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Introduction to Chinese Visa

 Chinese Tourist Visa

Chinese visa authorities issue different types of Chinese visas to those foreigners who want to enter into, exit from or transit through the country' s territory. Chinese Tourist Visa (L) is issued to those who enter China temporarily for traveling, family visiting or other personal affairs. It ensures a short duration of stay, usually 30 days, no more than 90 days. Generally, most tourist visas issued are for single-entry only, which allow tourist to enter China once. For people who are planning to enter China on more than one occasion, a multi-entry visa is required.

 Transit through China

A transit visa allows a traveler to pass through the territory of a country. An international traveler usually begins his travel from his own country and arrives in the destination country by the way of one or more countries. In this case, he needs to not only apply for a tourist visa of his destination country but apply for the transit visa for each pass-by country. A Chinese transit visa allows a traveler to have a seven-day stay in China and the period of validity of the transit visa is 90 days.

 Changes of applying Chinese Visa for US citizens

From Mar 30th 2004, there are some important changes on the procedure of applying for Chinese Visa for US citizens.

1  An ordinary visa is granted to a US person who holds a diplomatic or service passport and is traveling for personal reasons. A visa fee will be charged as well.

2  Interviews with some US citizens who are applying for Chinese visas in the Chinese embassy and consulates should be required.

3  A US citizen is banned from applying for visas upon their arrival in China and any person who needs a visa for visiting China should obtain the appropriate visa before traveling to the country.

 Entry to Hong Kong, Macau and Other Special Regions

Hong Kong and Macau, as two Special Administration Regions of China, have their own separate entry & exit regulations.

A foreign tourist traveling from mainland China to Hong Kong or Macau regions is required to apply for a Hong Kong or Macau visa. A visa to mainland China is also required when visitor traveling from Hong Kong or Macau to mainland China. For example, if you were traveling to Shanghai on May 1st (of course, now you have your Chinese single-entry tourist visa with you) and left for Hong Kong on May 3rd. After an overnight stay in Hong Kong, you were planning to visit Guangzhou in Guangdong Province on May 5th; you are required again to apply for another Chinese Tourist Visa. The best way to avoid this is to apply for a double-entry or multi-entry visa prior to leaving your country, which allows a traveler to enter China twice or multiple times during the specified visa period.

Things are the same for Macau.

Any travelers taking a group tour from Hong Kong or Macau to entering into the following Chinese mainland cities: Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing, Huizhou for a period of less than 6 days are exempt from entry visas.

Foreigners who want to visit Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Xiamen and other Special Economic Zones in China may apply directly to visa authorities in these zones for tourist visas. However, we do suggest travelers who need a visa for visit (or purposes other than a visit) should obtain the appropriate visa before traveling to China.

Passport holders of foreign countries (including those of Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR regions in China) who want to visit Tibet need Alien's Travel Permits issued by the Tourist Administration Bureau of Tibetan Autonomous Regions as well as a valid passport and a visa. The Chinese government allows only group touring in Tibet region and individual travelers are also required to travel under a group control in that region. Therefore, you can only obtain an Alien's Travel Permit through a travel agency. For details, please visit our Tibet Tour.


Before traveling to China, some essential travel documents should be prepared.

Your passport must be valid for at least six months, with at least one-entirely blank right hand page in your passport for the visa is required. If there are not enough pages on your passport, you can simply go to embassy or consulate in your country to have additional pages added.

Keep your passport safe during your travels, as you will need it to buy air tickets, passing through customs, checking in at hotels and to take almost any movement of your officially-recorded journey. Therefore, nothing will be worse than losing your passport on your travel.

A foreign traveler who has lost his/her passport is required to report the loss to the Exit & Entry Administration office of the local PSB (Public Security Bureau) and they will give you a certificate of loss-reporting. You will need to go to the embassy or consulate of your country in China to apply for an exit certificate for leaving China. However, this takes both your time and money.

Sometimes other certificates can also show your ID to the embassy, including some ID documents with your photos will be required by your embassy when you apply for your replacement passport, maybe a driver's license, though they do not always act in a helpful manner.