If you want to visit one of the biggest and most exotic countries on Earth, China is the place to go – and for that you need to get a China tourist visa first. From the Great Wall of China to a spectacular fireworks show every New Year’s; China is on the bucket list of most adventurous travelers. China’s appeal lies in everything from its exotic street food to its impressive architecture, ancient history, impressive urban cities as well as incredibly varied nature. China welcomed almost 57 million travelers in 2015, most of whom had to apply for a China tourist visa in advance.
China is a country with very strict visa rules and routines, but millions have gotten their China tourist visa before you, and by reading our guide on the China tourist visa requirements, you will soon be get your visa too.
China Tourist Visa – Can I get Visa On Arrival?
The short answer to this question is No, you cannot. The only people who can get VOA in China are nationals from Brunei, Japan and Singapore. Theses visas are only valid for 15 days, so even if you are from any of these three countries, you will need to apply in advance if you wish to stay in China longer.
TYPES OF CHINA VISAS:
There are several types of China visas, all which start with a letter, and you need to make sure that you are applying for the right one. The different visas for China are as following:
- Tourist visa (L)
- Business visa (M)
- Non-Commerce visa (F)
- Work visa (Z)
- Study visa (X1/X2)
- Private visa (S1 – Long term)
- Private visa (S2 – Short term)
- Family visa (Q1 – Long term)
- Family visa (Q2 – Short term)
- Crew visa (C)
- Group visa
- Transit visa (G)
In this article we will focus on the Tourist visa (L), but will write about the other types of China visas in the future.
China Tourist Visa Requirements Checklist:
The requirements resemble the visa requirements for the Schengen countries in Europe, and if you make sure to double check all your documents, you should have no trouble getting your China tourist visa. To make sure you don’t run in to any delays with your China tourist visa application, we will explain each requirement in detail as well.
- Original passport
- Photocopy of passport
- Photocopy of previous Chinese passports and visas*
- Proof of legal status*
- 1 passport photo
- Application form
- Travel insurance*
- Round trip flight reservation
- Hotel confirmation
- OR: Invitation letter
- Visa fee
Your passport should be in good condition, otherwise it might get rejected
It should have at least 12 months validity
and 2 blank visa pages left for visa stamps
One copy of the name page of your passport
PHOTOCOPY OF PREVIOUS CHINESE PASSPORTS AND VISAS*
This is applicable for previous holders of Chinese passports or visas, that now hold foreign citizenships.
PROOF OF LEGAL STATUS*
If you are applying for your China tourist visa in a different country than your own, you may need to provide both the original and a photocopy of your valid certificates of residence. Double check this with your local embassy or the embassy’s website.
It’s very important that your passport photo complies with all the requirements for the China tourist visa. The photo must show your full face, with a pale or white background.
Check which photo size is applicable for your country, as standard measurements vary in some countries.
The photo must be less than 6 months old
Attach it to the application form with a paper clip, not glued or stapled
The application form must be filled out online, printed and submitted to the embassy. Hand written application forms are not accepted.
An application will be rejected if: there are any empty fields, handwritten corrections or errors. Print only single sided copies, not double sided.
It’s unclear whether a valid travel insurance is a mandatory requirement for the China tourist visa or not. Many travelers have claimed they were refused to book tours because they did not have valid insurance. Either way, we would never recommend anyone to travel without travel insurance. Should you be in an accident, the costs of overseas medical and hospital care is through the roof. Several people in the Schengen visa flight reservation team have had incidents happen abroad, and were it not for their travel insurance, they would have been in massive debt, or not been able to pay for the care they needed. Whether your China tourist visa requires a valid travel insurance or not, we strongly recommend getting one, as all seasoned travelers will tell you. If you are worried about the cost of such an insurance, we recommend Schengen Travel. With over 10 years of experience, this US based insurance company offers a variety of plans that fit every need. All their policies meet the strict Schengen visa requirements, which mean they have extensive coverage and are perfect for any country in the world.
ROUND TRIP FLIGHT CONFIRMATION AND HOTEL BOOKING:
The Chinese government is adamant about this requirement and your China tourist visa application will be rejected if you fail to submit it (unless you have an invitation letter, in this case, read the next paragraph).
The problem with this requirement is that it locks you to a fixed time schedule, in addition to risk you losing the entire value of the ticket should your China tourist visa application be rejected for some reason (and with such strict rules, this is a possibility when dealing with visa applications for China). Most travelers are very despondent about this requirement, and even more chose to visit other countries because the China travel dream ends up being too expensive.
The same goes for having to present hotel bookings. What if you want to spend more time in Shanghai than you originally planned? Maybe Beijing turned out to be too crowded for you, and you’d rather go to Japan earlier than planned on your Asia backpacking trip? What about all of your pre-booked and pre-paid hotels?
As a solution to this problem, Schengen visa flight reservation offers quick, cheap and easy alternatives to booking actual flights or hotels. Instead of booking and paying for the actual flight or a whole bunch of hotels, we make the bookings and later on cancel them for you. You risk absolutely nothing, and all of your reservations are 100 % authentic and verifiable, should your embassy decide to check the validity of your reservations. We offer a 100 % money back guarantee in addition to accepting payments through PayPal with their BuyerProtect. We offer not only flight and hotel reservations, but also train and bus reservations should your embassy require even more details. Check out our plans on Schengen visa flight reservation
OR: INVITATION LETTER:
If you are being invited to China by a friend or relative, you can waive the China tourist visa requirement of flight and hotel bookings, if your friend or relative uses an official invitation letter.
An official letter of invitation to China must contain a lot of information, and the person inviting you needs to make sure that everything is being presented in the letter. Among other things, the letter must contain:
Applicant’s name, gender, date of birth, passport number, full name of employer and applicant’s job title.
Information about the visit, stating its purpose, arrival and departure dates, relationship between the applicant and the person inviting, who will cover the applicant’s accommodation.
Details about the person inviting, such as name, phone number, address and signature.
Copy of both sides of the inviting person’s Chinese Identity Card or passport and residence permit (if they are not a Chinese citizen).
The visa fee for a China tourist visa varies greatly depending on your citizenship. In this case you must check directly with the China embassy you are submitting your application at. Keep in mind that many embassies require a prepaid visa fee via bank transfer and don’t accept payments directly at the embassy.
IF you have any questions regarding your application for a China tourist visa, we have a 24/7 FREE visa consultation service via WhatsApp. Just contact us with any questions you might have and we will be happy to help!
Good luck with your China tourist visa!