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.
How long is a visa valid for?
There are several types of visas with 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?
1. Passport (original, not a copy), which must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of travel, with at least one blank visa page (amendment pages and pages with bar codes are not acceptable for visa stamping).
2. One completed, signed Visa Application Form for each passport, with appropriate visa fee and any supporting information required.
3. Two passport photos (head and shoulders only, front view, with a white background, approximately 35mm x 45mm).
How do I apply for a visa?
It is highly 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/
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 purposes can be for tourism, family or friends visits.
Foreign tourists from countries that require a visa for Hong Kong and Macau and who hold that visa are able to visit Guangdong province using a 144-hour Convenient Visa to stay for up to 6 days. The entry ports are in the following cities - Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing, Huizhou and Shantou.
Tourists holding ordinary visas from the following countries are allowed to enter Hainan for no more than 15 days without a visa: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kazakstan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Singapore, Thailand, USA and Ukraine. A tour group should be with at least 5 people. Tour groups from South Korea, Germany and Russia can stay up to 21 days, and two people can be regarded as a group. The visa should be processed through local registered agencies.
How do I extend my visa?
Foreigners who want to stay in China longer than 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:
1. Valid passport and visa
2. A completed application form for visa extension
3. Reason for the extension
There is one important thing you have to pay attention that 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.