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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. 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 Tourist Destinations of China
Top 8 Reasons Why Your China Visa Gets Rejected
- Last modified on Dec. 07, 2018 -
Questions & Answers on China Tourist Visa
Asked by Charlotte from MALAYSIA | Dec. 07, 2018 06:17Reply
Malaysian needs visa for transit in China ?
Im flying from Penang to San Francisco , transit in Guangzhou for 21 hours pand Wuhan 3 hours plus. total more than 24 hours in China territory. Is it compulsory to have visa if only stay in the airports?
Answers (1)
Answered by John Doe | Dec. 07, 2018 22:28

Your transit is over 24 hours with multiple stops and that absolutely requires a transit visa regardless of your nationality. Strictly speaking, you will be considered to have left the airport once you clear immigration in Guangzhou as it is required for domestic flights. (The term "to leave the airport" is colloquial for staying in the sterile transit area.)
Asked by MICHAEL from MALAYSIA | Dec. 05, 2018 22:38Reply
HI..I AM PLANNING TO GOING NANJING TO VISIT MY COUSIN WHO ARE KENYA CITIZEN ALSO ARE WORKING IN CHINA.AS I KNOW For those not applying in their country of citizenship, a proof of legal stay or residence status is required AND ALSO NEED A INVITATION LETTER FROM TRAVEL AGENCIES IN CHINA.

Answers (3)
Answered by Alex from FINLAND | Dec. 06, 2018 17:04

You can apply for tourist L type for visiting your cousin in China. As I know, you can ask your cousin to provide you an individual invitation letter for your application.
Answered by Michale from KENYA | Dec. 06, 2018 20:39

Dear Alex
But i been trying to submit the application in Malaysia with support invitation letter from my cousin ,but embassy refuse to ask for invitation letter from travel agencies in China.That mean i need to purchased a Tour package from China only may approve visa.But i am dont need any tour .I go to China for visting my cousin.So how
Answered by Day | Dec. 06, 2018 21:57

If so, maybe you can try to apply through an agency.
Asked by Ros Clark from AUSTRALIA | Dec. 05, 2018 13:31Reply
Transit Visa. Can I enter China under a free transit policy?
I am flying into Shanghai with Qantas staying 2 days then boarding a cruise ship sailing to Hong Kong
Answers (1)
Answered by Anthony from DENMARK | Dec. 05, 2018 19:59

Yes, you can enter China under a free transit policy. No visa will be required.
Asked by Abu bakar from PAKISTAN | Dec. 03, 2018 13:24Reply
work on student visa
hey , I want to apply for scholarship in China ky question is if i want to work in china on student is it possible? part time job something !
Answers (2)
Answered by Abel from FINLAND | Dec. 03, 2018 16:48

You are advised to contact your school to inquire if you can do part time job.
Answered by QIANGPAN | Dec. 05, 2018 19:19

According to the regulation of visa office in Beijing, If you want get a part time job in Beijing . You must be holding a student residence permit , and should be go to international office in your University to apply for a proof agree you got a part time job . and the employer company must issue a letter to you for apply the residence permit . after that prepare related document go to visa office , you can get a student residence permit attach work.
Asked by Inetta Hines from USA | Dec. 03, 2018 12:10Reply
Unknown travel dates from USA to China and Japan
I’m going to go to China and Japan as a tourist for a couple of weeks this summer, but I can’t confirm the actual dates yet.
Can I apply for a Visa now, or do I have to have firm dates first?
Answers (1)
Answered by Anthony from GERMANY | Dec. 03, 2018 19:35

If so, you can try to apply for a 10 years tourist L type for visiting mainland China.
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