Disclaimer: This site may earn affiliate commissions from your purchases through our links, at no extra cost. Learn more.

Chinese Travel Visas for US Citizens: A Complete 2024 Guide

Visa guide with chinese skyline

Imagine this: You’re eagerly planning a dream trip to China, your US passport in hand, flights booked, accommodations secured, and itinerary set. Amidst your excitement, you discover that a travel visa is essential for entry into mainland China. What’s next?

This comprehensive guide is here to help you navigate the process of applying for and obtaining a Chinese travel visa. We’ll provide you with clear, step-by-step instructions, so you can meet the requirements and get back to anticipating the incredible experiences that await you in China. 

Table of Contents

The Importance of Understanding Chinese Visa Requirements 

To enter the People’s Republic of China (PRC), US citizens must possess both a valid passport and an appropriate travel visa. Failure to secure a valid visa before arrival will result in denied entry, potential fines, and immediate deportation at the traveler’s expense. 

Additionally, airlines typically enforce visa requirements and may refuse boarding to passengers without the necessary documentation. Therefore, the correct visa must be obtained well in advance of travel plans to avoid any travel disruptions.

General Chinese Visa Requirements

When applying for any type of Chinese Visa, the following documents are required by the Chinese Embassy and Consulates:

  1. Valid Passport:
  1. Photocopy of Passport Information Page: A clear copy of the passport’s information page.
  1. Passport Photo: A recent photo (48mm x 33mm in size).
  1. Completed Visa Application Form: Fill out the appropriate Chinese visa application form accurately and completely.

Special Requirements for Minors

Minors (under 18) have additional requirements. Depending on their travel arrangements, they must provide information:

  • Traveling with Both Parents:
    • Copies of the information page of both parents’ passports.
    • Copies of both parents’ driver’s licenses.
  • Traveling with One Parent:
    • Copies of the information page of both parents’ passports or driver’s licenses.
    • A completed authorization letter from the non-traveling parent.
  • Traveling with Neither Parent:
    • Copies of the information page of both parents’ passports or driver’s licenses.
    • A completed authorization letter from both parents.
    • A clear copy of the minor’s birth certificate.
  • See our complete guide for further information regarding Unaccompanied Minors and the rules, fees, policies, and tips that apply when traveling internationally.

To obtain any type of Chinese visa, applicants must apply in person at the Chinese Embassy or Consulate

If an applicant is unable to apply in person, the applicant may authorize a relative, friend, or travel/visa agent to apply on their behalf. Travel document expediters are professionally qualified to obtain visas quickly and efficiently. These services are typically available in major cities where embassies and consulates are located.

Expedited Service

Rules for Visa Affixation

  • Chinese travel visas are affixed in the passport on pages specifically marked for visas. Ensure that visa stamps are placed on pages without any other stamps.

For more specific requirements related to each visa type, details for every Chinese Visa type are outlined below.

Types of Chinese Visas

There are several types of Chinese Visas available, each specific to the type of travel and circumstances. 

It is important applicants choose the visa type that directly applies to their travel purposes to avoid delays or denials that could potentially upset their travel plans.

The next section provides clear descriptions and specific requirements for each of the 11 types of Chinese Visas

  1. Tourist (L Visa)
  2. Business (M Visa)
  3. Noncommercial (F Visa)
  4. Work (Z Visa)
  5. Student (X Visa)
  6. Family Reunion (Q Visa)
  7. Private Visit (S Visa)
  8. Crew (C Visa)
  9. Journalist (J Visa)
  10. Transit (G Visa)
  11. Permanent Resident (D Visa)

1. Tourist Visa (L Visa)

The L visa is reserved for tourists going to China for sightseeing and visiting family or friends. 

Recent changes (effective January 1, 2024) made by the Chinese Embassy/Consulate in the United States have simplified the Tourist (L) visa application process for American citizens. US travelers to China no longer need to provide round-trip air tickets, hotel reservations, itineraries, or Invitation Letters.

Documents Needed: To obtain a Chinese Tourist Visa, applicants must submit the standard documents outlined under the Chinese Visa General Requirements.

Tourist (L) Visa Specifications:

Validity:

  • Single-entry, double-entry, and multiple-entry visas.
  • An L visa is usually valid for 30 days from the day of entry.
  • The duration of stay may be extended by applying to the local public security bureau.

