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    Home > Passport & Visa > Visas for China
Frequently Asked Questions
2003/11/14

        ► Should I apply for a visa to visit the mainland China?

        ► Where can I apply for a visa?

        ► Can I apply for a visa at the port of entry?

        ► For what type of visa should I apply?

        ► What documents should I submit when I apply for a visa? 

        ► How far in advance before my planned trip to China should I apply for a visa?

        How long will the visa process take? Do you have express service?

        ►Can I apply for the visa by mail or email? Could you mail the visa back to me after I submit the application in person?

        ►I am very far from the Consulate General, how can I apply for the visa?

        ►What is Entries? What should I do if the Entries becomes invalid?

        ►  I am an American citizen. I intend to visit Beijing and then to Hong Kong for short travel. After that I want to go back to Guangzhou. How many entries is suitable for my tour?

        ► What is Enter before? What should I do if the visa becomes invalid?

        ► What is Duration of Each Stay after Entry? What should I do if I want to stay in China longer than the duration?

      ► Can I apply for renewal of my visa at the Consulate General?

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     1. Should I apply for a visa to visit the mainland China?

      A: Aliens to visit China are generally required to apply for visas in advance, but the following aliens are exceptions:

          1) Ordinary passport holders from Brunei and Japan can gain access to China without applying for visas for up to 15 days for business, sightseeing, visiting relatives and friends, or transit. They can enter and exit from the ports that are open to foreigners. 

          The following citizens of  Brunei and Japan are also required to apply for visas before they enter into China: 1) Ordinary passport holders intending to stay in China for more than 15 days; 2) Ordinary passport holders intending to study, work, reside or gather news; 3) Diplomatic passport or Official passport holders.

         2) Non-U.S. or British citizens in transit China to other countries or regions may stay inside the airport (not enter into border control) for less than 24 hours without applying for visas.

        3) Citizens of the following countries to transit Shanghai can stay in Shanghai up to 48 hours without applying for visas: Korea, U.S. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, French, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Austria and Greek.

      

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     2. Where can I apply for a visa?

     A: For entry into China, aliens shall apply for visas from Chinese diplomatic missions, consular posts or other resident agencies abroad authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, such as Chinese Embassies or Consulates. Each Embassy or consulate has its own consular districts. Usually, applicants are required to apply for visas from the relevant Embassy or Consulate. Applicants also can apply for visas at the nearest Embassy or Consulate. 

     Applicants who reside or travel away from the country of his or her nationality can apply for visas at a local Chinese Embassy or Consulate.

     Chinese Embassies or Consulates usually provide rush or express visa service, but an extra rush service fee should be paid in addition to the regular visa fee.

     Aliens who are already in China can apply for an extension of duration at a local county level Public Security Bureau.

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    3. Can I apply for a visa at the port of entry?

       No.  American citizens should applied visas before they enter into China.

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      4. For what type of visa should I apply?

     It is your interest to ensure that you are fully prepared before submitting your application. Consuls will base their decision on the documents you provided,  your purpose in China.

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      5. What documents should I submit when I apply for a visa?

     A: Visa applicants are generally required to submit:1) One completely filled out Visa Application Form of the P. R. China (Q-1); 2) One recently taken 2*2 in. photo showing entire face and without a hat on. 3) Original passport with at least 2 blank visa pages and valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of application; 4) Other documents in accordance with your application (refer to relevant instructions please).
     

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     6. How far in advance before my planned trip to China should I apply for a visa?

    A: If you apply for the visa too late, you may not have  enough time for the application. If you apply for the visa too early, the visa may become invalid before you depart for China. Single-entry visas are generally valid for 3 months from the date of issuance. Two-entry visas are generally valid for 6 months. You are suggested to apply for the visa 2 months before your departure date.

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    7. How long will the visa process take? Do you have express service?

    A: If your application meets all requirements, you may pick up the visa on the fourth working day after you submit your application for regular pickup normally. If you really have emergency and want to pick up the same day, the consuls will take your application in consideratios depending on the quantity of applications of that day. Your application may be expedited and you can pick it up by 2:15pm by paying the extra rush fee of $30 per visa in addition to the egular visa fee. The next day or third day pickup express service fee is $20 per visa.

    notice: we don't give a promise that any applicant can get same day or next day pickup service .  

    Applicants should come to pick up the visas on time by presenting the pickup form. Those who can not come on the pickup date should pick up the visas no later than 3 days after the pickup date.

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     8. Can I apply for the visa by mail or via email?  Could you mail the visa back to me after I submit the application in person?

     A. Strengthening national security has become an important goal and task of all countries after 9.11. Out of security concern, the Chinese Embassy and Consulates General in the U.S. ceased the mail (including express delivery) service for visa applications after May 1, 2003.

    No visa application can be done through mail or any express delivery service such as UPS, FedEx. Visa applications should be submitted and picked up by the applicant or someone else entrusted.

    We do not have the service to mail your visa back and do not accept any applications via email or through internet.

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     9. I am far away from the Consulate General, how can I apply for the visa?

     A: Applicants may entrust someone else (relative, friend or travel agent) to submit the application. The entrusted should appear in  person.

    Due to market competition of visa agents, it is improper for the Consulate General to provide any information or list of travel agents. Applicants are suggested to search the websites on the internet, such as http://www.yahoo.com, or  http://www.google.com. Please be notice that the applicants should hold all responsibilities.

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     10. What is Entries? What should I do if the entries permitted becomes invalid?

    A: Entries means the number of entries permitted during the period the visa is valid. Visas become invalid after the applicants fully use the Entries permitted. Entries permitted can not be added or changed. Applicants should apply for another visa after that. Visa becomes invalid if it goes beyond the  date of Enter before even if there are some Entries left. Applicants should check if there are valid Entries permitted before they depart for China. Please click here to see visa sample.

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     11. I am an American citizen. I intend to visit Beijing and then Hong Kong for a short trip. After that I want to go back to Guangzhou. How many entries is suitable for my tour?  

     A: American citizens do not need a visa to Hong Kong for a short trip less than 30 days. American citizens should have a valid visa for the mainland China. From U.S. to Beijing is one entry, and from Hong Kong to Guangzhou is another entry. So you should apply for a two-entry visa. If you have applied for a single entry visa, you may apply for another visa at the Consular Department of the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong.

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     12. What is Enter before? What should I do if the visa becomes invalid?

     A: Enter before means that you may use the visa to enter into China before 12:00am on the date printed on the visa if the visa has valid Entries permitted. Visas become invalid and can not be extended after the date of Enter Before even if there are Entries left. You should apply for another visa. All visas come into effect on the date of issuance. Applicants should take all responsibility if they decide to change their journey and the visas become invalid. Applicants should check the Enter before on their visas before they depart for China. Please click here to see visa sample.

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     13. What is Duration of Each Stay after Entry? What should I do if I want to stay in China longer than the duration?

    A: Duration of Each Stay after Entry means the longest period the applicants are permitted to stay in China. Duration of Each Stay is counted from the date of entry. Applicants should apply for an extension of the duration at a local county level Public Security Bureau if he or she stays in China longer than the Duration of Each Stay printed on the visa .
    Z, J-1, D AND X visa holders should apply for resident permit at a local Public Security Bureau no later than 30 days after they enter into China lest  they become an illegal resident.

    Visa holders should frequently check the duration during the time they are in China. Please click here to see visa sample.   

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    14. Can I apply for renewal of my visa at the Consulate General?

    A: Chinese visas are printed and can not be renewed. Applicants should arrange their journeys before they apply for visas and fill out the application forms completely and truthfully. Applicants have the responsibility to check their visa when picking it up.

 

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