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2019 China Visa Application Requirements: Required Documents, Invitation Letter & Useful Tips

According to Chinese laws and regulations, all applicants must submit materials meeting relevant requirements, otherwise, your visa application will NOT be accepted and processed. Once confirm that you need a visa to visit China, and know which visa category (Main Types of Chinese Visa) you should apply for, you shall prepare all required documents before submitting your Chinese Visa application. Therefore, foreign visitors have to prepare and provide basic application documents (including the passport, visa application form, photo and else essentials) together with other necessary supporting documents to Chinese Embassies and Consulates, to prove your legal identity and appropriate purpose of visiting China.

China Visa Requirements - What Documents are Needed for Chinese Visa Application?

Except the passport, visa application form, other basic application materials, each visitor should also get ready relevant supporting documents to make sure the visa application goes smoothly, such as travel itinerary and proof of round-trip air ticket and hotel booking is needed for China Tourist Visa (L Visa) application.

Basic documents are the same for all visa categories, but supporting documents vary from different types of visas. Check the detailed requirements below to better prepare for your Chinese Visa application.

Basic Documents

● Passport

Original passport with at least six months of remaining validity and has at least 2 blank visa pages left.

One photocopy of the valid passport’s data page, which contains the passport's data page and the photo page. (make a separate copy if they are not in one page.)

● Visa Application Form

If you are eligible to China Online Visa Application system (visit www.visaforchina.org and https://cova.cs.mfa.gov.cn to check first), you’re required to fill in the electronic form on the official website, type all answers step by step. Save and submit the form online. Print it out, sign and subscribe date in the completed paper form.

If the country you normally reside in doesn’t offer online form submission, you need to download the newest China Visa Application Form (version 2013) from the official website of the Chinese Embassy or Consulate. Fill in the electronic form in PDF/DOC format, and print it out.

Notes: Please choose the major purpose of your visit to China properly when you check the options, because it will decide your visa category.

Useful Links: China Visa Application Form Online Completion Guide

● Photo

Two recently-taken front passport-size bareheaded color photos (need to be attached on the printed visa application form).

The photographs should be taken in the last 6 months, with size of 33mm×48mm, against a white or light solid background, hatless, frontal view presenting full face.

Useful Links: China Visa Photo Requirements, Size,Sample

● Proof of Legal Stay or Residence (apply to outlander applicants)

If you will not apply for Chinese Visa in the state/region of you citizenship (nationality), you must provide the original and photocopy of the valid certificate or visa, which shows your legal stay, residence, work and study in the residing country.

● Previous Chinese Passport or Chinese Visa (apply to former Chinese citizens who later joined to foreign nationality)

If it’s the first time you apply for a Chinese Visa, you are required to submit the original passport and a copy of the passport’s date page.

If you once obtained Chinese Visa, and now apply a new Chinese Visa with a new passport, you should provide the photocopy of the previous passport’s date page, and copy of the old Chinese Visa. (Official certificate of name change is needed, if the name on the current passport is not the same on the old passport.) 

China Visa Application Passport

Passport is the First & Foremost Requirement

China Visa Application Form

Complete A China Visa Application Form

China Visa Application Photo

China Visa (Paper) Photo Size Requirement

China Visa Applicantion Requirements

Submit the Old Passport with Former Chinese Visa

Supporting Documents

The supporting document are helpful and necessary proof to the visa officers, that you will go to China in an well-organized, planned way and for good reasons. Thereupon, applicants with different purpose should prepare related materials accordingly.

  • 1. China Tourist Visa - L Visa

    Travel related documents showing the itinerary, including booked round-trip air ticket and hotel reservation record, and else materials, or an invitation letter issued by a relevant entity or individual in China.
    The invitation letter should contain:
    a. Information on the applicant (passport number, nationality, full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)
    b. Information on the planned tour (departure and arrival dates, places going to be visited, etc.)
    c. Information on the inviting entity or individual (the host company name or inviter’s name, contact telephone number, address, official seal of the unit, signature of the legal representative or the inviting individual, and so on.)
  • 2. China Business Visa - M Visa

    Commercial activity documents, invitation letter for trade fair and other trade conferences, exhibitions, etc, issued by a trade partner in China.
    The invitation letter should contain the following information:
    a. Information on the applicant (full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)
    b. Information on the planned visit (the purpose of visit to China, departure & arrival date, places will visit, relationship between the inviting unit or person, source of financial cost, and other details.)
    c. Information on the inviting entity or individual (name of the host company o the inviter, contact telephone number, address, official seal of the unit, signature of the legal representative or the inviting individual, etc.)
  • 3. China Work Visa - Z Visa

    Applicants who intend to work in China should submit one of the following supporting documents with the basic materials.
    ① An “Alien Employment License of the PRC” (working period shall not exceed 90 days), and “Approval of Short-term Employment for Foreigners Working in the PRC” issued by China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
    ② A “Permit for Foreign Experts Working in China”, or “Notification Letter of Foreigners Work Permit in China” issued by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.
    ③ A “Registration Certificate of Resident Representative Offices of Foreign/Region Enterprises in China” issued by China’s Industrial and Commercial Administration.
    ④ An approval document for commercial performances issued by China’s Cultural Administration, and “Approval of Short-term Employment for Foreigners Working in the PRC” issued by China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
    ⑤ A “Letter of Invitation to Foreigners for Offshore Petroleum Operations in China” issued by China National Offshore Oil Corporation.
    Attention: China Z Work Visa holders should apply for an resident certificate in the Exit & Entry Administration Office of the Public Security Bureau (county level and above) within 30 days after arrival.
  • 4. China Student Visa - X1 & X2 Visa

    * X1 Visa (long-term study more than 180 days): (1) The Original and photocopy of the Admission Letter issued by a school or other entities in China; (2) The Original and photocopy of "Visa Application for Study in China" (Form JW201 or JW202).
    * X2 Visa (short-term study no more than 180 days): Original and photocopy of the Admission Notice issued by a school or other entities in China.
  • 5. China Family Reunion Visa - Q1 & Q2 Visa

    Q1 Visa
    1. An invitation letter from Chinese Citizen or foreigner holding Chinese Permanent Residence Permit who lives in China currently. The invitation letter should cover information below:
    a.Information on the applicant (full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)
    b. Information on the planned visit (the purpose of visit to China, departure & arrival date, places will visit, relationship between the inviting unit or person, source of financial cost, etc.)
    c. Information on the inviting person (name, address, contact number, signature of the inviter.)
    2. One copy of the inviter’s Chinese ID Card, or Foreigner’s Passport & Chinese Permanent Residence Permit.
    3. The original and copy of the family membership between the applicants and the inviter.
    Q2 Visa
    1. An invitation letter from Chinese Citizen or foreigner holding Chinese Permanent Residence Permit who lives in China currently. The invitation letter should cover information below:
    a.Information on the applicant (full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)
    b. Information on the planned visit (the purpose of visit to China, departure & arrival date, places will visit, relationship between the inviting unit or person, source of financial cost, etc.)
    c. Information on the inviting person (name, address, contact number, signature of the inviter.)
    2. One copy of the inviter’s Chinese ID Card, or Foreigner’s Passport & Chinese Permanent Residence Permit.
    You can read more required supporting documents for other types of Chinese Visas on http://cs.mfa.gov.cn/wgrlh/lhqz/lhqzjjs/t1095035.shtml.
  • 6. China Crew Visa - C Visa

    A letter of guarantee issued by a foreign transport company or an invitation letter issued by a related entity in China.
  • 7. China Resident Visa - D Visa

    The original and photocopy of the Confirmation Form for Foreigners Permanent Residence Status issued by the Ministry of Public Security of China.
  • 8. China Non-commercial Visit Visa - F Visa

    An invitation letter concerning the exchanges, visits, study tour and other activities issued by a relevant entity or individual in China.
    The invitation letter should cover information below:
    a.Information on the applicant (full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)
    b.Information on the planned visit (the purpose of visit to China, departure & arrival date, places will visit, relationship between the inviting unit or person, source of financial cost, and other details.)
    c.Information on the inviting entity or individual (name of the host company o the inviter, contact telephone number, address, official seal of the unit, signature of the legal representative or the inviting individual, etc.)
  • 9. China Visa-free & Transit Visa - G Visa

