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China Visa Application Knowledge

All non-Chinese nationals need a Chinese Visa to enter China. The travellers are responsible for all visa application documents, entry documents, health and any other documents required by laws, regulations or orders of countries visited. According to the Laws of the People's Republic of China, on entry and exit of the P R China, foreign tourists must apply for visas at China's foreign affairs offices, consulates or other organizations authorized by China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. With the valid Chinese passport, a Chinese citizen can enter China without a visa.

Who Need to Apply for a China Visa?

A. A group of five or more tourists can apply for a group tourist visa. This is usually handled by a travel agency organizing groups.
B. People coming to China from countries which have visa agreements with China (such as agreements which exempt tourist groups from visas) are treated in accordance with these agreements.
C. Foreigners wishing to visit Tibet should obtain a permit from the Tibet Tourism Bureau or its overseas offices before applying for visa.
D. Foreigners requesting to visit Shenzhen, Zhuhai, and Xiamen Special Economic Zones may apply directly to visa organs authorized by China's Ministry of Public Security in these zones for “tourist visas to special economic zones.”
A passport is required for visa application. The passport shall be valid for at least 3 months.
>> Read more to learn how to apply for China visa, with the required documents, the procedure, the cost and useful tips. 

Nine Main Sub-categories of China Visa

The Ordinary Visa consists of eight sub-categories, which are respectively marked with Chinese phonetic letters L, F, Z, X, C, G, D, J-1and J-2.

L Visa: Issued to an applicant who comes to China for tourist purposes, family visiting or other personal affairs.
F Visa: Issued to an applicant who is invited to China for visit, research, lecture, business, scientific-technological and culture exchanges or short-term advanced studies or intern practice for a period of no more than six months.
Z Visa: Issued to an applicant who is to take up a post or employment in China, and their accompanying family members.
X Visa: Issued to an applicant who comes to China for the purpose of study, advanced studies or intern practice for a period over six months.
C Visa: Issued to crewmembers on international aviation, navigation and land transportation missions and family members accompanying them.
G Visa: Issued to those who transit through China or people who layover within 24 hours in the airport.
D Visa: Issued to applicant who is to reside permanently in China.
J-1 Visa: Issued to foreign resident correspondents in China.
J-2 Visa: Issued to foreign correspondents on temporary interview missions in China.
R Visa: Issued to applicants who are high-level talents or professions who are in short reply and urgently needed in China.

>> Read more to learn Chinese Visa Type

Overseas China Visa Authorities

Overseas China Visa Authorities include Chinese embassies, consulates, visa offices, and the consular department of the office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China. If a foreigner intends to enter into, exit from or transit through Chinese territory, he shall apply to the above-mentioned Chinese visa authorities for a Chinese visa. The China visa issuing authorities, in accordance with the laws and regulations, decide on the type, the number of entries and duration of your China visa. For further information, please consult the nearest Chinese visa authorities
According to the relevant international law, any sovereign state has the exclusive rights to decide whether or not to allow foreigners to enter its territory, and accordingly, to issue a visa, reject visa application and cancel an issued visa according to its national law without providing the reasons.

China Port Visas (China Visa on Arrival)

♦What is China’s Port Visa?

"China port visas" are similar to "visa on arrival" in some countries. They are described as a method or approach to obtaining a visa, rather than being a specific type of visa like "business visa" or "tourist visa." In other words, it emphasizes that port visas are a way of obtaining a visa upon arrival at a Chinese port of entry, rather than a distinct category of visa.

♦Qualified Applicants:

Foreigners holding China invitation letter by an authority, valid passport and the supporting pertinent documents can apply China visa on arrival though the port visa office authorized by the Ministry of Public Security. China Visa on Arrival holders should enter China through the port where the visa is issued. However, the applicants must meet the one of the following conditions:

1) Being invited at short notice by the Chinese side to attend a fair in China
2) Being invited to China to participate in the tender or formally sign the economic and trade contract
3) Coming to China under contract to supervise over export shipment, import commodity inspection or the acceptance of contract
4) Being invited to participate in equipment installation or project repair
5) Being invited by the Chinese side to settle claims 
6) Being invited to China to provide technical consultation
7) Foreigners holding a group visa have a last-minute change of participants, with the approval of Chinese side
8) Coming to China for a critical patient or dealing with the funeral
9) Foreigners in immediate transit who, because of force majeure incidents, are unable to leave China by original aircraft within 24 hours or have to leave China by other forms of transport 
10) Being invited at short notice and do not have time to apply for China visa in advance, with an invitation letter for China visa issued by a designated authority
Where you can apply?
At present, the port visa offices authorized by the Ministry of Public Security have been set up in the following cities, where you may apply for China Visa on arrival: Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Dalian, Fuzhou, Xiamen, Xian, Guilin, Hangzhou, Kunming, Guangzhou (Baiyun International Airport), Shenzhen (Luohu & Shekou), Zhuhai (Gongbei Port), Haikou, Sanya, Qingdao, Weihai and Yantai. View all qualified ports.

China’s Visa-free Transits

To promote the tourism to the world, China has carried out the transit without visa (TWOV) programs. There are three types, the 24-hour transit visa exemption, 72-hour transit visa exemption and 144-hour transit visa exemption. With this visa free policy, a traveler from certain counties or regions arriving at certain ports of entry (designated by the State Council of China) can stay a specified geographic area for 24, 72 or 144 hours without a visa before continuing his/her journey to a third country (or region).
24-hour transit visa exemption is available for almost all nationalities when transiting in all China cities except Urumqi (limited 2 hours, Fuzhou and Yanji) 
72-hour visa free transit is now available in the following 18 cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xian, Kunming, Guilin, Wuhan, Xiamen, Tianjin, Nanjing, Harbin, Shenyang, Dalian, Qingdao, Changsha and Hangzhou
Cities enjoying the 144-hour visa free transit:  
  1. The ten cities of Guangdong Province including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing and Huizhou, providing that the applicants are in a group tour and they have just visited Hong Kong or Macao
  2. Hangzhou, Shanghai, Nanjing, if the applicants can meet the conditions

Hong Kong and Macao Visas

Hong Kong Visa and Entry Permit: The HK government and immigration office allow visa-free access to passport holders from many countries and regions. While the others must obtain a Hong Kong visa to enter. Check the Hong Kong Visa Free Policy Details
Macao Visa: Foreigners who do not enjoy Macao visa-free access are required to apply for a visa to enter. Normally you can apply for Macau visa on arrival. 
Important note: foreigners who plan to visit mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao in the same trip should apply for China visa, Hong Kong visa and Macau visa respectively.