To travel to areas not open to tourists, visitors must apply for a Foreign Travel Permit at a Chinese Embassy or Consulate.

3. Noncommercial Visa (F Visa)

The F visa is reserved for foreigners invited to China for lectures, investigations, scientific and cultural exchanges, study tours, and other non-commercial activities.

Documents Needed: Aside from the general requirements, applicants will also need to submit one of the following:

  • Chinese F Visa Invitation Letter
  • Confirmation Letter of Invitation (with the F Visa Invitation Letter attached)
  • Conference notice issued by the relevant entity, individual, or duly authorized Chinese institute

An Invitation Letter must contain the following information: 

  1. Personal Information of the Invitee:
  • Name
  • Gender
  • Date of Birth
  • Passport Number
  1. Details of the Invitee’s Visit to China:
  • Purpose of the Visit
  • Dates of Arrival and Departure
  • Places to be Visited
  • Relationship with the Inviting Unit or Individual
  • Source of Expenses
  1. Information of the Inviting Unit:
  • Name
  • Address
  • Contact Number
  • Seal of the Inviting Unit
  • Signature of the Legal Representative or Inviting Person
  • Date

Note: All relevant information must be included in the body of the invitation letter.

  • For Multiple Entry F Visas, copies of previous Chinese visas (on one A4 paper) are required.

Note: In some circumstances, applicants may need to submit additional documents such as a copy of Chinese hotel reservations, return air ticket booking, and financial proof.

Noncommercial (F) Visa Specifications:

Validity and Entries:

  • Single-entry, double-entry, and multiple-entry visas are available.
  • The typical duration of stay is up to 30 days from the date of entry.
  • Longer stays must be clearly stated as a request in the application form, and the officer may grant an extended duration based on travel needs.

Additional Information: Before the introduction of the M visa in 2013, the F visa was also used for commercial purposes. It no longer suits business activities.

4. Work Visa (Z Visa)

The Z visa is required for foreigners who intend to work in China or engage in professional academic exchanges and for the immediate family (spouse or children) of these individuals. 

As one of the most rapidly evolving countries, China offers numerous employment opportunities for skilled professionals across various markets. To legally work in China, one must obtain a Z visa.

Documents Needed: In addition to the general requirements for all Chinese Visas, applicants for a work visa must also submit:

  • 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.

The Invitation Letter must include the following information:

  1. Personal Information of the Invitee:
    • Name
    • Gender
    • Date of Birth
    • Passport Number
  1. Details of the Invitee’s Visit to China:
    • Purpose of the Visit
    • Dates of Arrival and Departure
    • Places to be Visited
    • Relationship with the Inviting Unit or Individual
    • Source of Expenses
  1. Information of the Inviting Unit:
    • Name
    • Address
    • Contact Number
    • Seal of the Inviting Unit
    • Signature of the Legal Representative or Inviting Person
    • Date

Note: All relevant information must be included in the body of the invitation letter.

  • One of the following:
    • Foreigner Employment Permit issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of China.
    • Foreign Expert Confirmation Document issued by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs of China.
    • Letter of Invitation to Foreigners for Offshore Petroleum Operations issued by China National Offshore Oil Corporation.
    • Registration Certificate of Foreign Enterprises’ Permanent Representative Offices 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.
    • Approval document issued by the Ministry of Culture for commercial performances.

Work (Z) Visa Specifications:

Validity and Duration of Stay:

  • The Z visa is typically issued for one entry and is valid for 3 months from the date of issuance.
  • Upon arrival in China, the holder must process a residence permit within 30 days at the local public security authority. 
  • The validity of the residence permit depends on the length of stay and allows multiple entries and exits from China during its validity.

Note: To work in the PRC, applicants must obtain the appropriate visa. Working on a student or tourist visa is not allowed and may lead to detention, criminal charges, imprisonment, and deportation.

Family Members: To bring family members, there must be sufficient evidence of a family. relationship (e.g., birth certificate, marriage certificate). Family members do not need a work permit for their visa application.

5. Student Visa (X Visa)

The X Visa is required for all foreign students to study in China. 

There are two types of Student Visas: X1 and X2. Applicants must understand the difference between the two types of X Visas and choose the type that suits their visa needs.

Differences Between X1 Visa and X2 Visa

TypeApplication Conditions
X1 VisaFor students intending to study, train, or undertake internships in China for more than 6 months.
X2 VisaFor students intending to study in China for 6 months or less.

