How to Get a China Visa in the USA

Whether you are an American tourist, businessperson or student, you will need a visa to visit China.
Whether you are an American tourist, businessperson or student, you will need a visa to visit China. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Obtaining a visa to visit China in the USA is a relatively simple process. However, it does require submitting documents to the Chinese Consulate in person, which leads many applicants to use a travel agent or visa service to handle the procedure. Applicants for Chinese tourist visas do not need an invitation from a Chinese person or organization, but applicants for business, press and educational visas do need an invitation or additional documentation. Residential visas and crew visas for airline and ship crew members are also available.

Things You'll Need

  • Chinese visa application form
  • Vaild US passport
  • Copy of information page of passport
  • Passport size photo
  • Visa, Master Card, money order, corporate check or cashier's check

Obtain the application form for a Chinese visa from the Chinese consulate nearest you or by downloading it from the official site of the Chinese embassy. Determine which type of visa you need and whether you need to present any additional documents (see Tips for more information about the specific requirements for different types of visas).

Fill out and sign the application form. Have a passport size picture taken and attach it to the form.

Determine the fee due for the duration of validity of the visa and the number of entries that you desire. As of April 2011, the fee for any Chinese visa is $130 for American citizens. This includes single entry and double entry visas, as well as six month, twelve month and twenty-four month multiple entry visas. Make your cashier's check or money order for the visa fees payable to "Chinese Embassy." Add $20 for 2-3 day rush service or $30 for same-day rush service. Credit cards are also accepted.

Submit the forms, your original passport, a copy of the information page, any additionally required information and the fee payment to the Chinese embassy in Washington, DC or the consular office in New York, NY, Chicago, IL, San Francisco, CA, Los Angeles, CA or Houston, TX. You may have any designated agent, including a friend or relative, as well as a travel or visa agent, handle this on your behalf. No power of attorney is required for the agent. You can only submit the application to the consulate that is officially able to accept visa applications for the state or region where you live. Check with the consulate you wish to use or the official Chinese Embassy website to make sure it is the right one for your state or area of residence.

Return to the embassy or consulate after four business days have passed (or earlier if you have paid express or rush fees) to receive your passport with the visa attached.

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