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How to Read China Visa

1 Photo of the Applicant

Your photo will usually include on the new version of the visa, but may not be present on some older versions.

2 Visa Category

This indicates the purpose of your visit. It could be for tourism, business, study, work, or family reunion. China offers various types of visas to accommodate different purposes of travel. Here are the primary Chinese visa categories:

L Visa (Tourist Visa): For tourism and sightseeing. Typically issued as single or double entry, valid for 3 or 6 months.
M Visa (Business Visa): For business-related activities such as meetings, conferences, or trade negotiations.
F Visa (Visit Visa): For cultural exchanges, study tours, or non-commercial visits.
X Visa (Student Visa): For students pursuing academic studies in China.
Z Visa (Work Visa): For employment purposes.
Q Visa (Family Reunion Visa): For family members of Chinese citizens or foreigners with permanent residence in China.
S Visa (Private Visit Visa): For family visits, personal affairs, or other private matters.
R Visa (Talent Visa): For high-level professionals, scientists, or skilled workers.
G Visa (Transit Visa): For travelers transiting through China.
C Visa (Crew Visa): For crew members of international transportation companies.
J Visa (Journalist Visa): For foreign journalists reporting in China.
D Visa (Residence Visa): For permanent residence in China.

3 Date of Issuance
The date when your visa was issued. It marks the starting point of your visa’s validity.

4 Visa Validity/Expiry Date
The period during which your visa is valid. It includes the end dates.

Single or double entry visas are usually valid for entry within 3 months from the date of issue.
Multi-entry visas can be valid for six months, one year, or two years.

Suppose you hold a double-entry visa valid until June 20, and your first entry occurs on June 12. Can you come to China again for the second entry on June 25?

  • No, you will be refused entry because the visa had already expired before the attempt to use the second entry.

5 Entries
The number of times you’re allowed to enter China (e.g., single, double, or multiple entries).
00 = Zero entries (not allowed to enter China).
01 = Single entry.
02 = Double entry.
M = Multiple entries (valid for multiple visits).

When all entries are used up, the visa is no longer valid. Even if there are unused entries, the visa is not valid if its validity has expired. If you plan another visit to China, apply for a new visa.

6 Duration of Each Stay
The maximum duration you can stay in China per entry (not related to the visa validity).

Refers to the longest period you can stay in China each time you enter. If you need to stay longer, apply for an extension at the local Public Security Bureau (PSB) within 30 days of entry.

7 Place of Issuance
The Chinese consulate or embassy that issued your visa.

8 Full Name of the Applicant (in a lot of cases it is shown in an abbreviated format)
For example, Mr. Alan Brown may be printed as A. Brown on the visa sticker. However, the full name is always recorded in the machine-readable code (the last two lines of the visa sticker).

9 Sex-male or female

10 Date of Birth of the Applicant

11 Passport Number
Your passport identification number