China Tourist Visa, Travel L Visa Application Requirements & Forms

China Tourist Visa (L)

Most travelers to China are required to get a China tourist visa, L visa for short, which allows them to travel freely in most parts of China as tourists, given that they are not covered by visa-free policies of China. Passports, application form, and documents showing the itinerary or an invitation letter from China are the essential application documents.

Sample of China Tourist Visa

In most cases, a tourist can get a single entry L visa with the stay duration of 30 days. For US, Canadian, and Argentine citizens, they are able to get a 10-year China tourist visa with multiple entries.

If travelling with an organized tour group, you might not have an individual visa in your passport.  Instead, the tour group will be issued with a group tour visa bearing all members’ names. In such situations you should supply your details to the travel agency beforehand and then you have no further concerns.

If travelling independently, you need to handle visa affairs on your own. The process is not complicated if you follow the guidelines below.

China Tourist Visa Requirements & Documents

1. Passport

- Applicant' passport with at least 6 months remaining validity and available blank pages.

2. Application Form

- One accurately completed China Tourist Visa Application Form. Please fill in every column of the application form, using "N/A" if not applicable. If the application form is not filled out truthfully, completely and legibly, this can cause a delay in processing or refusal of the application.

3. Recent Photo

- A recent passport-size color photo with white background stuck on the application form.

4. Round-trip Tickets Plus Hotel Bookings or Invitation Letter from China

- Documents showing the itinerary including round trip tickets booking record and proof of hotel reservation, etc.
- Or, if you have an inviter in China, you can submit an invitation letter issued by the inviter, whether it's an entity or individual, with following information:
a. Information on the applicant, including full name, gender, and date of birth.
b. Information on the planned visit, including arrival and departure dates, place(s) of visit...
c. Information on the inviter, including name, contact number, address, official stamp, and signature of the legal representative of the entity or the inviting individual.

5. Other Supporting Documents

a. For those not applying in their country of citizenship, a proof of legal stay or residence status is required.
b. In some cases, applicants may need to submit a certification letter from the working unit of the applicant with details as follows: name and contact number of the working unit, the applicant's income statement, or original copy of recent 6-month bank statement of the applicant.
c. For applicants who will travel into Tibet, they must obtain a Tibet Travel Permit, which can be obtained from Tourism Bureau of Tibet Autonomous Region by travel agencies.

How to Get a Chinese Tourist Visa

With all the required documents at hand, you can go to the Chinese embassies, consulates, Chinese diplomatic missions, or Chinese Visa Application Center (CVASC) if there is any in your country to submit the application in person; if you can't go personally, you can entrust someone else, a travel agency or a visa agency to act on your behalf. Appointment is not mandatory. Applications by mails are not acceptable and will be refused at most Chinese embassies or consulates. In countries with the CVASC, applicants may be able to apply by post, or submit applications based on online appointment via CVASC's website.

Processing Time

It regularly takes 4 working days for processing a China travel visa. For express service, additional fees of US$ 20 will be charged for second or third working day releasing. For rush service, additional fees of US$30 will be charged for the same day releasing.

Chinese Tourist Visa Cost

The fees vary enormously depending on your nationality and number of entries. However, according to the Visa Fee Abolition Agreement, the nationals of following seven countries are free of the fees, but they need pay for the express service, rush service or mail service: Pakistan, Maldives, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovakia and Micronesia. For major countries, the fee is listed below.

China Travel 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 6 Months or Longer USD 140 CAD 142 GBP 151 AUD 229.5

Click China Visa Fees to know more details.

China Tourist Visa Extension

In case that you need to stay for longer days in China rather than the allowed stay duration on your visitor visa, you can try to apply for an extension in local Exit and Entry Administration of China seven days before your L visa expires. Your passport, a visa application form attached with your recent color photo, a registration of temporary residence, and your travel itinerary will be required for submission. If your application is approved, you can get an extended stay not exceeding the original stay duration on your visa.

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Further Reading: Top 10 Tourist Destinations of China
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