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How to Obtain the Chinese Visa

how to obtain tourist visa
how to obtain business, work or student visa
how to obtain transit visa
visa fee for US passport holder
sending application by mail

1. Tourist Visa Foreigners wishing to travel to China should apply to a local Chinese embassy or consulate for tourist visas(L). In the event of a group tour of more than nine persons , the organizer has to apply for group tourist visas(L). Foreigners requesting to visit Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Xiamen Special Economic Zones may apply directly to visa authorities in these zones for tourist visas to special economic zones. Foreign tourist groups from Hong Kong for a 72-hour visit to the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone are exempt from entry visas. When applying for a visa, foreigners are required to answer certain questions and go through the following formalities:

1) providing a valid passport or any document in place of a passport;
2) filling in a visa application form and handing in up-to-date passport photos;
3) submitting documents needed for visa application and documents which explain one's reason(s) to enter China.

Points for foreigners with tourist visas:

A foreigner holding the tourist visa (L) should go to an appointed port of entry or one which is opened to foreigners, receive the examination by a frontier inspection station, submit a valid passport and visa for inspection, and fill in an entry card; entry into China is granted only after the frontier inspection has approved all the documents and stamped them with an entry seal.

Foreigners may travel in places opened to them in China with a valid passport and tourist visa(L). By March 1996, China had opened 1, 220 cities and counties to foreign visitors. Foreigners travelling with their own transport vehicles should apply for approval before they enter China. These include bicycles, motorcycles, cars, boats and aircrafts.

Foreign tourists are not allowed to enter areas not opened to foreigners; violators will be penalized according to law. Foreigners who want to visit an area on business not opened to them should apply to the local public security organ for a Foreigners Travel Permit . When they apply for such a permit, they should show their own passports and valid visas, provide letters which explain the reasons for such a visit , and fill in the Application Form for Foreign Travellers. Only after approval is granted, can they enter the area not opened to foreign visitors. The Foreigners Travel Permit should be used along with the passport.

When applying for lodging in a hotel, guesthouse, school or any other Chinese establishment , a foreign visitor should provide a valid passport and fill in a registration form for temporary lodging. A foreign visitor staying with a Chinese family should apply to the local public security organ within seventy-two hours after arrival with valid identification documents of both the guest and the host. A foreign visitor staying with a Chinese family in a rural area should apply to the local police station or residential administrative organ within seventy-two hours after arrival. This stipulation also applies to a foreign visitor staying in a foreign establishment or with a foreigner's family in China.

A foreign tourist may travel in China within the approved period of time. If he wishes to continue travelling in China after the approved time of his stay expires, he should apply to the local public security organ for the extension of his stay. After he has finished his travel in China, he should fill in an exit document before his visa expires and submit his documents to the frontier inspection station in a port opened to foreigners; he is allowed to leave the country only after his document is stamped with an approval seal.

A foreigner staying in China with a tourist visa (L) is not allowed to engage in activities beyond the capacity as a tourist, such as employment, religious propaganda and illegal journalist interviewing. Violators of this stipulation will be punished. The Chinese Government protects the lawful rights of foreigners in China. On their part, foreigners staying in China should abide by the Chinese laws and respect the Chinese habits and customs, and on no account should they do anything to jeopardize China's national security, public interests and social order.

A foreigner who has lost his passport in China should promptly report to the local public security organ, explain what has happened, apply to the Embassy or Consulate of his own country for an exit document with a certificate issued by the local public security organ, and go through related formalities at an entry and exit inspection department. Only then is he allowed to leave China.

2. Business, Work or Student Visa In addition to the above mentioned documents, the followings are required:

    a. For business visa, long term work visa and multiple visa: An invitation letter/telegram from the Chinese Government or Government-authorized Chinese company.
    b. For student visa: An application form for international students ( JW202) issued by the State Education Commission of China and a notification of admission from the receiving college with the seal of the Commission.
    c. For Government officials and members of missions traveling to China for official business or accreditation: An official note from the government or the mission.
    d. For students and those on business whose stay in China exceed 6months: A notarized health certificate.

3. For transit visa A valid visa to the country of destination, a letter of invitation or an air ticket.

4. Visa fee for US passport holder (no personal check please)
    one entry $30
    two entries $40
    multiple-entry ( 6 months) $50
    multiple-entry ( 12 months) $90

5. Picking-up Available after 5 working days. In case of emergency, airline ticket has to be shown and an approval obtained from the visa officer and an extra fee charged: the same day $30, next day $20, and third day $10. Picking up by proxy is permitted with the receipt.

6. Sending application by mail:

a. application must fully meet the above-mentioned requirement.
b. self-addressed return envelope with sufficient postage for Express Mail.
c. an extra charge $5 for mailing service. This office will not be responsible for any mishandling of mail by Post Office or any delivery agent.

Also, see tourist visa application requirement for Hong Kong citizens or announcement concerning the application for entry visas into the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and for passports of HKSAR

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