9 Different Types of Chinese Visas

China visas consist of nine sub-categories identified by letters. Port visas may be available upon arrival at certain ports of entry.

1. L (Tourist Visa): Provided to an applicant coming to China for tourism purposes, family visits, or other personal matters.

2. F (Business Visa): Provided to an applicant who visits China for business, scientific-technological, lecture, research, and cultural exchange purposes, or for short-term postgraduate studies or internships for a period not exceeding six months.

3. Z (Work Visa): Provided to an applicant who is to seek employment or post in China and their family members.

4. X (Student Visa): Provided to an applicant coming to China for study, training, or internship purposes for more than six months.

5. C Visa (Crew Visa): Provided to crew members on international air, navigation, and land transport missions and to their family members.

6. G (Transit Visa): Provided to those transiting through China.

7. D (Residence Visa): Provided to candidates who are permanent residents of China.

8. J-1 (Journalist Visa): Provided to foreign correspondents residing in China.

9. J-2 (Journalist visa): Provided to foreign resident correspondents on short-term interview missions in China.


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Visa Requirements:

Insofar as the arrival in China is not liberated or requested, you should apply for a China visa on arrival in China to a China visa about six weeks before traveling at a Chinese embassy/consulate or visa application center in your country.

1. Passports:

The original passport must be valid for more than 6 months and have at least two blank pages. A copy of the passport size photo is required when applying for a visa.

2. Visa application Forms and Photos:

Complete the PRC (People's Republic of China) Visa Application Form and stick a recent full-face color visa photo in the appropriate place.

3. Legal residency:

Residency permits and Legal residency or visas are required for candidates applying for a Chinese visa who are situated in countries other than their home country.

4. Former Chinese Passports:

Former Chinese passports and copies of photo pages are required for foreign citizens who previously held Chinese nationality and obtained foreign nationality applying for a China visa for the first time. Notarized documents for a foreigner's name change are required if the name is on the foreign passport.

5. Documents for L visas:

L visa candidates are required to provide proof of hotel booking and round-trip air ticket or a letter of invitation. The letter should contain the following:

1. Applicant's data: name, gender, and date of birth

2. Applicant's itinerary information: destinations, arrival time, and departure time. 

3. Host organization or individual details: name, phone number, address, official seal, or signature of company representative/host.

6. Documents for G visas:

G visa candidates must provide proof of reserved seats on a connecting international flight departing from China.

7. Documents for Z visas:

Z visa candidates have to provide one of the following documents depending on the type of their invitation.

1. A foreign citizen's invitation letter and employment permit from an authorized entity or a confirmation letter provided by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of China.

2. A Chinese work permit for foreigners and an invitation from an authorized entity or a confirmation letter provided by the Bureau of Foreign Experts.

3. A certificate issued by the Branch Office of Foreign Enterprises, an invitation letter from a duly authorized entity, or an invitation confirmation letter issued by the Administrative Bureau of Industry and Commerce.

8. Documents for X1 visas:

Those requesting an X1 visa must present the following.

1. The original admission letter issued by an educational entity operating in China.

2. The foreigner's original visa application form who is studying in China (JW201 or JW202) and a copy.

Documents for X2 visas:

X2 visa applicants have to submit the original admission letter provided by an educational center operating in China.

How long is a visa valid?

Various visas have various validity. Chinese single-entry visas are generally valid for three months from the date of issuance and allow you to live in China for a maximum of thirty days. With this visa, you can travel as a tourist or engage in business activities. Most individuals only have to request a single entry visa, and double or multiple entry visas would be required if traveling frequently between mainland China and Hong Kong or Taiwan or Macau the same tour.

About This Author

Philip Diack is Founder and Managing Director of Passports and Visas.com, a national passport and travel visa service with offices in Atlanta, Miami, Washington, DC, NYC, Denver and San Francisco.

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