How Long Does It Take to Get a Chinese Visa: China Visa Processing Time

Notice on Latest Visa and Entry Policies for Foreigners Entering China - Updated on May 8, 2024:

1. Breaking News! 15 days visa free for citizens of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Malaysia, Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg has been extended until December 31, 2025.

2. Hong Kong High-speed Rail West Kowloon Station has been added to Guangdong Province 144-hour transit visa-free.

3. China - Georgia Mutual Exemption of Visa, starting from May 28, 2024.

4. 15 Days Visa Exemption Policy is newly available for Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Read more »

5. Booking of flights and hotels, China itineraries and invitation letters are not required for application of Chinese Tourist Visa for U.S.nationals.

6. 15 Days Visa Exemption Policy is now available for other 6 countries including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia. Read more »

7. Appointment is not required for visa application in many embassies and consulates.

8. Starting from 00:00 on November 1, 2023, individuals entering or exiting the country are exempt from filling out the "People's Republic of China Health Declaration Card for Entry/Exit."

9. Norway has become the 54th country whose passport holders can transit without visa up to 72/144 hours in China.

10. Starting from August 30, 2023, individuals traveling to China will no longer be required to undergo pre-entry COVID-19 nucleic acid or antigen testing.

11. U.S. citizens holding multi-year multiple-entry visas issued before March 28, 2020, whose visas temporarily lost entry functionality between March 28, 2020, and March 14, 2023, due to the pandemic, are eligible to apply for compensation. Those who choose to apply for compensation will receive a free 3-year multiple-entry visa. Those who choose to waive the compensation can apply for a new 10-year multiple-entry visa at the regular fee.

China Discovery will keep focusing on the updates of the latest Chinese visa and entry policy! You can also call +86 010 12367 (Official telephone number of China National Immigration Administration) to check further information. Welcome to join in our Facebook Groups to catch up with the latest news!

Invitation letter is a vital document for Chinese visa application. If you travel with us, we will not only create a valuable tour for you, but also provide you an invitation letter if you request, which will help you obtain your visa successfully. Start customizing your tour in China now!

We are one of the few China travel agencies who have kept active and received lots of feedbacks and reviews during pandemic years

"Thank you Rita. We are very sad that our trip is coming to an end. So far we have had a fantastic time and seen and done some amazing things. I had a bit of spare time on the high-speed train so came up..." read more »
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All visitors holding ordinary passport must get a valid visa to enter and visit China, unless you meet relevant visa-free/visa exemption policy. At present, foreigners are required to submit China Visa Application before departure, and some can apply for Chinese Visa upon arrival once accord with certain China Port Visa regulations. How long to get a visa to China? Except special circumstance, applicants can get a Chinese Visa after 1 ~ 4 working days, even on the same day of your submission. Specific processing time depends on which service you choose. Here we introduce several different cases to help you understand more clearly about Chinese Visa processing time.

Regular China Visa Application Processing Time

Applicants should prepare valid passport with a validity of at least 6 months, a completed China Visa Application Form attached with a photo and other supporting documents first. And then you can either submit application direct to Chinese Embassies and Consulates in person, or through recognized China Visa Application Service Center (CVASC). After that, you will wait for the application to be processed by the Chinese Embassy and Consulate. Generally, it takes 4 business days for a regular application, if all the documents meet requirements. Shipping and returning delivery time is not included. Typically, so you can pick up your passport and China Visa (if proved) on the 4th to 5th working day after submission.

Your China Visa Application may need longer time for processing in these situations: 1.) the Chinese Embassy and Consulate Officer request for supplementary materials or an interview and other occasions; 2.) application by mail (applies to Australians) takes about 10 working days; 3.) if you use the mail-back service at CVASC, more several days are needed.

Expedited Chinese Visa Processing Time: Express and Rush Services

Besides regular service, applicants may use express service or rush service to speed up the visa application processing time. If you are in a emergency, or want to get a Chinese Visa fast, you can choose such urgent services with additional fees (including visa fees by embassy & service charges by CVASC). Please note that rush application service is only valid in some countries and for extreme emergencies approved by the Chinese Consular Office.

Express Service: 2~3 working days, can be picked up on the 3rd or 4th working day.

Rush Service: 1 working day, can be picked up on the same day or next working day.

US passport holders can obtain the Same Day China Visa in the afternoon, if you submit application to visa section of Chinese Embassy or Consulate before 12:00pm and get approved successfully. Other nationals using rush service may pick up on the 2nd working day.

The fast services do NOT apply to China Visa Application by mail, and Hong Kong Visa and Macau Visa Application which will be referred to local immigration departments.

Read How Much is a Chinese Visa to know detailed China Visa Application Fees and Costs!

