Wondering how to get a China visa in Hong Kong? Use this guide to navigate through the steps that will have all those boxes ticked in no time.
This article is written especially for travelers from the west, including visitors from the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand who want to apply for a visa for China, however, it’s important to note that travelers from around 170 countries and territories can visit Hong Kong without a Chinese visa for a duration of between 7 and 180 days.
How to get a Chinese visa in Hong Kong
While it’s good news that you can enjoy Hong Kong without the concern of arranging a visa, if your travel plans take in anywhere else in China, you will need a visa. Apart from ordinary passport holders from Singapore, Brunei, and Japan who can enjoy visa-free access to China for up to 15 days, every other visitor is required to make arrangements for the relevant China visa.
Our big tip on this? We strongly recommend travelers make tour arrangements well in advance of their visit to China and apply for a Chinese visa from the Chinese embassy or consulate in their country of origin.
Now the caveat on applying for a China visa is this: If you plan to take advantage of the 72 or 144-hour visa-free transit policy (that applies to 20 cities in China), then you don’t need to apply for a Chinese visa.
Let’s explain how that would work with a few sample itineraries. Hint: These examples do not require a Chinese visa.
Hong Kong – Shanghai – USA
Hong Kong – Beijing – Tianjin – Japan
Hong Kong – Guangzhou – Australia
To make things clearer – and show how you can optimize the flexible travel policy available by making Hong Kong the start point for your holiday – we’ve put together this table that shows exactly which cities and regions you can visit in addition to time spent in Hong Kong.
City of entry
Visa-free transit zone
|Beijing||144-hour visa-free by air, sea or train||Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region|
|Tianjin||144-hour visa-free by air or sea||Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region|
|Shijiazhuang||144-hour visa-free via airport||Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region|
|Qinhuangdao||144-hour visa-free via seaport||Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region|
|Shanghai||144-hour visa-free by air, sea or train||Shanghai-Jiangsu-Zhejiang region|
|Hangzhou||144-hour visa-free via airport||Shanghai-Jiangsu-Zhejiang region|
|Nanjing||144-hour visa-free via airport||Shanghai-Jiangsu-Zhejiang region|
|Ningbo||144-hour visa-free via airport||Shanghai-Jiangsu-Zhejiang region|
|Shenyang||144-hour visa-free via airport||Liaoning Province|
|Dalian||144-hour visa-free via airport||Liaoning Province|
|Qingdao||144-hour visa-free by air or sea||Shandong Province|
|Chengdu||144-hour visa-free via airport||Chengdu and other nearby cities: including Leshan, Deyang, Suining, Meishan, Ya’an, Ziyang, Neijiang, Zigong, Luzhou and Yibin|
|Xiamen||144-hour visa-free by air or sea||Xiamen|
|Kunming||144-hour visa-free via airport||Kunming|
|Wuhan||144-hour visa-free via airport||Wuhan|
|Guangzhou||144-hour visa-free via airport||Guangdong Province|
|Shenzhen||144-hour visa-free via airport||Guangdong Province|
|Jieyang||144-hour visa-free via airport||Guangdong Province|
|Chongqing||144-hour visa-free via airport||Chongqing|
|Xi’an||144-hour visa-free via airport||Xi’an, Xianyang|
|Guilin||72-hour visa-free via airport||Guilin|
|Harbin||72-hour visa-free via airport||Harbin|
|Changsha||72-hour visa-free via airport||Hunan Province|
What if I’m a expat? How do I get a China visa in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong continues to operate as an important commercial hub in Asia and it’s no surprise that it still draws workers who want to experience the city as a working professional. If you fall into this category, you can apply for a China visa at the Chinese Visa Application Service Center in Hong Kong. Just be aware that applicants must reside in Hong Kong when submitting an application.
And if you’re a tourist? How do you arrange a visa for China if you’re in Hong Kong?
Travelers who are staying in Hong Kong temporarily can submit a China visa application in Hong Kong by visiting the Chinese Visa Application Service Center in person. Alternatively, you can apply through an agency, such as China Travel Services Hong Kong Ltd. Keep in mind you will need an authorized letter enclosed with copies of photo identification, and if it’s your first time applying for a China visa, you will definitely have to make your application in person. Turnaround times on visas are relatively quick – just four days in most cases – however, an express service (two-day turnaround) is available.
What supporting documents are needed?
As with all visa applications, supporting documentation is required. Here are the basic requirements you’ll need:
- Original passport with a minimum of two blank pages and valid for at least six months.
- A copy of the passport and data page
- Completed visa application form with a recent color passport photo taken against a which background and showing a bare head and full face
- Proof of a legal stay or residence status, or various valid certificates relevant to the visa
- Birth certificate and parents’ passport copies if the first-time applicant is under 18 years.
For an L Visa, that is, travelers visiting China as a tourist, there are some additional requirements:
- Documents showing your travel itinerary, including air ticket booking record (showing a round trip) and proof of a hotel reservation
- An invitation letter that contains:
- Applicant information (full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)
- Details of 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, and signature of the legal representative or the inviting individual).
Be sure you take the time to prepare your application correctly because an inadvertent omission or mistake will mean your travel plans could be delayed.
Where do I get a Chinese visa in Hong Kong?
Here are the best locations for organizing your Chinese visa if you’re in Hong Kong.
Has this information been helpful? Are you looking to travel to Hong Kong and mainland China but unsure how to create an itinerary you’ll love? The team at ChinaTours.com can help. Helping people create China travel adventures is what we do and we’d welcome the opportunity to show China to you. Let us design a tour you’ll remember long after you’ve arrived home so you can enjoy beautiful travel memories that last a lifetime. Reach out to our team today – We’re here for you.