Introduction

Introduction
A visa is a travel document issued by authorized government agencies to foreign citizens applying to
enter, exit from or transit through the host country's territory based on the host country's laws and
regulations.
In accordance with international law and practice, any sovereign state is entitled to decide on whether or
not to allow a foreign citizen to enter or exit from its territory, and whether to issue a visa, decline a visa
application or to cancel an issued visa in accordance with its national laws.
Chinese consular officials are entitled to decide on the type, number of entries, validity and duration of
each stay of a visa to be issued based on Chinese laws and regulations. Consular officials reserve the
right to decline a visa application or revoke an issued visa.
1. Visa is required for a foreign citizen to visit China
Foreign citizens must obtain a Chinese visa before entry into China, with the exception of visa-free entry
based on relevant agreements or regulations.
Please check the validity of your visa before traveling to China. If the visa has expired or the number of
entries is not enough, you must apply for a new visa.
2. Visa Types
Chinese visas fall into four types: diplomatic visa, courtesy visa, service visa and ordinary visa.
Ordinary visas are further divided into the following categories:
1) A Tourist Visa (“L” Visa) is issued to a foreign citizen who comes to China for a short stay for
tourism, family visit or other personal affairs.
2) A Business Visa (“F” Visa) is issued to a foreign citizen who is invited to China for a visit, research,
lecture, business, exchanges in the fields of science, technology or culture, advanced study, or internship
for a period of no more than 6 months.
3) A Student Visa (“X” Visa) is issued to a foreign citizen who comes to China for the purpose of study,
advanced study or internship for a period of more than 6 months.
4) A Work Visa (“Z” Visa) is issued to a foreign citizen who comes to China for the purpose of
commercial performances or academic exchanges, and to his/her accompanying spouse and minor
children.
5) A Crew Visa (“C” Visa) is issued to a crew member of an international train, airliner or vessel who is
a foreign citizen and comes to China for business.
6) Journalist Visas (“J-1”,” J-2” Visa)
A J-1 Visa is issued to a resident foreign journalist in China and his/her accompanying spouse and minor
children.
A J-2 Visa is issued to a foreign journalist who visits China for temporary news coverage.
7) A Transit Visa (“G” Visa) is issued to a foreign citizen who is to transit through China on his/her way
to a third country or region and will stay at a Chinese airport for more than 24 hours or will need to
leave the airport.
8) A Permanent Resident Visa (“D” Visa) is issued to a foreign citizen who has been authorized to
reside permanently in China.
3. Validity, Number of Entries and Duration of Each Stay of Chinese Visas
1) Visa Validity ("Enter Before") means that the visa is valid, or can be used for entry into China from
the date of issue to the "Enter Before" date indicated on the visa (Beijing Time). If a visa has unused
entries, the bearer can enter China before 24:00 (Beijing Time) on the expiration date.
2) "Entries" refers to the number of times the bearer is permitted to enter China during the validity of a
visa.
A visa becomes invalid if there are no entries left, or there are entries left but the visa validity expires. If
a visa becomes invalid, its bearer must apply for a new visa before entering China. Traveling with an
invalid visa to China will result in refusal of entry.
3) "Duration of Each Stay" refers to the maximum number of days the visa bearer is permitted to stay in
China each time, which is calculated from the date of entry into China.
A foreign citizen who overstays the end date of his/her authorized stay in China without going through
extension formalities is subject to fines and other penalties for violation of the Law of the People's
Republic of China on Control of the Entry and Exit of Aliens and its Detailed Rules for Implementation.
If a visa bearer is to stay in China longer than the duration of stay allowed on the visa, approval must be
obtained from local public security authorities above the county level before the duration of stay expires.
Approval of an extension of stay may or may not be granted. Please check the website of the local public
security authorities in China for more information. Chinese Embassies and Consulates overseas are not
authorized to extend a visa.
A bearer of a Work (Z) Visa, Student (X) Visa, Permanent Resident (D) Visa, or Resident Journalist (J-1)
Visa must apply for a residence permit at the local public security authorities within 30 days of entry
into China. 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 departments within 30 days of entry into
China.
4. Visa-free Entry
A foreign citizen can enter China without a visa under any one of the following circumstances:
1) Direct Transit
A foreign citizen who is transiting through China by air is exempted from a visa if he/she will stay only
in the airport for no more than 24 hours and has a valid connecting ticket with confirmed seating on an
international flight.
