To have a visa is the first step that you need to take to enter China.
Before you begin to apply for your visa, you need to have a passport and then find out which type of Chinese visa is eligible. According to the purpose of your visit, you may apply for one of the following visas:
1. Tourist visa (L Visa)
Tourist visa is also called L visa. If you go to China for the purpose of sightseeing, visiting family members or friends, or for other personal affairs, you need to apply for this visa. Here is more information.
If you are sure tourist visa is the visa you need, you may speed it up with the following online visa program:
2. Business Visa (F Visa)
Business visa is also called F visa. If you are invited to China for a short-term visit which is no more than six months, such as for an investigation, a lecture, scientific-technological or culture exchanges, advanced studies or internship, or to do other business, this is the visa for you. Click here for more information.
Or see Chinese Visas online here.
3. Student Visa (X Visa)
Student visa is also referred to as X visa. If you need to enter China for studies, advanced studies or intern practice for a period of MORE THAN six months, this is the visa you need to apply for. If your staying in China for a period of NO MORE THAN six months, even though your purpose is to study, or for an advanced studies or intern practice, the visa you need to apply for is a business via, or F visa.
4. Work Visa (Z Visa)
Work visa is also reffered to as employment visa, or Z visa. It is different from a business visa. It is for you if you enter China for a post or employment. Your accompanying family member(s), if any, also need to apply for this Z visa.
5. Crew Visa(C Visa)
Crew visa is also called C visa. If you are a crewmember who work on board of an international train, airliner or vessel to China, you need to have the visa to enter China.
See Chinese Visa online here.
6. Resident Journalist Visa(J-1 Visa)
Resident journalist visa is also reffered to as J-1 visa. If you are a foreign resident correspondent or his/her accompanying dependent, you need to have this visa to enter China. There is a condition to meet before you submit your application: you need to get the approval from related Chinese news authorities.
7. Visiting Journalist Visa(J-2 Visa)
Visiting journalist visa is also called J-2 visa. It's similar to J-1 visa. You are a foreign resident correspondent, and you need to get the approval from related Chinese news authorities before you submit your appication. The difference between J-2 and J-1 visa is that you need J-2 visa because you need to enter China only for short-term news coverage.
Back to Top of China Visas
8. Transit Visa (G Visa)
Transit visa is also reffered to as G visa, meaning visa-free entry. It's a policy from China's visa waiver program. If you hold a ordinary passport from Singapore, Brunei or Japan, and will stay in China no more than 15 days for the purpose of business, sightseeing, visiting relatives and friends or transit, you are not required to have a China visa.
9. Permanent Residence Visa(D Visa)
Permanent residence visa or resident visa is also called D visa. If you enter China to reside permanently, this is the visa you need to apply for.
10. Other Important China Visa Information
Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. If you apply for a Hong Kong visa, you may need to know its requirements before your travel. US citizens can stay in Hong Kong without a visa for up to 30 days.
For Tibet, the Chinese Embassy must get approval from the Tibet Tourism Administration before issuing a visa.