Introduction

A visa is a travel document issued by authorized government agencies to foreign citizens applying to enter, exit from or transit through the host country's territory based on the host country's laws and regulations.

In accordance with international law and practice, any sovereign state is entitled to decide on whether or not to allow a foreign citizen to enter or exit from its territory, and whether to issue a visa, decline a visa application or to cancel an issued visa in accordance with its national laws.

Chinese consular officials are entitled to decide on the type, number of entries, validity and duration of each stay of a visa to be issued based on Chinese laws and regulations. Consular officials reserve the right to decline a visa application or revoke an issued visa.

1. Visa is required for a foreign citizen to visit China

Foreign citizens must obtain a Chinese visa before entry into China, with the exception of visa-free entry based on relevant agreements or regulations.

Please check the validity of your visa before traveling to China. If the visa has expired or the number of entries is not enough, you must apply for a new visa.

2. Visa Types

Chinese visas fall into four types: diplomatic visa, courtesy visa, service visa and ordinary visa. Ordinary visas are further divided into the following categories:

Visa Categories

Description of Visa

C

Issued to foreign crew members of means of international transportation, including aircraft, trains and ships, or motor vehicle drivers engaged in cross-border transport activities, or to the accompanying family members of the crew members of the above-mentioned ships.

D

Issued to those who intend to reside in China permanently.

F

Issued to those who intend to go to China for exchanges, visits, study toursand other activities.

G

Issued to those who intend to transit through China.

J1

Issued to resident foreign journalists of foreign news organizations stationed in China.The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days.

J2

Issued to foreign journalists who intend to go to China for short-term news coverage.The intended duration of stay in China is no more than 180 days.

L

Issued to those who intend to go to China as a tourist.

M

Issued to those who intend to go to China for commercial and trade activities.

Q1

Issued to those who are family members of Chinese citizens or of foreigners with Chinese permanent residence and intend to go to China for family reunion, or to those who intend to go to China for the purpose of foster care. The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days.

"Family members" refers to spouses, parents, sons, daughters, spouses of sons or daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandsons, granddaughters and parents-in-law.

Q2

Issued to those who intend to visit their relatives who are Chinese citizens residing in China or foreigners with permanent residence in China. The intended duration of stay in China is no more than 180 days.

R

Issued to those who are high-level talents or whose skills are urgently needed in China.

S1

Issued to those who intend to go to China to visit the foreigners working or studying in China to whom they are spouses, parents, sons or daughters under the age of 18 or parents-in-law, or to those who intend to go to China for other private affairs. The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days.

S2

Issued to those who intend to visit their family members who are foreigners working or studying in China, or to those who intend to go to China for other private matters.The intended duration of stay in China is no more than 180 days.

"family members" refers to spouses, parents, sons, daughters, spouses of sons or daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandsons, granddaughters and parents-in-law.

X1

Issued to those who intend to study in China for a period of more than 180 days.

X2

Issued to those who intend to study in China for a period of no more than 180 days.

Z

Issued to those who intend to work in China.

3. Validity, Number of Entries and Duration of Each Stay of Chinese Visas

1) Visa Validity ("Enter Before") means that the visa is valid, or can be used for entry into China from the date of issue to the "Enter Before" date indicated on the visa (Beijing Time). If a visa has unused entries, the bearer can enter China before 24:00 (Beijing Time) on the expiration date.

2) "Entries" refers to the number of times the bearer is permitted to enter China during the validity of a visa.

A visa becomes invalid if there are no entries left, or there are entries left but the visa validity expires. If a visa becomes invalid, its bearer must apply for a new visa before entering China. Traveling with an invalid visa to China will result in refusal of entry.

3) "Duration of Each Stay" refers to the maximum number of days the visa bearer is permitted to stay in China each time, which is calculated from the date of entry into China.

