Oct. 17, 2020 00:53Reply
Invite our daughter to come to china in december
Hi, we are residing at the moment in china w work permit. We would like to have our daughter for xmas with us. She is 22. Is it possible to start visa work and where can we find information about it in connection w covid times. thanks
Answers (1)
Answered by Michelle | Oct. 18, 2020 20:31

As your daughter can only apply for a tourist or S2 visa, I don't think she has a big chance to get it during the pandemic period.
Asked by Toto from SOUTH AFRICA | Oct. 14, 2020 10:25Reply
Can my husband get an S2 visa during covid now?
Im working in China at the moment. I have a residency permit and legal work visa.
My husband is in South Africa.
Will we be able to apply for an S2 visa for him now to come visit me here in December/January?
What paperwork will we need?
Answers (2)
Answered by Oliver | Oct. 16, 2020 00:23

If you can get an invitation letter from the local government for your husband, then he will be able to apply for the S2 visa.
Answered by Toto | Oct. 16, 2020 00:32

How does one get an invitation letter? Who should I contact?
Asked by Daenie from INDONESIA | Oct. 02, 2020 08:28Reply
Can my sister get a visa if she will bring my son to China?
Hello. I am planning to bring my son to China and have him spend Christmas here with me. However, my husband and I are both here and the only available person to bring my son, will be my sister. Will it be possible for her to get an S2 visa at this moment?
Answers (1)
Answered by Tracy | Oct. 12, 2020 01:43

Daenie, I'm afraid it's not possible for her to get the S2 visa at this moment.
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