X1 and X2 Visa Documents Needed: Besides the standard documents outlined in the Chinese Visa General Requirements, applicants must submit:

  • Letter of Admission from a Chinese university.
  • Foreign Student Visa Application Form (JW201 or JW202) issued by Chinese government authorities.
  • Additional documents for applicants of Chinese descent:
    • Original and photocopy of parents’ foreign passports or green cards.
    • Certified birth certificate.
    • If previously issued a Chinese visa, only a photocopy of the former visa is required.

Student (X) Visa Specifications:

Validity and Residence Permit:

  • Upon Arrival, students must obtain a Residence Permit at the local public security authority within the first 30 days of their stay. 
  • The Residence Permit’s validity depends on the duration of the student’s study, training, or internship in China.

6. Family Reunion Visa (Q Visa)

The Q visa is issued to relatives of Chinese citizens or foreigners residing in China with a permanent residence permit

The Family Reunion Visa is divided into two subclasses based on the duration of stay and eligibility. Applicants must select the type of Q Visa that matches their intended stay and circumstances.

Differences Between Q1 Visa and Q2 Visa

TypeApplication Conditions
Q1 Visa1. The intended duration of stay is longer than 180 days.

2. Applicant restrictions: Family members of Chinese citizens or foreigners with Chinese permanent residence (spouses, parents, sons, daughters, spouses of sons or daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandsons, granddaughters, parents-in-law); or those going to China for foster care.
Q2 Visa1. The intended duration of stay is 180 days or less.

2. Applicant restrictions: Relatives of Chinese citizens or foreigners with Chinese permanent residence, including family members mentioned above.

Q1 and Q2 Visa Application Documents Needed: In addition to the general requirements, applicants must also submit an Invitation letter from a Chinese citizen or a foreigner with a Chinese permanent residence permit. 

The Invitation Letter must include the following information:

  1. Personal Information of the Invitee:
  • Name
  • Gender
  • Date of Birth
  • Passport Number
  1. Details of the Invitee’s Visit to China:
  • Purpose of the Visit
  • Dates of Arrival and Departure
  • Places to be Visited
  • Relationship with the Inviting Unit or Individual
  • Source of Expenses
  1. Information of the Inviting Unit:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Contact Number
  • Seal of the Inviting Unit
  • Signature of the Legal Representative or Inviting Person
  • Date

Note: All relevant information must be included in the body of the invitation letter.

Family Reunion (Q) Visa Specifications:

Q1 Visa:

  • Validity:
    • Generally issued as a single-entry visa.
    • Holders must apply for a Temporary Residence Permit within 30 days after entry.
  • Residence Permit:
    • Valid for a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 5 years.
    • Allows multiple exits and reentries during its validity.

Q2 Visa:

  • Validity and Entries:
    • Valid for stays from 30 to 180 days.
    • Allows single, double, or multiple entries.
    • Holders can stay in China for the duration indicated on the visa.

7. Private Visit Visa (S Visa)

The Private Visit Visa, also known as the Dependant Visa, is issued to family members of foreigners residing in China for work or study, and to those intending to visit China for private matters such as marriage, lawsuits, heritage, adoption, and medical treatment. 

The S visa is further classified into S1 and S2 visas.

Differences Between S1 Visa and S2 Visa

TypeApplication Conditions
S1 Visa1. Intended duration of stay longer than 180 days.

2. Applicant restrictions: Family members of foreigners residing in China for work or study, including spouses, parents, sons or daughters under 18, or parents-in-law; individuals intending to visit China for private matters.
S2 Visa1. The intended duration of stay is 180 days or less.

2. Applicant restrictions: Family members of foreigners residing in China for work or study, including spouses, parents, sons, daughters, spouses of sons or daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandsons, granddaughters, and parents-in-law; individuals intending to visit China for private matters.

S1 and S2 Visa Application Documents Needed: Besides the standard documents outlined in the Chinese Visa General Requirements, applicants must provide:

  • An Invitation Letter from a foreigner who works or studies in China. 

