How to Apply for a China Visa
Planning to visit China, but don't know how to apply for a China visa? We're breaking it down for you with our step by step guide, follow the steps and get your China visa efficiently.
The visa information we provide is for reference only. We are a travel agency. If you book a trip with us, we can provide you with the invitation letter when applying for a tourist visa.
We are pleased to inform you that China has officially announced the resumption of all kinds of visas, including tourist visas (L Visa), from March 15th, 2023. If you possess a 10-year China Visa obtained before COVID-19, and it remains valid, you can enter China without applying for a new one.
China Highlights takes pride in being the most highly-rated China travel agency on TA with over 10,000 reviews and winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence year-on-year. Despite the pandemic, we have maintained healthy business operations in China and served more than 4,000 China expats with customized travel services from 2020 to 2022.
1. Find out if you need a visa
The first thing is to check whether you need a visa or not. You usually need to apply for a Chinese visa unless you meet one of China's visa-free policies. 72- and 144-hour visa-free transit offer great convenience if you have a layover in China.
2. Find out which visa you need.
There are many types of China visa. Choose a visa type that applies to your situation. If you are planning to go on a vacation in China, apply for a Tourist Visa (L Visa).
3. Prepare the required documents.
The following list of documents are required for any China visa application:
- A valid passport. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months when you enter China.
- A complete visa application form (The visa application form can be downloaded from the Chinese embassy website or from our website. You complete it by computer, print and sign it. In some countries such as UK you should complete an online form. On the form, you might find an item "Serial number of invitation letter of the authorized organization", you may skip this item if you don't have an invitation letter, or the invitation letter is not of this type.)
- A recent passport-type photograph (head and shoulders only, front view, with a white background, approximately 48mmx33mm)
Along with the aforementioned generally required documents, several additional documents are required depending upon the type of China visa applied for.
For instance, if you are applying for a tourist L visa, you need to prepare an air ticket booking record (round trip) and proof of a hotel reservation OR an invitation letter issued by a Chinese travel agency. (An invitation letter could be provided by us without extra charge if a China tour of 3 days or more is booked.)
An invitation letter can replace the air ticket and hotel booking if you are planning to stay with friends or family who live in China and can't provide the hotel confirmation, or if your travel is being organized by a travel agency (or other duly authorized organization) in China. We can provide you with the invitation letter if you book a tour with us.
4. Submit the application.
You may submit the application to the Visa Office at Chinese embassies or consulates, or China Visa Application Service Centers (also called CVASC) if they are operating in your country.
Starting from 2018, visa applicants from more and more countries (including the U.S., the UK, and Canada) have to make their visa application in person and have their fingerprints collected.
The regular service processing time is 4 days, and the rushed service takes about 1 day. The latter is only available in extreme emergencies pending a consular officer's approval.
5. Pay the fee and collect your visa.
Go to the place where you apply for China visa, pay the fee and collect your visa.
The fees vary enormously depending on your nationality and number of entries. Here we listed China visa price for some countries for your reference. It may change based on the updated policies.
|Number of Entries
Multiple Entries for 6 Months
Multiple Entries for 1 Year & above
The fees shown in the table are only for the cost of visa. If you apply through the Chinese Visa Application Service Center, the service fee and tax are required.
98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+
Four excellent sightseeing days in Beijing
We had wonderful four days in Beijing. The entire trip was tailored exactly to our wishes. From experiencing local food, to exploring the major sites of the city up to hiking the great wall of China. Additionally, we had two amazing guides Ina and Fan taking care of all the tickets and coordination required. Also, they could not only tell us everything about the sights we visited and give us an insight to local customs and traditions, but they did so in perfect German. The chauffeur service from Mr Chang was also excellent, getting us from A to B without any hazzle. The past couple of days were one of the most carefree trips we have had so far.more
May 2023, Katha
Great tour from William
Great tour organized by China highlights, our tour guide was William - his knowledge was impressive, his English was great and he was always on time. We did the four day tour including the wall and forbidden city - would definitely recommend to anyone looking for an English tour guide.more
Apr 2023, Lawrence
Beijing 2 day private tour
The tour itself was great, private driver to and from, my guide Ivy was great English speaking guide. She was very knowledgeable and passionate about her country. Was a great time exploring the Great Wall of china and then my second day did a city tour (forbidden city, hutong tour, summer palace). Felt extremely safe, and was confident having an English guide. Thank you china highlights. (Provide them what you want and they’ll make it happen). Prices are reasonable as I looked at a few places but for private tour, my own schedule, and confidence of getting around safely you can’t go wrong.more
Apr 2023, Mark
Beijing 2 day private tour
Overall a great well organized tour. Highly recommend using china highlights to organize a tour and provide an English guide. I emailed china highlights inquiring what I wanted to do in Beijing and took a few days to get a response but once they did Maggie was able to set up a great 2 day tour tailored to me.more
Apr 2023, Mark
Everything was to the vest standard, the history all very well explained by the Tour Guide in Beijing, Ivy. Really enjoyed it, and appreciated the time.more
Apr 2023, Jonathan
Amazing Beijing Experience
I had an amazing time in Beijing and glad Tom was my tour guide. He went above and beyond and I’m truly grateful. Tom did all that he could to ensure my stay in Beijing for two days was pleasant and thanks to him, I say that it was. The driver was also nice and courteous, I called him Jon. The company is blessed to have a good tour guide like Tom on their team so if you are planning to come down to Beijing, make sure you ask for Tom. Thank you Christy and Kimmy for replying all my emails with questions that I had.more
Apr 2023, Pedro V
We had a great experience with China Highlights and Roger was highly efficient and helpful planning our itinerary exactly how we needed.more
Apr 2023, Brenda Sarmanho
Excellent service and tour guide!!
Excellent service and communication from the travel agent Roger Li and amazing tour and experience of Great Wall of China from our tour guide Amber. Highly recommended!more
Apr 2023, Evangelos Athanasopoulos
When to Apply for a Visa
It is important to get your visa early, but not too early because it is only valid for 90/180 days for single/double-entry visas from the issue date.
It is usually recommended that you apply for the visa one or two months before the intended travel.
Apply for Special Permits, If Necessary.
If you are planning on traveling to the Tibet Autonomous Region, you will need to get a Tibet Travel Permit from a Chinese travel agency. As a travel agency based in China for more than 20 years, we can help you apply for the Tibet Travel Permit.
Check the most popular Tibet tours.
Apply for China Visa in Hong Kong
If you are already in Hong Kong and want to visit Chinese mainland, it is possible to get a China visa in Hong Kong. Read our step-by-step guide.
Tailor-Making a Private China Tour
China Highlights is your China tour tailor-making expert. See the recommended tours below for inspiration or check out our ideas and suggestion on How to Plan Your China Tour.
- 8-Day Shanghai - Xian - Beijing Private Tour - China's Ancient and Modern Collision
- 13-Day Beijing – Xi'an – Guilin/Yangshuo – Hangzhou - Suzhou – Shanghai Private Tour - Riches of China
- 13-Day Private Tour: Beijing – Xi'an – Chengdu –Yangtze Cruise – Shanghai A Close Encounter with Pandas - China Essence and Panda Tour