Citizens holding passports issued by the following countries are exempted from a visa if transiting
through Shanghai and staying for no more than 48 hours in Shanghai. These visitors can leave the
airport but must enter and exit from China via Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport or Shanghai
Pudong International Airport: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia,
Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta,
Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain,
Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States of America.
2) Visiting the Pearl River Delta or Hainan Island
A. A foreign citizen holding an ordinary passport issued by any country with diplomatic relations with
China is exempted from a visa if he or she is already in Hong Kong or Macao and joins a tourist group
organized by a travel agency, which is registered in Hong Kong or Macao, for a visit to the Pearl River
Delta region (including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen,
Zhaoqing and Huizhou) and his/her stay is no more than 6 days.
B. A foreign citizen holding an ordinary passport issued by any of the following countries is exempted
from a visa if he or she joins a tourist group (of 5 or more persons) organized by an international travel
agency registered in Hainan with the approval of China National Tourism Administration to visit Hainan
Province and his/her stay is no more than 15 days: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France,
Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway,
Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, the U.K.,
Ukraine and the United States of America.
Citizens of Germany, Republic of Korea and Russia may join an international tourist group (of 2 or
more persons) and can stay up to 21 days.
3) Citizens of Singapore, Brunei and Japan
A citizen of Singapore, Brunei or Japan with an ordinary passport is exempted from a visa if he/she
visits China's mainland for tourism, business, or meeting with friends or relatives, and if he/she enters
China through ports open to foreigners, and stays for no more than 15 days.
However, a visa is required for citizens of these three countries under any of the following
circumstances:
A. An ordinary passport holder visits China for tourism, business, or meeting with friends or relatives,
and stays for more than 15 days.
B. An ordinary passport holder visits China for the purpose of study, work, permanent residency, official
visits and news coverage.
C. A Japanese citizen travels with a diplomatic or official passport.
4) Holders of Valid APEC Business Travel Card
The APEC Business Travel Card is a substitute of a multiple-entry visa valid for 3 years. A card holder
who presents a valid passport whose image and biographic data exactly matches that on the APEC
Business Travel Card can enter China multiple times during the validity of the card for a stay of no more
than 2 months each time.
5) Foreigner's Permanent Residence Card Holders
6) Holders of Residence Permit for Foreigners issued by the Ministry of Public Security
Foreign citizens entering China for the purpose of study or employment or as resident foreign journalists
must apply for a residence permit at local public security authorities within 30 days of entry into China.
Permit holders may stay in China and enter or exit China multiple times without the need of a visa
during the validity period of the permit.
7) Bilateral Agreement
Based on bilateral agreements signed or reached between China and foreign countries, foreign citizens
of some countries who meet certain requirements may visit China without a visa. Please see the list of
agreements on visa exemption signed between China and foreign countries for more information.
Application Document
1. Basic Documents
1) Passport– You should submit your original passport that is valid for at least another 6 months with at
least one blank visa page and a photocopy of the passport's information/photo page.
2) Visa Application Form– You should submit the Visa Application Form of the People's Republic of
China (V2011A) which is truthfully completed and signed. You should submit the truthfully completed
and signed Supplementary Visa Application Form (V2011B) if you are seeking to work (Z Visa) or
study (X Visa) in China, if you are a citizen of a third country, or if someone else traveling with you
shares the same passport with you.
3) Photo– Please affix one color photo on the Application Form. The photo should be recent, front view,
in 48mm x33mm size without head covering.
4) Proof of U.S. Residency Status– Third country citizens need to provide the original and a photocopy
of proof of U.S. residency, work or study, proof of residency in the consular district (e.g. ID, water or
electricity bills or tenancy agreement, etc. ) or a valid U.S. visa.
5) Original Chinese Passport– First-time applicants whose former nationality was Chinese, or who were
born in China (including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan), need to submit the original Chinese passport
and a photocopy of the passport's information/photo page, and extension page (if applicable).
6) Certificate of Name Change– If the name in the new passport is different from that in the original one,
the official document issued by authorities for name change should be submitted.
7) Previous Chinese Visa– Foreign citizens who were born in China and had obtained a Chinese visa
before, when applying for visa with a new passport, should submit a photocopy of the original passport's
information/photo page and the page containing the previous Chinese visa.
