China Tourist Visa Application Guide 2024 & 2025

China has fully reopened its border. If you are looking for a China tour, now is the time!

Starting from August 30, 2023, inbound travelers will no longer be required to take a pre-entry nucleic acid or antigen test for COVID-19, which is more convenient for you to go to China.

This article offers a concise guide to the China Tourist Visa (L Visa) to address the visa-related issues you may encounter while planning your journey.

In most situations, travelers require a tourist visa (L Visa) to visit China, which allows a stay of regularly 30 days.

However, the policy could vary in certain cities. For example, if you plan to travel to Hong Kong only, you don't need to have a visa unless your vacation there is more than 90 days. (Available for most citizens, including those from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, etc.) But if Hong Kong is just one of the stops on your trip to China, you still need to apply for an L Visa so that you can visit other cities in mainland China.

If you are traveling to Tibet, in addition to your Chinese visa, you will also need a Tibet Travel Permit. It is issued by the Tibet Travel Administration in response to an application made by a travel agency, and no independent visits are permitted in Tibet. If you book a Tibet tour with Odynovo, we can help you get the entry permit.

Moreover, according to China's announcement on November 24th, citizens of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia will not need to apply for a visa to enter China to travel for up to 15 days. This policy will last one year as a trial, from December 1st, 2023 to November 30th, 2024.

Potala Palace, Lhasa, TibetPotala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet

1. Schedule an Appointment with Embassy

Some embassies offer online visa application appointment services. It is recommended that you directly contact the local embassy or consulate where you plan to submit your visa application and make an appointment.

2. Prepare the Documents

To apply for China L Visa, you will need the following:

1) Passport: Original passport with a validity of at least six months and blank visa pages, along with one photocopy of the passport's photo and information page.

2) Visa Application Form and Photo: One completed "People's Republic of China Visa Application Form" with a recent, front-facing, color passport photo attached against a light background.

3) Proof of Legal Stay or Residency (applicable for applicants not in their home country): If you are applying for a visa outside your country of nationality, you must provide original and photocopies of valid proof or visas indicating legal stay, residency, employment, or study in the country where you are applying.

4) Itinerary Materials: Round-trip flight bookings and hotel reservations or an invitation letter from an individual or entity within China. The invitation letter must include the following:

  • Personal information of the invitee: Name, gender, date of birth, etc.
  • Itinerary details of the invite: Arrival and departure dates, travel locations, etc.
  • Information about the inviting entity or individual: Name, contact number, address, official stamp, and signature of the legal representative or the inviting individual.

If you book a tour with us, we could provide an invitation letter for you.

Note: For US citizens, there is no need to provide proof of your hotels, flights, or itinerary. Simply filling out the visa application form and submitting your passport is all you need for your visa application.

3. Submit Application

To apply, visit the China Visa Application Service Center, the Chinese Embassy, or the Chinese Consulate responsible for your jurisdiction. Submit your Visa Application Form along with the necessary documents. Decide if you require expedited visa processing or postal services. If your Application does not need biomaterial profiles, you can ask someone you trust to apply it for you. Otherwise, you have to go on your own.

4. Pay the Fee

Cash, debit cards, and credit cards are widely used. Contact the local office to learn more if you want to pay in a different method.

Service fees might be charged at the visa service center. It is cheaper to apply directly at the Chinese Embassy.

5. Collect Your Visa

Typically, obtaining a China visa takes around 4 to 5 working days. The exact pick-up date will be indicated on the collection slip. If you choose a mail service, please make sure the time is enough before your departure.

If you're unable to apply for a visa in advance, certain ports offer a port visa. Contact your travel agency for assistance.

Cities Available for Port Visa:

Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Dalian, Fuzhou, Xiamen, Xi'an, Guilin, Hangzhou, Kunming, Guangzhou (Baiyun Airport), Shenzhen (Luohu, Shekou), Zhuhai (Gongbei).

Skyline of ShanghaiSkyline of Shanghai

Note for China Port Visa Application:

1. All required traveler information must be collected 15 days prior to arrival (no less than 10 working days). It takes about 2-3 days for the visa application to be ready.

2. It is suggested to find out if travelers need the original copy of the port visa to depart from their residing country. If yes, please make sure to find out the required time for package delivery and notify us in a timely manner so agencies can schedule it accordingly.

3. Travelers must enter China using the port visa within 15 days of the date of issue; a maximum of 30 days is allowed to stay while traveling in China.

4. After the plane arrives at Shanghai airport, there will be a specially assigned person to bring the original copy of the port visa to the immigration area and hand over the original copy to the travelers for their entry; an airport pick-up guide will be waiting at the exit gate.

5. You must enter China via the port where you apply for a port visa. E.g., if you apply for your port visa in Beijing, you cannot enter China in Shanghai.

6. There will be a risk your Application will be rejected and delay your trip.

1. Can I Apply for a China Visa Online?

Currently, that option is not available. While some regions allow online application submissions, you'll still need to print the application form and submit it in person.

2. How Much Does a China Tourist Visa Cost?

NationalityNumber of EntriesRegular ApplicationExpress ApplicationRush Application
US CitizensThe Same Price for Each Kind is BelowUS$185US$210\
UK Citizens£85£104\
Canada CitizensCan$100Can$135Can$150
Others CitizensSingle EntryUS$30US$55US$67
Double EntriesUS$45US$70US$82
Multiple Entries for 6 MonthsUS$60US$85US$97
Multiple Entries for 1 Year & AboveUS$90US$115US$127

3. How do I Extend My Stay in China?

If you need to extend your stay, apply at the local Public Security Bureau's Exit-Entry Administration a week before your visa expires.

4. How Fast Can I Get a China Tourist Visa?

Usually 4-5 working days. But usually, you can pay an extra fee to get it within 2 working days if you are urgent.

5. When Should I Apply for a China Visa?

Ideally, apply for a Chinese visa a month before your intended entry date but not more than three months in advance. Applying too early might result in the visa expiring before your trip begins.

We hope this guide makes it clear about the Chinese tourist visa application process for you. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us.

If you are dreaming of a China tour, we can also customize an unparalleled experience in this captivating land, and guide you through the history, culture, and breathtaking landscapes that China offers.

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