To apply for a China visa, you need to complete an application form attached with your recently-taken color photo, prepare a valid passport, and submit them along with other supporting documents to the Chinese embassy or consulate which is in charge of your residence area. Check the step-by-step guide on how to apply for a China visa below for details.


1. Check whether you need a visa


An essential thing to do is to check whether you need a visa before starting the following process. As long as you are eligible for China’s visa-free policies, you don’t need the visa, but some documents like your passport, in and out transportation tickets and sometimes sufficient funds still need to be prepared for immigration check.


2. Check which visa you need to get


Based on your travel purpose, determine which visa you are going to get. Read China Visa Types to select one which suits you most. For tourists, the L visa is suitable.


3. Prepare all documents needed


Documents required for all types of visa include passport and visa application form attached with a recently-taken photo. Besides, other supporting documents are required, but they vary according to the visa type you are applying for. For instance, if you apply for a tourist L visa, the supporting documents will refer to round-trip tickets, hotel bookings or an invitation letter from your China travel agency. See detailed China Visa Application Requirements.


Be sure your documents meet the requirements of Chinese embassy or consulate.


Passport: with a remaining validity of at least 6 months; have blank visa pages.


Visa Application Form: truthfully completed; type-written with no blanks left.


Photo: taken within latest six months; full face against a light background; size: 48mm x 33mm; bare-headed unless for religious causes.照片:最近六个月内拍摄;浅色背景下的全脸;尺寸:48毫米x33毫米;光头,除非出于宗教原因。

4. Submit the application


Visit the Chinese embassy, consulate or Chinese Visa Application Center (CVASC) which serves your residence area. You can show up in person or ask an agent to do this for you. In some consular offices and CVASCs, mail service is also available.

访问中国大使馆、领事馆或为您的居住区服务的中国签证申请中心(CVASC)。你可以亲自来,也可以让经纪人帮你做这件事。在一些领事馆和CVASC,也提供邮件服务。The normal processing time is four working days including the day you submit the application and the day you collect. Remember there might be additional non-working days for Chinese public holidays. By paying an additional fee you can usually have your application processed faster. It is normally possible to have your application processed overnight, for collection in the following afternoon, though some offices might offer a same-day service if you arrive in the office soon after opening. In general try to apply for it well in advance to allow for any delay.正常处理时间为四个工作日,包括您提交申请之日和您领取申请之日。记住,中国的公共假日可能会有额外的非工作日。通过支付额外费用,你通常可以更快地处理你的申请。通常情况下,您可以在夜间处理申请,以便在第二天下午领取,但如果您在办公后不久到达办公室,一些办公室可能会提供当天服务。一般来说,尽量提前申请,以防延误。

5. Pay the fee and pick up your visa


Go to the place where you apply for China visa on the date appointed at the pick-up slip. Pay the fee and you will get your passport back with visa.


Best time to apply for a China visa


The best time to apply for China visa is one or two months before your departure date. Usually, a China visa is valid for only three months from the date of issue, which indicates that the earliest time you can apply is three months before your departure.


Renew and extend China visa


Usually you cannot renew and extend China visa once you are granted, but it can be done when you are in China at the local Exit and Entry Administration under the Public Security Bureau.


Apply for China visa in a third country


Sometimes you may need to get China visa while you are en route or residing in a third country. Things may get different for such cases. A proof of legal stay in the country where you apply for a China visa is usually additionally needed unless you enjoy visa-free access to the third country.