What Are the Requirements for a China Visa?

A China visa is a document that allows foreign nationals to enter China for various purposes, such as tourism, business, study, or work. China has a comprehensive visa system with various categories, each with its specific requirements, application procedures, and processing times.

The basic requirements for obtaining a China visa include a valid passport, a completed visa application form, a recent passport-sized photograph, and the applicable visa fee. However, the specific requirements may vary depending on the visa category and the applicant's nationality.

For example, for a tourist visa, also known as an L visa, applicants must provide proof of their travel itinerary, including flight and hotel bookings, as well as a letter of invitation or a sponsorship letter from a Chinese citizen or an organization in China.

For a business visa, or an M visa, applicants must provide a letter of invitation from a Chinese company or organization, as well as a business registration certificate and a letter from their employer stating the purpose of their visit.

For a study visa, or an X visa, applicants must provide an admission letter from a Chinese educational institution, a completed physical examination record, and a certificate of no criminal record.

For a work visa, or a Z visa, applicants must provide a work permit issued by the Chinese government, a letter of invitation from their employer in China, and a certificate of no criminal record.

Other visa categories in China include the F visa for visits to cultural or sports events, the Q visa for family reunification, the R visa for high-level foreign talent, and the G visa for transit passengers.

In addition to the above requirements, applicants must also meet certain eligibility criteria, such as having a valid reason for visiting China, having sufficient funds to cover their expenses during their stay, and having no criminal record or health issues that could pose a threat to public health in China.

It's important to note that China's visa requirements and policies are subject to change at any time, so it's essential to check the latest updates before applying for a China visa. Additionally, the visa application process can be time-consuming, so it's advisable to apply well in advance of the planned travel date.

Basic requirements for all types of China visas

The basic requirements for all types of China visas are as follows:

A valid passport: Applicants must have a valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining and blank visa pages.

Completed visa application form: Applicants must fill out a visa application form and provide accurate information about their purpose of travel, personal information, and travel itinerary.

Passport-sized photos: Applicants must provide two recent, passport-sized photos with a white background. The photos must be taken within the last six months.

Proof of travel itinerary: Applicants must provide a detailed itinerary of their trip to China, including round-trip airfare and hotel reservations.

Proof of financial means: Applicants must provide evidence of their financial means to cover their expenses while in China, such as bank statements, proof of employment, or a letter of sponsorship.

Invitation letter: Depending on the purpose of the visit, applicants may need to provide an invitation letter from a Chinese company, organization, or individual.

It is important to note that additional requirements may apply depending on the type of visa being applied for. It is also recommended to apply for a China visa well in advance of the intended travel date, as processing times can vary.

China ( L ) Tourism Visa

  • Invitation letter from friend/family (for visiting purposes)
  • Round-trip flight tickets and travel itinerary
  • Visa processing fee (may vary based on the applicant's country of origin)

China ( M ) Commercial Trade Activities

  • Invitation letter from a registered Chinese company or a trade fair, such as the Canton Fair.
  • Copy of the Chinese company's business license if the invitation is from a Chinese company.
  • Your company's information, including the name and contact details. A business card would suffice for this purpose.

China ( F ) Exchanges, visits, study tours or other relevant activities Visa

  • The invitation letter must include the following information:
    • Applicant's personal information (full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)
    • Planned visit details (purpose of visit, arrival and departure dates, places to be visited, relationship with the inviting entity or individual, financial resources for expenses)
    • Inviting entity or individual information (name, contact number, address, official stamp, signature of the legal representative)
  • For China F Visa Multiple Entry, applicants must provide copies of their previous Chinese visas on a single A4 paper.
  • Under certain circumstances, applicants may need to submit additional documents, such as a copy of their hotel reservation in China, proof of return air ticket booking, and financial proof to show they can support their stay in China.

China Q Visa – Family/Personal Visit Visa

  • The invitation letter must come from a family member residing in China who is either a Chinese citizen or a foreigner with a Chinese permanent residence permit.
  • The invitation letter should contain the following information:
    • Applicant's personal information (full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)
    • Visit details (purpose of visit, intended arrival date, places to be visited, intended duration of stay, arrival and departure dates, relationship with the inviting entity or individual, and financial resources for expenses)
    • Inviting individual's information (name, contact number, address, official stamp, signature, etc.)
  • Documents of the Inviter:
    • Photocopy of the inviter's Chinese ID or foreign passport
    • Permanent residence permit of the inviter
  • Proof of family relationship is required only for Q1 visa applications and must include the original and a copy of kinship proof, such as a birth certificate or marriage certificate.

China S Visa – Relatives of Foreigners

  • The invitation letter should come from a foreigner who studies or works in China and must include the following information:
    • Applicant's personal information (full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)
    • Visit details (purpose of visit, arrival and departure dates, address of intended residence, relationship with the inviting individual, financial resources for living expenses, etc.)
    • Inviting individual's information (name, contact number, address, signature, etc.)
  • A photocopy of the inviting individual's passport and Chinese residence permit is required.
  • Kinship certification between the inviter and invitee is required and must include the original and a photocopy of the certification, such as a marriage certificate, birth certificate, certification of kinship issued by the Public Security Bureau, or other notarized certification showing their family relationship.
  • For private affairs, a document explaining personal details such as marriage, heritage, adoption, or medical treatment may be required.

