Chinese Visa

Chinese visa allows a foreigner to enter into China, depart from or transit via China. Depending on the applicant's passport type, status, and purpose of visit to China the Chinese visa authority issues a Regular, Courtesy, Diplomatic or Official visa. If you are looking at China as a potential tourist or business destination, read on for pertinent information on securing a Chinese visa.

Chinese visa authority

Chinese embassies, consulates, or any offices approved by the ministry of foreign affairs of China function as the Chinese visa authority in a foreign country. All visitors who wish to gain entry into China, depart from China or transit via the Chinese territory have to apply for a visa from the respective Chinese visa authorities.

Visa to China

Listed below are various categories of Chinese visas and the documents needed for processing them.

C visa: This type of visa is issued to crewmembers to work on board a train, international airline, or any other vessel. This visa is also issued for family members of the worker. Permit from the concerned authority must be submitted.

D visa: This type of visa is issued to an applicant who wishes to settle down in China permanently. Residence permit must be submitted.

F visa: This type of visa is issued to a person who visits China on an invitation. The reason for visit could be business, investigation, lecture, scientific, industrial, educational, advanced studies for a short period or internship for a term not beyond six months. A copy of Chinese hotel booking, a copy of return flight booking and visa notification form need to be submitted.

G visa: This kind of visa is issued to a foreigner who wishes to transit through China. Valid visa of the final destination country, a copy of Chinese hotel booking and airline ticket for the entire trip must be shown.

J-1 visa: This type of visa is issued to foreign correspondents who reside in China. Visa notice from concerned department and health certificate must accompany the Chinese visa application.

J-2 visa: This type of visa is issued to foreign journalists who visit China for news reporting jobs for short periods. Invitation letter of the interviewee, application letter of the associated news agency and for first timers, a copy of their passport along with resume must be submitted for Chinese visa.

L visa: This type of visa is issued to foreigners who visit China for sightseeing, to visit their family or for any other personal reasons. This visa is also called tourist visa. Photocopy of Chinese hotel booking and a copy of return flight booking. Proof of relationship and a copy of return flight booking are needed if you are visiting relatives.

X visa: This type of visa is issued to a foreigner who wishes to pursue education, higher studies or internship in China for a term exceeding six months. This visa is also known as the student visa. JW202 form as issued by the education department of PRC and enrollment notice from the receiving school. Foreign students who wish to stay in China for more than a year should provide health certificate.

Z visa: This type of visa is issued to foreigners who come to China for employment; this visa is issued for the employee's family members too. This visa is also known as work visa. Work permit/employment certificate from the ministry of labor and social security, PRC and visa notice from the concerned department. Foreign employees who wish to stay in China for more than a year should provide a health certificate.

Entry into China without visa

Visa-free entry for visitor: Visa is not required for passport holders of Singapore, Brunei and Japan to visit China; provided their stay does not exceed fifteen days. The purpose of visit could be visiting relatives or friends, sightseeing, transit or business. To extend their stay for more than fifteen days, they have to apply for a visa.

Visa-free transit:   

  1. Visa is not necessary for foreigners who transit through China while carrying air tickets to their final destination. They should have booked their tickets through any international airline flying through China and can stay in a transit city for not more than twenty four hours.
  2. Foreign nationals from the following countries need not possess a visa to transit through Honggiao or Pudong airports provided they possess a legally valid passport, have their final destination tickets booked, and have valid visas for their final destination country. These passengers are not permitted to stay for more than forty eight hours in Shanghai.
  3. The list of countries include United States of America, Luxemburg, Portugal, Sweden, Greece, Denmark, Canada, Republic of Korea, Australia, France, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Belgium, Spain, Austria, New Zealand, Netherlands and Italy.

Visa validity

A single entry and double entry Chinese visa is valid for three months from the date when the visa was issued. A multiple entry business visa is valid for six months from the date of issue. Any visitor must enter into China before the expiry date of the visa so as to keep the visa valid. Foreigners are permitted to stay in China for the period mentioned in their visa. They cannot stay beyond that date without extending their visas.

Visa fees

Number of entry


Duration of stay (each stay)


Citizens of other countries

Single entry

3 months

30 days



Double entry

3 months

30 days



Multiple entry for 6 months

6 moths

30 days



Multiple entry for 12 months

12 months

30 days



Visa for China

To apply for visa for China, the following requirements have to be complied with:

  • The applicant should possess a valid passport; the passport should be valid at least for the next six months.
  • There should be a minimum of one blank page in the passport to stamp the new Chinese visa.
  • A completed visa application form along with one recent passport size photo should be submitted.
  • If the applicant is applying for a multiple entry 'L' visa, the applicant should attach a written explanation on the purpose of visit.

Chinese visa processing

Regular service: Chinese visas are processed within four working days (including the submission day) from when the application has been received.

Express service: Visa is processed within three working days including the submission day.

Rush service Visa is processed within two working days including the submission day. For express visa service and rush visa service, an additional fee of $20 per visa is charged.

Disclaimer: These pages are intended to be used as a guide only. Visa information for most countries change often without any advance notice. It is essential that you call the respective country?s embassy before you make your travel plans. Although all due care has been taken in compiling the information available in these pages, the Webmaster or publishers of the CityRound will not be held accountable under any circumstances for any errors or omissions found in these pages.

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