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Home China Travel Guide How to Apply for a China Visa?

How to Apply for a China Visa?

Foreign visitors who are planning a trip to China are advised to apply for a Chinese visa at least one month before departure. However, how to get a visa to China must be a headache for a lot of people, especially first-timers. Here, we have a step-by-step guide to China visa application for you to figure out the whole application procedure and relevant requirements.


Step 1: Find out whether you need a visa

Generally speaking, any foreign citizen visiting China must have a visa unless they are eligible for China’s visa-free policies. For instance, 72-hour visa-free transit adopted in Changsha, Harbin, and Guilin, as well as 144-hour visa-free transit carried out in 20 cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, and Chengdu, enables visitors to have a short stay in these cities without a visa.

Chinese Visa

Step 2: Decide which kind of visa to apply

There are various types of China visas for applicants with different visiting purposes. For example, if you mean to take a few days’ China tours, a China tourist visa (L-visa) is right for you; applicants intending to have a business trip to China should apply for a China business visa (M-visa); overseas students are required to hold a China student visa (X-visa) to receive education in the country…

If you have to travel to China frequently for business or family reasons, you may consider applying for a 5-year or 10-year China visa directly, which allows multiple entries to China within the validity period.

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Step 3: Fill in the China visa application form

Completing the online application is the first step in the whole process. Applicants need to log on to the official website of China Online Visa Application (COVA) at to fill in the application form. Print out the whole set of forms after finished and sign at specified locations.

China visa application
China Visa Application Online

Step 4: Prepare documents as required

Organize physical application documents as required, and ensure the truthfulness, accuracy, and completeness of the information. Otherwise, the application will be rejected.

Applicants are required to prepare two kinds of documents – Basic Documents and Supporting Documents. The former one is necessary for applying for all Chinese visas while the latter varies according to different visa types.

Basic Documents:

  • Passport:
  1. The original with a validity of more than 6 months and blank visa pages
  2. A photocopy of the personal information page on the passport
  • China visa application form attached with a 33mm * 48mm photo:

The photo should be taken within 6 months, full-faced and bareheaded.

  • Proof of legal stay and residence
  • Previous China passport or China visa (for foreign applicants used to hold Chinese citizenship):
  1. For first-time applications, please 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. Or, applicants need to submit photocopies of the personal information page on the previous foreign passport and previous Chinese visa.

Supporting Documents of Common Visa Types

Itinerary materials like booking records of round-trip air tickets and hotel reservations, or invitation letters from units or individuals in China

  • China Student Visa (X-Visa):
  1. The original and a photocopy of the admission letter issued by educational institutes in China
  2. The original and a photocopy of the visa application for study in China
  • China Business Visa (M-Visa):

Commercial activity documents or invitation letters of trade conferences issued by business partners in China.

  • China Family Reunion Visa (Q-Visa):
  1. An invitation letter from a Chinese citizen or a foreign citizen with permanent residence status in China;
  2. Photocopies of the Chinese inviter’s identity card, or photocopies of the foreign inviter’s passport and permanent residence permit;
  3. A proof of the family relationship with the inviter is needed if the applicant intends to stay in China for more than 180 days.

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Chinese Q-Visa
Q Visa

Step 5: Submit all the required documents

Chinese visa applicants no longer have to make an online appointment in advance. Once you get everything ready, submit the application form as well as all the required documents to the Chinese visa application service center or visa sectors at the Chinese Embassy or Consulates that serve your residential area. Applicants aged from 14 to 70 are required to record biometric information at the same time. You will be given a pick-up slip stating the date of collection. Please keep the slip properly.


Step 6: Pay the fee and pick up the visa

Go to the visa service center or visa sector on the appointed date to complete the payment and collect your visa.

How long does it take to get a Chinese visa?

Generally, applicants can pick up their Chinese visa on the 4th working day after submission. If they want express services, an extra fee will be charged and the application procedure will be shortened to 2~3 working days.

China Visa Application Fee

The application fee for a China visa varies largely depending on the number of entries, applicants’ nationalities, and visa types. Applicants should make an extra payment if they want express services or have the visa mailed to their places.

Here is a list of application fees for a visa to China in major countries for your reference:

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


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