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How to Apply a Chinese Tourist Visa

 Documents Requirements:

A valid passport for at least six months from the date of travel with at least one entire unused page
A completed visa application form can be obtained from the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in your country or be downloaded from the official website of the Chinese Embassy in your country.
Two 2" X 2 (inch)" passport photos (either white& black or color) should be affixed to the visa application form
For Chinese Nationals now resident or naturalized in another country, the former Chinese passport is needed.
Related documents explain one's reasons to enter China. An invitation letter or a travel itinerary confirmed by a travel agency in China or an air tickets or hotel reservation files are all acceptable as the explanation of a traveler's reason for entry.

 How to Apply:

An individual traveler can come to the embassy or consulate in their native country in person or through a third party (e.g. a travel agency or operator) to apply for his Chinese tourist visa.

No pre-contract is needed.
The embassy or consulate does not accept any visa applications sent by mail or postal services.
The process is straightforward and usually takes four to five working days. For express processing within one working day (any hand-in before 11:30 can be finished before 15:00), an extra fee of USD30 is charged and the express processing within two or three days cost an extra fee of USD 20.
Some travel agencies or operators handle a group tourist visa file for their tourists. However, this kind of group visa is actually not very convenient for tourists because all the group members are required to enter into and exit from China on the same dates.

 Apply for a multi-entry tourist visa:

The multi-entry tourist visa allows a tourist to enter into and exit from China on more than one occasion and the stay period is 60 days. Applicants are required to provide documents, giving a reasonable reason for multi-entry into China.

 Visa Fee
Visa fee is different when applys in different countries. The following table shows the visa fees when applys in the Chinese Embassy in USA.

Entries of Visas U.S. Citizen Citizen of other countries
Single USD 140 USD 30
Double USD 140 USD 45
Multiple within half a year USD 140 USD 60
Multiple within one year USD 140 USD 90
Multiple within two year USD 140    ---

 Chinese Visa Validity & Extension

Period of Validity & Period of Stay

Period of Validity of a visa refers to the period starting from the issuing date to last day before a person may enter China. For example, if your visa is issued on May 1st with a period of validity of 90 days. It means you have to enter China before August 1st.

The Period of Stay refers to the period starting from the entering date on which a traveler enters into China to the last day, on which he has to leave the country. Take the previous example again. If the period of stay of the visa you apply for is 30 days and you enter China on May 10, it means you can stay in China till June 9.

Most tourist visas are usually valid for three months with a stay period of 30 days. The period of validity can be extended for an extra month. We suggest that you apply for your visa one month prior to your travel date.

 Extension of Visa

Foreigners who want to stay in China beyond the period which is allowed by their L visas, need to apply for an extension of their visas with appropriate reasons.

Documents of your valid passport, visa and certificate of residence registration, a completed visa extension application form and materials supporting the reasons of extension are required when you have the extension processed at the municipal public security bureau seven days before your visa expires. Also the certificates of your travel expenditures such traveler's check or other financial supports are needed to show you have an economic guarantee of your further stay.

The multiple entry visas cannot be extended.

The L visa held by visitors could be extended once with duration of not more than one month; L visa held by family visitors could be extended three times with the duration of each under three months.

For visitors who are purposely on traveling, with L visa, the stay period can be extended once with the maximum duration no more than one month and for family visitors, the visas could be extended two or three times with the duration of each less than three months. However, for the latter cases, more detailed materials are required to provide reasonable grounds of your extending stay in the country.