How to Apply for A China Visa - Application Guide & Tips

Notice on Latest Visa and Entry Policies for Foreigners Entering China - Updated on January 24, 2024:

1. Booking of flights and hotels, China itineraries and invitation letters are not required for application of Chinese Tourist Visa for U.S.nationals.

2. 15 Days Visa Exemption Policy is now available for other 6 countries including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia. China will be 15-day visa free for Ireland and Switzerland soon.

3. China will gradually phase out the appointment system for visa applications. As of now, nearly 100 Chinese embassies and consulates abroad have implemented the "walk-in" system, and it is expected that all Chinese embassies and consulates abroad will have implemented the "walk-in" system by the end of this year.

4. Starting from 00:00 on November 1, 2023, individuals entering or exiting the country are exempt from filling out the "People's Republic of China Health Declaration Card for Entry/Exit."

5. Norway has become the 54th country whose passport holders can transit without visa up to 72/144 hours in China.

6. The 15-day visa-free entry policy for Singaporean citizens has been resumed.

7. Starting from August 30, 2023, individuals traveling to China will no longer be required to undergo pre-entry COVID-19 nucleic acid or antigen testing.

8. Make the following adjustments to the visa and entry policies for foreigners entering China, effective from 00:00 March 15, 2023 Beijing time:

1). The entry function of visas which were issued before March 28, 2020 and still valid will be restored.

2). Overseas visa offices will resume issuing various types of visas (including Tourist Visa) for foreigners to travel to China, with specific requirements detailed in the visa application guidelines of Chinese embassies or consulates.

3). Port visa offices will resume issuing various types of port visas for lawful purposes.

4). The policies of visa-free entry for Hainan, Shanghai International cruise arrival, Guangdong for Tourist group entry of foreigners from Hong Kong, Macau, and ASEAN tourist groups entering Guilin, Guangxi will be restored.

9. Attention on China Group Visa on Arrival in Nepal: needs minimum 4 applicants, and no maximum limit. All applicants from one list must all come to the Visa Center for application.

10. U.S. citizens holding multi-year multiple-entry visas issued before March 28, 2020, whose visas temporarily lost entry functionality between March 28, 2020, and March 14, 2023, due to the pandemic, are eligible to apply for compensation. Those who choose to apply for compensation will receive a free 3-year multiple-entry visa. Those who choose to waive the compensation can apply for a new 10-year multiple-entry visa at the regular fee.

China Discovery will keep focusing on the updates of the latest Chinese visa and entry policy! You can also call +86 010 12367 (Official telephone number of China National Immigration Administration) to check further information. Welcome to join in our Facebook Groups to catch up with the latest news!

Invitation letter is a vital document for Chinese visa application. If you travel with us, we will not only create a valuable tour for you, but also provide you an invitation letter if you request, which will help you obtain your visa successfully. Start customizing your tour in China now!

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There are different ways to obtain a Chinese Visa according to your visa types and visiting destinations in China. Except visitors eligible for Visa Free Entry to China, most foreigners need to apply for a Chinese Visa from Chinese embassies, consulates or China Visa Application Centers abroad. Nations qualified relevant requirements can also apply China Visa on Arrival and China Visa Free Transit in specific ports of entry in China upon arrival.

With required passport, supporting documents and visa fees, applicants need to follow several steps to obtain a Chinese Visa. Applications of regular visas like China Tourist Visa (L Visa) and China Transit (G) Visa require just simple steps, while other visas like China Work (Z) Visa, Student (X) Visa and Family Reunion (Q) Visa have extra requirements. Below is the Complete Guide on How to Apply for Chinese Visas.

Step 1 - Complete the China Visa Application Form & Make Appointment for Submission Online

Find the right website to fill in visa application form

Locating the appropriate website for submitting your visa application is a crucial step in the process. Begin by visiting the official COVA website, known as "China Online Visa Application" at Once there, select your preferred language and locate your country in the Continents Category. This action will redirect you to new pages where you can efficiently complete the visa application form.

For citizens of countries like the USA and Moxica, the application form can be filled out directly on the COVA platform. On the other hand, applicants from countries such as Canada, France, the UK, and Australia will need to complete the visa application form on the Chinese Visa Application Service Center's website at

After completing the application, check whether an appointment is required for on-site submission at the Visa Office of Chinese embassies or consulates. While many embassies and consulates currently allow no-appointment submissions, it is crucial to stay updated on the latest information by visiting the respective embassy or consulate websites where you intend to submit your documents.

