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China Tourist Visa (L)

 China tourist visas have been available again since March 15, 2023 after 3 years’ suspension due to covid-19.

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 Visa Application Form. Please fill in every column of the application form. 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.

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

After preparing all the required documents, make an appointment with Chinese embassies, consulates, or a Chinese Visa Application Center (CVASC) if there are any in your country to submit the application. Generally, applicants aged 14-70 need to go in person. If you don't need to go personally, you can entrust someone else, such as a travel agency or a visa agency to act on your behalf. Applications by mails are not accepted and will be refused at most Chinese embassies, consulates or CVASCs. But the mail-back service is available in more cases. 

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 185 CAD 142 GBP 151 AUD 109.5
Double Entries USD 185 CAD 142 GBP 151 AUD 139.5
Multi Entries for 6 Months USD 185 CAD 142 GBP 151 AUD 169.5
Multi Entries for 12 Months or Longer USD 185 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 updated on Sep. 16, 2023 by Kate Liu -
Questions & Answers on China Tourist Visa
Asked by NG SWEE GEOK from SINGAPORE | Nov. 02, 2023 07:42Reply
Can I (Singaporean) bring my Indonesian maid for holiday in China.
My maid take care of my elderly dad who is going for the China holiday.
Answers (1)
Answered by Mia | Nov. 02, 2023 19:49

Yes, you can but she needs to apply for a Chinese visa in advance.
Asked by Brendon from HUNGARY | Oct. 29, 2023 14:12Reply
Country of Residence
Your guide states "For those not applying in their country of citizenship, a proof of legal stay or residence status is required."

However, I am traveling long term and would not be back in my country of residence before my planned trip.

Would it be possible to apply for a tourist visa in another country?
Answers (3)
Answered by Helen | Oct. 30, 2023 02:08

You can have a try but the rejection rate is generally very high.
Answered by Brendon | Oct. 30, 2023 14:44

What is consider a proof of legal stay?

Would a utility bill work?
Answered by Helen | Oct. 30, 2023 18:19

Generally a temporary residential permit is necessary.
Asked by Helen from CANADA | Oct. 19, 2023 15:03Reply
I have a 10 years Q2 visa that expires in 2025, is it still Valid to travel in China?
Answers (1)
Answered by Fred | Oct. 19, 2023 19:04

Yes, it is!
Asked by Jess from SOUTH AFRICA | Oct. 17, 2023 03:37Reply
Which visa should I apply for for my au pair to accompany my family to China (duration 77days)?
My husband and I will be working as part of a larger invited group. I am unsure if we are being issued with talent visas or work visas. We are touring as part of a group of 80+ people, for a musical being hosted by “Seven Ages” in 4 cities across China from 13 Nov 2023 - 30 Jan 2024
Answers (1)
Answered by Fred | Oct. 17, 2023 19:56

It is better to confirm with the local Chinese Embassy.
Asked by Sean from NEW ZEALAND | Oct. 15, 2023 08:36Reply
Tourist visa - duration of stay
I'm applying for a 24-month multi-entry tourist visa with a New Zealand passport. The application form Q2.3B asks for "maximum duration of the longest stay". So far, I only have a 5-day trip booked for the end of November 2023. However, I plan to stay longer for future trips (which I haven't booked yet).

1. Will they issue a visa valid for only 5 days validity for each stay, or will it be a standard 30 days for the duration of each stay regardless of the number of days you put in the application form?
2. I've successfully applied for a Q2 visa in the past. Is it realistic to obtain a 24-month tourist visa?

Thank you.
Answers (1)
Answered by Daisy | Oct. 16, 2023 20:16

1. Generally you can acquire 30 days.
2. It depends but it is very hopeful.
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