Before entering China, most foreign nationals must obtain a China visa, which is a permit issued by the Chinese government that allows them to enter the country for a specified period and purpose. The Chinese visa policy can be complex, with various types of visas, requirements, and application procedures. In this article, we will provide an overview of the Chinese visa policy, including the different types of visas available, the application process, requirements, processing time, fees, and visa policy updates. Whether you’re planning a trip to China or you’re a foreigner living in China, understanding the Chinese visa policy is essential.
Who must Require a China Visa?
1- Citizens of the following mentioned countries are eligible to enter and stay in China without a China visa;
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- San Marino
- United Arab Emirates
2- Foreign citizens of the following mentioned countries having a valid passport and travel to China through a tourist group authorized by Hainan for up to 15 days;
- New Zealand
- United States of America.
3- Foreign citizens of the following mentioned countries are eligible to enter China for tourist purposes without a China visa if they are going to China through a tourist company that is authorized in both countries;
4- Foreign citizens that are transiting through any China airport for less than 24 hours, do not require any transit visa.
5- Foreign citizens that are transiting through the following mentioned China airports within 72 hours, do not require any transit visa;
6- Foreign citizens of the following mentioned countries are eligible to enter China without a visa through an International tourist group for up to 21 days;
7- Foreign Citizens having a valid APEC business travel card are also eligible to enter China without a China visa.
8- Foreign Citizens having a Foreigner’s Permanent Residence Card are also eligible to enter China without a China visa.
9- Foreign Citizens having a Residence Permit for Foreigners issued by the Ministry of Public Security are also eligible to enter China without a China visa.
10- Foreign Citizens if their country has a bilateral agreement with China are also eligible to enter China without a China visa.
Types of China visas
There are several types of China visas, each with its purpose and requirements. The most common types of visas include:
- Tourist visa (L visa): This visa is for those who plan to visit China for tourism purposes, such as sightseeing or visiting family and friends.
- Business visa (M visa): This visa is for those who plan to engage in commercial or trade activities in China, such as attending conferences or meetings, negotiating contracts, or exploring business opportunities.
- Work visa (Z visa): This visa is for those who plan to work in China for an extended period, such as a year or more. To obtain a work visa, the applicant must have a job offer from a Chinese employer and meet certain qualifications.
- Student visa (X visa): This visa is for those who plan to study in China for six months or more. To obtain a student visa, the applicant must have an admission letter from a Chinese school or university.
- Transit visa (G visa): This visa is for those who are passing through China on their way to another destination. The transit visa allows the holder to stay in China for up to 72 hours without a visa.
- Crew visa (C visa): This visa is for crew members of international airlines or ships who need to enter China for work-related purposes.
China visa application process
The China visa application process generally involves the following steps:
- The first step is to determine the type of visa that you need based on the purpose of your visit to China.
- The next step is to complete the visa application form, which can be downloaded from the Chinese embassy or consulate’s website.
- The documents required for a Chinese visa vary depending on the type of visa.
- Once you have completed the application form and gathered the required documents, you must submit them to the Chinese embassy or consulate in your home country.
- The visa fee varies depending on the type of visa and the applicant’s nationality.
- After you submit your application and pay the fee, you must wait for your application to be processed.
- Once your application has been processed, you can collect your visa from the embassy or consulate.
- Make sure to check the visa carefully for accuracy before leaving the embassy or consulate.
Requirements for China visa application
The requirements for a China visa application may vary depending on the type of visa, the nationality of the applicant, and the Chinese embassy or consulate where the application is submitted. However, some common requirements include:
- A valid passport
- Completed visa application form
- Passport-sized photo
- Supporting documents
- Proof of financial support
- Proof of onward travel
- Visa fee
China Visa processing time and fees
The processing time and fees for a China visa may vary depending on the type of visa and the Chinese embassy or consulate where the application is submitted. In general, the processing time for a China visa ranges from 4 business days to 2 weeks. Expedited processing may be available for an additional fee, which can reduce the processing time to 1-3 business days.
The visa fees also vary depending on the type of visa and the nationality of the applicant. In general, the fees range from around $30 to $140 for a single-entry visa and up to $240 for a multiple-entry visa. Expedited processing fees are usually higher and can range from $20 to $30 or more, depending on the embassy or consulate.
|Single Entry||Double Entries||Multiple Entries 6 months||Multiple entries 12 months|
|¥284 ($39.49/€39.28)||¥430 ($59.88/€59.55)||¥568 ($78.99/€78.59)||¥850 ($118.48/€117.89)|
China Visa extensions and renewals
It is possible to extend or renew a China visa while in China. However, the specific procedures and requirements may vary depending on the type of visa and the Chinese government policies in place at the time.
For visa extensions, the applicant must submit their passport, current visa, and other supporting documents to the local Public Security Bureau (PSB) Exit and Entry Administration office at least seven days before the current visa expires. The PSB will review the application and may request additional documents or an interview. If approved, the applicant’s visa will be extended.
For visa renewals, the applicant must submit a new visa application along with the required supporting documents to the Chinese embassy or consulate in their home country. The requirements for a visa renewal are generally the same as for a new visa application.
Chinese visa policy changes and updates
The China visa policy is subject to change and updates periodically to reflect changes in Chinese government policy or international relations. Some recent changes and updates to the Chinese visa policy include:
- Visa restrictions due to COVID-19: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, China has imposed strict travel restrictions and temporary visa suspensions on certain nationalities. These restrictions and suspensions may change frequently depending on the pandemic situation and the Chinese government’s policies.
- Visa-free transit expansions: China has expanded the visa-free transit policy to include more airports and eligible nationalities. For example, in 2020, China expanded the visa-free transit policy to include the airports of Chengdu, Xi’an, and Chongqing and extended the duration of the visa-free transit period from 72 hours to 144 hours for eligible passengers.
- Changes to visa categories and requirements: The Chinese government may update visa categories and requirements periodically to reflect changes in the country’s economic, political, or cultural needs. For example, in recent years, China has introduced new visa categories, such as the talent visa and the innovation and entrepreneurship visa, to attract foreign talent and investment.
- Political tensions and diplomatic issues: The Chinese visa policy may be influenced by political tensions and diplomatic issues between China and other countries. For example, in 2021, China suspended visa facilitation for Philippine nationals in response to the Philippines’ decision to suspend the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States.
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