Do I need to apply for a visa to visit China (mainland)?
For entry to Hong Kong, please refer to Hong Kong Visa.
How to identify if an issued Chinese Visa is still valid?
1. Validity (enter before) of a visa is the length of period that the visa is good for, namely from the issuing date to the deadline of entering China for the bearer of the visa. Given the number of entries are sufficient, the bearer is able to enter China at anytime before 12:00am on the expiring date.
A visa becomes void once its period of validity expires regardless of whether its entries are used up or not. The visa holder should apply for a new visa if he or she intends to visit China again.
2. Entries is the number permitted to enter China during the validity of a visa. A visa becomes invalid if there is no more valid number of entries left. To use such a visa will lead to decline of entry.
3. Duration of each stay refers to the longest period of time the bearer of a visa is permitted to stay in China from the date of entry into China on each visit.
Under Chinese law, a foreign national who overstays his or her visa in China is subject to fine and other penalties. If it's necessary to stay in China longer than the duration of stay on the visa, approval must be obtained from a local public security authority above county level 30 days before the duration of stay is running out. The bearer is permitted to stay in China once the application is approved.
Under what circumstance a visa to China is exempted?
1. Direct transit
A foreign national who is transiting China by international flight is exempted from applying for a visa only give that he or she is remained in the airport not exceeding 24 hours and has valid air ticket to connect flight with confirmed seating.
Citizens holding passports issued by the following nations are not required to obtain a visa given he or she transit by Shanghai and stay up to 48 hours: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, ROK, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, US .
2. Visiting the Pearl River Delta region
Citizens holding passports issued by the nations with diplomatic relations with China is exempted from applying for a visa if he or she joins tourist group at Hong Kong and Macao organized by registered travel agencies in Hong Kong and Macao to visit the Pearl River Delta region (Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Zhaoqing, Huzhou Municipalities) for tourism and stay up to 6 days.
3. Visiting Hainan Province
Citizens holding ordinary passports issued by the following nations is exempted from applying for a visa if he or she joins international tourist group organized by any of the registered travel agencies in Hainan Province which is approved by China National Tourism Administration and stay up to 15 days: Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, U.K, U.S.
4. Nationals of Singapore, Brunei and Japan
Ordinary passport holder of Singapore, Brunei and Japan is exempted from applying for a visa if he or she visits China (mainland) for tourism, business, visiting friends and relatives and enters China by open ports to foreign nationals and stay up to 15 days.
For nationals of these three countries, a visa is requested under following circumstances:
(1) Ordinary passport holder visits China for tourism, business, visiting friends and relatives and stay for more than 15 days.
(2) Ordinary passport holder visits China for the purposes of study, work, official visit, settling down and interview.
(3) Diplomatic and Official passport holder.
5. The APEC Business Travel Card is regarded as a multiple entry visa valid for three years. With this card and relevant passport, the holder is entitled to enter China repeatedly within three years. The duration of each stay should be within 2 months.
6. The bearer of Aliens' Permanent Residence Card
Foreign nationals who visit China for the purposes of study or work and resident foreign journalists shall apply for Aliens' Residence Cards at local public security authorities within 30 days of entry into China.
Within the period of the validity of the Residence Card, the bearer is entitled to enter and exit China repeatedly without applying for another visa.
Does a child with Chinese descent who was born in the US need a visa to enter China?
Given both of or one of his/her parents are US citizens or holding a US Green Card, a child of Chinese descent who was born in the US needs a visa to visit China.
Which type of Chinese visa is eligible to me?
Tourist Visa (L Visa)
US citizens may apply for a single entry, double entry or multiple entry (valid for 6 months or 12 months) "L" Visa as needed. A Chinese-American born in China (Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau included) may apply for a multiple entry "L" Visa valid for 24 months. A Chinese citizen's spouse or children who is holding US passport may apply for a multiple entry "L" Visa valid for 24 months.
Business Visa (F Visa)
US citizens may apply for a single entry, double entry or multiple entry (valid for 6 months or 12 months) "F" Visa as needed. US citizens may apply for a Multiple Entry "F" Visa valid for 24 months, if they submit documents proving that they have made an investment in China, or have established a collaboration with a Chinese company (e.g. business license, contracts, a letter of appointment, etc.) or they have been issued "F" visa at least twice within two years, and shall submit copies of the visas.
Student Visa (X Visa)
X visa is usually valid for one entry within 3 months and with no duration of stay (that is 000 day of stay).
Holder of X visa should enter China within the validity of the visa. Holder should go through the formalities for a Residence Permit at a local public security authority within 30 days after entry into China. The period of validity of the Residence Permit is its holder's duration of stay in China.
Employment Visa (Z Visa)
Z visa is usually valid for one entry within 3 months and with no duration of stay(that is 000 day of stay). Holder of Z visa should enter China within the validity of the visa. He or she should go through the formalities for a Residence Permit at a local public security authority within 30 days after entry into China. The period of validity of the residence permit is its holder's duration of stay in China.
Crew (C) visa
Two year valid multiple entry C visas could be applied by crewmembers of Northwest, United, Continental, American, Fedex, UPS, Polar Air Cargo and Delta.
Single/double entry visas or 6 months /1 year multiple entry C visas could be issued to crewmembers of other airlines accordingly.
Resident journalist visa (J-1 visa)
J-1 visa is usually valid for one entry within 3 months and 000 duration of stay. J-1 visa holders should enter China within the validity of the visa. He or she should go through formalities for a Residence Permit at local public security authorities within 30 days after entry into China. The validity period of the residence permit is the duration of stay of the J-1 visa holder.
Visiting journalists visa (J-2 visa)
Transit Visa (G visa)
G visa is usually valid for 3 months with single or double entry and 7 days duration of stay. If there is any special requirement, the applicant may make a note on the application form, Visa Officers will make a decision based on circumstance of each case.
Resident Visa (D Visa)
D visa is valid for 6 months with single entry and 000 duration of stay. D visa holder should go through formalities for a Permanent Residence Permit at a local public security authority within 30 days after entry into China.
What documentations required for visa application?
2. Application form: One neatly completed Visa Application Form with genuine information and signature.
3. Photo: one recently-taken color photo of 2x2 square inch glued or stapled on the application form.
4. First time applicant whose former nationality was Chinese, shall write down his Chinese name in the application form and submit his original Chinese passport and the photocopy of the information page of the passport; if the name in the new passport is different from that in the old one, official document for name change should be provided; applicant who was formerly Chinese and has acquired a new US passport, if there is a Chinese visa in the old passport, shall submit his old US passport or the photocopy of the Chinese visa.
5. A child with Chinese descent born in US applying for Chinese a visa, please read Documentations required for Children with Chinese descent born in the US.
6. Foreign spouse and children of a Chinese citizen who wants to apply for a Multiple Entry "L" Visa valid for 24 months are required to provide original and photocopy of relevant Marriage Certificate, Birth Certificate, Kinship Certificate or other necessary documents.
7. Non-US citizens who want to apply visa need provide the original and a photocopy of certificates for permit for residence, work, study or valid US visa.
Besides the documentations mentioned above, other documentations might be required by visa officers in order to decide whether to issue the visa case by case.