How to Apply for a China Tourist Visa

Before embarking on your China trip, it’s necessary to obtain a Chinese tourist visa, aka L visa or travel visa, unless that you are eligible for China's visa exemption policies. No matter you will join a group tour or travel independently, you need to apply for the visa on your own in most cases, but there is a slight difference in the two scenarios.

Sample of China Tourist Visa
Sample of China Tourist Visa

Join a group tour

If you book a tour from a China agency like TravelChinaGuide, the process might be easier. You can ask for an invitation letter from the agency, which is of great help in visa application and can improve the chance for visa approval to some degree.

Travel independently

Round-trip tickets and hotel reservations are required for tourist visa application for independent travelers. Submit as detailed supporting documents as you can to justify your travel itinerary. Usually the hotel bookings should cover your whole stay length in China and be consistent with the dates of arrival and departure shown on your tickets, otherwise your visa may get rejected.

What Are the Requirements for China Tourist Visa?

Generally the required documents include:
1. Your passport, which should be valid for at least six months
2. A complete Chinese Tourist Visa Application Form attached with your passport style photo
3. Round-trip tickets and hotel reservations or an invitation letter from from a travel agency in China
4. For some first-time applicants or citizens from certain countries, they may need to provide extra documents such as bank statement, employee certificate and tax return form to prove their financial status.

China Tourist Visa Requirements
China Tourist Visa Requirements

5 Steps to Apply for a Tourist Visa for China

1. Prepare your passport and ensure its validity is no less than six months.
2. Book round-trip tickets and hotels, and print the booking records. Alternatively, book a tour from a travel agency and get the invitation letter.
3. Complete the application form. (See 8 Tips for Filling out Chinese Visa Application Form)
4. Submit the above documents to the Chinese embassy / consulate or CVASC which has jurisdiction in your residence area.
5. Collect your passport and visa on the appointed date and pay the fee.

How Much Does a China Tourist Visa Cost?

US Citizens Canadian Citizens UK Citizens Australian Citizens
USD 140 CAD 142 GBP 151 AUD 109.5

Here we only list single entry tourist visa fees for some major countries. Click on China Visa Fees for more information.

How Long Does It Take for the Application?

It normally takes only four working days. In case you are in a hurry, you may apply for the expedited services like same day collection service or 2-3 day collection service. Of course, such services require an additional fee.

How Far in Advance Do I Apply for a Tourist Visa for China?

It's recommended to apply six weeks ahead of your planned visit, which is neither too early nor too late.

How Long Is a China Tourist Visa Valid?

A China tourist visa is normally valid for three months from the date of issue. For US citizens, they may get a multiple-entry tourist visa valid for 10 years. The allowed stay duration ranges from 30 days to 90 days decided by consular officers on the basis of your travel itinerary.

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You may also be interested in:
China Travel Tips
China Tour Planning
Top 10 China Destinations for First Time Travelers

- Last modified on Sep. 07, 2020 -
Questions & Answers on How to Apply for a China Tourist Visa
Asked by camille from PHILIPPINES | Sep. 04, 2020 06:38Reply
Hi. Is China accepting visa applications now?
I want to know if China is accepting visa applications for Filipinos now and can I travel to China now to visit a friend?
Answers (1)
Answered by Michelle | Sep. 07, 2020 01:50

Camile, if you plan to visit a friend in China now, you cannot get the visa.
Asked by Antonette Mae cabalan from PHILIPPINES | Jun. 20, 2020 22:14Reply
Hi I want to travel in china with my son to visiting my son's grandma what documents we need to prep
Answers (1)
Answered by Greta from PHILIPPINES | Jun. 21, 2020 23:27

You can apply for a tourist visa. Documents include passport, application form, photo, financial statement, and an invitation from your family members in China.
Asked by oyerinde oluwole from NIGERIA | Jun. 18, 2020 07:08Reply
Business travel
I want to travel to China to buy goods, how do I apply for the visa?
Answers (1)
Answered by Amy from NIGERIA | Jun. 21, 2020 23:25

You need to go to the CVASC in Nigeria to do the application. Its website has detailed information on visa application.
Asked by Franci from CHINA | Jan. 22, 2020 02:06Reply
Visa for family member
Hi I'm a teacher with a residency permit and I want my niece to visit. Is the visa process for her the same as for the tourist visa? Thank you!
Answers (1)
Answered by Henry from UNITED KINGDOM | Feb. 01, 2020 02:08

Yes, the process is the same.
Asked by Mauro from ARGENTINA | Jan. 18, 2020 19:07Reply
Can I get the visa for my travel partner?
Hey guys thanks for all the info here.
I going to China in a tour, but the agency can't help us with the visa. :(
I want to know if I can.... and what I have to do? for get te tourist visa for me and my travel partner. I'm on sydney and she's traveling around, but she can send me all the papers incluid the passport, so I can go to the visa center.
I need any authorization?
Answers (1)
Answered by Rolisa from AUSTRALIA | Jan. 19, 2020 17:42

Mauro, do you plan to apply from Sydney? If yes, is your travel partner now in Sydney also? If yes, you can apply visa for her. If she is in another country, she has to apply from that country.
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