1. Do I need a visa for China?
It depends on where your passport was issued and how long will you stay in China, look at the following information and check which your situation:
24-Hour Direct Transit
Under the 24-hour visa-free transit rule, no visa is required for international flight, ship, or train passengers who transit directly through mainland China and will stay for less than 24 hours. This policy is applicable to almost all nationalities. Most airports are eligible, except the airports in Shenzhen, Yanji, Mudanjiang, and Fuzhou. Passengers should hold tickets to a third country or region and have a confirmed seat.
72-Hour Visa-Free Transit
Passport holders of the following 53 countries and regions can be granted a visa-free stay up to 72 hours while transiting via Beijing Capital Airport, Shanghai Pudong Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, and airports of Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Shenyang, Dalian, Harbin, Xi'an, Guilin, Kunming, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Tianjin, Qingdao, Nanjing, Changsha, and Xiamen.
The 53 countries and regions are:
24 Schengen Agreement Countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland;
15 Other European Countries: Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia (FYROM), Albania, Belarus, Monaco;
6 American Countries: The United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile;
2 Oceania Countries: Australia, New Zealand;
6 Asian Countries: Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Qatar.
144-Hour Visa-Free Transit
Passengers from the above 53 countries transiting in Guangdong, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Xi'an, Chongqing, Liaoning, Chengdu, Wuhan, Qingdao, Kunming, and Xiamen can enjoy a visa-free stay up to 144 hours.
If you want to stay more than 24 hours in China and your passport is NOT from the above 53 countries and regions or If you have a long travel plan staying in China (more than 144 hours), you should apply for the China Tourist Visa (L).
2. What is China Tourist Visa (L)?
Most travelers to China are required to get a China tourist visa, L visa for short, which allows them to travel freely in most parts of China as tourists, assuming that they do not qualify under the visa-free policies of China. Passports, application form, and documents showing the itinerary or an invitation letter from China are the essential application documents.
In most cases, a tourist can get a single-entry L visa with a stay duration of 30 days. UK, US, Canadian, and Argentine citizens are able to get a 10-year China tourist visa with multiple entries.
If travelling with an organized tour group, you might not have an individual visa in your passport. Instead, the tour group will be issued a group tour visa bearing all the members' names. In such situations supply your details to the travel agency beforehand and you will have no further concerns.
If travelling independently, you need to handle visa affairs on your own. The process is not complicated if you follow the guidelines below.
3. If I have to apply for a Chinese Tourist Visa, which documents I should prepare?
- Your passport with at least 6 months remaining validity and available blank pages, and a photocopy of passport's data page.
2. Application Form
- One accurately completed China Tourist Visa Application Form. Please fill in every column of the application form, using "N/A" if not applicable. If the application form is not filled out truthfully, completely and legibly, there could be a delay in processing or refusal of the application.
3. Recent Photo
- A recent passport-size color photo with white background attached to the application form.
4. Round-trip Tickets Plus Hotel Bookings or Invitation Letter from China
- Documents showing the itinerary including proof of round trip tickets booking and proof of hotel reservation.
- Or, if you are being invited to China, you can submit an invitation letter issued by the inviter, whether it's an entity or individual, with following information:
a. Information on the applicant, including full name, gender, and date of birth.
b. Information on the planned visit, including arrival and departure dates, places of visit.
c. Information on the inviter, including name, contact number, address, official stamp, and signature of the legal representative of the entity or the inviting individual.
5. Other Supporting Documents
a. For those not applying in their country of citizenship, a proof of legal stay or residence status is required.
b. In some cases, applicants may need to submit a certification letter from the employer of the applicant with details as follows: name and contact number of the employer, the applicant's income statement, or original copy of recent 6-month bank statement of the applicant.
c. Applicants who intend to travel to Tibet must obtain a Tibet Travel Permit, which can be obtained from Tourism Bureau of Tibet Autonomous Region by travel agencies.
4. How is the process for applying for a Chinese Tourist Visa?
With all the required documents at hand, you can go to Chinese embassies, consulates, Chinese diplomatic missions, or a Chinese Visa Application Center (CVASC) if there are any in your country to submit the application in person. If you can't go personally, you can entrust someone else, such as a travel agency or a visa agency to act on your behalf. An appointment is not mandatory. Applications by mails are not accepted and will be refused at most Chinese embassies or consulates. In countries with CVASCs, applicants may be able to apply by post, or submit applications based on an online appointment via the website of CVASC.
For more details, please check with your local Chinese Consulate or Embassy by the following link: