China Business Visa (m) Cost and Application Requirements
If you are planning to visit China in 2021, you will need to plan ahead and ensure you have the necessary visa clearance. China, like most countries, has a complex immigration system offering a wide range of visas catering for differing circumstances and requirements. In this article, we will take a closer look at the China Business ‘M’ Visa, including the application requirements and process.
Who Is The China Business ‘M’ Visa For?
The ‘M’ visa is for individuals who wish to go to China for the purposes of commercial and trade activities. This would be suitable for those who need to attend a business trade fair, meet with clients, and visit suppliers and factories. It is important to note that if you are planning to travel to China to work for a long period, you will need to apply for a ‘Z’ visa (a Chinese work visa).
How Do I Apply For An ‘M’ Visa For China?
There are several steps involved in applying for a Chinese Business ‘M’ visa, as follows:
1. Navigate to the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre’s website, and select the UK, and then the relevant city – this will bring you to the homepage for the Chinese visa application centre in the UK.
2. Enter the ‘Quick Access’ section from the homepage, and then select the ‘Online Application Form’ to fill in your application form online. The online application form will require you to upload a recent standard photograph.
4. After filling in the application, print out the completed form, and then sign on the 1st and the 8th page.
5. Once you have completed the application form, enter the ‘Online Appointment’ section, fill in the application form number, which is automatically generated. You can then choose a time slot for an appointment booking at the visa application service centre. The system will automatically send you a confirmation email. Print the confirmation email out or screenshot the appointment time information and show your appointment when you arrive at the Visa Centre.
The current guidance states, “As of 1st Nov. 2018, applicants who are aged between 14 to 70 inclusive applying for Chinese visas are required to submit the application in person to get fingerprints and photo taken at the Visa Application Centres…. The Centre can't accept any application without an appointment. An on-line appointment must be booked before you come to the Chinese Visa Application Centre to submit your application”.
It is recommended that you apply for an ‘M’ visa at least one month prior to your date of intended travel. This will allow plenty of time for your visa to be processed. You can apply even earlier, but no more than three months before your trip.
Which Documents Will I Need To Provide When Applying For An ‘M’ Visa?
When applying for an ‘M’ visa, you will need to provide an invitation letter from one of your trade partners in China, or from an official of a trade fair you will be attending. This letter will need to contain the following:
- Information on the applicant (full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)
- Information on the planned visit (purpose of visit, arrival and departure dates, place(s) to be visited, relations between the applicant and the inviting entity or individual, financial source for expenditures)
- Information on the inviting entity or individual (name, contact telephone number, address, official stamp, the signature of the legal representative or the inviting individual)
In addition, you will need to provide:
- Passport: this needs to be your original passport with at least six months of remaining validity and blank visa pages, and a photocopy of the biodata page.
- Visa Application Form and Photo: your completed Visa Application Form attached with a recently-taken colour passport photo against a light background.
- The original and a photocopy of a valid British visa or other proof of legal stay, residence, employment or study in the UK.
- Photocopy of previous Chinese passports or previous Chinese visas (for foreign nationals who once held Chinese nationality)
What Will Happen At My Visa Application Centre Appointment?
When you arrive, you will be asked to show your appointment confirmation, application form, passport, and other supporting documents. Your photo will then be taken while your passport is being scanned, and you will be given a queue number. Once your number is called, you will then be asked to provide your application at the counter after. Your fingerprints will also be scanned. If an interview is required (you will be advised if this is necessary), you will be able to arrange a time for this at a Chinese Embassy. If necessary you can also have your passport returned by post; the guidance states, “If you request to have the passports returned by post while lodging the application at the counter, you must make the payment of visa fee and service fee right after your application is accepted. Please also provide a prepaid, traceable envelope with assigned receiving address when submitting (extra charge will occur if the visa centre provides you with the envelope)”.
At this stage, if your visa application is approved, you will be given a pickup letter to collect your passport and visa.
Visa application centre appointments are 30 minutes in duration, and the peak hours are typically between 10 am and 1 pm.
The process of applying for an ‘M’ visa is relatively straightforward. It is always important to follow the rules and guidance provided by the Chinese Embassy and the visa application centre. It is also highly advisable to double-check your passport and visa when you receive/collect it to ensure that it contains the correct name, birth date, passport number, and duration of stay. If there are any mistakes at all, advise your local visa application centre office who will make the necessary corrections. The risk of not checking and requesting an amended visa is that you may be refused entry when you arrive in China.