An Invitation Letter must contain the following information: 

  1. Personal Information of the Invitee:
  • Name
  • Gender
  • Date of Birth
  • Passport Number
  1. Details of the Invitee’s Visit to China:
  • Purpose of the Visit
  • Dates of Arrival and Departure
  • Places to be Visited
  • Relationship with the Inviting Unit or Individual
  • Source of Expenses
  1. Information of the Inviting Unit:
  • Name
  • Address
  • Contact Number
  • Seal of the Inviting Unit
  • Signature of the Legal Representative or Inviting Person
  • Date

Note: All relevant information must be included in the body of the invitation letter.

  • Inviter’s Passport and Residence Permit: Photocopies of the inviting individual’s passport and Chinese residence permit.
  • Kinship Certification: Original and photocopy of documents such as marriage certificate, birth certificate, certification of kinship from the Public Security Bureau, or other notarized certifications showing family relationship.
  • Additional Documents for Private Affairs: Documents explaining personal matters like marriage, heritage, adoption, or medical treatment.

Private Visit (S) Visa Specifications:

S1 Visa:

  • Validity:
    • Generally issued as a single-entry visa.
    • Holders must apply for a Temporary Residence Permit within 30 days after entry.
  • Residence Permit:
    • Can be valid for up to 5 years.
    • Allows multiple exits and reentries during its validity.

S2 Visa:

  • Validity and Entries:
    • Valid for stays up to 180 days.
    • Allows single, double, or multiple entries, depending on the visa issued.
    • The duration of stay is indicated on the visa.

Other Types of Chinese Visas

There are 4 other types of Chinese visas that foreign travelers can apply for such as a Crew Visa (C), a Journalist Visa (J), a Transit Visa (G), and a Permanent Resident Visa (D). 

In the next section, you’ll find the basic descriptions and specific requirements of each visa.

8. Crew Visa (C Visa)

The Crew Visa (C Visa) is required for crew members of international ships, airlines, or trains operating in China, as well as their accompanying family members. This visa ensures that crew members can legally enter and perform their duties within China.

C Visa Application Documents Needed: In addition to the Chinese Visa General Requirements, applicants must provide Employment Verification: Documentation provided by the employer verifying the applicant’s status as a crew member.

Crew members should obtain detailed information and complete the necessary formalities via their employers, who will guide them through the application process.

9. Journalist Visa (J Visa)

The Journalist Visa (J Visa) is designed for foreign journalists entering China for reporting purposes. It is divided into two subcategories based on the duration of stay and nature of assignments: J-1 and J-2 visas.

Differences Between J-1 Visa and J-2 Visa

TypeApplication Conditions
J-1 Visa1. For resident foreign journalists, their spouses, and minor children.

2. Valid for 30 days from the date of arrival, during which time the journalist and their local organization must apply for a Temporary Residence Permit for the duration of the contract, up to a maximum of 5 years.
J-2 Visa1. For journalists on temporary assignments in China.

2. These are short-term visas for specific reporting tasks.

J- and J-2 Visa Application Documents Needed: Applicants must submit all standard documents listed under general requirements for a Chinese Visa as well as:

  • Approvals and Invitations:
    • Approval or invitation from Chinese media authorities.
    • Detailed itineraries for the duration of stay.
  • Additional Requirements: For bringing filming equipment into China, additional approvals and documentation are necessary. Details can be found on the visa application form.
  • Temporary Residence Permit for J-1 Visa Holders:
    • Must apply for a Temporary Residence Permit within 30 days of arrival.
    • The permit is valid for the duration of the contract, up to a maximum of 5 years.

This permit allows multiple entries and exits during its validity.

10. Transit Visa (G Visa)

The Chinese Transit Visa (G Visa) is issued to travelers intending to transit through mainland China on their way to a third country.

The G Visa is required for travelers transiting in China for more than 24 hours or those needing to pass through immigration and leave the airport during transit.

G Visa Application Documents Needed: In addition to the standard documents required, applicants must provide a travel ticket: An air/train/ship ticket to the destination country with a confirmed departure date and seat.

Transit (G) Visa Specifications:

Validity and Duration of Stay: 

  • Usually valid for up to 3 months.
  • The maximum duration of each stay ranges from 7 to 10 days.

Visa-Free Transit

In some cases, foreign travelers are not required to obtain a Transit Visa. Here are the 3 different types:

Types of Visa-Free Transit

TypeApplication Conditions
24-Hour Transit Without Visa1. For travelers with booked seats on international flights, ships, or trains transiting through China to a third country with a stay of less than 24 hours.

