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How To Get China Visa (Complete Guide)

admin Travel tips Jul 26 5 min read
How To Get China Visa (Complete Guide)

Planning a trip to China soon? There are plenty of incredible things to do and see in China – from the Great Wall to the Forbidden City to the many palaces and temples.
However, before you get caught up in planning all the places you would like to visit, don’t forget to secure a travel visa to China first. The majority of people will require a visa.

However, there are the following exceptions:

  • You are traveling through China on your way to your final destination and will be in the country no longer than 24 hours.
  • You are staying in one of the fifteen cities that have a transit policy that allows travelers to stay for 72 or 144 hours
  • You are from Brunei, Singapore, or Japan and plan to conduct business, visit family, or vacation for less than 15 days.
  • You are traveling to Hainan with an organized group of five or more people and plan to stay for no more than 15 days.

Where to Obtain a China Visa

The process of obtaining a China visa will depend on where you live. If you’re from the USA, you can apply for a visa at the Chinese Consular office in your state. In the UK, Denmark, and Canada, for example, you can process a visa via the China Visa Application Service Center (CVASC). Check online to find where the Chinese Embassy or Consulate General is in your city or country of residence.

It’s important to mention that mailed applications are NO longer allowed. You need to present your application directly to the Chinese Consular Office of the CVASC. If for some reason you cannot personally hand-deliver your application, you may have someone deliver it on your behalf such as a family member, close friend, a visa or travel agency.

What Are the Requirements?

Passport Requirements:

  • Your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond stay in China
  • with at least two blank pages available for China visa and entry stamps.
  • Bring your original, signed passport plus one photocopy of the information page.

China Visa Application Form

  • One signed visa application form.
  • Answer NONE if the question does not apply to you.
  • Applications must be typed in block capital letters; handwritten changes are not accepted.
  • The signature on the application form must match the signature on the applicant's passport.

Photo Requirements:

  • One color photo that was taken within the last six months.
  • It should be against an all-white background, printed on high-quality photo paper, 48 mm tall x 33 mm wide exactly.
  • It should provide the full-frontal view of your head with your face centered, displaying a neutral expression - eyes open, ears visible, no background light or shadow over your face, neither eyeglasses nor headwear except for religious purposes.
  • This is important. A photo that does not meet these requirements will not be processed.

Letter of Invitation:

  • A photocopy of the roundtrip airline ticket and hotel reservation may be submitted instead of the official invitation from China OR an Invitation Letter for Tourist Group or Invitation Letter for Tourist by a Duly Authorized Tourism Unit, or Invitation Letter issued by companies, corporations, institutions, and individuals in China.
  • Proof of Travel Arrangements: Computer generated flight or travel itinerary or a copy of airline tickets showing round trip travel to China or onward flight.
  • Letter of Employment: Applicants who are self-employed must include a brief letter addressed to the Chinese Consulate containing the company profile and job description.

How Long Will It Take for My Visa to Be Processed?

If you have all the requirements. it should take between two to four working days to get a China visa if you apply for the express service.
The best time to apply for a China visa is between two months and fifteen days before your planned trip. Don't try to acquire a visa too early because it becomes invalid 90 to 180 days starting from the day you receive it.

How Much is the Cost for a China Visa?

The price varies from USD 30 to 140 depending on the type of visa you apply for, nationality, the country where you apply and the number of entries. Usually, it’s less expensive for European citizens, whereas Americans typically are required to pay the full fee of USD 140.

The following countries are exempted from paying China Visa Fees:

  • Albania    
  • Bosnia    
  • Bulgaria    
  • Maldives
  • Micronesia    
  • Pakistan    
  • Slovakia    
  • Republic of Montenegro

China Visa Types Explained

There are different China visas one can apply for. Which one you choose depends on your reasons for traveling.

Listed below are the different types of visas:

  • China tourist visa (L) - The Chinese L visa is the most common visa and likely the one that any traveler will be getting.
  • China business visas (F and M) - The F visa is for individuals invited to China for investigations, science-related ventures, non-commercial exchanges, education, and health reasons. Reminder, you will need an invitation from a business entity to obtain this Chinese visa.
  • China student visa (X) - There are two types of student visas, X1 and X2. X1 enables students to remain in China for longer than six months while X2 only permits a student to stay for six months or less.
  • China works visa (Z) - If you desire to work in China and get paid, you will need a work visa. It’s critical that the company you are planning to work for can employ foreign workers and you need to satisfy certain requirements that qualify you as an expert in your field of work.
  • Private visits and family reunion visas (S and Q) - The S visa or Private Visit Visa is relatively new and permits family members to visit loved ones who are working or going to school in China. The Q visa or Family Reunion Visa is for those wishing to see family members who reside in China.
  • China resident visas (D) - Resident Visas are extremely hard to get. To apply for this visa, you need to have lived in China for at least five years and contributed significantly in terms of investments that resulted in considerable profits for China.
  • China journalist visa (J) - There are two types of Journalist Visas, J1 and J2. J1 is for journalists who will need to be in China for a more extended amount of time while J2 is only there for a short amount of time.

