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How to Apply for A China Visa - Application Guide & Tips

There are different ways to obtain a Chinese Visa according to your visa types and visiting destinations in China. Except visitors eligible for Visa Free Entry to China, most foreigners need to apply for a Chinese Visa from Chinese Embassies, Consulate-General abroad. (Applicants in Canada, Bulgaria, Finland, Cuba and available countries have to submit to a China Visa Application Center.) Nations qualified relevant requirements can also apply China Visa on Arrival and China Visa Free Transit in specific ports of entry in China upon arrival.

With required passport, supporting documents and visa fees, applicants need to follow several steps to obtain a Chinese Visa. Applications of regular visas like China Tourist Visa (L Visa) and China Transit (G) Visa require just simple steps, while other visas like China Work (Z) Visa, Student (X) Visa and Family Reunion (Q) Visa have extra requirements.

China Visa Application Requirements - Documents Needed for Chinese Visa

To successfully obtain a Chinese Visa, applicants need to prepare some materials to prove his/her legal identity and purpose of visiting. The most important requirements are basic documents, including your passport and a completed visa application form. And supporting documents relate to your itinerary like flight ticket and hotel booking record and visiting schedule and etc are also very helpful.

Basic Documents

Passport: A valid original passport with validity of at least 6 months and 2 blank visa pages, plus a photocopy of the passport’s data page.

Visa Application Form: One completed China Visa Application Form (should be downloaded, filled in and signed for submission).

Photo: 2 recent photos are required to be glued on the application form. The photos should be frontal bareheaded photos taken within past 6 months, in light color background, in size of 48mm x 33m (2x2 square inch). China Visa Application Photo Requirements >>

Certification of Legal Stay and Residence: If you do not apply for Chines Visa in your own country, you are required to submit the original and copy of your valid visa, related proof of work, study, residence and legal stay.

Previous Chinese Passport and Chinese Visa: If you once was Chinese Nationality and acquired a foreign nationality, you must submit the former original Chinese Passport and copy of date page; If you once got a Chinese Visa on an old passport, you should submit copy of the date page and the previous Chinese Visa.

Supporting Documents

For China Tourist (L) Visa: Travel itinerary materials including round-trip air ticket and hotel booking record, or invitation letter from an individual/company in China.

The Invitation Letter should cover personal information of the invitee’s name, gender, date of birth, travel schedule of arrival & departure date, visiting places and inviter’s name, contact number, address and signature or related information about the company.

For China Business (M) Visa: Commercial activity documents and invitation letter for a trade fair by a Chinese trade partner.

For China Student (X) Visa: Original and photocopy of the Admission Letter from a school or recruiting institutes in China, and original and copy of Visa Application for Study in China (Form JW201/JW202).

For Family Reunion (Q1/Q2) Visa: Invitation letter from the Chinese Citizen or foreigners holding China Permanent Residence; photocopy of the inviter’s ID or foreign nations’ passport/Permanent Residence Permit; original and copy of the certification of the family relationships and etc.

China Visa Application Passport

Passport is the First & Foremost Requirement

China Visa Application Form

Complete A China Visa Application Form

China Visa Application Supporting Docuements

Air Ticket for China Tourist Visa Application

China Visa Application Process - 3 Steps to Apply for Chinese Visa

Step 1 - complete the China Visa Application Form & prepare required documents

Citizens applying in 40 countries (or regions) (in Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania and North America) are required to complete the application form and upload digital photo online, and book a appointment to submit at a China Visa Application Service Center. (log on http://www.visaforchina.org/ to check if you can apply at the service center.) Others must apply for China Visa at visa section of the Chinese Embassies and Consulates. (you can visit https://cova.cs.mfa.gov.cn to complete a online form and book a appointment at http://avas.cs.mfa.gov.cn.)

Useful Link: Where to Apply for a Visa for China.

Fill in the China Visa Application Form (in latest version) and fill in necessary information. Applicants should truthfully fill in the application form concerning Personal Information (about name, date & place of birth, gender, marital status, nationality and passport), Application, Work, Education, Family, Email, Previous & Current Travel Information and etc. Print out the form, sign and make a declaration in the end. Appointment is required to for submission to all visa centers, most embassies and consulates, but NOT required to the Chinese Embassy and Consulate in US.

Tips: Handwritten application form is not acceptable. If the application form is completed by another person on the applicant's behalf, please fill out his or her information.

Step 2 - submit the application & choose visa service

Find the China Visa Application Service Center, or visa office of Chinese Embassy or Chinese Consulates that serves your state or where you reside, and then submit your Visa Application Form and all the documents you prepared. Select whether you need a urgent visa service and postal service or not. Please keep the pick-up slip which tells you the date for collecting your passport & visa.

If you can not make the submission in person, you may entrust others to submit the signed application form and required materials. You may have to show yourself in the embassy office if you are required to input biometric information, and Chinese Embassy or Consulate think it’s necessary.

Step 3 - pay the visa application fee & pick up your passport & visa

1.) For submission at Chinese Embassy and Consualtes, you can return to the visa office to get the passport, visa and documents back, after tracking and noticed that your application is processed. Upon collection, you have to pay the visa fees. You can pick up the documents and make the payment in person or let a agent help you. The embassies and consulates do not offer mail-back service. 2.) For submission at China Visa Application Service Center, you have to pay visa fees and service charges when submit materials. Keep the pick-up slip and collect all the documents after noticed your application is processed. You can also choose postal service while doing the submission.

Tips: Applicants applying for a Hong Kong Visa and Macau Visa must pay visa fees prior to application submission.