2. Travelers can request a temporary stay permit at the immigration counter if they wish to leave the transit zone.
72-Hour Visa-Free Transit1. Available to passport holders of 54 countries and regions.

2. Allows a stay of up to 72 hours while transiting through cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Shenyang, Dalian, Harbin, Xi’an, Guilin, Kunming, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Tianjin, Qingdao, Nanjing, Changsha, and Xiamen.
144-Hour Visa-Free Transit1. Available to passport holders of 54 countries and regions.

2. Allows a stay of up to 144 hours when transiting in Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, and Liaoning.

Foreigners covered by China’s visa-free transit policy do not need a transit visa and are allowed to leave the transit port for sightseeing. For more specific requirements, please consult the relevant Chinese Embassy or Consulate.

11. Permanent Resident Visa (D Visa)

The Chinese Permanent Resident Visa (D Visa) grants foreigners the right to reside in China without time limitations. 

  • Validity and Entries:
    • 5 years for aliens under 18 years old.
    • 10 years for aliens over 18 years old.
    • This certificate serves as a legitimate identity card for permanent residents.
    • Holders of this visa can enter and exit China freely using their valid passports and the Certificate of Permanent Residence of Aliens, without needing a visa.

Types of Permanent Residence Permits and Qualifications

TypeQualifications
For Spouse Reunion1. Spouses of Chinese citizens/aliens with permanent residence in China.

2. Marriage must have lasted for 5 years, with the couple having lived in mainland China for 5 consecutive years, staying at least 9 months annually, and possessing stable and secure living conditions.
For Seeking Reunion with ParentsUnmarried children under 18 years old who come to live with their parents in China.
For InvestmentForeigners who have made direct and stable investments in China for 3 consecutive years, with a good taxation record.
For Employment1. Foreigners who have held positions such as deputy general manager, deputy director of plants, associate professors, or similar roles for more than 4 consecutive years.

2. They must have stayed in China for at least 3 years in total and have a sound taxation record.
For Outstanding AliensForeigners who have made significant contributions to China or are urgently needed by the country.
For DependantsForeigners over 60 years old who have no direct relatives abroad and are coming to live with direct relatives in China. They must have lived in China for five consecutive years, with an annual stay of no less than nine months, and have stable and secure living conditions.

For more detailed information on the application process and required documentation, please consult the relevant Chinese Embassy or Consulate.

Additional Chinese Visa Information:

Visitors may apply for a visa extension from the local Entry-Exit Bureau before their current visa expires. 

WARNING: Visitors must have a valid visa to exit the PRC and must leave the PRC before the expiration of the listed duration of stay.

Foreign travelers are not allowed to travel to the PRC if they have a warrant for their arrest in the United States.

Since expedited processing is unlikely, make sure to apply well in advance. Remaining in the PRC with an expired visa can result in fines, imprisonment, and deportation.

For the latest visa information and details on PRC immigration and nationality laws, visit the website of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States of America.
For more specific requirements and information on types of Chinese visas, please consult the Chinese Embassy or Consulate.

Travel to the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)

The Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) requires special permits for tourist travel, typically obtained through a travel agent in the PRC. Entering a restricted area without the necessary permit can result in fines, detention, and deportation for illegal entry. For specific entry requirements for the TAR or other restricted areas, consult the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States of America.

Entry Requirements for US Travelers to Hong Kong and Macao

For U.S. citizens traveling to Hong Kong and Macao, there are specific entry requirements based on the type of stay. 

Hong Kong Visa Requirements

  • Short-term Visits: No visa is required for stays up to 90 days.
  • Long-term Stays or Specific Purposes: A visa is required.
  • Application: Applications are submitted directly to the HKSAR Immigration Department or via US embassies/consulates.
  • Materials: Relevant forms and supporting documents.
  • Processing Time: Approximately 1 month or more.
  • Fees: $20 additional for consulate-forwarded applications.

Macao SAR Visa Requirements

  • US Citizens: No visa required.
  • Application Materials: Passport, visa application form, photo, proof of US residence, supporting documents.
  • Processing Time: Typically 4 working days for embassy/consulate-issued visas; 10+ days for forwarded applications.
  • Fees: $30 for consulate-submitted applications; an additional $20 for forwarded applications.
  • Payment: Credit card or cash check.