How To Apply For China Visa For USA Citizens:

If you are planning your trip to China, the incredible country of inventions and beautiful nature. Then you have many things to do. Visit many of their beautiful places, explore not only their natural beauty but their art, culture, and civilization. 

Before we talk about the china visa requirements for the US citizens, let's bring it to your knowledge about the process of obtaining the visa to China from USA, and from where you can get it? 

Here is the step by step process that you need to follow to get China Visa to begin your travel journey.

Applying for a China visa for US citizens is quite simple and has few steps. If you follow these steps, then definitely you will get permission to travel china without any trouble.

Step No. 1: Apply Visa To Your State China Embassy:

It is vital to apply for the visa to those china embassies which fall under your state. Unfortunately, you can not apply other than your residency state. 

For instance, your residency state is Huston but for some reason, you are in Washington, D.C. In this case, you can not apply for a china visa from Washington. You have to come to Huston to apply for Visa.

Step No.2: Fill Out Visa Application And Complete Documentations:

You are required to fill the china visa application form and complete all important documentation like passport, photograph & invitation letter requirements. 

These requirements are going to be discussed in detail below.

You can do this application and documentation process by yourself or you can take the help of China's professional visa service.

Step No. 3: Submit Visa Application Form:

You need to handover your application directly by presenting yourself to the consular office. And if you can not be able to give personally for some reason, then it will be essential to send anyone personally for delivering the application on your behalf.

China Visa Requirements For The US Citizens:

There are four kinds of china visa requirements for USA citizens.

1. China Visa Application Form Requirements:

It is must that the application typed in block letters and any handwritten changes will not be accepted. Another important thing is matching the signatures of the applicant on visa application form and passport.

2. Passport Requirements:

For a passport, it is necessary to have the validity of at least six months and it will be measured from your scheduled date of landing in China. 

Another passport requirement is to have at least two blank pages in it — one for the visa and another for customs stamps.

3. Photograph Requirements:

Photograph requirement is not something specific for a Chinese visa. It follows the general conditions of passport visa photos such as

  • No head covering
  • No smile
  • No sunglasses 
  • Only regular glasses are allowed.
  • The background should be pure white.

4. Letter Of Invitation Requirements:

  • Photocopy of the airline trip ticket and reservation of the hotel.
  • Invitation letter for tourists group, companies, corporations and individuals in China.
  • Proof of travel arrangement 
  • Letter of employment 

These are the requirements for the China visa for USA citizens no matter you are a tourist, a student or a business person. But if you want to apply a visa other than the tourist (L) visa then requirements are different.

So here are the requirements of a specific visa other than tourist visas.

Requirements Of China C Visa:

This is the visa for the crew. And they are required to submit a letter of guarantee granted by the transportation company.

Requirements Of China J visa:

This J visa is for journalists and it has two types J1 and J2. 

J1 is for that journalist who wants to stay in China for an extended time and J2 is for that journalist who wants to stay for a shorter time period. 

This J visa is required to present a Visa Notification letter granted by China's Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China. This is an extension of an official letter from a media organization.

Requirements Of China M Visa:

This M visa is for that businessperson who wants to do business in China. This M visa is required to submit the invitation letter delivered by your Chinese trade partner or legal organizer on the Chinese side.

Requirements Of China Q Visa:

This Q visa is for those who want to visit their family members who are Chinese residents. This Q visa is required an invitation letter from the Chinese resident that comprises their residence permit, copies of their passport and other documentation.

Requirements Of China S Visa:

This S visa is for those students who want to study in China. This Visa S has required a JW202 form to the institution where they are planned to study. Once it's accepted, they will be given a letter of invitation that they will need to submit with their China visa application.

Requirements Of China Z Visa:

This Z visa is a work visa if you want to work in China as an employee and want to get paid. The Z visa is required to provide Foreigners Employment permission and a letter of invitation from the organization with whom you will be served. Your organization in china should give you these.

These requirements could be very disorganized and confusing. Your one wrong paper can reject your china visa application.

Usually, it is recommended to go with the China professionals visa service help for the all visa process. These professionals are available and work efficiently.

There are some frequently asked questions regarding china visa for US citizens.

How Much Cost Does It Take For Applying China Visa For USA Citizens:

According to the 2019 calculation, the cost of a China visa for USA citizens is up to $140. This will depend upon the type of visa you are applying to. 

The cost will remain the same if you apply either for six months visa or for a year or ten years. The China visa payment can be paid by Visa, MasterCard, Money Order or Cashier's Check. The Chinese embassy does not approve cash or personal checks.

How Long Does It Take To Receive A China Visa In The US?

According to the China embassy website, if you have all the correct documentation, then the process will take up to 3 to 5 business days. But it is recommended that the best time to apply for a China visa is between 2 months and 15 days before you plan your China trip

It is also advised not to apply for a visa too early because it will be invalid in 90 to 189 days, beginning from the day you receive your permit.


The process of getting a visa to China from the USA is quite simple and least trouble creating. But the application and documentation process could be confusing. For not getting stuck into the confusion, you can take professional help. They can take you out of the inconvenience efficiently. 

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