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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China Travel Tips
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- Last modified on May. 17, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on How to Apply for a China Tourist Visa
Asked by Missy from MY | Jan. 14, 2019 17:55Reply
I enter China on 22/Dec/2018. Duration of stay is 30 days.
When is the last date should I leave China? Should I leave on 20/Jan/2019? Or 21/Jan/2019?

Thank you
Answers (1)
Answered by Wells from ITALY | Jan. 14, 2019 19:59

You can leave before 24:00 of 21/Jan/2019.
Asked by Stephanie from HK | Jan. 14, 2019 17:54Reply
Do I need a visa (multi-entry) to enter mainland China as a tourist?
I hold a Canadian passport and a Hong Kong Permanent ID (***). I live in Hong Kong. Do I need entry permit (multi-entry) to enter mainland China as a tourist? If yes, what types can I get and where should I apply?'
Answers (2)
Answered by Lawson from THAILAND | Jan. 14, 2019 19:58

Yes, you need. You can apply for tourist L type for that.
Answered by John Doe | Jan. 20, 2019 05:37

If you were born in HK and is of Chinese descent, you should go for a Home Return Permit instead of a visa unless you have formally renounced your Chinese nationality with HK Immigration. Your visa application may be refused if the visa officer has determined you are a Chinese national.
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