2. Additional Documents
1) Business Visa ("F" Visa)
One of the following documents is required:
- An Invitation Letter of Duly Authorized Unit or a Confirmation Letter of Invitation issued by an
authorized Chinese agency;
- An invitation Letter issued by the Chinese local governments, companies, corporations and institutions
other than above-mentioned Chinese agency.
The invitation letter shall include the following items: (A) Personal information of the invitee: name,
gender, date of birth, etc. (B) Information concerning the invitee's visit to China: purpose of the visit,
date of arrival and leaving, places to visit, relationship between the applicant and the inviter, and who
will bear the cost of the applicant's accommodations in China. (C) Information of the inviter: name of
the unit, phone number, address, seal and signature of the legal representative.
* Generally, the invitation letter may be submitted as a fax, copy or printout. If necessary, the consular
officer will ask the applicant to submit the original invitation letter, or to provide some supporting and
supplementary documents, or schedule an interview.
* The application with any fake invitation letter or other fraud will be rejected.
* According to China-U.S. Agreement on Mutual Granting of Multiple-Entry Visas Valid for One Year
to Business and Tourist Travelers, the U.S. citizens may apply for a single-entry or double-entry, or a
multiple-entry "F"/"L" visa valid for half a year or one year.
*The U.S. citizen may apply for a multiple-entry "F" visa valid for two years, if he or she has obtained
an "F" visa at least twice in the past two years or holds such documents as certificate of investment or
business licence, and he or she should provide a photocopy of the original "F" visas or photocopy of the
above-mentioned document.
*The Chinese citizens' spouses and children with American nationality, as well as the Chinese American
born in China (including Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau) and their spouses and children, are eligible to
apply for a long-term valid "F" visa with multiple-entries. The applicant is required to provide an
invitation letter from the relatives in China and copy of the official ID of the relative, and if applicable,
marriage certificate, birth certificate and proof of filial relationship.
* In accordance with the specific application, the consular officer decides to issue visas with different
validity, number of entries and duration of stay in China.
2) Tourist Visa (“L” Visa)
One of the following documents is required:
- An Invitation Letter for Tourist Group of Invitation Letter for Tourist by a Duly Authorized Tourism
Unit;
- An Invitation Letter issued by companies, corporations, institutions and individuals in China. If the
invitation letter is issued by an individual in China, the photocopy of the ID of the individual is required.
- Photocopy of the roundtrip airline ticket and hotel reservation.
The invitation letter issued by companies, corporations, institutions and individuals in China, shall
include the following items: (A) Personal information of the invitee: name, gender, date of birth, etc. (B)
Information concerning the invitee’s visit to China: purpose of the visit, date of arrival and leaving,
places to visit, relationship between the applicant and the inviter, and who will bear the cost of the
applicant's accommodations in China. (C) Information of the inviter: name of the unit or individual,
phone number, address, and if applicable, seal and signature of the legal representative.
* Generally, the invitation letter may be submitted as a fax, copy or printout. If necessary, the consular
officer will ask the applicant to submit the original invitation letter, or to provide some supporting and
supplementary documents, or schedule an interview.
* The application with any fake invitation letter or other fraud will be rejected.
* The Chinese citizens' spouses and children with American nationality, as well as the Chinese
American born in China (including Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau) and their spouses and children, are
eligible to apply for a long-term valid "L" visa with multiple-entries. The applicant is required to provide
an invitation letter from the relatives in China and copy of the official ID of the relative, and if
applicable, marriage certificate, birth certificate and proof of filial relationship.
* In accordance with the specific application, the consular officer decides to issue visas with different
validity, number of entries and duration of stay in China.
3) Student Visa (“X” Visa)
- The original and a photocopy of the school admission letter, and Foreign Student Visa Application
Form (JW201 or JW202) issued by the Chinese authorities are required. (These two documents are also
required for applicants who visit China for short-term studies/advanced studies, and stay for no more
than six months.)
*X Visa holders must apply for a residence permit at the local public security authorities within 30 days
of entry into China.
4) Work Visa (“Z” Visa)
- The original and a photocopy of an Invitation Letter by a Duly Authorized Unit, or a Confirmation
Letter of Invitation issued by an authorized Chinese agency, and one of the following documents:
A. Foreigner Employment Permit issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of
China;
B. Foreign Expert Confirmation Document issued by State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs of
China;
C. Letter of Invitation to Foreigners for Offshore Petroleum Operations in the People's Republic of
China issued by China National Offshore Oil Corporation;
D. Registration Certificate of Foreign Enterprises' Permanent Representative Offices in China issued by
the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, or the approval document for the permanent
representative offices of foreign enterprises issued by related commercial departments;
E. Approval document issued by the Ministry of Culture for those who come to China for commercial
performances.
