What is a China visa?
A China Visa is a travel authorization required by China which is placed in your passport. The visa is a permission issued by a Chinese Embassies or consulate which allows the passport holder to enter the country legally.
Who needs a China visa?
All visitors traveling to mainland China, whether for business or pleasure, require a visa. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the duration of your intended stay. Visas are issued through Chinese embassies and consulates overseas. It's very difficult to obtain a China visa at the Chinese border entry points. However some cities and regions of China are visa free...
What are the visa exemptions?
Tourists holding ordinary passports of Singapore, Brunei and Japan are allowed to enter China for up to 15 days without visas. The travel purpose can be for tourism or family/friends visits.
The Guangdong Convenience Visa
Foreign tourists holding a visa for Hong Kong and Macau can enter and stay in Guangdong province for up to 6 days using a 144-hour Convenience Visa. Valid entry ports are in the following cities: Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing, Huizhou and Shantou.
144-hour Convenience Visa Requirements
- Applicants must join a tour organized by a registered Hong Kong Travel Agent or Macau Travel Agent.
- Applicants must travel in a group consisting of a minimum 3 persons and a maximum of 40 persons.
- Applicants must hold a single citizenship passport; dual citizenship passport holders are not allowed.
- Applicants must enter and leave Guangdong together via one of the valid ports of entry or exit in Guangdong Province.
- Applicants should enter and leave via the same port (unless absolutely necessary) to avoid complicating procedures.
- Applicants must each provide a scan of their passport photo page.
Choosing an Entry/Exit Port
Choosing the right port of entry and exit is very important to ensure a smooth trip. The following are several recommended ports of entry or exit for Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Zhuhai from Hong Kong or Macau, via which we have successfully arranged trips for our customers.
- Visit Shenzhen from Hong Kong or Macau:Lo Wu Control Point or Shekou Port respectively
- Visit Guangzhou from Hong Kong:Guangzhou East Station (广州东站) and Guangzhou Louts Hill Port (广州莲花山码头)
- Visit Guangzhoufrom Macau:Gongbei Port
- Visit Zhuhai from Macau: Gongbei Port or Hengqin Port.
How long is a visa valid for?
Different visas have different validity. Single-entry China visas are usually valid for 3 months after the issue date, and will permit you to stay in China for a maximum of 30 days. This visa will allow you to travel as a tourist or conduct general business activities. Most people need only to apply for a single-entry, however double or multiple entry visas would be required if you frequently travel between mainland China and Hong Kong or Macau or Taiwan on the same tour.
What do I need for a visa application?
- Passport (original, not a copy) with at least one blank visa page (amendment pages and pages with bar codes are not acceptable for visa stamping). The validity of passport: for single entry visa, your passport should be valid for at least 6 months; for double-entry or multiple-entry (six-month) visas, your passport should be valid for at least 9 months; for one year multiple-entry visa, your passport should be valid for at least 15 months.
- One completed, signed Visa Application Form for each passport, with appropriate visa fee and any supporting information required.
- Two passport photos (head and shoulders only, front view, with a white background, approximately 35mm x 45m
How do I apply for a visa?
It is usually recommended that you apply for the visa one or two months before the intended travel.
When you have the required items ready, submit the application at the visa office of China embassy/consulate-general in your country. Check out China embassy/consulate information. If you cannot go in person, you can entrust someone else to drop off the visa application, or a travel/visa agency to help handle your visa application.
For applicants holding a U.S. passport, we recommend VisaHQ, who provides a fast, efficient service at a very competitive price. Visit their website at http://www.visahq.com/
How do I extend my visa?
Foreigners who want to stay in China beyond the duration of their visa need to apply for an extension.
The visa extension application should be a form submitted to the Local Public Security Bureau 7 days before the expiration date of the visa.
Visitors traveling with a group on a group visa and who want to stay longer than the group should apply for an individual visa.
Visitors who want their visa to be extended should provide the following evidential materials:
- Valid passport and visa
- A completed application form for visa extension
- Reason for the extension
The length of the extension depends on the type of visa and multiple entry visas can not be extended.
You are advised not to overstay the duration of your visa or fail to apply for an extension before your visa expires as you risk being heavily fined and have your travel plans disrupted. Please contact your travel advisor for assistance in visa extensions.
Visa Related Topics
Tibet Travel Permit
All foreign travelers need a Tibet Travel Permit (also called Tibet Entry Permit) to visit Tibet.
Is It Possible for Foreigners to Get Married in China?
Yes, it is possible for foreigners to get married in China; one of the couple must reside in China and present a Chinese residence permit. If the couple is on L visa, it is not likely to register to get married.
I am not Chinese. Can I marry a Chinese person in China? How do I register my marriage? What are the formalities?
It is possible to marry in China if one person is of Chinese nationality. It is also suggested that you consult Chinese embassy for the most up to date information.
Step 1: Submit the required documents
The Sino-foreign couple must go together, in person to the appropriate marriage registration office and submit a completed marriage registration application form (available at the marriage registration office). The appropriate marriage registration office will be the one in the jurisdiction in which the Chinese partner is registered (the location of the hukou). Together with the application form, the couple must submit a number of other documents:
(1) A certificate of marriageability (2) A certificate of birth (3) Household registration book (hukou) (4) A health certificate (obtainable from a regional-level local hospital) (5) A letter from the parents of the Chinese partner giving permission for their child to marry a foreigner (this letter should include the index fingerprint of both parents below their signatures and date)
(1) A current passport (2) Chinese residence permit (3) A health certificate from a local hospital designated by the marriage registration office (4) Three photos of the marrying couple, taken together (5) A registration fee (6) A certificate of marriageability.
Item 6 requires further explanation. Basically, the marriage registration office needs a form from the foreign partner's home government stating he/she is not already married in his/her home country. Every foreign government has its own version of this type of form with its own requirements for obtaining one. Couples will need to check the embassy website of the foreign partner's home country in China for details on how to obtain this kind of certification. (Chinese translations must accompany foreign-language documents.)
Note: Application requirements may vary from office to office. When an individual visits the appropriate marriage registration office to pick up an application form and find out which local hospital(s) the foreign partner must receive a check-up at, he/she should also check to see if the office's requirements differ from those listed here.
Step 2: Wait for the good news
It takes the marriage registration office about an hour or so to review the submitted documents and approve the application.
Step 3: Once the marriage registration office approves the application and registers the marriage, it will issue a marriage certificate to be picked up by the couple.
More Visa and Passport FAQs
- What are the Methods of obtaining a China Visa?
- How to get an invitation letter from your company for my visa application?
- What type of visa do I need? Should I apply for special visa when leaving and re-entering mainland China?
- What do you mean by passport photo?
- What should I do if I lose my passport during my stay in China?
- Should I apply for visa now, or should we wait until we are closer to the time of travel?
- What type of visa should I apply for my group? A group visa or individual visa?
- Hong Kong visa free list for foreign countries?
- How Do I Get Visa For A Visit To Shenzhen Special Economic Zone?
I updated this article on January 14, 2014
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