Important Notice: Visa applicants should fill in the application form truthfully, accurately and completely, concerning personal information (about name, date & place of birth, gender, marital status, nationality and passport), type of visa, work, education, family, email, past China travel, etc. Once the visa form is submitted online, no information in the form can be changed. If any adjustment needs to be made, the whole forms must be filled out again.

After completing the application forms as required, please make sure to print the full set of COVA forms and sign on the Confirmation Page and other required pages. If the COVA forms are not prepared as guided, the application will not be accepted.

Tips: Handwritten application form is not acceptable. If the application form is completed by another person on the applicant's behalf, please fill out his or her information.

China Visa Application Form

China Visa Application Form (COVA Version)

Step 2 - Prepared Required Documents for Your Chinese Visa Application

To successfully obtain a Chinese Visa, applicants need to prepare some materials to prove his/her legal identity and purpose of visiting. The most important requirements are basic documents, including your passport and a completed visa application form. And supporting documents related to your China visit, such as invitation letter, flight ticket, hotel booking record, visiting schedule, etc., are also helpful for your visa application.

Basic Documents

Passport: A valid original passport with validity of at least 6 months and 2 blank visa pages, plus a photocopy of the passport’s data page.

Visa Application Form: One completed China Visa Application Form (should be filled in correctly, downloaded, printed and signed for submission).

Photo: 2 recent photos are required to be glued on the application form. The photos should be frontal bareheaded photos taken within past 6 months, in light color background, in size of 48mm x 33m (2x2 square inch). China Visa Application Photo Requirements >>

Certification of Legal Stay and Residence: If you do not apply for Chinese Visa in your own country, you are required to submit the original and copy of your valid visa, related proof of work, study, residence and legal stay.

Previous Chinese Passport and Chinese Visa: If you once was Chinese Nationality and acquired a foreign nationality, you must submit the former original Chinese Passport and copy of date page; If you once got a Chinese Visa on an old passport, you should submit copy of the date page and the previous Chinese Visa.

Supporting Documents

For China Tourist (L) Visa: Travel itinerary materials including round-trip air ticket and hotel booking record, or invitation letter from an individual/company in China.

The Invitation Letter should cover personal information of the invitee’s name, gender, date of birth, travel schedule of arrival & departure date, visiting places and inviter’s name, contact number, address and signature or related information about the company.

For China Business (M) Visa: Commercial activity documents and invitation letter for a trade fair by a Chinese trade partner.

For China Student (X) Visa: Original and photocopy of the Admission Letter from a school or recruiting institutes in China, and original and copy of Visa Application for Study in China (Form JW201/JW202).

For Family Reunion (Q1/Q2) Visa: Invitation letter from the Chinese Citizen or foreigners holding China Permanent Residence; photocopy of the inviter’s ID or foreign nations’ passport/Permanent Residence Permit; original and copy of the certification of the family relationships and etc.

Check more details about Chinese Visa Required Documents

China Visa Application Passport

Passport is the First & Foremost Requirement

China Visa Application Form

Complete A China Visa Application Form

China Visa Application Supporting Docuements

Air Ticket for China Tourist Visa Application

China Visa Application

Canadian Granted 10 Year China Visa in Toronto

Step 3 - Submit the Application Form and Required documents

Go to China Visa Application Service Center, or Chinese Embassy or Chinese Consulates that serves your application, and then submit your Visa Application Form and all the documents you prepared. Select whether you need a urgent visa service and postal service or not. Please keep the pick-up slip which tells you the date for collecting your passport & visa.

If you can not make the submission in person, you may entrust others to submit the signed application form and required materials. You may have to show yourself in the embassy office if you are required to input biometric information when Chinese Embassy or Consulate think it’s necessary.

Pay the visa application fee & pick up your passport & visa

1.) For submission at Chinese embassies and consulates, you can return to the visa office to pick up your passport and visa after being informed that your application is processed. Upon collection, you have to pay the visa fees. You can pick up your visa and make the payment in person or let aN agent help you. The embassies and consulates do not offer mail-back service. 2.) For submission at China Visa Application Service Center, you have to pay visa fees and service charges when submitting documents. Keep the pick-up slip and collect all the documents after be informed your application is processed.

