How to Apply for a Visa to China

Apply for a Visa to China
Apply for a Visa to China (Image:

Traveling can be very exciting, and also very stressful. China is no exception, so be sure you are ready for your trips several weeks in advance. China requires visitors from most foreign countries to have a visa, with the exception of those wishing to visit Hong Kong or Macao. This article will help you learn how to obtain a visa to China.

Things You'll Need

  • Booked return tickets to China
  • Accommodations in China
  • Passport photos
  • Application
  • Application fee (Money Order or cash)
  • Access to Chinese Embassy, Consulate, or visa service

Book your return flight to China and China accommodations before applying for your passport. You will need a computer generated itinerary or copy of an airline ticket as proof of your flight. To verify your accommodations, you will need a hotel reservation that shows your name, the name of the hotel, and dates that match the dates on your application.

Be sure you have at least one blank page in your passport as well as at least 6 months validity remaining. The visa will take up a whole page, so if you do not currently have a blank page available, you will need to have pages added.

You will need to attach one passport style photo to each application.

All non-Chinese citizens require a Chinese visa for entry, exit, or transit, but not every traveler requires the same visa. There are eight categories of obtainable visas: C, D, F, G, J-1, J-2, L, X, and Z. An "L Visa," also known as a tourist visa, is the most common and is needed to visit China for tourist purposes, to visit family, or other personal matters. An "F Visa" is a business visa, a "Z Visa" is a work visa, an "X Visa" is a student visa, a "C Visa" is for international aviation or land transportation crew members, a "G Visa" is for transit through China, a "D Visa" is to reside permanently in China, a "J-1 Visa" is for foreign resident correspondents, and a "J-2 Visa" is for foreign resident correspondents on interview missions.In addition to type, you should know which validity you desire. A single entry visa is valid for 3 months, where as a double entry visa is valid for 6 months. The duration of stay is specified on the visa and staying beyond this time limit without extending your visa can result on harsh penalties.

After completing the above steps, you should be ready to complete the visa application. The application form can be found at the website for your local Chinese Consulate or Embassy. To find the website for the closest embassy to you, simple type "Chinese Embassy (insert your country here)" into any search engine.Complete the application and prepare the application fee. The fee varies, so check with your local embassy or consulate. Only money orders or cash are accepted. Money orders should be made payable to the Chinese Embassy or Consulate, appropriately.

Once you have completed the above steps, take the application (including bookings, photo, and application fee) to your nearest Chinese Embassy. Standard processing time in 4 working days, but for an extra fee, 1 working day and 2-3 working days processing is available upon request.

Tips & Warnings

  • No shots are required to travel to China, but it is always a good idea to check with your doctor for recommendations.
  • Visa applications are not accepted through the mail. You must apply in person or through an authorized visa agency.
  • Error in the application can delay your visa process.
  • Although the validity may be 3 months for a single entry or 6 months for a double entry, the duration of each stay is still limited to 30 days per entry unless otherwise approved by the issuing consular.
  • Applicants suffering from mental disorder, leprosy, AIDS, venereal diseases, contagious tuberculosis, or other infectious diseases will not be issued a Chinese visa.

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