A foreign citizen who overstays the end date of his/her authorized stay in China without going through extension formalities is subject to fines and other penalties for violation of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Control of the Entry and Exit of Aliens and its Detailed Rules for Implementation. If a visa bearer is to stay in China longer than the duration of stay allowed on the visa, approval must be obtained from local public security authorities above the county level before the duration of stay expires. Approval of an extension of stay may or may not be granted. Please check the website of the local public security authorities in China for more information. Chinese Embassies and Consulates overseas are not authorized to extend a visa.

A bearer of a Work (Z) Visa, Student (X) Visa, Permanent Resident (D) Visa, or Resident Journalist (J-1) Visa must apply for a residence permit at the local public security authorities within 30 days of entry into China. Members of foreign diplomatic or consular missions in China must apply for a residence permit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or local foreign affairs departments within 30 days of entry into China.

4. Visa-free Entry

A foreign citizen can enter China without a visa under any one of the following circumstances:

1) Direct Transit

A foreign citizen who is transiting through China by air is exempted from a visa if he/she will stay only in the airport for no more than 24 hours and has a valid connecting ticket with confirmed seating on an international flight.

Citizens with passport or other international travel document, confirmed interline ticket and valid visa to the third country or region (if required) of the following 51 countries ,  can apply to stay in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong Province and Chengdu without visa for 72 hours on direct transit via Beijing Capital Airport, Shanghai Pudong Airport or Hongqiao Airport , Guangzhou Baiyun Airport and Chengdu Shuangliu Airport

 Albania, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Montenegro, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.

 2) Visiting the Pearl River Delta or Hainan Island

A. A foreign citizen holding an ordinary passport issued by any country with diplomatic relations with China is exempted from a visa if he or she is already in Hong Kong or Macao and joins a tourist group organized by a travel agency, which is registered in Hong Kong or Macao, for a visit to the Pearl River Delta region (including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing and Huizhou) and his/her stay is no more than 6 days.

B. A foreign citizen holding an ordinary passport issued by any of the following countries is exempted from a visa if he or she joins a tourist group (of 5 or more persons) organized by an international travel agency registered in Hainan with the approval of China National Tourism Administration to visit Hainan Province and his/her stay is no more than 15 days: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the U.K., Ukraine and the United States of America.

Citizens of Germany, Republic of Korea and Russia may join an international tourist group (of 2 or more persons) and can stay up to 21 days.

3) Citizens of Singapore, Brunei and Japan

A citizen of Singapore, Brunei or Japan with an ordinary passport is exempted from a visa if he/she visits China's mainland for tourism, business, or meeting with friends or relatives, and if he/she enters China through ports open to foreigners, and stays for no more than 15 days.

However, a visa is required for citizens of these three countries under any of the following circumstances:

A. An ordinary passport holder visits China for tourism, business, or meeting with friends or relatives, and stays for more than 15 days.

B. An ordinary passport holder visits China for the purpose of study, work, permanent residency, official visits and news coverage.

C. A Japanese citizen travels with a diplomatic or official passport.

4) Holders of Valid APEC Business Travel Card

The APEC Business Travel Card is a substitute of a multiple-entry visa valid for 3 years. A card holder who presents a valid passport whose image and biographic data exactly matches that on the APEC Business Travel Card can enter China multiple times during the validity of the card for a stay of no more than 2 months each time.

5) Foreigner's Permanent Residence Card Holders

6) Holders of Residence Permit for Foreigners issued by the Ministry of Public Security

Foreign citizens entering China for the purpose of study or employment or as resident foreign journalists must apply for a residence permit at local public security authorities within 30 days of entry into China. Permit holders may stay in China and enter or exit China multiple times without the need of a visa during the validity period of the permit.

7) Bilateral Agreement

Based on bilateral agreements signed or reached between China and foreign countries, foreign citizens of some countries who meet certain requirements may visit China without a visa. Please see the list of agreements on visa exemption signed between China and foreign countries for more information.

  Next page: Application Documents

 

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