How to apply for a visa to China?

Are you planning to visit China shortly? Waste no more time, apply for your Chinese visa online now using a professional and reputable website that will accompany you throughout the application procedure.

China is actually one of the most popular travel destinations for Europeans. However before visiting this country with its thousands of attractions you will need to be aware of the various administrative conditions relating to entry into this country. In fact, in the majority of cases you will need a visa to travel to China and the conditions you need to fulfil to obtain this travel authorisation can vary depending on different criteria such as the nationality of the visitor or the type of visa requested. In this article we therefore offer you the opportunity to learn everything you need to know about a visa for China including the different procedures you may need to follow as well as interesting and vital information such as the price of the different visas and the documents required to support the various visa applications.


In which cases is it necessary to apply for a visa for China and what are the different types of visa?

Firstly it should be remembered here that the majority of visitors wishing to visit China are required to present a visa on their entry into the country, even before they board their transport. Later on we will examine the few exemptions that enable you to travel to China without a visa.

There are in fact different types of visa depending on the reason for your visit to China; the five different visas are as follows:

  • The tourism and family visit visa authorises you to visit China for your holidays or to visit friends or family. This is the L visa.
  • The family visa is exclusively reserved for people with family members living in this country. This is the Q visa.
  • The business visa, as indicated by its name, is reserved for business visitors. This is the F visa.
  • The study visa authorises students to travel to China to follow studies in certain establishments and universities. This is the X visa.
  • Finally, the work visa will be absolutely necessary for anyone wishing to exercise a professional activity in China. This is the Z visa.


Is it possible to travel to China without a visa?

Let us now answer a question that is often asked by visitors concerning the possibility of entering China without a visa. There are in fact certain cases for a visa exemption that we will now examine. 

Firstly, a visa exemption for a stay of less than 15 days in China is possible for visitors from certain countries such as Japan, Singapore or Brunei.

Another visa exemption for 72 hours relates this time to citizens from 45 countries that wish to simply transit through the country. These are the countries concerned by this exemption: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Brunei, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Japan, Italy, Latvia, Mexico, New Zealand , Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Qatar, Romania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ireland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United States, England and United Arab Emirates. These authorised transits passing through China that benefit from a visa exemption are also reserved for certain airports such as Beijing, Shanghai, Canton, Chengdu, Chongqing, Shenyang and Dalian, Guilin, Kunming, Hangzhou, and Harbin.

Finally, another visa exemption relates this time to citizens of 24 countries and only visits with the final destination of the Hainan province for tourist visas organised by a travel agent located in this province and recognised by the National Tourist Office in China. This exemption concerns visits of at least 15 days for visitors from the following countries:  Malaysia, Thailand, Republic of Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Austria, Italy, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Netherlands, United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Kazakhstan and the Ukraine.

As you may notice, these visa exemptions are subject to certain conditions relating to the nationality of the visitor as well as the entry point into the country. For transits you will also need to present a valid passport and an air ticket for the final destination. It should also be noted that the validity period authorised by these visa exemptions begins at 12:01 on the day following the arrival of the visitor in the country for the majority of entry points into the country. Finally, it should be noted that visitors that choose this type of visit without a visa are only authorised to visit certain towns or Chinese provinces and cannot leave the latter. They will also need to leave the country by the same airport from which they arrived except for certain exemptions.

Of course it is also important to remember here that visa exemptions can also concern citizens of certain countries that hold a diplomatic passport or services passport and visit China for a period of at least 30 days.


What is the validity period of a visa for China?

Let us now look at the validity period of a visa for China. In fact as we shall examine more in detail here, this can vary according to the type of visa obtained and in particular the number of entries and exits authorised by these visas.

The single entry visa for China requires a single entry into Chinese territory during the validity period of the visa which is actually 90 days following its issue date. The length of the stay authorised by this visa depends on the decision of the Chinese consular service officer. It can vary from 30 days for a tourist visa, from 30 to 90 days for a family visit and from 30 to 60 days for a business visit.     

Relating to the double entry visa for China, this requires that both entries are completed during the 90 day validity period of this visa following its issue date. Regarding the length of stay authorised by this visa it varies in the same way as for a single entry visa as quoted above which is between 30 and 90 days depending on the reason for your visit.

Finally, the multiple entry visa for China requires entries into Chinese territory during the validity period of this document, which is six months following the issue date of the visa. In the same way as for the other two visas, the length of stay can also vary from 30 to 90 days depending on the reason for each entry onto Chinese territory.


What are the documents you need to provide for a visa application for China?

Of course, to obtain your visa for China you will need to provide certain documents and items of proof. The type and number of these items vary depending on the type of visa you require as well as the number of authorised entries.

There are however certain basic required documents of proof that are common to all visa applications for China as follows:

  • You should notably hold a valid passport that does not expire for at least 6 month after the date of your visa application. This passport should also have at least two blank pages available side by side.
  • Finally, the official visa application form should also of course be attached to your file duly completed and signed. This form should be completed on the website of the Chinese visa application centre or the website of an authorised service provider.

However, depending on the type of visa that you apply for, certain other documents and items of proof will be requested, these can notably include the following:

  • A travel insurance and repatriation certificate which is valid in China and which covers the entirety of your visit to China. This document is required for tourism and family visit visas.
  • A medical certificate confirming your general good health may also be requested.
  • If you are visiting China for business affairs or work you will be asked to supply certain documents relating to your work authorisation.
  • You should also present your outward and return air tickets, even for a simple transit through China.
  • Documents relating to your accommodation address in China will also be required such as your hotel reservation or a letter of invitation or attestation of lodging.
  • For business visits, you will also need to provide an invitation from the authorities, companies or organisations designated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs in China.
  • A financial certificate may also be requested from visitors that wish to work in the country or follow studies there.
  • Finally, the last document that may be requested to obtain your visa for China is a school certificate.

Of course, to know exactly which documents you need to provide for your visa application you may obtain a case by case list on the website of the Chinese Embassy. Certain third party websites that offer assistance in obtaining a visa may also advise you on the documents you will need relating to your personal situation and the type of visa you wish to apply for.


What is the price for a visa to China and what are the fees included?

Let us now turn our attention to the price of a visa application for China. In fact, and as you may have noted, the price of your visa actually varies according to the type of visa that you apply for as well as the number of entries authorised and the processing time which can be standard (which is around a week) or express which takes around 2 to 3 days. Here are the different costs that should be taken into consideration.

Firstly, the major part of the price you pay for your visa to China relates to the consular fees. This is the major part of the price of the stamp that will be placed on your passport and includes the costs of your intermediary service provider. You should allow for between 120 and 200 Euros depending on the type of visa and your urgency in obtaining your visa.

Of course, in addition to these standard fees supplementary fees and optional extras can be added. Among the latter we include website service provider fees from the website you have chosen to complete your application which covers advice and assistance received during your application procedure, as well as examination and verification of your application by competent trained personnel, the transfer and tracking of your visa application, and the forwarding of your visa from the consulate, the visa verification and its final delivery to you. For these services you should allow between 30 and 50 Euros depending on the particular website chosen and the options included.

It should also be noted that certain online service providers offering visa applications for China offer different supplementary payable options such as assistance in completing the visa application form, a photographic service in the official format required by the Chinese authorities, sending the passport and visa to the address by registered post or the return of these two documents by urgent mail.


How to proceed with your visa application for China:

As we mentioned earlier, you can apply for your visa for China by downloading, printing and completing the application form available on the official website and obtain your visa from the Chinese Embassy or consulate in your home country but this may take more time.

You can also complete this application online and by post using one of the authorised websites such as the one we recommend here.