Processing Time of Hong Kong & Macau Visa, TTB, China Port Visa, Group Visa

The processing time for special Chinese visa types and regions differs from the visa application for mainland China mentioned above. Knowing the average time for Hong Kong Visa, Macau Visa, China Port Visa and Group Visa helps you better plan your trip. Moreover, once meet relevant requirements, visitor can apply for and obtain China Visa at port of entry and destinations upon arrival. Below are particular China visa times:

  • ◆ Hong Kong SAR Visa

    To get a visa/entry permit to visit Hong Kong, you should submit application to the Chinese Embassy and Consulate where you reside, or send all required documents to the Immigration Department of Hong Kong SAR before departure.
    At Chines Embassy/Consulate General: regular application takes 4 working days, express application takes 2~3 working days and rush service needs 1 day.
    In Immigration Department of Hong Kong SAR: it normally takes at least 1 month upon the receipt, because your application materials will be referred to the local visa office in HK.
    Read more about Hong Kong Visa-free Policy & Visa Application Requirements.
  • ◆ Macau SAR Visa

    Except visa-waiver citizens, other visitors can apply for a Macau Visa by 3 ways, including application at the port of entry upon arrival, application at the local embassy or transferred to Immigration Department of Macau SAR in advance.
    (1) At Chinese Embassy/Consulate General: normal regular service takes 4~10 working days, express service needs 3 working days.
    (2) In Immigration Department of Macau SAR: at least 3 weeks, express and rush services are not available.
    Read more about Macau Visa Exemptions & Visa Application Guide.
  • ◆ Tibet Travel Permit

    It takes at least 13 working days to process a TTB permit application by Tibet Tourism Bureau. You need about 15 ~ 20 days to receive the permit after proved and delivered. However, if you plan to visit further destinations, like Ngari, Pomi, Ranwu Lake, you must apply for other permits, so you will need over 30 days to get the permits.
    Read more about Tibet Travel Permit.
  • ◆ Chinese Tourist Group Visa

    The Group Visa normally takes 4 ~ 5 working days to process. Express and Rush Service with extra charges are only valid in some countries (not applicable in UK). So better apply for as early as possible. If you plan to travel to Tibet from Nepal, you must apply for a Group Visa from Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal.
  • ◆ China Port/Landing Visa

    Without exceptions, visitors can obtain a China Port/Landing Visa upon arrival once comply with all related regulations and procedures.

Practical FAQs & Advice on China Visa Time

1. What is the right/best time to submit my visa application?

Since Chinese Visa has fixed validity (“Enter Before”) after it is issued, it would waste the duration of stay or expire if you apply too early. Therefore, you are advised to make the submission prior to departure, about 1 month before your planned departure date to China.

2. When and how to collect my passport and visa return?

Once you are notified by the Chinese Embassy or Consulate, or track online and see your application is processed, you can bring the pick-up slip, and collect the passport, visa, documents in person, or entrust other person or service agent to help.

3. How long does it take to get my Chinese Visa renewed or extended?

If you are in China and want to stay longer, or apply for a new type visa, you have to apply for a China Visa Extension/Renewal to a local Public Security Bureau (at county level or above), 7 days prior to the expiration date. They will consider whether to extend/renew your Chinese Visa within 7 working days, counting from the submission date.

How to Get a Visa for China - Chinese Visa Application Guide

❶ Find out what kind of visa you need

Read different types of Chinese Visa to figure out which kind of visa you should apply for. Judging your purpose of visiting is for travel, business, work, transit, family reunion and etc or not. China Tourist Visa (L Visa) is for visiting China for tourism, F Visa is for exchanges, study tour, Business Visa (M Visa) is for commercial and trade. More Chinese Visa Types >>

❷ Apply for a Chinese Visa

According to various visa policy, applicants can submit China Visa application at Chinese Embassy, Diplomatic and Consular Missions, China Visa Application Service Center or specific ports of entry. You need to prepare and submit your valid passport with at least 6 months’ validity and blank pages, copy of passport’s first page, completed visa application form pasted with a recent photo (color photo with white background, taken within past 6 months, size: 33mm x 48mm), sufficient visa fee and service charge and other supporting documents. More Chinese Visa Types >>

❸ Collect & check your China visa

The processing time differs from visa applications. Normally, it takes about 4 to 5 business days for applicant to get a China Visa, and the accurate collection date will be noted on the pick-up slip. If you submit China Tourist Visa (L Visa) on Monday, you can pick up on Thursday. Check carefully duration of stay, number of entries if issued correctly or not, after getting your passport back. Double check the validity when you plan to enter China, otherwise you will be denied entry.

You can visit How to Get a Visa for China: China Visa Applivation to know more about the visa requirements, processes, costs and useful tips.

Travel China Worry-free with China Discovery

China Discovery is a professional and experienced travel companion who offers high-value and worry-free tours for you. We not only design ideal itinerary covering sightseeing, dining, transfer and hotel, but also can provide Invitation Letter to help you obtain Chinese Visa. If it’s your first time travel to China, Beijing, Shanghai, Xian and Guilin are the top recommended destinations with best representative tourism attractions of. The great cultural, historical, natural landscape will fulfill your dream tour to China. For those who want an in-depth discovery in China, featured China Panda Tour, Ancient Silk Road Tour, High Speed Train Tour, Colorful Ethnic Tour are good ways to find more interesting places and authentic locals.

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If you are interested in China visa-free tour, we could also customize a China Visa-free Tour in Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Chengdu, Hangzhou and more available destinations if you meet relevant visa requirements.

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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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