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Frequently Asked Questions


1. [Visa Exemption] Do I need a visa to visit mainland China?

Generally, foreign nationals need to have a valid visa to visit mainland China.

U.S nationals to visit mainland China are generally required to apply for a visa before their entry.

Foreign nationals who meet one of the following conditions, may need not apply for a visa:

1) If you meet the requirements of visa free agreement between China and your country. You may not need a visa. Please click here for the list of agreements. If you need more details of the agreement, please be suggested to check with relevant authorities of your country.

2) Visa free transit:

24-hour-transit visa free: you need no visa if you plan to transit via China to another country or region and meets all the requirements below: you transit to a third country or region via China within 24 hours; you will stay inside an international airport, seaport or train station without entering through border control; you have a ticket for connecting flight, train or ship to the third country or region.

72-hour-transit visa free: Please click here.

144-hour-transit visa free: Please click here.

Visa free transit policy is managed by State Immigration Administration, please contact relevant Stations of Immigration Inspection for further questions.

3) Other visa free conditions:

Holders of valid Foreigner's Permanent Residence Card of the People's Republic of China

Holder of valid Residence Permit for Foreigners issued by Public Security Bureau. Visa holders of D,Q1,J1,S1,X1 and Z visas must apply for a residence permit at local public security authorities within 30 days after entry. Residence Permit holders may stay in China and enter or exit China for multiple times without another additional visa during the validity period of the permit.

APEC Business Travel Card Holders: If you have a valid APEC Business Travel Card printed with CHN on the back, you need not apply for a China visa within its validity. Please contact APEC Business Card authorities of your country for further questions.

Holders of passports issued by countries which has diplomatic relations with China, if you are currently in Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR, and you will join an organized pleasure tour by a registered travel agency in Hong Kong or Macau, you need not apply for a visa and can visit the Pearl River Delta Area for up to 6 days. The Area includes Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuahai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing and Huizhou. Please contact your travel agency for further questions.

Holders of ordinary passports issued by the following countries, if you will join an organized tour by a certified travel agency to visit Hainan Province, you need no visa and can stay in Hainan for up to 15 days: USA, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, Germany, UK, France, Austria, Italy, Russia, Swiss, Sweden, Spain, Netherland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Demark, Norway, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Japan, Singapore. Please contact your travel agency for further questions.

Passport holders of Singapore, Brunei, and Japan to visit China for tour, business or family visit through open ports, need no visa and can stay in China for up to 15 days.

Passport holders of Tango and Ecuador to visit China need no visa and can stay in China  for up to 30 days,

Passport holders of the 10 ASEAN countries, if you will join an organized tour by travel agencies certified by Guilin Tourism Bureau of Guangxi, you need not apply for a visa to visit Guilin and can stay there for up to 6 days.

If you are not sure whether you meet any visa free requirements, you are highly recommended to apply for a visa before your departure.

2. [No visa on arrival arrangement for US nationals] I am an US national, must I apply for a visa in advance? Can I apply for visa on arrival?

America nationals who meet one of the above-mentioned visa free requirements, may not need a visa to visit China. Otherwise, you must have a valid visa. US nationals are not permitted to apply for a visa on arrival. Otherwise, you will be refused to enter China.

3. [No visa renewal] I have a valid visa, but my travel plan has been changed, can I renew my visa?

Once a visa is approved and issued, it cannot be changed. Visas cannot be renewed and visa fees are not refundable.

If your purpose to China is changed, you may apply for a new visa, and your previous visa will be canceled without refund.

If you are currently in China, you should contact relevant Immigration authorities in China.

4. [A new passport] I have got a new passport but my valid visa is in my previous passport. Can I use the two passports to enter China?

If your personal data such as your name, sex, date of birth, nationality in your new passport remain the same as your previous passport and the purpose of your next tour to China remains the same as permitted in your previous visa, you may use the two passports together to enter China. You need not apply for a new visa with the new passport.

If any information mentioned above is changed, you must apply and pay for a new visa with your new passport and your previous visa will be cancelled without refund.

5. [Visa and entry] If I have a valid China visa, are you sure I can enter China without any issue?

Not necessarily. A visa does not mean you can surely be permitted to enter China. Chinese immigration authorities will make the final decision to let you in or not in accordance with Chinese laws and regulations.

6. [Who decides] Why the entries, category, validity and duration of stay of my visa are different from what I applied for?

Consuls make the decision of whether to issue a visa and the category, validity entries permitted and duration of each stay of a visa. The decision of a visa by consuls are final decision.

7. [Visa details] How to read details on my visa?


1)   "Enter Before" (Validity) means the date before which it can be used to enter China. If a visa has unused entries left, the bearer can enter China before 24:00 (Beijing Time) of the expiration date.

2) "Entries" refers to the number of entries permitted to enter Mainland China during the validity of a visa.

A visa becomes invalid if there are no entries left, or if there are entries left but the visa validity expires. If a visa becomes invalid, a new visa should be applied for your next trip. Traveling with an invalid visa to China will result in refusal of entry.

