Passport and Visa
Before your travel to China, some essential documents and procedures should be fulfilled.
Chinese government requires that your passport must be valid for at least six months after the expiry date of your visa.
You'll need at least one-entire blank page in your passport for the visa. Your country's embassy or consulate can usually add additional pages to your passport if need be.
Losing your passport is very bad news indeed. Getting a new one takes time and money. However, if you will be staying in China or any foreign country - for a long time, it helps tremendously to register your passport with your embassy. This will eliminate the need to send telexes back to your home country to confirm that you really exist.
If you lose your passport, you should certainly have some ID card with your photo many embassies require this before issuing a new passport. Some embassies will accept a driver's license, but others will not - an expired passport will often save the day.
What do you need before your travel to China?
All travelers to China are required to hold a valid visa. If travel in group, the visa will be kept by the accompanying guide and for individual traveler, visa, which is insert into the passport, should be kept by himself.
Passports are also needed as it will be the prime means of identification. You will have to show them when you cash travelers checks, make plane or train reservations, exchange money or establish the holder's identity.
A Brief Introduction to Chinese Visa
Chinese visa is a permit issued by the Chinese visa authorities to those foreigners who want to enter into, exit from or transit through the Chinese territory. According to the applicants' identity, visiting purpose and passport type, the Chinese visa falls into four categories, namely, diplomatic, courtesy, service and ordinary visas.
The ordinary visa consists of nine sub-categories, which are respectively marked with Chinese phonetic letters F, L, Z, X, C, J-1, J-2, G, and D.
Visit / Business Visa (F): Issued to those foreigners who are invited to China for visit, research, lecture, business, scientific-technological and cultural exchanges or short-term advanced studies or intern practice for a period of less than six months.
Tourism Visa (L): Issued to those who enter China temporarily for touring, family visiting or other personal affairs (multiple-entry is not granted for this category).
Working Visa (Z): Issued to foreigners who are to take up a post or employment in China, and their accompanying family members.
Study / Student Visa (X): Issued to those who come to China for study or intern practice for a period of six months or above.
Crewmember Visa (C): Issued to crewmembers on international aviation, navigation and land transportation missions and their accompanying family members.
Journalist Visa (J-1): This visa is for journalists who are posted to China for at least one year.
Journalist Visa (J-2): Issued to foreign correspondents on temporary interview mission in China.
Transit Visa (G): Issued to those who transit through China.
Residence Visa (D): Issued to people who are going to live in China permanently.
The Chinese visa authorities overseas include Chinese embassies, consulates, visa offices, and the consular department of the office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China. If a foreigner intends to enter into, exit from or transit through the Chinese territory, he shall apply to the above-mentioned Chinese visa authorities for a Chinese visa. For further information, please consult the nearest Chinese visa authorities.
Detailed information of Chinese visa
Visa Categories Entries of Visas Validity Duration of Stay
Journalist Visa (J-1) Single 3 months /
Journalist Visa (J-2) Single / /
Study / Student Visa (X) Single 3 months /
Residence Visa (D) Single 3 months /
Tourist Visa (L) Single / Double 3 months 1-60 days
Crewmember Visa (C) Single / Double 3 months 1- 30 days
Transit Visa (G) Single / Double 3 months 7 days
Visit / Business Visa (F) Single / Double / Multiple 3 months 6 / 12 months 1-60 days
Basic Requirements for Applying for a Chinese Visa
When applying for a visa, foreigners are required to present relevant documents and go through the following formalities:
----Your original valid passport with at least 2 blank visa pages and six months validity left before expiration
----one fully completed visa application form with your passport photo attached
----Sometimes, documents which explain and prove your reason to enter China are needed for visa application
All the incomplete and false information in the visa application form would lead to the failure of application. And all the consequences arising therefore shall be born by the applicant himself.
How to apply for a tourist visa?
Traveling in China requires a tourism visa (L). L Visa is sub-divided into two kinds: group visa and individual visa. If you are a part of a group, the tour operator will often obtain it. Group visas will usually be issued for groups with at least 5, and the guide accompanying your group will keep the visas.
An Individual traveler can apply for one at any Chinese embassy or consulates, and the procedure is usually straightforward. China has its embassies and consulates in most western and many other countries. You can either get an application form in person at the embassy or consulate or download one by visiting the website of Chinese embassies in the foreign countries.
After fully and accurately completed your application, you submit it to the nearest Chinese consulate and embassies, either in person or by mail. A standard 30-day, single-entry visa from most Chinese embassies abroad can be issued in three to five working days. Rush processing of 24 hours issue or same-day is also available (additional Embassy fee applies).
When apply for a tourism visa, some extra documents are required sometimes besides the basic requirements:
1) For individual tourism visa, a letter of confirmation of the tour arrangement made by a travel agency in China or letter of reservation of hotel in China is required
2) For group tourist visas, a confirmation letter from a provincial tourist bureau or a government-authorized Chinese travel agency; a name list of the whole group in triplicate and one copy of the information page of each passport are required
Foreigners from countries which have visa agreements with China, are treated in accordance with these agreements.
Visitors who want to Tibet need to acquire the consent of the Tourism Administration of the Tibet Autonomous Region or any one of its foreign representative offices.
Foreigners requesting to visit Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Xiamen and other Special Economic Zones may apply directly to visa authorities in these zones for tourist visas. Foreign tourist groups from Hong Kong for a 72-hour visit to the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone are exempt from entry visas.
Tourist visas are usually valid for three months, but can be extended for an extra month at the Foreigners Section of the Public Security Bureau. Passports must be valid for at least six months before you travel to China.
Extension of Visa
Foreigners who want to stay in China beyond what their current visa allow need to apply for an extension to their visa with appropriate reasons.
The extension application should be made at the municipal public security bureau 7 days before the visa expires. Multiple visas cannot be extended.
Foreigners who wish to apply for extension or titleeration of visas or certificates need to provided the relevant documents:
1) A valid passport and visa as well as the documents regarding accommodation registration
2) An fully completed application form for extension or titleernation
3) Documents and papers supporting reasons for extension or titleernation
The duration of visa extension:
1) F Visa: the total extensions add up to no more than 1 year and each extension should be less than 3 months
2) L Visa: The L visa held by visitors could be extended once with the duration no more than 1 month; L visa held by family visitors could be extended three times with each duration under 3 months
3) C Visa: C visa only could be extended once with the total duration less than 7 days
Foreigners who are disallowed to extend:
1) Foreigners whose duration of stay is shortened and those whose residence right are deprived
2) Individual travelers who have no sufficient traveling expenses
3) Family visitors who has no special reason for extension when their visa expires
How to obtain business, work or student visa?
In addition to the above-mentioned documents, the followings are required:
For visitor / business visa (F), an official invitation letter or telegram with a seal and code from the Chinese Government or Government-authorized Chinese companies (institutions) is required.
For study / student visa (X), an application form for international students (JW202 or JW 201) issued by the Chinese Ministry of Education and an admission from the receiving college are required.
For working visa (Z), an employment license or a work permit or an official visa notice from authorized Chinese organizations is required.
Besides, all applicants for "Z" and "X" visa should provide a physical examination record.
How to obtain transit visa?
For transit visa (G), applicant should provide a valid visa to or from the destination or visiting country. Sometimes, an air ticket or its copy is also required.