China L Visa (Tourist Visa): Requirements & Application

Written by Sally Guo Updated Mar. 7, 2024
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From December 1, 2023, until November 30, 2024, ordinary passport holders of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia can benefit from a 15-day visa-free entry to China Mainland.

From March 14, 2024, until November 30, 2024, ordinary passport holders of Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg can benefit from a 15-day visa-free entry to China Mainland.

This applies to purposes such as tourism, business, transit, and visiting friends and relatives in China.

China L Visa (Tourist Visa) is designed for foreigners who wish to visit China for tourism.

In this article, we will share the details of the China L Visa, including the application process, requirements, and other vital information to ensure your trip to China goes smoothly.

Who Needs a China L Visa?

China L Visa is required for normal visits to China Mainland for almost every foreigner.

If you are planning to travel to China and you are not eligible for any of China's visa-free policies (such as the 144-hour transit visa exemption), then you need to apply for a tourist visa (L visa) to enter China.

China Tourist Visa Requirements

To successfully obtain a China L Visa, you are required to provide the following documents:

1. A Valid Passport

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

2. A Completed Visa Application Form

The China visa application form can be downloaded from the China embassy website of your country or our website. You need to complete it by computer, print and sign it. 

3. A Recent Passport-Style Photograph

You need to prepare a recently taken color photo (bare-head, full face) against a light background of the size of 48mm×33mm.

4. Proof of Legal Entry or Residence Status (applicable to applicants who apply for visas outside their country of nationality)

If you are not applying for the China visa in the country of your citizenship, you need to provide proof of legal stay, residence, work, or study in your current location, as well as a copy of the document.

5. Original Chinese Passport or China Visa (applicable to former Chinese citizens who have acquired foreign nationality)

If you are applying for a China visa for the first time after acquiring foreign citizenship, you need to provide the original Chinese passport and a copy of the passport's information page.

If you have previously obtained a China visa and are now applying for a China visa with a new foreign passport, you need to provide a copy of the information page of your new foreign passport, as well as copies of the China visas issued on your previous passport.

In case the name on your new passport is different from the name on your original passport, you will also need to provide an official document proving the name change.

6. Additional Supporting Documents for China Tourist Visa

If you are planning independent travel (free travel) in China, you need to provide proof of round-trip international flight tickets and hotel reservations within China.

If you will join a guided tour within China, you need to provide an invitation letter issued by a registered China travel agency.

The invitation letter should include the following information:

If you travel with us, we will create a valuable tour for you and provide you with an invitation letter for free if you request. Please contact us for more details.

China Tourist Visa Application - How to Get a China L Visa?

Step 1: Prepare essential documents according to China Tourist Visa Requirements.

Step 2: Submit all necessary documents in person at the nearest China Embassy or Consulate in your country. You can make an appointment online at China Online Visa Application (COVA).

Some Chinese Embassies and Consulates have established China Visa Application Service Centers (CVASC) to handle the application process. You can submit the required documents directly to them. The CVASC will accept and forward the application to the embassy for further processing and issuance.

Step 3: Pay visa fees and get a pick-up slip. Check details of China Tourist Visa Fees.

Step 4: Once your application is approved, collect your passport and China Visa on the assigned date (usually within a week). The processing time may vary, check the details of China Tourist Visa Processing Time.

With the pick-up slip, you may pick up your passport in person or with a trustworthy person for help.

China Tourist Visa Processing Time

Typically, Chinese embassies or consulates abroad can process tourist visas within four to five working days. However, in certain special circumstances, the processing time may be extended at the discretion of the embassy or consulate.

You are advised to submit the visa application approximately one month before the intended date of entry. This allows for sufficient time for processing and ensures that the visa is obtained on time.

It is always recommended to plan and allow ample time for visa processing, ensuring a smooth and stress-free travel experience to China.

China Tourist Visa Cost - How Much Is a China L Visa?

The cost of a China tourist visa varies depending on several factors, including your nationality, the type of visa, the processing time chosen, and where you submit the application.

For example, if you are going to apply for a China L visa in the US, here are the visa fees.

Number of Entry U.S Citizen Non-U.S Citizen
Single Entry USD 185 USD 30
Double Entries USD 185 USD 45
Multiple Entries for 6 Months USD 185 USD 60
Multiple Entries for 12 Months or more USD 185 USD 90

Visa fees for certain non-U.S. citizens may vary from the list above based on reciprocal agreements. Please check with the Visa Office for special fees.

How Many Times Can I Enter China on a Tourist Visa?

The number of entries allowed on a China tourist visa depends on the type of visa issued. In general, there are single-entry, double-entry, and multiple-entry tourist visas available.

A single-entry visa allows the holder to enter China only once during the visa's validity period. Once you leave China, the visa becomes invalid, and if you plan to re-enter, you will need to apply for a new visa.

The duration of stay for each entry is usually limited to 30 days.

A double-entry visa permits two entries into China within the visa's validity period. This means you can enter China on two separate occasions. After the second entry, the visa becomes invalid.

The multiple-entry visa grants multiple entries into China within the visa's validity period. With this visa, you can enter and exit China multiple times during the specified duration.

China 10-Year Visa (Long-term Visa)

China's 10-year visa is an option for travelers who frequently visit China for tourism or personal purposes.

This long-term visa allows multiple entries into China over up to ten years. The maximum stay per visit is 60 days for tourists.

If you are holding a US, Canadian, or UK passport, you are now eligible for a 10-year visa for tourism.

Can I Apply for the China L Visa Online?

No, you can’t apply for and get a China visa online. E-visa is not available in China. The consular officer needs your passport to put the visa in it, you are required to have your fingerprints collected.

It is possible to download the visa application form and submit it online.

Suppose you are eligible for the China Online Visa Application system. In that case, you can fill in the application form online and print it out to submit it at your nearest visa application center.

If not, you need to download the China Visa Application Form, print it out, and fill in it. 

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