Chinese Visa Types & Category: China L, M, F Visa...

Notice on Latest Visa and Entry Policies for Foreigners Entering China - Updated on June 17, 2024:

1. Breaking News! a. China will be visa free to New Zealand Soon! b. 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!

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What are the visa types for China?

China has set up different visa types for forigners with different purpose of visit to China. According to offcial laws and regulations, applicants are required to apply and hold the most appropriate Chinese Visa to enter and stay in China.

How many types of Chinese Visas are there?

It’s very important to undertsand and find out which type of Chinese Visa you shall apply for before preparing materials, beacuse though based requirements are the same, there are corresponding supporting documents separately. Chinese Visa includes four major types, they are Chinese Diplomatic Visa, Service Visa, Courtesy Visa and Ordinary Visa. Most of the time we talk about Chinese Visa, we refer to the Ordinary Visa types of mainland China, which consist of 12 sub-types - total 16 categories.

Follow us, read the brief introduction to each type of Chinese Visas below to determine and choose the one matching with your purpose of visiting China, and what kinds of documents you should prepare for application, except required passport, application form and photo.

Main China Visa Categories - L/M/Z/F/X Visa

● China Tourist Visa - L Visa

China Tourist Visa, or called China Travel Visa, is issued to those who intend to go to mainland China for sightseeing and touring.

Individual tourists can apply for single-entry (3-month validity), double-entry (3 to 6-month validity) or multiple-entry (valid for 6 months, or 1 year) Tourist Visa based on own needs. And, there are also single-entry Tourist Group Visa with validity of no more than 30 days available. The duration of stay normally is 30-60 days per entry. Multiple-entry up to 10 years is issued to US and Canada passport holder.

Chinese Tourist Visa

China Tourist Visa (Old Version Used before June 1, 2019)

Supporting Documents:

◆ Proof of proposed travel, such as round-trip air ticket booking and hotel reservation record are required.

◆ Invitation letter of tour if has a inviting person or unit in China.

Useful Links: China Tourist Visa Invitation Letter / How Do I Get An L Visa for China?

● China Business Visa - M Visa

China Business Visa is issued to those who intend to go to China for commercial and trade activities. Like China Tourist Visa, the Business Visa also offers single/double/multiple-entry and different duration of stay from 30 to 60 days (each visit). M visa can be issued up to 10 years as well.

Supporting Documents:

◆ Commercial related documents issued by trade partner in China.

◆ Or business invitation letter by individual or business entity in China. E.g, invitation letter to attend the annual Canton Fair in Guangzhou.

>> 6 Days Canton Fair & Guangzhou Essence Tour

Useful Links: China Business Visa Invitation Letter

Chinese Business Visa

China Business Visa (Old Version)

● China Work Visa - Z Visa

China Work Visa is issued to those who apply for work or conduct commercial performance in mainland China.

Work applicants shall submit basic requirements with government issued work permit and other certification materials to prove legal employment in China. Additional documents may be required by Chinese Embassy or Consulate.

Attention that, holders of China Work Visa shall Foreigner’s Residence Permit at Public Security Bureau County-level and above within 30 days upon arrival, unless your stay is 30 days at most and the Work Visa marks your work period not exceeding the date noted in the employment certificate.

Chinese Work Visa - Foreigner's Work Permit

Foreigners' Work Permit of China

Supporting Documents (one of the following):

◆ Alien Employment License of the People’s Republic of China issued by Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. If work period is no more than 90 days, you need to submit a Short Term Work Certificate in China;

◆ Foreign Experts Working Permit or Foreigner’s Work Permit Notice issued by State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs;

◆ Registration Certificate of Resident Representative Office of Foreign (Region) Enterprise in China issued by Industrial & Commercial Administrative Department in China;

◆ Letter of invitation to Foreigners for Offshor Petroleum Operations in China issued by China National Offshor Oil Corporation;

◆ An approval document for commercial performance issued by Chinese government authority for cultural affairs (only applicable to applicants for commercial performances in mainland China).

● China Non-Commerce Visa - F Visa

The China F Visa is China Visitor Visa, is issued to those who visit China for research, lecture, scientific, cultural exchange, study tour, visits and relevant activities. F visa is normally granted for single or double entry, with the duration of stay (each visit) is normally 30-90 days.

Supporting Documents:

◆ An invitation letter issued by a related individual or institution in China.

Useful Links: China Non-Commerce Visa Invitation Letter

Chinese F Visa

China Non-Commerce Visa (New Version Started Using since June 1, 2019)

● China Student Visa - X Visa

China Student Visa or Study Visa is issued for aliens who apply for (long-term or short-term) study, internship in China. According to the planed duration of stay, the Student Visa is divided into X1 Visa (>180 days)and X2 Visa (≤180 days). X1 Visa is single-entry which is valid for 3 months.

Attention that, holders of China Work Visa shall apply for Foreigner’s Residence Permit from Exit & Entry Administration of Public Security Bureau under country-level or above within 30 days after entry.

Supporting Documents:

X1 Visa: Original and copy of Admission Letter issued by Chinese school or entity; Original and copy of “Visa Application for Study in China” (Download Form JW201 or JW202)

X2 Visa: Original and copy of Admission Notice issued by Chinese school or entity.

Other Chinese Visa Categories - C/D/G/J/R/S Visa

① China Crew Visa - C Visa

It is issued to foreign crew members of means of international transportation, including aircraft, trains and ships, or motor vehicle drivers engaged in cross-border transport activities, or to the accompanying family members of the crew members. US passport holders may apply for 5-year multiple-entry China Crew Visa.

