China Visa Requirements

China Visa Requirements

By Candice SongUpdate Mar.04.2021

In the past two decades, China has become one of the favorite destinations globally for travelling, business, study, or employment. Unsurprisingly, this huge demand means strict regulations in order to control the massive influx of foreigners trying to enter the country. There are many types of visas to suit every purpose, and each has a unique set of requirements needed for application.

These requirements tend to be a bit overwhelming for first-time applicants, so we at China Highlights we have gathered all the information you need.

Basic Requirements

As there are so many different types of visas, there are also many different requirements for each. No matter what visa you are applying for, however, there are four basic requirements that will always be needed:

Supporting Material

Now that the main four requirements are out of the way, let’s examine all the other requirements you may need for different visa types.

The scope of additional required documents for each type of visa varies with the purpose of your desired visit. Below you can find summaries of the requirements for each, along with links for the major visa-types that will lead you to more detailed, in-depth explanations.

Note that the following requirements are with regards to applying from your home-country. For further requirements needed when applying from other locations, scroll down to the “Applying from Abroad” header.

Travel/Tourism (L) Visa

As this visa is intended strictly for travel, you will need to provide all the documents detailing your trip. This includes travel itinerary (hotel/accommodation reservations, flight bookings, travel plan, etc.). You may also be required to provide an invitation letter

Family Reunion Visa (Q1/Q2)

A bit similar to travel visa, as the purpose of your trip does not allow for any form of business transactions or employment. This visa is aimed at foreigners seeking to visit family members (foreign or Chinese) legally residing in China. You will need to further provide:

Business Visa (M)

Non-Business Visa (F)

Study Visa (X)

Work Visa (Z)

As this is probably the most difficult China visa to acquire, it will require the biggest amount of supporting material, and may take significantly longer time to achieve.

In essence, on the day of application, you will only need to provide only one of the following supporting forms (which are provided by the prospective employer in China):

HOWEVER! In order to acquire most of these forms, you will first need to provide several important documents to your prospective employer, so that your Notice of Work Permit can be processed before the visa-application. Click the Work Visa (Z) title to see the full requirements.

Applying from Abroad

It is not uncommon for foreigners to apply for China visas from other countries that are not their home-countries, or even from within China. Many foreigners, for example, choose to go to Hong Kong for a China “visa-run”.

Be advised that applying for visas from any country that is not your own, although possible, will drastically decrease the chance of approval, and can many times be declined. There is a lot of ambiguity concerning this issue, and many factors come into play, such as your nationality, the third-country you are applying from, and your visa status in that country.

Applying from China

There are some options of transferring specific visa types to other ones within China (depending on circumstances). For this, you will be required to bring an original and photocopy of your Temporary/Permanent Residence Permit Form. You may need any other additional forms documenting the purpose of your current stay.

Applying from a Third Country

Any visa, permit, or other proof of legal stay you have in the third-country will be needed, and you may also be required to have a self-written (printed) explanation of the reason for your application from the specific third-country.

Further Tips

China visa applications can be very strict at times, and there are many applicants who find this out the hard way. It is therefore crucial to be prepared and have a lot of foresight. Below are some extra tips to help you pass the application smoothly.

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