Planning to visit China, but don’t know how to apply for a China visa? We’re breaking it down for you with our step by step guide, follow the steps and get your China visa efficiently.
Apply for China Visa in Your Country
Step 1. Find out if you need a visa
The first thing is to check whether you need a visa or not. You usually need to apply for a Chinese visa unless you meet one of China’s visa-free policies.
72- and 144-hour visa-free transit offer great convenience if you have a layover in China.
Step 2. Find out which visa you need
There are many types of China visa. Choose a visa type that applies to your situation.
12 major visa types
L (tourist visa)Issued to an applicant who goes to China for sightseeing purposes, to visit family members or friends, or for other personal affairs.
M (business visa)Issued to an applicant who goes to China for commercial and trade activities.
F (visa for exchanges and visits)Issued to an applicant who is invited to China for an exchange, visit, study tour, and other activities.
Z (work visa)Issued to an applicant who is to take up a post or employment in China.
X (student visa)Issued to an applicant who intends to study in China.
G (transit visa)Issued to those who transit through China.
C (crew visa)Issued to crew members on international aviation, navigation, and land transportation missions, and to family members accompanying them.
D (resident visa)Issued to an applicant who is to reside permanently in China.
J (journalist visa)J-1 is issued to foreign resident correspondents in China;J-2 is issued to foreign correspondents on temporary interview missions in China.
R (talent visa)Issued to high-level talents or those whose skills are urgently needed in China.
S (visa for private visits)Issued to family members of foreigners residing in China for work, study, etc.
Q (family reunion visa)Issued to relatives of Chinese citizens or foreigners with permanent residence permits residing in China.
Step 3. Prepare the required documents
The following list of documents are required for any China visa application:
✅A valid passport. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months when you enter China.
✅A complete visa application form
You complete it by computer, print and sign it.
In some countries such as UK you should complete an online form. On the form, you might find an item “Serial number of invitation letter of the authorized organization”, you may skip this item if you don’t have an invitation letter, or the invitation letter is not of this type.)
✅A recent passport-type photograph (head and shoulders only, front view, with a white background, approximately 48mmx33mm)
Along with the aforementioned generally required documents, several additional documents are required depending upon the type of China visa applied for.
Step 4. Submit the application
Select your citizenship and destination country
You may submit the application to the Visa Office at Chinese embassies or consulates, or China Visa Application Service Centers (also called CVASC) if they are operating in your country.
Starting from 2018, visa applicants from more and more countries (including the U.S., the UK, and Canada) have to make their visa application in person and have their fingerprints collected.
The regular service processing time is 4 days, and the rushed service takes1 day. The latter is only available in extreme emergencies pending a consular officer’s approval.
Step 5. Pay the fee and collect your visa
Go to the place where you apply for China visa, pay the fee and collect your visa.
The fees vary enormously depending on your nationality and number of entries.
Apply for China Visa in a Third Country
While it is possible to apply for Chinese visa outside home country, you may run into more difficulties compared with applying from your own country.
Some consular offices do not accept applications from temporary visitors in the country concerned. In some cases having a visa for that country is considered OK, but this might be of no help if you are in a country where you do not require one.
There is no simple answer to this issue, nor is it clear exactly why this rule exists. The first option is to try at every Chinese consulate en route in the hope that one will grant you a China visa. Some people may courier passport and application to a friend or agent in their own country to apply for China visa, but this will be in vain because the applicant is required to be physically in the application country.
Requirements for Applying China Visa in a Third Country
✅Passport with a remaining validity of six months and blank visa pages
✅A completed China Visa Application Form
✅A 48mm x 33mm recent color photo
✅Proof of legal stay or residency in the third country, which can be your visa, residence permit, student certificate or employment permit in the country
✅Other documents supporting your reason for the intended travel, such as travel itinerary, round-trip tickets, or an invitation letter from a China travel agency
Apply for China Visa in Hong Kong
Am I able to apply for a China visa from Hong Kong? This is a frequently asked question in many forums pertaining to China visas.
Actually, in most cases, one is expected to apply for a Chinese visa in his home country, but if you are travelling abroad or live in China, Hong Kong will be an ideal place to apply for a China visa.
Before making the application, you had better do some research on China’s visa exemption policies, especially the 72- and 144-hour visa-free transit schemes to see if you can avoid the hassle of getting a Chinese visa. If you still need one, then proceed with the application.
Which Types of Visa Can I Get in Hong Kong?
The tourist visa (L), business visa (M), work visa (Z), student visa (X) and many other types of China visa can be applied in Hong Kong.
Documents Needed for China Visa Application in Hong Kong
✅A valid passport with at least six months of remaining validity and photocopy of your personal particulars page.
✅If you are a Hong Kong resident, provide your Hong Kong ID card; if not, you need to have a copy of the Hong Kong entry stamp on your passport or a visa of Hong Kong.
✅An application form of the current version.
Two ways to get this form:
1. Download the Chinese Visa Application Form and complete it on your computer, then print it out.
2. Complete the online application form on the website of the China Visa Office Hong Kong and get a printout of it.
✅A passport size photo. There is a booth at the China Visa Application Service Center offering the photo service at a certain charge.
Documents showing your travel purpose, such as a travel itinerary, round-trip transportation arrangements, and hotel reservations. Note that if you are traveling to Guangdong Province, the transportation proof is usually not required.