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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, assuming that they do not qualify under the 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
Sample of China Tourist Visa

In most cases, a tourist can get a single entry L visa with a stay duration of 30 days. UK, US, Canadian, and Argentine citizens 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 a group tour visa bearing all the members' names. In such situations supply your details to the travel agency beforehand and you will 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

- Your passport  with at least 6 months remaining validity and available blank pages, and a photocopy of passport's data page.

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, there could be a delay in processing or refusal of the application.

3. Recent Photo

- A recent passport-size color photo with white background attached to the application form.

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

- Documents showing the itinerary including proof of round trip tickets booking and proof of hotel reservation.
- Or, if you are being invited to 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 employer of the applicant with details as follows: name and contact number of the employer, the applicant's income statement, or original copy of recent 6-month bank statement of the applicant.
c. Applicants who intend to travel to Tibet must obtain a Tibet Travel Permit, which can be obtained from Tourism Bureau of Tibet Autonomous Region by travel agencies.

China Tourist Visa Requirements
China Tourist Visa Requirements

How to Get a Chinese Tourist Visa

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

Processing Time

It normally takes 4 working days for processing a China travel visa. For express service, an additional fee of USD 20 will be charged for two or three working day service. For rush service, an additional fee of USD30 will be charged for same-day service.

Chinese Tourist Visa Cost

The visa costs vary depending on your nationality and number of entries. However, according to the Visa Fee Abolition Agreement, the nationals of following several countries can get a visa for free, but must pay for 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 12 Months or Longer USD 140 CAD 142 GBP 151 AUD 229.5

Click on China Visa Fees for more information.

China Tourist Visa Extension

If you need to stay in China past the allowed stay duration on your visitor visa, you can apply for an extension at the local Exit and Entry Administration of China seven days before your L visa expires. Your passport, a visa application form with your recent color photo attached, 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.

Recommended Tour Packages


Further Reading:

8 Tips for Filling Out Chinese Visa Application Form
Top 10 China Destinations for First Time Travelers
Top 8 Reasons Why Your China Visa Gets Rejected
- Last modified on Jan. 18, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on China Tourist Visa
Asked by Tams from CHINA | Jan. 15, 2021 23:39Reply
Work (Z) to tourist (L) in during pandemic
I am currently living and working in China on a working Visa (Z). Flights back to my home country are crazy expensive in April (my visa runs out 28th April), but half that in May. I know L Visas are currently not being granted, but has anyone been able to change status to L while in country?
Answers (1)
Answered by Janet | Jan. 17, 2021 21:57

You can visit the local exit and entry administration one month before your Z visa expires and see if you can get a one-month humanitarian visa that allows you to leave China later.
Asked by HotSauce McGraw from CHINA | Jan. 13, 2021 23:51Reply
Exit and Entry Administration question - extension during COVID
my L visa expired March 28, 2020 the same day COVID 19 shut the airports down and severely limited travel in and out the country of Mainland China.

do you think I'll have problems applying for an "extension" in order to apply for a "new" L visa in Macau now that regulations have changed allowing travel?

it's a rather unique situation to be in.
Answers (3)
Answered by Juliet | Jan. 17, 2021 21:56

As your L visa has already expired, it can't be extended any longer. If you want to enter mainland China, you should apply for a new visa.
Answered by Soygar Richard | Jan. 18, 2021 00:59

I am currently in Mainland China. Do they do extensions on expired visas?
Answered by Juliet | Jan. 18, 2021 01:23

I'm afraid not.
Asked by Freyia from SWEDEN | Jan. 08, 2021 03:13Reply
Leave China with ferry
Planning on entering china with train, trans-mongolian, and exit the country with ferry to South Korea. Do I have to have a round ticket with plane to get a Chinese visa or can I just book a ferry ticket in advance as proof of me planning to leave the country? Also is it possible to book ferry tickets in advance?
Answers (1)
Answered by Chris | Jan. 17, 2021 21:54

You can book a ferry ticket in advance as a proof of you planning to leave the country. Yes, it's possible to book ferry tickets in advance.
Asked by Bamisedun Rilwan from NIGERIA | Dec. 23, 2020 00:08Reply
Do you do tourist group visa
Are you an agency, need to apply for a group tourist visa
Answers (1)
Answered by TravelChinaGuide | Dec. 30, 2020 22:10

Sorry, we don't provide group tourist visa service.
Asked by Josh from CANADA | Dec. 14, 2020 22:33Reply
Do I need a brand new Chinese Tourist Visa to enter China from the land border from North Korea?
Hi all,

I know things are changing with what is going on and do plan of going around 2022-2023. I have an inquiry. I currently have a valid Canadian Passport but my Chinese Visa is on my Old Canadian Passport and it's still valid and not expired. Had no problem entering China by air. For this situation, will I be required to get a brand new Chinese Visa if I'm entering the land border from North Korea. For example, I'm going from Pyongyang to Dandong. Entering China, will they allow me to enter with my current passport with the Chinese Visa on my old passport (Chinese Visa is valid on old passport) or will I need to get a brand new Chinese Tourist Visa on my current passport to enter the land border in Dandong?

Answers (1)
Answered by Kevin | Dec. 17, 2020 19:01

You can enter China with old passport which has the China visa if the passport is still valid.
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