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How to Apply For an M (Business) Visa for China

Here, we explain how to apply for a Business/Trade visa for China, also referred to as an ‘M’ visa, the eligibility rules, and how to apply. For expert assistance with your immigration matter, contact Reiss Edwards, immigration lawyers, and solicitors in London.

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The economy in China is thriving, with international trade at an all-time high. Businesses from around the world have interests in China, whether they are buying or selling goods, providing services, or have offices within China. For this reason, each year, many thousands of business people travel to China for commercial and trade reasons. Due to the large demand for entry to China by foreign business people, the Chinese immigration authorities have made the process of securing a visa efficient and straightforward. If you will be travelling to China for business in the near future, it is essential that you choose the correct entry visa for your needs. Here, we explain how to apply for a Business/Trade visa for China, also referred to as an ‘M’ visa, the eligibility rules, and how to apply.

What is an M visa for China?

The Chinese M visa is specifically designed to enable foreign business people to travel to China for the purposes of carrying out a business or trade activity. This may including having a factory tour, purchasing products, attending a trade fair, taking clients to visit premises in China, attending a conference, meeting clients based in China, and signing contracts.

The M visa is issued for up to 30 days and can be used for a range of business activities, including:

  • intra-company transfers (ICT) by employees of overseas businesses with a branch or subsidiary based in China.
  • repair, installation, adjustment, disassembly, training for equipment or machinery
  • oversight activities for projects in China won by a foreign business

Am I Eligible For An M Visa For China?

To make a successful application for an M visa for China, you must:

  • Plan to carry out a business activity in China for a short duration of 90 days or less
  • Be invited by a Chinese business or trade partner, a duly authorized Chinese institute or relevant unit, or a trade fair.

Depending on which country you are from, you may not require a visa. To check if you are from a country that is visa-exempt, we recommend checking the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

If you are unsure if you are eligible for an M visa for China, speak to a lawyer specialising in Chinese immigration policy who will be able to assess this for you.

How Can I Apply For An M Visa For China?

To apply for an M visa, you will first need to complete the online visa application form and then make an appointment with your nearest Chinese Visa Application Service Center. At your appointment, you will then need to submit any documents you are required to provide and have your biometric information scanned and processed.

The documents you will need to prepare for your M visa may include:

  • Your passport – this must have at least six months of remaining validity and with at least two blank visa pages.
  • Your completed visa application form – this must be signed
  • A recent photo (colour, bare-head, full face, against a light background, 48mm x 33mm)
  • Photocopies of any previous Chinese visas (for those who have obtained Chinese visas before)
  • A business invitation letter issued by a trade partner in China, or trade fair invitation, etc. The invitation letter should contain:
    • Details of the applicant (incl. full name, gender, date of birth, passport no. etc.);
    • Details of the planned visit (incl. purpose of visit, arrival and departure dates, place(s) to be visited, the relationship between the applicant and the inviting party, details of any financial support to be provided during the stay in China) ;
    • Information of the inviting party (incl. name, contact telephone number, address, official stamp, signature of the legal representative or individual).(8) It
  • In some cases, you may need to provide evidence of your investment or business in china

If any other documents are needed, such as any tax records, proof of relationships, or proof of business interests, you will be advised of this.

If you need any assistance with your China M visa application, speak to an immigration solicitor who will be able to guide you through the process, check you are applying for the correct visa, and that the application and supporting documents submitted are correct.

What Is The Application Fee For An M Visa For China?

The application fee for an M visa for China is payable once the application is approved. The application fee will depend on which country you are applying from. The amount also depends on whether you are paying for the regular, express, or postal return service, the length of the visa, and whether it is for single or multiple entries. A schedule of fees (in pounds sterling) can be found online.

Do I Have To Make An Appointment To Apply For An M Visa For China?

It is advisable to check with your local Chinese visa application centre. In many cases, applicants are required to book an appointment and attend in person before a visa can be fully processed.

What Is The Processing Time For An M Visa For China?

The processing time for the M visa for China is as follows:

  • Regular Service applications: Visa will be ready for collection on the fourth working day
  • Express Service applications: Visa will be ready for collection on the third working day

Can I Extend My M Visa In China?

Given the short duration of the M visa, it is understandable that some visa holders need to extend their stay. In this situation, it may be possible to apply for a business visa extension at your local immigration office in China, however, this must be done no less than seven days before the M visa expires.

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