F. Invitation Letter by a Duly Authorized Unit or a Confirmation Letter of Invitation issued by the
Foreign Affairs Office of a province (autonomous region, city).
Accompanying family members of foreigners working in China should submit an Invitation Letter by a
Duly Authorized Unit or Confirmation Letter of Invitation issued by an authorized Chinese agency, and
proof of kinship, e.g. marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc. There is no need for them to submit
documents of employment permit.
* Z Visa holders must apply for a residence permit at the local public security authorities within 30 days
of entry into China.
5) Crew Visa (“C” Visa)
- Formal introduction letter issued by the airline or shipping company.
Crew members of the following 11 airline companies may apply for multiple-entry C Visa valid for two
years: United Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, American Airlines, UPS, Federal Express,
Polar Air Cargo, Evergreen Air Cargo, Kalitta Air Inc., Southern Air Inc. and World Airways Inc.
* The Chinese Embassy will issue single-entry or double-entry visas or multiple-entry visas valid for 6
months for crew members of other airline companies on a case-by-case basis.
6) Permanent Journalist Visa (“J-1” Visa)
- Visa Notification Letter issued by the Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of
China.
- An official letter issued by the applicant's media company.
* J-1 Visa applicants should contact the Information Section of the Chinese Embassy in advance for
relevant procedures.
* J-1 Visa holders must apply for a residence permit at the local public security authorities within 30
days of entry into China.
7) Temporary Journalist Visa (“J-2” Visa)
- Visa Notification Letter issued by the Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or
relevant authorized agencies.
- An official letter issued by the applicant's media company.
* J-2 Visa applicants should contact the Information Section of the Chinese Embassy in advance for
relevant procedures.
8) Transit Visa (“G” Visa)
- A valid visa of the country/region of destination, and a connecting airline ticket for the destination.
* A transit visa is generally a single-entry visa valid for 3 months with a stay of up to 7 days, unless
otherwise specified on the visa application form and approved by visa officers. No multiple-entry transit
visas are issued as a rule.
9) Permanent Resident Visa (“D” Visa)
- Foreigner's Permanent Resident Status Confirmation Form issued by the Chinese public security
authorities. (Applicants may entrust their friends or relatives in China to apply for the permanent
resident certificate from the entry-exit administration department of the local public security bureau.)
* D Visa holders must apply for a residence permit at the local public security authorities within 30 days
of entry into China.
10) Additional documents if deemed necessary by visa officers.
How to Apply
1. Locate the Visa Office of the Embassy / Consulate General which holds consular jurisdiction over the
state in which you reside.
2. Walk-in or entrust somebody else or travel agents to submit the application.
3. Once in the office, take the following steps:
1) Take a number first and wait for your number to be called.
2) On the date as stated on the Pick -Up Slip, Come to the Visa Office. Line up in front of window #5, and pay the fees
(no need to take a number).
3) Check your visa, passport and document before you leave.
4) Processing Time
►Regular Service (To Pick up on the Fourth Working Day)
►Express Service (To Pick up on the Second or Third Working Day)
►Same Day Rush Service, if application is submitted before 11:00 p.m. (to Pick up on the Same Day)
6) Please be aware that:
►There is no need for an appointment.
►There are no mailing services.
► An interview may be requested.
Fees
1) Regular Service
Visas can be obtained on the fourth business day.
Number of Entry
U.S.
Citizens
Citizens of Third Countries
Single Entry
$140
$30
Double Entries
$140
$45
Multiple Entries for 6 Months
$140
$60
Multiple Entries for 12 Months or
more
$140
$90
Note: Visa fees for certain third countries may vary from the list above based on reciprocal agreements.
2) Express service: Visas can be obtained on the third business day. An additional fee of $20 per person
will be charged.
3) Same-day rush service: Visas can be obtained in the afternoon if application is submitted before 11:00
p.m. An additional fee of $30 per person will be charged.
4) Please pay by money order, cashier's check, or Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard or Discovery Card
only). Cash or personal/company check is not accepted. Please make checks or money order payable to
"Chinese Consulate in Chicago".
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