Looking for useful China tourist visa information without the complicated jargon? Access the details you need from the guide right here and be travel ready for your adventure in China!
Start exploring before you depart
A China visa application can seem a little complicated if you’re unfamiliar with the process. That’s why we aim to provide just about everything a western traveler needs to know about the details and logistics of preparing a China tourist visa application, China visas for Hong Kong, and Tibet Travel Permits.
Every day we’re helping customers just like you make plans for their upcoming travels - and we can help you too. In this section of our Travel Guide, get the information you need to keep your travel preparations on track.
Keep your China tourist visa application simple
Although there are some exceptions to visa requirements for travel in China, most international travelers will find a China tourist visa is necessary, unless they intend limiting in-country travel to a single destination. The other exceptions are where a traveler’s country of origin has a special arrangement in place with China.
Visa-free travel is possible for western travelers - and very popular too. If your air ticket provides for travel to a third country after your time in China, then you can skip the queue on a China visa application.
However, if your plans include a multi-city tour around the country or even a short tour to several destinations, you will need a China tourist visa, and it’s wise to get help to ensure your application right the first time around. If you don’t, you may find yourself frustrated and confused at your local China embassy or China Visa Application Service Centre when you realize you haven’t quite ticked all the necessary boxes. Read more
Whether you’re planning a countrywide adventure or a single city visit, get the drum here in our travel guide. We’ve got you covered for the many unexplored possibilities of travel in China.
Before heading to China, work through this China tourist visa checklist to be sure you have everything covered.
If you are in transit for 24, 72, or 144 hours, and at one of the designated international airports and ports in China (refer below for more on this), you may qualify for visa free travel. Referred to as the China Transit Visa or China Tourist Visa, foreign travelers from certain countries can take advantage of the convenience of this visa, which can be obtained on arrival. Be aware, you must have an air ticket to a third destination with a confirmed date of flight and seat, and you must not leave the port of entry. The availability of Transit visas in ports of entry is dependent upon the number of hours of your transit. For example, 24 hour Transit Visas are available in most ports, however 72 or 144 hour Transit Visas are only available in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Dalian, Guangzhou, Guilin, Chongqing, Chengdu, Kunming, Xi’an, Xiamen, Wuhan, Harbin, Qingdao, Changsha, and some specified regions.
If your travels in China extend beyond one of the single destinations listed above, you will require a visa.
There are numerous visas available for travelers into China, however they fall into four main categories: diplomatic visa, courtesy visa, service visa, ordinary visa. If you are traveling as a tourist, you will need an ordinary visa (L). You can learn more about the details of specific visa types on the Visa for China page of the China embassy in your country.
|China Embassy in USA||http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/|
|China Embassy in United Kingdom||http://www.chinese-embassy.org.uk/eng/|
|China Embassy in Australia||http://au.china-embassy.org/eng/|
|China Visa Application Center||https://www.visaforchina.org/|
A China visa application can seem like a lot of paperwork, so take care to assemble everything you need in advance of submitting your application. Here are just a few things you’ll need for your application:
- An original passport with 6 months validity and at least two blank visa pages
- A copy of the passport’s data page and the photo page (if it is separate).
- A completed Visa Application Form with genuine and accurate information about the applicant.
- One color passport-size photo (48mm x 33mm, taken within 6 months, full face, front view against a light background).
- Supporting documents, as required.
- Specific to a China Tourist Visa application is the provision of copies of all your travel itinerary documents, including air tickets and hotel reservations. An invitation letter issued by a relevant entity (for example, a travel agency) or individual in China is also required.
If you think clarification on the details might be helpful, you’re right, it will be! Questions regarding the specifics of a China visa application should be directed to your local Chinese embassy or China Visa Application Center.
To make the application itself, you will need to make your submission at a Chinese Embassy or a Chinese Consulate-General in the USA, or at a China Visa Application Service Centre (only for an ordinary visa application) in the United Kingdom, Australia, and other countries. Documents can be submitted by post or in person, however, it’s wise to check with relevant China visa issuing authorities in your country for the most up to date information. We strongly recommend you confirm with the China Embassy or Consulate in your country as to whether they accept applications via post or in person.
Visa fees can be paid via credit card (Visa, MasterCard), money order, cashier’s or company’s check. Cash and personal checks are not accepted.
Remember to allow plenty of time for your visa application. It is wise to allow between 30 and 45 days in advance of your travel date. In the event you need to prepare additional information, this will allow sufficient time to address the requirements.
Visa processing usually takes approximately three to five working days. Once your visa is processed, you will be notified. You will then need to visit the China Visa Application Service Centre (in the UK, Australia or other countries) to collect your passport with the visa. A mail out service may be available, however you will need to confirm this at the time of submission.
China visa articles, China visa information, and more. Find it all here in our detailed posts about how to navigate the occasionally challenging - but ultimately satisfying - process to secure your China visa, regardless of how long you plan to travel. As with international travel anywhere, it’s important to prepare well in advance before departure. Travel to China does require a visa for most international visitors, and in certain regions, such as Tibet and Hong Kong, additional visas or permits are required if you are touring through other parts of the country. You’ll also find answers to these and many other frequently asked China visa questions. And if by some chance, you don’t discover the exact information you need, get in touch. Our team is here to help.