China Visa FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers
china visa faq

You need to apply for a visa unless you meet the following visa exemption requirements:
 
1. According to bilateral agreements, citizens of some countries (List of Agreements on Mutual Visa Exemption between the P.R. China and Foreign Countries) holding appropriate passports may enter China without a visa.  

  1. Citizens of Singapore, Brunei and Japan holding ordinary passports may enter China without a visa through the ports of entry open to foreigners provided that they come to China for tourism, family visit, business or transit, and intend to stay in China for no more than 15 days. However, the following personnel of these three countries must apply for a visa in advance if:

(1) They are holders of ordinary passports, and come to China for tourism, family visit or business, and intend to stay more than 15 days;

(2) They are holders of ordinary passports, and come to China for study, employment, permanent residence or on a news reporting mission; and

(3) They are holders of Japanese diplomatic and service (official) passports (according to the bilateral agreements, the diplomatic and service passport holders of Singapore, Brunei can stay in China for no more than 30 days without a Chinese visa).  

  1. Foreigners holding ordinary passports of the countries having diplomatic relations with China and on a tour to Hong Kong or Macao, and participating in group tours to the Zhu Jiang (Pearl River) Delta Area for a stay of no more than 6 days organized by the travel services legally registered in Hong Kong or Macao do not need to apply for a visa. The Zhu Jiang Delta Area refers to the administrative area of the following cities: Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing, and Huizhou. For going on a tour to Shantou, the aforementioned group is required to stay within the administrative area of Shantou and leave China from there directly.
  2. Foreigners who have confirmed onward tickets and seats on international flights and directly transit through China and stay for no more than 24 hours within the airport boundaries do not need to apply for a transit visa. However, anyone desiring to go beyond the airport boundaries temporarily should obtain permission from the immigration authorities at the airport.

5.Citizens of 51 countries with valid international travel documents and air tickets for a connecting flight with confirmed date of flight and seat for a third country (region) can apply for the 72-hour transit visa exemption at ports of entry in Beijing Capital International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport,Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport,Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport,Shenyang Taoxian International Airport,Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport,Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport,Guilin Liangjiang Airport,Kunming Changshui International Airport,Xi’an Xianyang International Airport, Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport, Harbin Taiping International Airport, Wuhan Tianhe International Airport, and Tianjin Binhai International Airport. ( For the list of 51 countries, please refer to

http://www.mps.gov.cn/n2254996/n2254999/c4925780/content.html

  1. Citizens holding ordinary passports of the following 21 countries and on a group tour (minimum of five persons) to Hainan Province for a stay of no longer than 15 days, organized by international travel services approved by the National Tourism Administration of China and registered in Hainan Province, do not need to apply for a visa: Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, France, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

Citizens holding ordinary passports of the following three countries and on a group tour (minimum of two persons) to Hainan Province for a stay of no more than 21 days, organized by international travel services approved by the National Tourism Administration of China and registered in Hainan Province, do not need to apply for a visa: Republic of Korea, Germany and Russia.  

  1. Foreigners holding a valid Foreigner’s Permanent Residence Card of the PRC or Residence Permit for Foreigners in the PRC may enter China without a visa.
  2. Foreigners holding an APEC Business Travel Card may enter China without a visa.

Major Purpose of Visit

Visa Categories

Description of Visa

Exchanges, visits, study tours and other activities

F

Issued to those who are invited to China for exchanges, visits, study tours and other activities.

Commerce & Trade

M

Issued to those who are invited to China for commercial and trade activities.

As a tourist

L

Issued to those who are going to travel to China for tourism.

Family reunion, foster care or visiting relatives with permanent residence in China

 

Q1

Issued to those who are family members of Chinese citizens or of foreigners with Chinese permanent residence and intend to go to China for a long-term family reunion, or to those who intend to go to China for the purposes of foster care (intended duration of stay in China exceeding 180 days).

 

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

Q2

Issued to those who intend to visit relatives who are Chinese citizens residing in China or foreigners with permanent residence in China; the intended duration of stay is limited to no more than 180 days.

Visiting relatives working or studying in China or other private affairs

S1

Issued to relatives of foreigners working or studying in China for the purpose of long-term visit, or to those who intend to visit China for other private reasons (intended duration of stay exceeding 180 days).

 

“Relatives” refer to spouses, parents, sons or daughters under the age of 18 years and parents-in-law.

S2

Issued to those wishing to visit family members that are foreigners working or studying in China, or to those who intend to go to China for other private reasons. The intended duration of stay in China is limited 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.

Employment

Z

Issued to those taking up a post or employment, or giving commercial performances, in China.

Commercial performances

Transit

G

Issued to those who are going to transit through China en route to a third country (or region).

As a crew member or a motor vehicle driver

C

Issued to foreign crew members of aircraft, trains and ships, motor vehicle drivers engaged in cross-border transport activities, and also to the accompanying family members of the above-mentioned ships’ crew members.

As a student

X1

Issued to those intending to study in China for a period of more than 180 days.

X2

Issued to those intending to study in China for a period of no more than 180 days.