How long does it takes to issue your Chinese visa? Usually, if you submit application on Monday, you can pick up your visa on Thursday (for regular service), on the 4th working day. Longer time may be needed if visa officer requires, even though you choose express or rush service. Express Service (2 working days) and Rush Service (1 working day) are also provided with extra fees.

Useful Link: Chinese Embassies and Consulates List and Website

China Visa Application Service Center

China Visa Application Center in Canada

Chinese Emabassy and Consulate in US

Visa Office of Chinese Consulat General in Los Angeles US

China Visa Application Fee - How Much Does a Visa to China Cost

China Visa Fee varies from different visa type, number of entry, duration of your stay, and nationality for each applicants. If you apply for a Chinese Visa, you will pay for the visa fee to the Chinese Embassy or Consulate and service charge to the visa office. Express and Rush Services for speeding up visa process need extra charges if you request such service. China Visa Fees and Cost >>

Number of Entry US Passport Holders UK Passport Holders Canadian Passport Holders Citizens from Other countries
Single Entry USD 140 GBP 85 CAD 100 CAD 50
Double Entries USD 140 GBP 85 CAD 100 CAD 75
Multiple Entries for 6 Months USD 140 GBP 85 CAD 100 CAD 100
Multiple Entries for 12 Months+ USD 140 GBP 85 CAD 100 CAD 150


1.) Chinese Group Visa Fee is CAD 40 for Canadians, and $140 for US citizens applying as a group.

2.) Choosing Express or Rush service, an additional fee will be charged.

3.) Application to China Visa Application Service Centers, applicants still need to pay extra service fees.

4.) Acceptable visa payment includes money order, cashier's check, or Credit Card (Visa or Mastercard only). Cash, personal/company check is not accepted.

5.) The above regular visa fee for third countries may be charged differently, please check updated fees in official website. Applicants must pay the visa application fee upon collection.

China Visa Application Online/On Arrival

▶ Apply for China Visa Online

Currently, completing all processes of Chinese Visa Application is not available. Applicants or applicant's agent can finish visa form and make appoitment online, but have to go to Chinese embassies, consulates or Visa Centers in persion to submit visa application documents and provide fingerprints when it's necessary.

▶ Apply for China Visa on Arrival - Port Visa

For some applicants, it takes less time and simple procedures to get Chinese Visa at entry of ports upon arrival. There are four kinds of situations eligible for the VOA Application: authorized emergency entry, group tour (unavailable currently), visiting Special Economic Zones (unavailable currently) ( Shenzhen, Zhuhai & Xiamen,) and Hainan Province though certain ports (unavailable currently). You need to complete a simple form, entry card, pay visa fee and accept frontier inspection at the port of entry.

Visitors obtaining Special Economic Tourism Visa must enter and exit at specific ports, stay within the cities, can not travel further to other cities unless apply for a new Chinese Visa. (Duration of Stay is 5 days for Shenzhen, 3 days for Xiamen & Zhuhai, 30 days for Hainan.)

Note: Except cases of 24 Hour/72 Hour/144 Hour Visa-free Transit and other visa exemptions, US and French Citizens must obtain a Chinese Visa before entry, and not apply to China Visa on arrival or landing visa.

China Visa Application Service Center Online

Website to Submit China Visa Application Form Online

China Visa on Arrival and Port Visa

Apply China Port Visa on Arrival in Luohu Port Shenzhen

China Discovery Provides Invitation Letter If You Travel with Us

China Discovery is a professional and experienced travel companion who offers high-value and worry-free tours for you. To fulfill your dream tour to China, we not only design ideal itinerary covering sightseeing, dining, transfer and hotel, but also will provide you useful Invitation Letter to help you obtain Chinese Visa, even customize a China Visa-free Tour in Beijing , Shanghai, Xian, Chengdu, Hangzhou and more available destinations if you meet relevant visa requirements.

Most Popular China Visa-free Tours:

>> 4 Days Classic Beijing Tour with Great Wall Hiking

>> 3 Days Shanghai Past and Present Contrast Tour

>> 2 Days Xian City Break

>> 2 Days Guilin Ideal Li River Cruise with Yangshuo Essenc

>> 3 Days Chengdu City Break including Panda Volunteering

Recommended Tours

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CD-BXS-08 8 Days Best of China Tour

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Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once inquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

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