China Z Visa–Work Visa

  • Two copies of the Foreigner Employment Application Form are required.
  • A release letter from the previous employer must be provided.
    • If the foreigner is relocating to Shanghai from a different city, government-released proof of work permit relocation/cancellation must be provided.
  • A valid business license is required.
  • An organization code certificate is required.
  • An FIE Approval Certificate of the new employer is required if the employer is foreign-invested.
  • A curriculum vitae (CV) in Chinese is required, including the highest academic degree obtained and complete work experience.
  • A work-related qualification certificate or proof of past work experience related to the new employment, issued by previous employers, is required.
  • Academic qualifications must be provided.
  • An employment contract with the new employer must be provided.
  • The current work permit must be provided.
  • A valid passport is required.
  • A residence permit is required.
  • The employer's employment permit must be provided.
  • Three passport photos are required.

China X Visa – Student Visa

  • Admission Notice:
    • You will need to provide the original and a copy of the Admission Notice issued by the Chinese university or school you have been accepted to.
  • JW201 or JW202 Form:
  • For X1 visa application, you will need to submit the original and a copy of the approved Foreign Student Visa Application Form JW201 or JW202.
  • It is important to obtain the JW201 or JW202 form through the school you will be attending. JW201 is issued to international students dispatched by the government or funded by Chinese government scholarships, while JW202 is for self-sponsored international students.

China J Visa – Journalist Visa

  • Passport Copy
    • A photocopy of the passport information page and extension page (if applicable) is required.
  • Visa Application Form
  • A completed visa application form that has been filled out online and signed by hand is required. The form should be attached with a recent color passport photo (taken within 6 months) with a bare-head and full face against a white background.
  • Visa Notification and Official Letter
  • Applicants need to provide a visa notification issued by the Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, as well as an official letter issued by the media organization for which the journalist works.
  • Approval Formalities
  • Applicants must contact the press section of the Chinese Embassy/Consulate General or the relevant press authorities in China in advance to complete the relevant approval formalities.

China (C ) Crew-member Visa

  • First Time Applicants Whose Former Nationality was Chinese:
    • Applicants who previously held Chinese nationality must write their Chinese name in the visa application form and submit their original Chinese passport along with a photocopy of the information page.
  • Applicant Who was Formerly Chinese and has Acquired a New Passport:
  • If the applicant's old passport contains a Chinese visa, they must submit the old passport or a photocopy of the Chinese visa.
  • Formal Application Letter:
  • A formal application letter issued by the airline or shipping company is required.
  • The Original and Photocopy of The Employee ID of the Applicant:
  • Applicants must submit the original and a photocopy of their employee ID.

China ( G ) Transit Visa

  • If the applicant was born in China and is applying for a Chinese visa with a new foreign passport, he/she is required to submit his/her Chinese passport or last foreign passport with a Chinese visa. Additionally, the applicant must provide a valid visa of the country of destination and a final destination airline ticket.

China ( D ) Residence Visa

To apply for a Chinese visa, applicants must provide the following documents:

  • Confirmation Form for Foreigners Permanent Residence Status:
    • Applicants must submit the original and a photocopy of the Confirmation Form for Foreigners Permanent Residence Status issued by the Ministry of Public Security of China.
  • Proof of Legal Status of Residency:
    • Applicants must provide a copy of their status proof, such as a certificate of residence, employment, student, or another legal status.
  • Previous Chinese Passport or Chinese Visa:
    • If an applicant previously held Chinese citizenship, they must submit the original and a copy of the data page of their last Chinese passport or a copy of their previous Chinese visa on their previous foreign passport. If the name on the current passport differs from that on the previous passport, an official document of name change should also be submitted.

Applicants must provide all required documents to complete the visa application process.

China ( R ) Highly Qualified Persons

  • The Confirmation Letter for High-Level Foreign Talents is a document that can be obtained from China’s provincial-level Bureau of Foreign Experts Affairs. You can find a sample of this letter available for download.

Frequently Asked Questions

The type of visa you need depends on your purpose of visit to China. Some common visa types include tourist, business, work, student, and transit visas.

It depends on the type of visa you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a business visa, you may need an invitation letter from a company or organization in China. If you are applying for a tourist visa, you may not need an invitation letter.

Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of your planned entry into China.

Yes, you will need to provide a recent passport-style photo as part of your visa application.

Yes, you will typically need to provide proof of your travel arrangements and accommodation bookings as part of your visa application.

Yes, you may need to provide financial documents to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to cover your expenses while in China.

Processing times vary depending on the type of visa and the embassy or consulate where you apply. It is recommended to apply at least one month before your planned travel date.