② China Resident Visa - D Visa

It is issued to those who intend to to reside in China permanently. Applicants need to submit the original and copy of the Confirmation Form of Foreigners Permanent Residence Status issued by the Ministry of Public Security of China. Registration and application for Residence Permits is also required within 30 days from the date of entry.

③ China Transit Visa - G Visa

The Transit Visa is issued to those who intend to transit through China.

Transit traverls should present onward (air, train, ship) ticket with comfirmed date and seat to the next destination - a third country or region.

Now China offers 144 Hour Visa Free Transit in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Shenzhen, total 20 cities in mainland China, and 72 Hour Visa Free Transitin Guilin, Harbin, Changsha. Meanwhile, most cities has 24-Hour Visa-Free Transit for international transits.

④ China Journalist Visa - J1/J2 Visa

Journalist Visa (J1): issued to resident foreign journalists of foreign news organizations stationed in China or to the accompanying family members of the crew members. The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days.

Journalist Visa (J2): issued to foreign journalists who intend to go to China for short-term news coverage. The intended duration of stay in China is no more than 180 days.

⑤ China Family Reunion Visa - Q1/Q2 Visa

Q1 Visa: issued to those who are family members of Chinese citizens, or family of foreigners with Chinese permanent residence and intend to go to China for family reunion, or to those who intend to go to China for the purpose of foster care. The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days.

Q2 Visa: Issued to same groups of people, with the same purpose, the intended duration of stay in China is no more than 180 days.

"Family members" refers to spouses, parents, sons, daughters, spouses of sons or daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandsons, granddaughters and parents-in-law.

Supporting Documents:

◆ An invitation letter by Chinese Citizen or foreigner with a Chinese permanent residence permit and lives in China.

◆ Copy of inviting person’s ID, or foreign passport with permanent residence permit.

◆ Original and copy of the family relationship certification (such as marriage/birth/kinship certificate) - not required for Q2 Visa.

⑥ China Talent Visa - R Visa

China Talent Visa is specially issued for persons who are high-level foreign talents and professionals are urgently needed in China.

⑦ China Private Visa - S1/S2 Visa

S1 Visa: issued to those who intend to go to China to visit the foreigners working or studying in China for a long period, to whom they are spouses, parents, sons or daughters under the age of 18 or parents-in-law, or to those who intend to go to China for other private affairs. The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days.

S2 Visa: with the same situation, the S2 Visa permist short-term duration of stay to no more than 180 days. "Family members" refers to spouses, parents, sons, daughters, spouses of sons or daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandsons, granddaughters and parents-in-law.

How to Apply for A Chinese Visa?

STEP 1 - Find out what kind of visa you need

Figure out and determine which type of China Visa you should apply for, by judging your purpose of visiting is for travel, business, work, transit, family reunion and etc or else aims. 

STEP 2 - Preapre Required Documents for Application

Read offical guide and instruction to get ready the related material to apply for a Chinese Visa. Make sure your paspport is valid with 6 months at least, fill in the latest version of Chinese Visa Application Form (version 2013), prepare 2 photos (size: 48mmx33mm) and sufficient visa fees, and other relevant supporting documents.

Useful Links: | China Visa Required Documents | China Visa Photo Requirements | Apply China Visa Online | Where to Apply for China Visa

STEP 3 - Collect & check your China visa

Wait your applicantion processed. Normally, it takes about 4 to 5 business days, and the accurate collection date will be noted on the pick-up slip. After get it, check carefully the visa type, duration of stay, number of entries if they are issued correctly.

Trave China 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 any support & help you need to travel to China. With a Chinese Visa, you can freely travel to many cities in mainland China, among all, Beijing, Shanghai are used as gate way cities, Xian, Guilin, Chengdu are also excellent destinations to discovery different regional culture, history and local customs in China.

You may choose from our most popular China tours, or just contact us, tell your interests and travel plans, we could customize a perfect China tour as you like.

Recommended Tours

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.

CD-BXS-08 8 Days Best of China Tour

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Beijing / Xian / Shanghai

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Potala Palace

15 Days China Tour with Tibet Discovery & Panda Visit

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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.

Customize a Trip

Questions & Discussions

Following are latest questions and answers from our webusers and customers. You can learn many useful information from the discussion and cases. You can also join in the discussions or ask your own question. Our experts will help you ASAP.

egyptian seaman want to join vessel in shanghai
please advise what type of visa to join my vessel in shanghai as chief officer ?
i hold egyptian passport,and live in egypt.
and what documents required to apply on visa to join my vessel?
2019-07-27 03:15
Hi Ahmed,

Because you intend to visit Shanghai China for joining in vessel as a seaman, you should apply for a China Crew Visa - C Visa, which is specified for international aircraft, train or vessel crews performing duties onboard.
Please know that, you have to submit required documents to Chinese Embassy through China Visa Application Service Center in Cairo or Alexandria. Firstly, visit to get detailed guide, and then fill in application form, make appointment online, and prepare related application materials.
Major documents you need includes:
(1)original passport with a validity of at least 6 months & 2 blank pages, photocopy of the data page and used visa pages;
(2)completed China Visa Application Form (print it out after you finish online), 2 qualified photos;
(3)previous China Visa if had one;
(4)proof legal stay in the country if you are not apply in your nationality country;
(5)original invitation letter issued by a Chinese enity or sponsorship letter issued by a foreign transport company.
If necesary, the embassy may ask you provide other documents.
Hope you get China Visa smoothly. Have a good day!

Best Regards,

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