[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >
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.
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.
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
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.)
Passport is the First & Foremost Requirement
Complete A China Visa Application Form
China Visa (Paper) Photo Size Requirement
Submit the Old Passport with Former Chinese Visa
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
2. China Business Visa - M Visa
3. China Work Visa - Z Visa
4. China Student Visa - X1 & X2 Visa
5. China Family Reunion Visa - Q1 & Q2 Visa
6. China Crew Visa - C Visa
7. China Resident Visa - D Visa
8. China Non-commercial Visit Visa - F Visa
9. China Visa-free & Transit Visa - G Visa
10. China Journalist Visa - J1 & J2 Visa
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.
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.
Sample of China Visa Invitation Letter (from China Visa Application Service Center)
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.
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 >>
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.
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 >>
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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >