The Tourism (L) Visa (also known as the Travel Visa), is the visa you need for travelling Chinese mainland!
This visa is relatively easy to acquire, and rarely gets rejected, meaning that almost anyone can experience the beauty of the country. With this visa, you have access to almost all parts of Chinese mainland. (Tibet requires a Tibet Entry Permit as well, etc.)
The Tourist Visa is normally issued as single-entry, with 30-days of validity. A few countries may be eligible for the special multiple-entry 10-year visa!
Good news: Travellers enter China at selected cities with China Highlights can benefit from our "Hassle-Free Visa". Provide us a photo of your passport and we will handle your visas. Click to see details.
Who Needs It?
Anyone planning to pass through China in their travels needs to obtain a Chinese visa, but with two exceptions:
- You are travelling with an organized tour group, and therefore will not necessarily require an individual visa in your passport, and instead will have a shared group-visa handled by the travel agency.
- You are eligible to utilize the visa-free transit method, and plan to travel within its limitations.
If you are travelling independently and want to explore more locations in China in a care-free manner, you will need to apply for the Tourist Visa yourself.
How to Apply?
Step 1: Prepare All the Necessary Documents
As with any type of Chinese visa, there are specific documents that need to be handed over during application.
As the Tourist Visa is probably the easiest to apply for, there are only a few requirements:
- A valid passport with at least 6 months left, and at least one empty visa-page left.
- Photocopies of the passport main-information page, and other pages containing any previous Chinese visas or entry-stamps.
- 2 x recent passport-style photos
- Flight/Hotel Bookings and Itinerary OR Invitation Letter
You will be required to present either a full itinerary including all the hotel reservations, and round-trip flight bookings, or present an invitation letter. For more details on this requirement, click here. For either option, it is a good idea to also have a typed-out itinerary or general travel plan, including times and locations of your proposed trip.
- Finally, a filled out China visa application form (which can be downloaded from the Chinese embassy website or from our website). This form should be fully filled-in in advance (typed and printed), and with no fields left empty (type “n/a” if not applicable).
Once you have all of these documents ready, you may continue in the application process.
Step 2: Submit the Application
Gather all your prepared documents (preferably in an organized file/folder), and head over to the nearest Chinese Embassy, Consulate, or Chinese Visa Application Service Center (CVASC).
Some countries’ citizens may be allowed to mail-in submissions, or to send an agent to submit the application on their behalf. Normally, however, it is best to do submissions in-person, as consular officers may want to ask questions about the trip. As of 2018, citizens of some countries are required to be present during in the application for biometric finger-print collection.
Be sure to check with your local Chinese Embassy/Consulate regarding the submission times and other specifications, as they are always country-specific!
Step 3: Wait, Pickup and Pay
If you have submitted all of the requirements successfully, then your visa is most-likely on the way! You will leave your passport at the consulate/embassy and pick it up on the assigned date (usually within a week), depending on the type of processing service you use. Click here for full information on China visa processing time
On the pickup date, you may head over to the same location where you applied, and pickup your passport with the Chinese visa. The fees for the visa are usually paid on the pickup date.
China Visa Costs
The cost for obtaining a Chinese visa depends on many things, such as your nationality, and the type of processing service you choose. Visa costs are usually calculated based on number of entries, and duration of validity of the visa. The specific costs can normally be found on the official Chinese consular website of your country, but in any case, always come prepared with extra cash during application.
For more information regarding China visa costs, click here!
Extending Your Visa
Congratulations! You now have your Chinese Travel Visa, and are ready to embark on your amazing journey. Many travelers going to China find that the 30-day visa may not be enough to see all the magnificent sites China has to offer, and may want to extend their stay a little more. In that case, extending your travel visa from within China is an option.
Head over to the local Entry and Exit Administration Bureau (available in any major city) at least 7-days before the expiration date of your current visa. You will need the same set of documents provided in the original application, plus a temporary-residence registration form which will be obtained during your visit to China.
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