China Visa Application Form

China Visa Application Form (Sample)

China Visa Application Service Center

China Visa Application Center in Canada

Chinese Emabassy and Consulate in US

Visa Office of Chinese Consulat General in Los Angeles US

China Visa Application Fee - How Much Does a Visa to China Cost

China Visa Fee varies from different visa type, number of entry, duration of your stay, and nationality for each applicants. If you apply for a Chinese Visa, you will pay for the visa fee to the Chinese Embassy or Consulate and service charge to the visa office. Express and Rush Services for speeding up visa process need extra charges if you request such service. China Visa Fees and Cost >>

Chinese Visa Processing Time: 4 working days for Regular Service, 2 working days for Express Service and 1 working day for Rush Service.

Number of EntryUS Passport HoldersUK Passport HoldersCanadian Passport HoldersCitizens from Other countries
Single EntryUSD 140GBP 85CAD $100CAD 50
Double EntriesUSD 140GBP 85CAD 100CAD 75
Multiple Entries for 6 MonthsUSD 140GBP 85CAD 100CAD 100
Multiple Entries for 12 Months+USD 140GBP 85CAD 100CAD 150


1.) Chinese Group Visa Fee is CAD 40 for Canadians, and $140 for US citizens applying as a group.

2.) Choosing Express or Rush service, an additional fee will be charged.

3.) Application to China Visa Application Service Centers, applicants still need to pay extra service fees.

4.) Acceptable visa payment includes money order, cashier's check, or Credit Card (Visa or Mastercard only). Cash, personal/company check is not accepted.

5.) The above regular visa fee for third countries may be charged differently, please check updated fees in official website. Applicants must pay the visa application fee upon collection.

China Visa Application Online, by Mail and on Arrival

▶ Apply for China Visa Online

Currently, No China visa application online service is available. Based on authority agreements, applicants in certain countries are required to complete electronic visa application form online, make pre-booking appointment online, and submit application to the Chinese Visa Application Service Centers in your state or residence. If you apply for China Visa in Canada, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and so on, you are eligible for such way of application.

For other applications (e.g US Citizens), you should submit application directly to Visa Office of the Chinese Embassy or Consulate General based on your state where you reside. You can submit by yourself, or through a friend, a visa service agent. Just walk in during the business hours, a pre-booking appointment is no need. Individual is no need to come to the embassy unless the officer request a interview and no main-in, mail-back and online application is provided. How to Apply for China Visa Online >>

▶ China Visa Application by Mail

Applicants residing in Australia can apply for Chinese Visa in person or by mail to the China Visa Application Center. If you submit postal application, you should locate the right visa center according to service areas, and mail all required documents to the visa center though Express Post and registered Post authorized by Australian official. It usually takes about 10 working days for mail application, and no rush service is available.

▶ Apply for China Visa on Arrival - Port Visa

For some applicants, it takes less time and simple procedures to get Chinese Visa at entry of ports upon arrival. There are four kinds of situations eligible for the VOA Application: authorized emergency entry, group tour, visiting Special Economic Zones (Shenzhen, Zhuhai & Xiamen,) and Hainan Province though certain ports. You need to complete a simple form, entry card, pay visa fee and accept frontier inspection at the port of entry.

Visitors obtaining Special Economic Tourism Visa must enter and exit at specific ports, stay within the cities, can not travel further to other cities unless apply for a new Chinese Visa. (Duration of Stay is 5 days for Shenzhen, 3 days for Xiamen & Zhuhai, 30 days for Hainan.)

China Visa Application Service Center Online

Website to Submit China Visa Application Form Online

China Visa Application

Canadian Granted 10 Year China Visa in Toronto

China Visa on Arrival and Port Visa

Apply China Port Visa on Arrival in Luohu Port Shenzhen

Note: Except cases of 24 Hour/72 Hour/144 Hour Visa-free Transit and other visa exemptions, US and French Citizens must obtain a Chinese Visa before entry, and not apply to China Visa on arrival or landing visa.

Useful Tips about China Visa Application

1. Documents for China Tourist Visa: An invitation letter is an optional document. You better submit the original letter, and the printout, photocopy and fax version may be acceptable too.

2. 10 Year China Visa: The 10-year multiple entry visa is eligible for US, UK Citizens who meet related requirements. The visa only applies to certain visa types, like L Visa, M Visa. And the 10 Year Visa Fee (regular service) is £255 for British, $180 for American.

3. When to Pick Up: Usually, if you submit application on Monday, you can collect passport & visa on Thursday (for regular service), on the 4th working day, longer time may be needed if visa officer requires, even though you choose express or rush service.

4. China Visa Renewal & Extension: Applicants need to submit a new application if you want to update the visa type, duration of stay, number of entry. When in China, visitors wishing to stay longer need to extend China Visa in the local public security authority before expiration.

Travel China Visa Free with China Discovery

China Discovery is a professional and experienced travel companion who offers high-value and worry-free tours for you. To fulfill your dream tour to China, we not only design ideal itinerary covering sightseeing, dining, transfer and hotel, but also will provide you useful Invitation Letter to help you obtain Chinese Visa, even customize a China Visa-free Tour in Beijing , Shanghai, Xian, Chengdu, Hangzhou and more available destinations if you meet relevant visa requirements.

Most Popular China Visa-free Tours:

>> 4 Days Classic Beijing Tour with Great Wall Hiking

>> 3 Days Shanghai Past and Present Contrast Tour

>> 2 Days Xian City Break

>> 2 Days Guilin Ideal Li River Cruise with Yangshuo Essenc

>> 3 Days Chengdu City Break including Panda Volunteering

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Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once inquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

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