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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. 20, 2020 -
Questions & Answers on China Tourist Visa
Asked by Johan from NETHERLANDS | Feb. 15, 2020 06:35Reply
L visa extension: more than 30 days possible?
my L visa (2 entries, 50 days) is about to expire. I am in China on my 2nd entry.
I did not apply for an extension after my 1st entry.
5 questions:
1.Is it possible to get an extension for more than 30 days?If yes, can I apply for 50 days' extension?
2.If no and I get a 30 days' extension, is it possible to get a second extension (of 20 days = total 50 days)?
3.Does the extension start after the expiry of the old visa?
4. Is it possible to apply for an extension with 2 entries?
5.Do the two empty passport pages have to be opposite each other?

Xiexie for your help!
Asked by Kelsey from AUSTRALIA | Feb. 14, 2020 21:25Reply
02 entries need to exit?
I have chinese L tourist visa with entries (02). I have been in china nearly 30 days. Do i have to go to macau or hong kong and return using my second entry or can this just count as 60 days as I'm currently north and its out of the way, Any exceptions due to caronavirus
Answers (1)
Answered by Kerry from AUSTRALIA | Feb. 14, 2020 22:31

Kelsey, at present, the best choice is to extend your 30-day stay duration before it runs out. It's not feasible to travel to HK or Macau and return.
Asked by rufaro from ZIMBABWE | Feb. 12, 2020 18:34Reply
My visa is about to expire and my ticket was cancelled due to the virus how do i extend my visa its
Answers (1)
Answered by Wendy from UNITED KINGDOM | Feb. 14, 2020 19:33

Are you in China now? If yes, you need to get a 30 day visa at the local exit and entry administration as soon as possible to not overstay.
Asked by Sandra from UK | Feb. 08, 2020 07:13Reply
GRoup visa from ivisa.com
The China Group e-Visa is a tourist visa that is issued to tourist groups comprised of least 2 members traveling together both into and out of China. The China Group e-Visa is issued as a stand-alone document, not as a sticker on a passport like the China Tourist Visa.

Why does it not mention this on any website? Same price but no need to visit an embassy ?
Answers (1)
Answered by Eugene from UNITED KINGDOM | Feb. 08, 2020 20:53

Sandra, the group visa can only be obtained through travel agencies, and the condition is that you have to join a tour group organized by a travel agency. The visa is a name list of all group members, not on each member's passport. Therefore, it's not a regular visa and I think this might be the reason that seldom do websites mention it.
Asked by Cilliers from SOUTH AFRICA | Feb. 02, 2020 02:57Reply
Travel for ESL Teaching in China
Is it possible to obtain a Tourist Visa with an invitation letter from the school who offered me a contract? And convert the tourist visa into a work "Z" visa once issued by the Chinese Government in China? Is this process legal or should I just apply for the Work "Z" Visa and wait a couple of weeks longer?
Answers (1)
Answered by Gabby from CANADA | Feb. 02, 2020 23:16

Dear, as the school offers you a contract, you had better apply for a work Z visa directly. If you use the contract to apply for a tourist visa, your visa application might be denied.
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