What is a Chinese Visa?
A visa is a travel document issued by the authorized government officials to allow foreign citizens to enter, exit, or transit through China. In accordance to international law and practice, China is entitled to determine whether or not to allow a foreign citizen to enter or exit from its territory and whether or not to issue a visa, decline an application, or cancel an issued visa in accordance with its national law.
Foreign citizens must obtain a visa before entry into China, with the exception of visa-free entry based on relevant agreements or regulations. Foreign citizens that fall into categories of Article 22 of the Exit and Entry Law of the People’s Republic of China are qualified to apply for port visas from visa-issuing authorities entrusted by the Ministry of Public Security at the port of entry approved to issue port visa by the State Council.
Chinese visas fall into four types: diplomatic visa, courtesy visa, service visa and ordinary visa. Ordinary visas further divided into 12 sub-types or 16 categories. More info below on the different types of ordinary visas.
If you already know which visa you need to apply for, please click the link below for more info on how to apply for the visa as well as the required documents.
|Visa Category||Eligible Applicants|
|C||Foreign crew members of means of international transportation, including aircraft, trains and ships, or motor vehicle drivers engaged in cross-border transport activities, or to the accompanying family members of the crew members of the above-mentioned ships.|
|D||Foreigners who intend to reside in China permanently.|
|F||Foreigners who intend to go to China for exchanges, visits, study tours and other non-business activities.|
|G||Foreigners who intend to transit through China.|
|J1||Resident foreign journalists of foreign news organizations stationed in China. The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days.|
|J2||Foreign journalists who intend to go to China for short-term news coverage. The intended duration of stay in China is no more than 180 days.|
|L||Foreigners who intend to go to China as a tourist.|
|M||Foreigners who intend to go to China for commercial and trade activities.|
|Q1||Foreigners who are family members* of Chinese citizens or of foreigners with Chinese permanent residence and intend to go to China for family reunion, or to those who intend to go to China for the purpose of foster care. The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days.|
|Q2||Foreigners who intend to visit their relatives who are Chinese citizens residing in China or foreigners with permanent residence in China. The intended duration of stay in China is no more than 180 days.|
|R||Foreigners who are high-level talents or whose skills are urgently needed in China.|
|S1||Foreigners who intend to go to China to visit the foreigners working or studying in China to whom they are spouses, parents, sons or daughters under the age of 18 or parents-in-law, or to those who intend to go to China for other private affairs. The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days.|
|S2||Foreigners who intend to visit their family members* who are foreigners working or studying in China, or to those who intend to go to China for other private matters. The intended duration of stay in China is no more than 180 days.|
|X1||Foreigners who intend to study in China for a period of more than 180 days.|
|X2||Foreigners who intend to study in China for a period of no more than 180 days.|
|Z||Foreigners who intend to work in China.|
*Family members refer to spouses, parents, sons, daughters, spouses of sons or daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandsons, granddaughters and parents-in-law.
A foreign citizen can enter China without a visa under some circumstances. To read about how to enter China without a visa, click here.