China Visa

Written by Sally Guo Updated Aug. 8, 2022

Usually, foreign travelers need a visa when traveling or doing business in the People's Republic of China.

This China Visa Guide will help you answer almost all the questions you need to know before applying.

This includes visa types, requirements, application, cost, visa exemption countries, visa-free transit policies, Visa on Arrival, etc.

Note: The following information is available for ordinary days. If you are looking for special tips with regard to traveling to China during the COVID-19 epidemic period, please read China Travel Restrictions 2022.

China Visa Types

The type of visa you need to apply for depends on the main purpose of your visit to China.

There are four major categories of Chinese Visa: Chinese Diplomatic Visa, Service Visa, Courtesy Visa, and Ordinary Visa.

When speaking of China Visa, we usually refer to the Ordinary Visa types of the mainland of china.

1. Ordinary Visa

China Work Visa issued in Hong Kong
China Work Visa issued in Hong Kong

2. Hong Kong SAR & Macau SAR

Hong Kong and Macau are two Special Administrative Regions (SARs) in China. They are regarded as third regions from the mainland of china. They set up their own visa policies and a China Visa is NOT valid for visiting HK or Macau.

3. Visa on Arrival for Tourists – Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Xiamen, Hainan

Visa on Arrival Valid for Eligible Ports of Entry Permitted Area to Stay
Shenzhen 5 days Luohu, Huanggang, Shekou and Fuyong ports Shenzhen City
Zhuhai 3 days Gongbei, Jiuzhou and Hengqin ports Zhuhai City
Xiamen 5 days Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport Xiamen City
Hainan 30 days Haikou Meilan International Airport the mainland of china

Click China Port Visa to know more detailed information.

4. Tibet Travel Permit

Non-Chinese passport holders and Taiwanese have to get a Tibet Travel Permit (or Tibet Visa) under the help of a China-based travel agency, like China Travel, before visiting Tibet.

It is not allowed to do the application and travel in Tibet independently. You have to travel with a tour guide.

Tibet Travel Permit
Tibet Travel Permit

China Visa Requirements

When to Apply

To apply for a Chinese visa, you must make sure that you have an original copy passport. The passport is valid for at least six months with blank visa pages. So three months before your expected day of travel is sensible to allow time to audit your passport.

Where to Apply

Find out your visa type. And then submit your application to the visa office of the Chinese Embassy/Consulate General based on your own countries.

A travel agent or a visa agent can also help you to deal with the visa in the embassy or consulate office.

Documents for A China Visa

China Visa Fees

Entries U.S. Citizen Canada Citizen Non-U.S. Citizen
Single USD 140 CAD 100 USD 30
Double USD 140 CAD 100 USD 45
6 Months Multiple USD 140 CAD 100 USD 60
12 Months Multiple USD 140 CAD 100 USD 90


Visa-Free Transit in the mainland of china

There are three types of transit without visa (TWOV for short) policies in the mainland of china: 24-Hour, 72-Hour, and 144-Hour.

Type 24-Hour TWOV 72-Hour TWOV 144-Hour TWOV
Eligible Countries Nearly all countries 53 countries 53 countries
Entry Ports Most Chinese cities Guilin, Xi’an, Chongqing, Harbin, Changsha Beijing, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Qinhuangdao, Qingdao, Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Jieyang, Shenyang, Dalian, Chengdu, Kunming, Xiamen, Wuhan
Means of Transport By air, cruise, train By air By air, cruise, train
Areas Allowed to Stay The transiting area The transiting city The transiting city or region

Hainan 30-Day Visa-Free Stay

From May 1, 2018, ordinary passport holders from 59 countries can have a visa-free entry to Hainan if they are received by Hainan-based travel agencies.

They need to apply for a visa-free stay at least 72 hours before arrival and enter/exit from Sanya or Haikou by flight with a hotel booking confirmation voucher. They can stay and travel in the whole Hainan Province for up to 30 days without a Chinese visa.

Check Hainan’s official tourism website for updated visa-free info and find the eligible travel agencies.

The full list of the qualifying 59 countries are:

Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Finland, Norway, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary,

Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania,

the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Qa. 

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