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Foreign nationals planning to gain access into China mainland must apply for an entry visa through the Consulate General or the Chinese Embassy. This does not apply to Macau and Hongkong as they have their own independent border control policies. You are expected to put in your application for China Visa, 1 month before your travel date.

Hong Kong is also known as a special administrative Region (SAR) with its own entry policies in China. Over 160 countries do not require a visa to visit Hong Kong but would need one if they plan to study or work. Countries that are not part of the Hong Kong free visa will require a HK visa to gain entry.

About 66 countries are permitted to come into Macau without the use of a visa for a set period of time. A few countries are allowed to get a visa when they arrive Macau whilst other countries are obligated to apply for a Macau visa before their set travel date.

China visa types

There are about 13 different types of Chinese Visas listed and explained below;

Individual Visas

L (tourist visa)

The tourist visas also known as the L visa gives you access to travel freely to different parts of China. The L visa has a single entry, double entry and multiple entry. You are allowed to stay for a period of 30-60 days each visit. The multiple entry visa duration is 10 years for US citizens.

F (visa for exchanges and visits) Non-Commerce Visa

The F visa (non-commercial visits) are for foreign applicants coming into China for study tours, lectures, investigation, cultural and scientific exchange.

X Study Visa (X1/X2):

The Study visa are for students coming into China for studies. If you plan on studying in China for less than 6 months you can put in your application for an X2 visa or are you are staying longer than 6 months? Then an X1 visa is required.

G (transit visa)

The Chinese transit visa is also called the G visa. This visa is issued if you are a foreigner transitioning through China for a short period of time to your final destination. Travelers seems to prefer to apply for the L (Tourist Visa) since the application procedures and cost are the same with a G visa.

D (resident visa)

The D visa also called the Chinese Green card is a type of visa for foreigners' citizens who plan to permanently reside in China.

S (visa for private visits) Private Visa (S1, Long Term)

This type of visa is required if you intend to come into China to visit your spouse, parents' in-laws, son/daughter etc. The S1 visa is a single-entry visa and you are required to apply for a resident permit within 30 days from the date of entry.

The 10-Year China Visa

This visa type permits the holders entry into China for the period of 10 years without having to go through the whole process of re-applying for a Chinese visa every couple of months or years. if you are a citizen of Argentina, US, UK and Canada, you are eligible for this visa type.

Family Visa (Q1, Long Term) / Family Visa (Q2, Short Term)

This visa type is issued to spouses or family members of Chinese citizens or foreign citizens that are residence permit holders. the Family Visa comes in 2 forms, the Q1 long term Visa Q2 short term visa. With a Q1 visa you can stay for longer than 180 days and the Q2 visa is for less than 180 days.

Business Visas

M (business visa)

This business visa is for foreigners coming to China for business purposes. If you are a foreign applicant coming into China to trade or carry out other business activities you should apply for the M visa.

Z (work visa)

A work Visa is also called a Z visa. If you are applying for a Z visa you must be sponsored by your employer/organization where you gained employment. The Z (work visa) is only valid for the period of 30 days after your arrival. it is important to obtain a temporary residence permit for the period of your contract.

C (crew visa)/ Group Visa

The C visa or crew visa is for crew members working on board of international airlines, planes, trains, ships and vehicle drivers involved in a cross-border transportation.

J (journalist visa)

The J1 visa is issued to you, if you are a resident journalist working temporally or permanently for foreign news organization based in China.

R (talent visa)

This type of visa is explicitly issued by the Chinese government to highly qualified and skilled persons or specialist personnel needed urgently for the economic and social development of China.

Family Visa (Q1, Long Term) / Family Visa (Q2, Short Term)

This visa type is issued to spouses or family members of Chinese citizens or foreign citizens that are residence permit holders. the Family Visa comes in 2 forms, the Q1 long term Visa Q2 short term visa. With a Q1 visa you can stay for longer than 180 days and the Q2 visa is for less than 180 days.

Reiss Edwards are a specialist team of global immigration lawyers and solicitors on hand to help you go through the immigration processes with ease.

China Visa requirements

Although there are different requirements for each category of the Chinese visa, but a few requirements remain the same and generally apply to all visa types. They include:

  • An original passport with a minimum of two blank pages and six months validity.
  • A photocopy of your data page on the passport and photo page.
  • A filled China visa application form.
  • A passport photographs.
  • For Non-US applicant, a proof of legal status is required.
  • A previous Chinese visa or passport if applicable.

Please feel free to contact us to get a bespoke list particular to your visa type and the facts of your case.

China visa application form

If you are applying for a Chinese visa you will need to fill out the form online. It is important that you fill out your visa form truthfully and properly to ensure your application proceeds smoothly. The form contains specific requirements you should follow.

How to get a visa

  1. The first step is to check if you need a Chinese visa or not.
  2. You have to find out what visa type you need that applies to your situation. For instance, if you plan on going for a vacation to China you will have to apply for the L visa (Tourist Visa)
  3. You have to ensure all the required documents are in order and according to the China visa type you are applying for.
  4. Submit Your application.
  5. Pay your visa fee and collect your visa. The visa fee varies depending on your nationality and the number of entries.

Note: The service processing time for China Visa is 4 days and the express service takes 2days. The express service for getting a visa is only granted if there an emergency.

China visa cost

The cost of a Chinese visa differs according to your nationality, number of entries required and if you want a regular or an express service.

How we can help

We are a team of professional immigration solicitors, specialized in assisting clients with migrating to China for study, work, business or leisure. Our immigration specialists are happy to assist you every step of the way. Feel free to contact us today for a free assessment.

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