Please be noticed that if you come out from the Mainland to the Hong Kong SAR, and then back to the Mainland, you should apply for a 2-entry visa for both the first and second entry.

3)"Duration of Each Stay" refers to the maximum number of days permitted to stay in China each time, which is calculated from the next day of your entry.

A foreign citizen who overstays the duration of each stay, without going through extension formalities is subject to fines and other penalties for violation of the laws and regulations of China. If you will to stay in China longer than the duration of stay permitted on the visa, approval must be obtained from local immigration authorities above the county level before the duration of stay expires. Approval of an extension of stay may or may not be granted. Visas cannot be renewed by Chinese Embassies and Consulates overseas.

D, Q1, J1, S1, X1 and Z visa holders must apply for a residence permit at the immigration authorities within 30 days after your entry.

Members of foreign diplomatic or consular missions in China must apply for a residence permit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or local foreign affairs offices within 30 days after your entry.

8. [Where and how] Where to apply for a visa? Must I appear in person to apply for or collect my visa?

Visa applications are required to be submitted to Chinese Embassy or relevant Chinese Consulate General in accordance with their consular jurisdictions based on your State of residence. Otherwise, your application may be denied.

Visa application may be submitted in person by the applicant or someone else with the passport and all supporting documents (No additional power of attorney is required). Applicant should appear in person for an interview if demanded by Chinese Embassy or relevant Chinese Consulate General.

9. [No appointment] Should I or can I make an appointment to submit my application?

No appointment service is provided and requested. Just walk in to submit your application during our working hours with all required documents.

10. [No mail service] Can I mail my documents to the Consulate or is there any mail back service?

No. We do not offer mail-in and mail back service for all visa applicants.

You or someone else or a visa agent to submit the applications, pay and pick up the visa for you.

11. [Step by step guide] How to hand over and pick up my visa?

Please click here to check Tips to Apply for China Visa and Step by Step Guide to China Visa.

12. [How long to process] How long to process a visa? When should I submit my application?

Regularly, it takes 4 working days to approve and process your visa. In some specific conditions, it may take longer than 4 working days and you will be informed when your application is submitted. Applicants are suggested to submit visa application within 1 months before your intended departure date.

It's at your risk to pay for your air ticket before you have a valid visa. Visas are generally valid from 3 months to 10 years.

13. [Rush service] Do you offer rush service?

Yes but it should be approved by consuls and extra rush service fee should also be paid. In some specific conditions, rush service may not be approved.

14. [Visa fee] How much is the visa fee? How to pay?

Please click here for details of visa fee and payment.

No more fees other than the listed fee will be charged by the Chinese Embassy or Consulate General.

15. [Pickup slip lost] If I lost my pickup slip, how can I do?

Passport with your visa can be collected by anyone with the original pickup slip. It's at your risk if you lost your pickup slip. For the safety of your passport and visa, applicant must appear in person to pick up and present a photo ID with your name, date of birth.

16. [Application documents] What documents should I prepare for a China visa?

Please click here to select a proper visa for your visit and learn about detailed requirements of visas. On a case by case basis, more supporting documents may be requested.

17. [Requirements] Are there any specific requirements for passport, visa application form and photo?

Passport should be authentic, clean and clear without any fouling.

Visa application form should be completely, truthfully typed in with computer and signed by applicant. Forms of applicant under 18-year-old should be signed by parents or lawful guardian.

Please click here for specific requirements for visa photo.

18. [Invitation letter] Are there any specific requirements for invitation letter?

Invitation letter may be in form of fax, copy. Original letter should be presented if demanded by consuls. It should be signed by the invitee or comes with the seal of the inviting company or unit in China. All the details of Invitation letters should be truthful.

19. [No physical examination] Do I need a physical examination?

No. No physical examination is required for visa applications. Please just follow instructions on our website.

20. [Privacy] Can I check detailed information of visas of other people?


21. [Passport lost] I lost my passport along with my visa in China, how should I do?

Report to local police office,

Apply for a new passport from US embassy or Consulate General in China,

Apply for a new visa, resident permit or exit documents from local immigration authorities.

22. [Apply for visa while in China] I'm currently in China, but my visa is becoming invalid soon. Can I mail my passport to my friend in U.S. and apply for a new visa from Chinese Embassy or Consulate General?

No. Visa applicant should not be located in mainland China while the application is submitted to a Chinese Embassy or Consulate General.

You may apply for visa renewal from local Public Security Bureau. Otherwise, you should exit from China and then apply for a new visa.

23. [Hong Kong and Macau visa] How to apply for a visa to visit Hong Kong SAR or Macau SAR?

Please click here for Hong Kong visa and here for Macau visa.

24. [Visit the inland and Hong Kong] After my visit to Guangzhou, I plan to visit Hong Kong. What visas should I apply for?

You should apply for a visa to visit mainland China and another visa for the Hong Kong SAR.

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