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 basid 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.
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.
China Tourist Visa (Old Version Used before June 1, 2019)
◆ 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.
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.
◆ 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.
Useful Links: China Business Visa Invitation Letter
China Business Visa (Old Version)
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 Securty 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.
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).
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.
◆ An invitation letter issued by a related individual or institution in China.
Useful Links: China Non-Commerce Visa Invitation Letter
China Non-Commerce Visa (New Version Started Using since June 1, 2019)
China Student Visa or Study Visa is issued for aliens who apply for (long-term or short-term) study, internship in China. According 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 Securty Bureau under country-level or above within 30 days after entry.
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.
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.
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.
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 8695 in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Shenzhen, etc, and 72-Hour Visa-Free Transit 2664in Xian, Guilin, Harbin. Meanwhile, most cities has 24-Hour Visa-Free Transit for international transits.
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.
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.
◆ 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.
China Talent Visa is specially issued for persons who are high-level foreign talents and professionals are urgently needed in China.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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