Contact Information for Macao SAR Government

  • Address: Superintendent’s Office for Foreigners, Immigration Department Building, Taipa, Macau
  • Tel: 00853-88970601, 00853-88970602
  • Fax: 00853-28726936
  • Email: smce@fsm.gov.mo
  • Website: www.fsm.gov.mo

For detailed and updated information, refer to the respective immigration websites of the HKSAR and Macao SAR governments.

Chinese Visa Application Process: Procedures and Requirements

Visa applications must be handled by the consular districts of the Chinese Embassy and Consulates in the United States. 

These districts include:

  • Washington D.C.
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • Puerto Rico

Chinese Visa Application Requirements

For all visas to China, the Chinese Embassy and Consulates require the following:

  1. Passport Requirements:
  1. Photo Requirements:
  1. Application Form:
    • A completed Chinese visa application form.
  1. Special Requirements for Minors (Under 18):
    • A clear copy of the minor’s birth certificate.
    • Additional documents based on the travel situation:
      • Traveling with both parents: Copies of the information page of both parents’ passports and driver’s licenses.
      • Traveling with one parent: Copies of the information page of both parents’ passports or driver’s licenses, and a completed authorization letter from the non-traveling parent.
      • Traveling with neither parent: Copies of the information page of both parents’ passports or driver’s licenses, and a completed authorization letter from both parents.

Expedited Service: In a hurry? Apply online for expedited visa service.

Additional Information:

  • Chinese travel visas are affixed in the passport on pages specifically marked for visas. Visa stamps must be placed on pages containing no other stamps.

Ensure all documents are prepared and submitted according to these requirements to avoid delays in visa application processing.

Chinese Visa Application Steps

  1. Online Application:
  2. Submission of Materials:
    • The applicant or an authorized visa agent must submit the application materials during the consular office hours.
  3. Paper Application Submission:
    • Submit a complete set of paper application forms (8-9 pages) and required materials (including “core materials” and “general materials”) on site.
    • If the form is not properly filled out or the documents do not meet the requirements, the visa application may be returned on-site, requiring a new form to be filled out.
  4. On-Site Pick-Up and Payment:
    • When picking up the visa, carefully check the information and inform the staff on-site if there are any issues to prevent problems with entry and exit.
    • Payment can be made by credit card (MasterCard or Visa only) or cash check (Money Order, Cashier’s Check).

Chinese Visa Processing Times

All Chinese Visa types take approximately:

  • 4 working days for normal processing service or 
  • 2 to 3 days for express processing service

Note: These processing times are general estimates. Some applications may take longer, and applicants should wait for notification from the Visa Office.

Consular Hall Address and Contact Information

  • Address: 2201 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 110, Washington, D.C. 20007, U.S.A.
  • Office Hours: 9:30 AM – 2:30 PM (Monday to Friday, closed on weekends and holidays)
  • Email: washington_visa@csm.mfa.gov.cn
  • Consultation Hotline: 001-202-855-1555 (Manual answering time: 12:30 PM – 4:30 PM on weekdays)

Chinese Visa Processing Fees

For the most current Chinese Visa processing fees, please check with the Chinese Embassy or Consulate.

Number of EntryU.S. Citizen*Non-U.S. Citizen**Express Processing Service
Single Entry$140$23+$25
Double Entries$140$34+$25
Multiple Entries for 6 Months$140$45+$25
Multiple Entries for 12 Months or more$140$68+$25
J1/J2 Visa$171$171+$25

*Express Processing Service: An additional fee of $25 applies to each visa type for expedited processing.

Expedited Chinese Visa Processing

Chinese Visa Service Online: Submitting a Chinese Visa application yourself can involve dealing with large crowds, long lines, and challenging parking situations. The Chinese Embassy does not allow you to call about your application status, making it difficult to track progress. Errors or incomplete information can lead to visa denial and delays.

To avoid these issues, consider using a visa-expediting courier service to submit your application on your behalf. After reviewing nearly fifty companies, only a few come highly recommended for their reliable expedited services.

Tips for expediting the visa process:

  • Check for expedited service options at the Chinese Embassy or Consulate.
  • Prepare all documents beforehand to ensure a smooth application process.
  • Consider using an Expediting Visa Processing Service that handles applications for an additional fee. 

We highly recommend using IVisa for your Travel Visa. With over 10 years of experience and a 98% visa approval rating, IVisa is a trusted visa application service that can get you your visa hassle-free.