As an introduced talent

R

Issued to those who are high-level qualified talents or whose skills are urgently needed by China.

As a journalist

J1

Issued to resident foreign journalists/media staff of foreign news organizations stationed in China. The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days.

J2

Issued to foreign journalists/media staff on temporary news coverage missions. The intended duration of stay in China is limited to no more than 180 days.

Permanent Residence

D

Issued to those who are going to reside in China permanently.

Please refer to the below website for Hong Kong and Macau visa application:
Hong Kong visa- http://www.immd.gov.hk
Macau visa- http://www.fsm.gov.mo/psp/cht/psp_top5_2_1.html

Validity
Validity of a visa refers to the period that the visa holder is allowed to enter China. Unless otherwise specified, a visa holder may enter China at any time prior to expiry of validity (right up to midnight Beijing Time on the final day of validity), so long as the entries granted on the visa have not been used up. 

 

A visa becomes effective from the date of issuance. The visa automatically becomes invalid once its period of validity expires regardless of whether its entries are used up or not.

 

Chinese embassies and consulates general do not extend the validity of an issued visa. A fresh application is needed after the expiry of the issued visa. Foreigners holding an expired visa seeking entry will be refused. Make sure the visa is valid before you set off for China. However, even if a foreigner holds a valid visa, he or she might be refused entry by the immigration authorities.

 

Example:

Q: I hold a double entry visa valid until June 20 and the first entry occurs on June 12. Can I come to China again for the second entry on June 25?

A: No, you will be refused to enter China as the visa had expired before the attempt to use the second entry. 

 

Number of Entries of a Visa
The number of entries of a visa refers to the number of times the visa holder is permitted to enter China within the visa’s validity. When the entries are all used up, the visa is no longer valid. Even if there are still unused entries, the visa is not valid either if its validity has already expired. In either case, the visa holder should apply for a new visa if another visit to China is planned. An applicant will be refused entry to China if all the visa entries have been used up.

 

Example:

Q: I hold a double-entry visa valid from March 20 to June 20, and have entered China twice before May 20. Can I continue to use this visa again before June 20?

A: No,you have used all the entries permitted by the visa.

 

Duration of Stay
Duration of stay of a visa refers to the longest period the visa holder is allowed to stay in China from the day following entry to China on each visit.

 

Example 1:

Q: I hold a single-entry visa with duration of stay of 30 days, and enter China on June 12. When is the last day I can stay in China lawfully permitted by the visa?

A: The last day is July 12 as the duration of stay is counted from June 13, the day after entry.

 

Example 2:

Q: I hold a single-entry visa for a stay up to 30 days and validity until June 12. If I enter China on June 12, the last day of validity, can I stay in China for 30 days thereafter? 

A: Yes.

 

After entry into China, a foreign citizen who needs to stay in China longer than the duration of stay permitted by the visa must apply for an extension of stay at a local public security bureau before the original permitted period of stay expires. This does not necessarily mean your application for an extension will be approved. The applicant shall bear any consequences arising from this situation.

 

Overstay in China violates the country’s laws and regulations on control of the entry and exit of foreigners, and could result in a fine or other penalty.

Notes:


1. Visa Category


2. Visa Validity


3. Date of Issuance


4. Full Name of the Applicant (in a lot of cases it is shown in an abbreviated format)
For example, Mr. Alan Brown may be printed as A. Brown on the visa sticker. However, the full name is always recorded in the machine-readable code (the last two lines of the visa sticker).

 

5. Date of Birth of the Applicant


6. Number of Entries Permitted

 

7. Duration of Each Stay

 

8. Place of Issuance


9. Passport Number

Validity of a visa refers to the period within which the visa holder is allowed to enter China.

 

The number of entries refers to the number of times the visa holder is permitted to enter China within the visa’s validity.

 

Duration of stay refers to the longest period the visa holder is allowed to stay in China on each visit, and this is counted from the day following entry into China.

 

When all the permitted entries are used up, the visa is no longer valid. Even if there are still unused entries, the visa is no longer valid if the validity has already expired. In either case, the visa holder should apply for a new visa if another visit to China is planned.

 

The holder of a visa is eligible to enter China at any time prior to the expiry of its validity (allowed to enter China before midnight Beijing Time on the last date of its validity) provided that permitted entries on the visa have not been used up; the holder’s planned duration of stay in China must not exceed the duration stated in the visa.

It is not possible to apply for a visa through the Internet currently. You need to submit all the required application documents to the China Visa Center, and the Visa Center staff will then handle your application.

Generally speaking, you should submit your application in person and collect your passport with an issued visa. If circumstances really prevent you from doing so(e.g. illness), you may entrust someone else to do it for you (no need to provide a power of attorney) providing that you have prepared all the documents required and signed the application form.

Generally speaking, you should submit your application in person and collect your passport with an issued visa. If circumstances really prevent you from doing so(e.g. illness), you may entrust someone else to do it for you (no need to provide a power of attorney) providing that you have prepared all the documents required and signed the application form.