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 Jul. 29, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on How to Apply for a China Tourist Visa
Asked by Siza from SOUTH AFRICA | Sep. 22, 2019 06:49Reply
Please help
I am from South Africa and I am working as a teacher in China. My husband would like to come and visit while I am here. I have a place to stay and should he come and visit he would stay at my place. What would he need to present instead of a hotel booking to show that he will have a place to stay while he is on China?
Answers (1)
Answered by Serena from AUSTRALIA | Sep. 23, 2019 01:24

Siza, he should present an invitation letter from you as well as your residence permit in China.
Asked by Al Barclay from SCOTLAND | Jul. 29, 2019 00:28Reply
Do I need an appointment to submit my visa application
Answers (1)
Answered by Tina from USA | Jul. 29, 2019 20:16

Barclay, you should make an appointment in advance.
Asked by ASADUZZAMAN ASAD from PORTUGAL | Jul. 27, 2019 13:45Reply
Answers (1)
Answered by Flora from USA | Jul. 29, 2019 01:36

Hi, it is possible for you to apply for one year Chinese visa. Please specify which type you will apply for as the required documents depend on type.
Asked by Barbara Blake from SPAIN | Jul. 24, 2019 12:20Reply
visa For four nights in China
I am on a cruise from Singapore to Hong Kong, then fly to Beijing China for four days, I live in Spain, how do I get a visa please
Answers (1)
Answered by Demi from USA | Jul. 24, 2019 18:36

Barbara, if you depart from Beijing to the third country not Hong Kong, you can actually enjoy 144h visa exemption transit in Beijing. Or, you can apply for tourists L type. Bring the required documents and submit the application to CVASC in Spain.
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