Chinese Visa Guide

Chinese Visa Guide

请点击看中文版的签证简介

What is a Visa and why do I need it?

For most U.S. citizens, traveling abroad simply requires a valid U.S. passport. However, China and the U.S. have a bilateral agreement that requires each countries’ citizens to obtain a Visa before visiting. A Visa is simply a conditional authorization granted by a country to a foreigner that allows the foreigner to enter, remain within, study, work or to leave that country. There is a Visa exempt rule for U.S. citizens and 44 other countries citizens if you are staying less than 72 hours or transiting through China. For more information on this, please click Visa exempt into China.

How do I determine which Visa I need?

The following categories are the types of Visa and categories

Visa Category Description of Visa
C-Crew Visa 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
D-Reside Visa Issued to those who intend to reside in China permanently. You must apply in  person. Please visit consulate website for information.
F-Educational Business

F-Educational Activities

Issued to those who intend to go to China for educational exchanges, visits, study tours and other educational activities. Usually invitee who present college or university invitations will be granted this visa or summer/winter camp attendees.
G Issued to those who intend to transit through China and stay in the airport over 24 hours. Currently direct transit travelers with a confirmed airline ticket do not need a transit visa.
J1-Forign Journalists Issued to resident foreign journalists of foreign news organizations stationed in China. The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days.
J2-Foreign Journalists 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-Tourist Visa Issued to those who intend to go to China as a tourist.
M-Business Visa 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. You must apply in person
Q2- Family Visa 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 have high-level talents or whose skills are urgently needed in China. R visa’s criteria changes every year, please call us to inquire if you fit the qualification for R visa.
S1- Relatives Long Term Visa Issued to those who intend to go to China to visit 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- Short Term X and Z Relatives Visa 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.

 

X1-Student Issued to those who intend to study in China for a period of more than 180 days.
X2-Student Issued to those who intend to study in China for a period of no more than 180 days.
Z-Work Visa Issued to those who intend to work in China.

What is duration of stay, validity and entries?

Duration of stay – How long you can stay in China after you enter. Visas are usually granted with 10, 30, 60, 90, 120, and max of 180 days. Some other duration of stay might be granted as well. For example, if you are granted 30 days of stay, and you enter China on Jan 1 2018, then you must leave before or on Feb 1 2018. You are only allowed to stay in China for a max of 30 days. Currently U.S. citizens can request a max of 180 days of stay, but it is at the Consulate’s discretion to grant that.

Validity – Validity is how long the visa is valid for. Visas are usually valid for 3 months, 6 months, 12 months and up to 10 years. On your visa, the enter on or before date is the valid visa date. The visa is valid to that date which means that you can enter China before or on that date. It is legal under China immigration and custom laws to exit China even if your visa expires as long as you exit within your granted duration.

Entries – Entries is how many times you can enter China. Visas usually have single – meaning you can enter China once and that visa is invalid after, double – meaning you can enter China twice, and multiple – meaning you can enter China as many times as you like. U.S. passport holders are usually granted multiple entries (some exceptions apply).

For non-US passport holders, to determine how many entries you need is based on how many times you believe you will need to go to China within a period.

What is the visa exemption rule and how do I tell if I need a Visa to enter China?

We always recommend you to check with your airline, cruise company or tour group on the Visa rules before purchasing a ticket. If you have any questions, please contact us. You can click here to read about Visa Exemption.

What is a Q1 visa and how do I apply for one?

For information on Q1 visa, please see our Q1 and Q2 visas and application for Q1 page and the process to apply for Q1.