A China visa is an authorized permit issued by the Chinese visa authorities to non-Chinese citizens for entry into, exit from and transit through China. Citizens from the United States and citizens of most countries are required to obtain a China visa before entering China. There are currently eight types of ordinary China visas represented by the letters C, D, F, G, J-1, J-2, L, X and Z.
- China Tourist Visa (L)
This type of visa is issued to applicants who visit China with the intent of tourist purposes such as sight-seeing, family visits or other personal matters.
- China Business Visa (F)
This type of visa is issued to applicants who are invited to visit China to do business, conduct lectures, take part in scientific-technological and cultural exchanges, research and short-term advanced studies or intern practice for a duration of no more than six months.
- China Work Visa (Z)
This type of visa is issued to those who are hired by Chinese employers to work in China for a longer period of time, and for their accompanying family members.
- China Student Visa (X)
This type of visa is issued to applicants who plan to stay in China with the intent of study, advanced studies or intern practice for a duration of more than six months.
- China Crew Visa (C)
This type of visa is issued to crew members on board international airliners, trains and/or vessels of transportation bound for China.
China Transit visa or G Visa: Issued to those who transit through China. American passport holders holding air tickets to their final destination do not need a transit visa to transit through Beijing International airport if the layover time is less than 24 hours. They can also transit through Pudong International Airport in Shanghai if they stay for less than 48 hours, hold valid passports, visas from onward countries and final destination tickets.
Resident Visa or D Visa: Issued to an alien applicant who will reside permanently in China. Applicants need to get pre-approval from local Chinese authorities prior to submitting application.
Journalist Visa or J-1 Visa: Issued to foreign resident correspondents from related Chinese news authorities in China. Applicants need to obtain approval before submitting visa applications.
Journalist Visa (temporary) or J-2 Visa: Issued to foreign journalists on temporary interview assignments in China.
Validity of Visa: Depending on the type of visa requested, a Chinese visa can be 3 to 24 months. A single entry Chinese visa is usually valid for 3 months from the date of issue. A double entry visa is valid for 6 months. A multiple entry visa can be valid for 6, 12 or 24 months. A China visa holder must enter China before the expiration date of the visa.
Length of Stay: The length of stay is specified on a Chinese visa. It is usually for 30 or 60 days. If a special request was made by the applicant and approved by the Chinese Consulate, it can be for 90 or 180 days. China visa holders must properly extend their visas if they plan on staying beyond the specified dates. Otherwise, they could be subject to stiff penalties.
Overseas Chinese Visa Authorities: Foreign citizens can obtain a China visa from Chinese embassies, consulates, visa offices, and the consular department of the office of Chinese Foreign Ministry. For further information, please consult the nearest China visa authorities in your country.