The visa is a travel document issued by the authorized government department to foreign citizens applying to enter, exit from or transit through the host country's territory based on the host country's laws and regulations.
In accordance with the international law and practice, any sovereign state is entitled to decide on whether or not to allow a foreign citizen to enter or exit from its territory, and whether to issue a visa, decline a visa application or to cancel an issued visa in accordance with its national laws.
Chinese consular officials are entitled to the right to decide on the type, entries, valid period and duration of stay of a visa to be issued based on Chinese laws and regulations, and the right to decline a visa application or revoke an issued visa.
Q:How many Chinese visa types are there?
A: Chinese visas fall into four types: diplomatic visa, courtesy visa, official visa and ordinary visa. Ordinary visa is further divided into the following categories:
(I) Tourist Visa and Family Visitor Visa (L Visa): Issued to foreigners who intend to go to China as a tourist, or for visiting a family member, or for other personal affairs in a short term.
(II) Visit Visa (F Visa): Issued to foreigners who intend to go to China for visit, investigation, lecture, business, technical and cultural exchanges, advanced study and internship upon the invitation; the duration of each stay shall be no more than 6 months.
(III) Student Visa (X Visa): Issued to foreigners who intend to study, engage in advanced study or internship in China for a period of more than 6 months.
(IV) Work Visa (Z Visa): Issued to foreigners who intend to work, engage in commercial performance or academic exchanges in China and their accompanying spouses and minor children.
(V) Flight Visa (C Visa): Issued to foreign crew members of international transportation, including aircraft, trains and ships engaged in cross-border transport activities.
(VI) Journalist Visa (J Visa): Includes J-1 and J-2. J-1 is issued to foreign journalists reside in China and their accompanying spouses and minor children. J-2 is issued to foreign journalists who intend to go to China for short-term news coverage.
(VII) Transit Visa (G Visa): Issued to foreigners who intend to transit through China to the third country or region, and stay at the airport for over 24 hours or go out of the airport.
(VIII) Resident Visa (D Visa): Issued to foreigners who intend to reside in China upon the approval.
Q:What are the valid period, entries and duration of each stay of Chinese visas?
A: (I) Valid period ("Enter Before") means the period that the visa is valid, or the period from the date of the issuance of visa to the "Enter Before" date indicated on the visa (Beijing Time). If a visa has unused entries, the bearer can enter China before the expiration date (including this date).
(II) "Entries" refer to the number of times the bearer is permitted to enter China during the valid period of a visa.
A visa becomes invalid if there are no entries left, or there are entries left but the visa validity expires. If a visa becomes invalid, its bearer must apply for a new visa before entering China. Traveling with an invalid visa to China will result in refusal of entry.
(III) "Duration of Each Stay" refers to the maximum number of days the visa bearer is permitted to stay in China each time, which is calculated from the date of entry into China.
A foreign citizen who overstays the end date of his/her authorized stay in China without going through extension formalities is subject to fines and other penalties for violation of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Control of the Entry and Exit of Aliens and its Detailed Rules for Implementation of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Control of the Entry and Exit of Aliens. If a visa bearer is to stay in China longer than the duration of stay allowed on the visa, approval must be obtained from local public security authorities above the county level before the duration of stay expires (Please check the website of the local public security authorities for more information). Approval of an extension of stay may or may not be granted. Chinese Embassies and Consulates overseas are not authorized to extend a visa.
The bearer of a Work (Z) Visa, Student (X) Visa, Resident (D) Visa, or Resident Journalist (J-1) Visa must apply for a residence permit at the local public security authorities within 30 days of entry into China. Members of foreign diplomatic or consular organizations in China must apply for a residence permit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or local foreign affairs departments within 30 days of entry into China.
Q: What documents are required for application for a visa?
A: (I) Passport -- Original passport with at least six months of remaining validity and blank visa pages, and a photocopy of the passport's data page and photo page.
(II) Visa Application Form -- One completed Visa Application Form of the People’s Repbulic of China. The applicant of Work (Z) Visa, Student (X) Visa, the third country citizen, and accompanying people shall also fill in one Attached Form of Visa Application Form of the People’s Republic of China. Please complete and sign the form completely strictly according to the facts.
(III) Photo -- A recently-taken 2’ (48mm*33mm) color passport photo (bareheaded, full face) shall be attached on the application form.
(IV) Proof of legal stay or residence status -- (applicable to those not applying for the visa in their own country of citizenship) the third country citizen shall provide valid certificate for stay, work, and study in America, or original and photocopy of valid American visa when applies for visa in America.
(V) Previous Chinese passports -- applicable to foreign citizens who were born in China (including born in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan) and have obtained foreign citizenship; when apply for the Chinese visa for the first time, you should provide previous Chinese passport and a photocopy of its time extension page and photo page (if applicable).
(VI) Proof of name change -- If your name on the current passport differs from that on the previous one, you must provide an official certificate of name change.
(VII) Previous Chinese visas -- If you are a overseas Chinese with foreign nationality and was born in China, and you obtained Chinese visa before and want to apply for a Chinese visa with a renewed foreign passport, you should present the original data photo page of the previous passport and the photocopy of the previous Chinese visa.
Where should I apply for a visa?
A: You can apply for a visa at a Chinese Embassy or Consulate General.
Q:How long before my planned trip should I apply for a visa?
A: We suggest you apply for your visa a month before your planned trip to China. If you apply for the visa too early, the visa may have expired when you need to use it. If you apply for the visa too late, you may not have enough time to get the visa before you leave.
Q:How long does it take to get a visa after my application?
A: If you have submitted all documents required, it normally takes 4 workdays (it varies from case to case).