FAQs

Below, we’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions regarding Chinese Visas and provided answers to help you navigate the China Visa application process.

Q: When is the best time to begin the Chinese visa application process?

A: Ideally, you should apply for a Chinese Visa at least 6 months ahead of your departure date. Doing so will allow plenty of time and accommodate for any potential delays. 

At the very least, applications must be submitted 1 month before departure. While processing takes only a few days, this will provide just enough time in case more documents are requested. 


Q: What do I do if I am unable to personally submit my visa application?

A: Since the visa offices of the Chinese embassy and consulate generals do not accept applications by mail, you need to authorize someone to submit the application for you. This can be a friend, relative, travel agent, or visa expediter. 

If you do not know anyone who can do this for you, our recommended expediting service can get your China tourist visa fast.


Q: Are children born in the U.S. to Chinese parents required to obtain a visa to visit China?

A: It truly depends on the acquirement of the U.S. Green Card of the parents. If the parents were granted Green Cards, the children must apply for a visa just to enter China. The children of those who have not acquired Green Cards may visit with their Chinese Travel Documents.


Q: Hi. We will travel for vacation to China. My daughter was born in China, she was adopted and is an American citizen with a US passport. Do I need to submit her original Chinese passport along with her American passport with the visa application? Many thanks!

A: If your US passport indicates that you were born in Taiwan, China, or Hong Kong, you must provide either:

  • The old passport, or
  • A previous Chinese Visa

No exceptions to this rule.

The consulate will cancel your daughter’s Chinese passport and Chinese citizenship before issuing the Chinese visa in her US passport. 

For future applications, only the previously issued China visa will be needed. The old Chinese passport is required only for the first China visa in a US passport. 

Additionally, you should provide an adoption certificate that includes the name change from Chinese to English.

I went through a similar situation. When a child is adopted, there should be a certification (likely in a red folder) stating the child’s Chinese name and the new name after adoption. It should have a photo of the adoptive parents and the child, with the child’s English name at the bottom.


Q: My daughter was adopted from China and has a Certificate of Citizenship for the United States but she does not have a US birth certificate. Will she need to get a US birth certificate to receive a China Visa?

A: Please contact the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China for guidance on this matter.


Q: My daughter cannot get a Chinese visa. The embassy wants the original name change paperwork which I never had. She has gone back five times with her Chinese passport, US passport, US citizenship certificate, adoption decree, and all Mandarin paperwork. What is the deal?

A: Please contact the Visa Office of the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC for assistance with this issue.


Q: My daughter is traveling to China with her college as an immersion program. She was adopted from China 20 years ago. We provided all the necessary documents over 2 weeks ago. Do you know how long it normally takes? When the paperwork was dropped off she did not have a pick-up date stamped on the form and was told she would receive a phone call.

A: Please contact the Visa Office of the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC for information on processing times and any updates on your application.


Q: I was born in China and adopted about 20 years ago. I applied for a Chinese visa recently but the lady handling my visa needs my naturalization papers stating that my Chinese name was changed to my current name. My mom said she was never given a copy of those papers. Will it be an issue getting my visa if I cannot come up with the document that is needed? I sent a copy of my resident alien card; will that be okay?

A: Please contact the Visa Office of the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC for guidance on this issue and to determine if the resident alien card is sufficient.


Q: My husband and I have planned a trip to China with our daughter, whom we adopted from China 13 years ago. I cannot locate her passport. I have all her adoption paperwork and documents, but the passport is missing. Is there any way to get around the “no exception” rules?
A: Please contact the Visa Office of the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC for assistance with this situation and to explore possible solutions.

Conclusion

Choosing the right Chinese Visa and following the exact steps of the application process is crucial to obtaining the correct visa for a smooth, hassle-free trip to China. 

Each visa type has specific requirements, and it’s essential to select the one that best fits your travel purpose to avoid any delays or denials that could disrupt your travel plans.

To accommodate any potential delays and ensure all documents are prepared correctly, start the application process well in advance of your travel dates. This proactive approach will give you ample time to address any issues and make your travel experience as seamless as possible.

By following the guidance in this comprehensive guide, you can confidently navigate the visa application process and look forward to an exciting and unforgettable trip to China.

Resources For Chinese Visas

Share this post:

About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

Get the Latest Updates

Fill out the form, tick all boxes, click subscribe for updates on passports and travel news.

Related Posts