    An onward air (train or ship) ticket with confirmed date and seat to the destination country or region.
    Due to the 72 Hour and 144 Hour Visa-free Transit Policy transit implemented, the G Visa is rarely applied and has been replaced for L Visa to visit China or transit exemption in major cities, like Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Guilin, Chengdu, etc.
    Useful Links: China 72 Hour Visa-free Transit / China 144 Hour Visa-free Transit
  • 10. China Journalist Visa - J1 & J2 Visa

    Nationals from countries signed mutual visa exemption agreement with China can visit China without getting a visa J1 & J2 Visa: A “Visa Notification Letter” issued by the Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and an official letter issued by the media organization where the journalist works.
    Applicants should contact the press office of the Chinese Embassy/Consulate General in advance and complete relevant formalities.

Notes: 1.) What is the visa fee for China? The visa application free differs from visa types, number of entry and nationality. (How much is a Chinese Visa) 2.) A holder of category D Visa / J1 Visa / X1 / Q1 / S1 / Z Visa or other types, must apply for a residence permit at the local public security authorities within 30 days of entry into China.

Invitation Letter for China Visa

When applying for most Chinese Visas, a Letter of Invitation (LOI) is required to show the rationality of the upcoming visit. It is a crucial supporting documents applicant should submit with other materials to increase chance of success.

Normally, the invitation letter is issued by a unit (maybe a company, school, and other institutions) or individual who resides in China. The major contents of the letter should include clear and faithful information about the invitee, inviter, and the planed visit. While writing the letter, the inviting party need to check the title and details of the invitation were given accurately and completely.

There is no fixed format and it may be in the form of fax, picture, photocopy, or computer printout. When you submit the Chinese Visa Application, you’re highly recommended to provide the original invitation letter, though most times a photocopy is also accepted.

Here is a template of China Visa Invitation Letter (PDF file) you may refer to.

China Visa Invitation Letter

Sample of China Visa Invitation Letter (from China Visa Application Service Center)

Important FAQs and Useful Tips for China Visa Requirements

1. Special notes about visa application form

If your application form is filled by another person or agent, please provide relevant information. A power of attorney is needed if he/she will submit application and pick up the visa on your behalf.

2. Requirements for long-term Chinese Visa application

Please note that, if you will apply for a long-term multiple entries Chinese Visa, like 10-Year China Tourist/Business Visa, the passport should be valid at least for 1 year. Other requirements remain the same as those short-term visa types.

3. Make copies of every document (except visa form)

The material you prepared to apply for Chinese Visa is very important, probably some are “only one of a kind”. You can download and print out the visa form without limits. However, it would be a very troublesome thing if you lost other original documents. So you’d better make a backup, avoid any contingency.

4. Prepare at least 2 qualified visa photos

Each country and region has different requirements about the number of visa photos, most of them demands 2 photos, few ask 1 only. You're recommended to prepare 2 or more, just in case.

5. Pay Attention to the Invitation Letter

For China Tourist (L) Visa, the letter of invitation is optional, unless you are indeed invited to visit China. For special types of visa, like, J1 Visa, Z Visa, the issuing authorities are specified officially, while normal visas have no explicit restriction.

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. Determine if you are suitable applicants for each visa type, by judging your purpose of visiting is for travel, business, work, transit, family reunion and etc or not. China Tourist Visa (L Visa) is for visitor going to China for tourism, F Visa is for exchanges, study tour, Business Visa (M Visa) is for commercial and trade, Student Visa (X Visa) is for studying in China. More Chinese Visa Types >>

❷ Apply for a Chinese Visa

According to various visa policy, applicants meet relevant requirements can submit China Visa application at Chinese Embassy, Diplomatic and Consular Missions or special 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 2 recent photos (color photo with white background, taken within past 6 months, size: 48mmx33mm), sufficient visa fee and service charge and other supporting documents.

❸ Collect & check your China visa

The processing time differs from visa types. 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 the visa type, duration of stay, number of entries if they are 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. How Long to Get a Chinese Visa >>

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.

Top China Visa-Free Cities

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Top 3 tours chosen by most customers to explore in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

Witness the countless Terracotta Warriors
8 Days Best of China Tour

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

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