How to Apply for a China Visa

Written by Sally Guo Updated Oct. 20, 2021

How to apply for a Chinese visa? What documents are needed for a Chinese visa application? Where to download a China Visa Application Form? Quick check this visa application guide and get your China visa efficiently.

When to Apply for a China Visa?

It is recommended to apply for a China visa one or two months before your departure date. But do not get it too early because it is valid for only three months from the date of issue.

What Supporting Docs Do I Need?

1. Passport

eligible passport

Original signed passport with at least six months of remaining validity and blank visa pages, and a copy of the passport's data page and the photo page if it is separate.

2. Visa Application Form

The visa application form, which can be downloaded from the China embassy website of your country must be filled in truly and completely. For example, if you are a USA citizen, you can download the application form from the official website of the Embassy of the PRC in the USA.

3. Photo

Affix a recent passport photo to the application form.

4. Residence Permit

A third-country national applying for a China visa in, for example, America, should provide valid certification of residence, work, or study, or a valid original third-country visa and its copy, or other valid proof of legal stay provided by the relevant authorities of the third country.

5. Additional Supporting Documents for Major Visa Types

transit from airport

L (Tourist Visa): Documents showing the itinerary including a round-trip air ticket booking record and proof of a hotel reservation, etc. or an invitation letter issued by a relevant entity or individual in China with the following information:

  • Information on the applicant (full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)
  • Information on the planned visit (arrival and departure dates, place(s) to be visited, etc.)
  • Information on the inviting entity or individual (name, contact telephone number, address, official stamp, signature of the legal representative, or the inviting individual)

M (Business Visa): Documents on the commercial activity issued by a trade partner in China, or trade fair invitation or other invitation letters issued by relevant entity or individual, with the same details as described above for L visa.

F (Noncommercial Visit Visa): An invitation letter issued by a relevant entity or individual in China, which contains the same info as described above for an L visa.

G (Transit Visa): An onward air (train or ship) ticket with a confirmed date and seat to the destination country or region.

X (Student Visa): Original and photocopy of the Admission Notice issued by a school or other entities in China. Original and photocopy of "Visa Application for Study in China" (Form JW201 or Form JW202) will be required for the X1 Visa with an intended stay for over 6 months.

China work visa

Z (Work Visa): One of the following docs should be provided:

  • Foreigners Employment Permit issued by The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of the PRC.
  • Permit for Foreign Experts Working in China issued by the State Bureau of Foreign Experts.
  • Registration Certificate of Resident Representative Offices of enterprises of foreign countries(regions) issued by Chinese authorities of industrial and commercial administration.
  • An approval document for commercial performances issued by the Chinese government authorities for cultural affairs.
  • Letter of Invitation to Foreigners for Offshore Petroleum Operations in China issued by China National Offshore Oil Corporation.

Where to Submit the Application and Collect My Chinese Visa?

Applicants can go to the Chinese embassy, consulate, or China Visa Application Center to submit documents for the visa personally or entrust others or travel agencies. If needed, applicants need to go to the embassy or consulate-general to have a personal interview or sign application materials. Applying for a China visa through professional visa agencies like will cost extra but make things simple.

China Visa Processing Time

Generally, if all the correct documents are turned in, China Visa is usually prepared within 4 workdays. It takes only one day for an extra urgent application.

How much is the China visa application fee?

Entries U.S. Citizen Canada Citizen Non-U.S. Citizen
Single USD 140 CAD 100 USD 30
Double USD 140 CAD 100 USD 45
6 Months Multiple USD 140 CAD 100 USD 60
12 Months Multiple USD 140 CAD 100 USD 90


  • According to the reciprocity agreements, visa fees for some non-U.S. citizens may vary from the list above. Please check with the Visa Office.
  • Express I service: pay an extra fee of USD25 for each
  • Express II service: pay an extra fee of USD37 for each

How to Renew or Extend My China Visa?

You cannot renew or extend your China visa once your visa application is processed and approved. But if you have entered China, you can apply to the local Exit and Entry Administration under the Public Security authority for a change in visa type or an extension of stay or validity.

Special Notes:

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