China Visa-Free Transit head
Home China Travel Guide How to Apply for a Chinese Tourist Visa

How to Apply for a Chinese Tourist Visa

Foreign travelers coming to visit China must hold a valid Chinese tourist visa (L visa), except those who are qualified to enjoy Chinas visa-free entry policies. To apply for a China tourist visa, you are required to prepare documents such as a passport, application form, and itinerary about the China tours or an invitation letter. Check the guidelines below if you want to learn more information about China tourist visa application.


Do I need a visa to travel to China?

As a general rule, foreign citizens who intend to go on a trip to China are suggested to apply for a Chinese tourist visa about one month before departure. However, China has introduced a few visa-free entry policies in recent years, which make traveling to China much easier for eligible visitors.

For example, visitors coming from 15 countries, including Singapore, France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, can enjoy a 15-day travel in China without a visa. Besides, transit visitors from 54 countries, like the US, the UK, Canada, Russia, and Mexico, are eligible to take a 72-hour visa-free layover in Changsha, Harbin, and Guilin, or  a 144-hour visa-free transit in 20 major cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an and Chengdu.

Chinese Visa

How many times can I enter China on a tourist visa?

According to the number of entries, a China tourist visa is divided into 3 categories ensuring visitors’ single entry, double entries or multiple entries to China. You can choose the intended number of entries when filling in the application form.

Recommended Best China Tours:


What documents do I need to apply for a China tourist visa?

Applicants are requested to show basic documents such as a passport and application form, as well as supporting documents like an itinerary or an invitation letter, according to China tourist visa application requirements.

1. Basic Documents

  • Passport:
  1. Original passport with at least 6 months of remaining validity and blank visa pages
  2. A photocopy of the personal information page
  • China visa application form

Fill out the online application form at (the official website of China Online Visa Application (COVA)). Print out the form and sign it at specified locations.

  • A recently-taken passport photo (size: 48x33mm):

A color photo taken within 6 months, with a light background, full-faced and bareheaded.

  • Proof of legal stay and residence (for applicants applying in a third country)
  • Previous China passport or China visa (for applicants used to hold Chinese citizenship):
  1. If it is your first visa application, provide the original of the previous China passport and a photocopy of the personal information page, as well as the permanent residency in foreign countries and naturalization paper;
  2. If you have obtained a China visa before and are applying with the new foreign passport, submit photocopies of the personal information page on the previous foreign passport and previous Chinese visa.
China visa application
China Tourist Visa Application Online

2. Supporting Documents

  • Itinerarymaterials: booking records of round-trip air tickets and hotel reservations;
  • Or, an invitation letter issued by units or individuals in China, which includes the following contents:
  1. Personal information of the invitee: name, gender, birth date…
  2. Detailed visiting schedule: arrival and departure dates, places to visit, accommodation arrangements…
  3. Information of the inviting unit or individual: name of the organization or individual, telephone number, address, seal of the organization/signature of the legal representative or individual…

Once you have the materials ready, submit all the files to the Chinese visa application service center or visa sector at the Chinese Embassy or Consulates that is in charge of your residential area. Applicants between the age of 14 and 70 are required to show up in person in order to record the biometric information.

Recommended most popular China tours:


How long does it take to get a China tourist visa?

It usually takes 4 working days for the service center to process your China tourist visa application, which means you can go collect your visa on the 4th or 5th working day after submission. If you are in a hurry and willing to pay an extra fee, the visa center can provide express or rush service which shortens the visa processing to 2~3 working days or even 1 working day in some countries.


How much does a China tourist visa cost?

Applicants are required to pay the application fee when picking up the visa. The specific cost for a China travel visa is determined by your nationalities, the number of entries, and whether you have paid for express or rush service, or mailing service.

Here is a list of China tourist visa fees for a regular application in major countries:

  1 entry 2 entries Multiple entries
the US USD 140 USD 140 USD 140
the UK GBP 130 GBP 130 GBP 194 for 5 years

GBP 257 for 10 years

Canada CAD 100 CAD 100 CAD 100
France EUR 111 EUR 111 EUR 111
Germany EUR 110.45 EUR 110.45 EUR 110.45
Republic of Korea KRW 26,000 KRW 40,000 KRW 53,000 for 6 months

KRW 75,000 for at least 12 months

Japan JPY 7,250 JPY 8,750 JPY 9,500 for 6 months

JPY 12,500 for at least 12 months

Russia SUR 6,300 SUR 8,800 SUR 11,200
Malaysia RM 104 RM 110 RM 141 for 6 months

RM 171 for at least 12 months

Singapore SGD 80 SGD 87 SGD 95 for 6 months

SGD 110 for at least 12 months

India INR 2,900 INR 4,400 INR 5,900 for 6 months

INR 8,800 for at least 12 months

Australia AUD 94.5 AUD 117.8 AUD 139.5 for 6 months

AUD 184.5 for at least 12 months

Italy EUR 127.1 EUR 127.1 EUR 127.1
Brazil BRL 475 BRL 475 BRL 475
Mexico MXN 730 MXN 1,090 MXN 1,450 for 6 months

MXN 2,250 for more than 6 months

Spain EUR 111.55 EUR 111.55 EUR 111.55
Netherlands EUR 111.55 EUR 111.55 EUR 111.55

Keep Reading:

Lost your password?

A TripAdvisor award-winning China travel agency organizing diverse private and mini-group China tours. We offer in-depth experience, free cancellation, flexible & safe trips.




(08:00-21:00 Beijing Time)

Send us a quick inquiry

    I prefer to be contacted via:

    Your travel consultant will reply within 24 hours.