FAQ: How do I acquire a Chinese visa?

update:2008-02-29
From the USA:
    For a China travel visa request, Chinese Embassy and Consulates require the following:
  • Your valid and actual passport which must have at least six (6) months of remaining validity with at least one blank visa page in it.
  • A recent passport photo;
  • Completed China visa application form;
  • An applicant who was born in China is required to submit his /her Chinese passport or last foreign passport with a Chinese visa when he or she applies for a Chinese visa with a new foreign passport
  • To apply for a Multiple Entry "L" Visa valid for 6 months or 1 year, you need to submit documents that certify you will come to China frequently for family visits or sightseeing. Acceptable documents include an invitation letter from your family member in China or proof of the kinship; or ownership certificate of real estate in China, or sale agreement or lease agreement of an apartment in China; or a copy of adoption certificate or the child's former Chinese passport if he/she has adopted a child from China.
  • Foreign Chinese born in China who have visited China at least twice in the past 12 months, need to submit a copy of the visa(s); or submit an official letter issued by the host institution in China, or an application letter which explains why you need to visit China frequently for tourism.

Notes: You must come to the visa office of the Embassy or Consulate General in the consular jurisdiction in which you live to submit the application; or if you cannot come personally, you may entrust someone else or a travel/visa agent to come to the visa office of the Embassy or Consulate -General in the consular jurisdiction in which you live for the application process.

For more detailed or up-to-date information, please see the USA Chinese Consulate website: http://www.china-embassy.org/eng

From the UK:
    For a China travel visa request, Chinese Embassy and Consulates require the following:
  • Your valid and actual passport which must have at least six (6) months of remaining validity with at least one blank visa page in it.
  • A recent passport photo;
  • Completed China visa application form;
  • You need particular documentation depending on the type of visa you are applying for: Tourist visa: itinerary or flight booking Business visa: invitation letter from a Chinese Government department or government-authorized company. Please get in touch with your local consulate for more information.

Notes: You need to visit the Chinese Embassy or Consulate to apply for and pick-up your visa (unless you use a travel agency that will do it for you).

For more detailed or up-to-date information, please see the UK Chinese Consulate website: http://www.chinese-embassy.org.uk

Validity

Generally, a visa is valid for entry within three months from the date of issue. Please apply for your visa no more than three months in advance, but not too close to your departure date due to any problems that may arise.

Processing Time
Normal processing time for a visa is a minimum of five business days after the date the Chinese Consulate receives the application. (However in the UK, just three working days after successful application.)

Types of Business visa and validity

F - Visa
Business Visit Visa
Z - Visa
Work Visa

Issued to foreigners who are invited to China for a business visit. Maximum stay is 30 days for each entry.

Issued to foreigners who are to take up a post or employment in China, and their accompanying family members.

For foreigners staying in China, you will need to register with your local PSB within 30 days of entering China