Visa to China

As the pandemic subsides, travel restrictions are lifted. For example, the centralized quarantine for travelers to Hong Kong was lifted. China is one of many travel destinations. Can you get a tourist visa to China or any type? Read about Chinese visa types for ordinary passport holders, how to apply for the visa and how much it costs.

Do I need a visa to go to China?

Many people may wonder, “do I need a visa to visit China,” “can I get a visa to China now” or “can I apply for a visa to China online.” It depends on the type of visa you want to get and your nationality.

Note that ordinary Chinese visas are valid for Mainland China. That means they are not valid for Macao, Hong Kong, or Taiwan.

Types of Chinese visa 

Types of ordinary Chinese visas you can apply for:

  • Tourist visa L (旅游签证)
  • Crew Visa C (乘务签证)
  • Permanent Residence Visa D (定居签证)
  • Visit Visa F (访问签证) – for exchanges, visits, study tours, or other relevant activities
  • Long-term Private Visit Visa S1 (长期私人事务签证)
  • Short-term Private Visit Visa S2 (短期私人事务签证) – when applying for a visa for a visit less than 180 days
  • Long-term Journalist Visa J1 (常驻记者签证)
  • Short-term Journalist Visa J2 (临时记者签证)
  • Talent Visa R (人才签证)
  • Business Visa M (商贸签证) – requires an invitation (for purposes like business meetings, courses, training, and internships)
  • Working Visa Z (工作签证) – requires an invitation from a company interested in hiring the applicant
  • Family Reunion Visa Q1 (家庭团聚签证)
  • Family Visit Visa Q2 (探亲签证) – when applying for a visa for a visit less than 180 days
  • Short-term Study Visa, Student Visa X2 (短期学习签证) – requires a visa application and an enrollment certificate
  • Long-term Study Visa, Student Visa X1 (长期学习签证) – for those who intend to study in China for more than 180 days
  • Transit Visa G (过境签证) – requires a valid visa to the target country and a valid ticket.

As of October 2022, foreign nationals holding ordinary passports can enter China after obtaining visas such as:

  • student (X) or private visit (S) visa with a valid residence permit
  • work (Z), and family reunion (Q) visa with a valid residence permit 
  • C, R, M, F visas.

Visa to China for citizens holding ordinary passports of different countries: 

  • US citizens: required
  • Russian citizens: required
  • Indian citizens: required
  • UK citizens: required
  • Australian citizens: required
  • Canadian citizens: required.

Which country is visa-free to China? 

You do not need a Chinese visa for ordinary passports to stay in China for up to a certain number of days from countries as follows: 

  • 90 days: Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, San Marino
  • 60 days: Mauritius
  • 30 days: Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Ecuador, Fiji, Grenada, Qatar, Serbia, Suriname, Seychelles, Tonga, United Arab Emirates
  • 15 days: Japan, Singapore, Brunei.

Chinese visa is waived for:

  • foreigners holding an APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC containing the code “CHN” on the back of the card can enter China for up to 60 days without a visa)
  • foreigners holding a valid Foreigner’s Permanent Residence Card of the PRC or Residence Permit for Foreigners in the PRC
  • holders of Residence Permit for Foreigners issued by the Ministry of Public Security
  • citizens of some countries visiting the Pearl River Delta or Hainan Island.

Before introducing pandemic-related restrictions, citizens from 53 countries could obtain visa exemption for a 72-hours stay in China. Currently, the 72-hour visa-free transit scheme is suspended. Moreover, it is no longer possible to apply for a 24-hours visa waiver to transit through China.

All passengers bound for China must obtain a green health code with the “HS”/”HDC” mark before boarding with negative COVID-19 test results. After landing, passengers have to enter quarantine in a centralized facility for at least seven days; then, they may be permitted complete an additional three days of quarantine at home.

How to apply visa to China? 

Below we present guidelines for getting a Chinese visa.

  • Applicants should submit their visa applications at least a month before the departure date. 
  • You can apply for a Chinese visa via an official Visa Application Center (VAC). 
  • Even if the visa application can be submitted by a third party authorized by the applicant, the applicant may be required to come for an interview or to take fingerprints. 
  • The standard time for China visa processing is five business days. 

Get a China Visa step by step 

  1. Get the required documents for your type of visa. 
  2. Fill out the application form (online, in English, or in Chinese). After you finish, submit it online and print the documents. 
  3. Book an appointment for a Chinese visa application. 
  4. Submit the application form, your passport, photographs, and other supporting documents to the VAC, Consulate, or Embassy. Remember to take the collection slip – you will need it later.
  5. Pay the visa application fee.
  6. Collect your Chinese visa by showing the original collection slip.
Trwa wstawianie obrazu...
Photo requirements for Chinese Visa Application, visaforchina.cn

How much does a visa to China cost? 

The standard visitor visa fee to China is: 

  • 30 USD for a single entry
  • 45 USD for double entries
  • 60 USD for 6-month multiple entries
  • 90 USD for 12-month multiple entries.

The price depends on the nationality of the applicant and the number of entries. Agencies may apply additional fees for the service or rush processing.

Hong Kong and Macao

Visa to Hong Kong 

Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) within China that maintains separate administrative, legal, and judicial systems. The good news is that Hong Kong lifted the mandatory centralized quarantine upon arrival to Hong Kong. Now, instead of spending a week or so in an assigned hotel room, travelers are under health observation at home/place of stay for three days after the date of arrival with some movement restrictions, followed by four days of self-monitoring. The rules are different for those who enter Hong Kong from Mainland China or Taiwan. See the Government’s official website for Hong Kong boarding requirements, arrangements upon arrival and more.

You do not need a visa or entry permit to enter Hong Kong if you have any of the following travel documents:

  • Hong Kong Re-entry permit (for those who enter Hong Kong from the Mainland of China and the Macao Special Administrative Region)
  • valid Hong Kong Document of Identity for Visa Purposes.
  • Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Passport
  • Hong Kong Seaman’s Identity Book.

Travel documents bearing one of the following statements:

  • Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card
  • “Holder’s eligibility for Hong Kong permanent identity card verified.”
  • “The holder of this travel document has the right to land in Hong Kong.”

The visa-free period for a visit to Hong Kong depends on the applicant’s nationality. For example, Mongolian citizens can visit Hong Kong visa-free for 14 days, Belarusian citizens for 30 days, and Japanese citizens for 90 days. See the full list of the visa-free period in Hong Kong.

Visa to Macao

Macao is another China’s Special Administrative Region (SAR). Inbound travelers to Macao are no longer required to provide proof of vaccination before boarding transport to the region. The requirements to enter Macao from specific foreign countries include:

  • holding a certificate of a negative test result for a COVID-19 nucleic acid test performed within the past 48 hours
  • undergoing up to seven days of medical observation.

Holders of the following documents are allowed to return to Macao without a visa:

  • Macao Resident Identity Card
  • Visit Permit for Residents of Macao to HKSAR
  • Macao Special Administrative Region passport
  • Macao Special Administrative Region Travel Permit.

Macao grants visa-free treatment to persons from over 70 countries and regions. For example, US citizens can stay in Macao for up to 30 days without a visa, South Korean citizens for 90 days, and UK citizens for 180 days.

The information in this article is subject to change. We encourage you to check the official websites of the relevant Chinese embassy or Chinese consulate-general to confirm. 

Check how to prepare for your trip to China!