Are you wondering if you need a visa to travel to China?

Generally speaking, the answer is yes, you do need a visa to China. But like everything else in this world, there are exceptions to every rule.

China does allow certain visitors from certain countries to travel without the need for a visa for a limited period. Many of these countries have bilateral agreements with China to enable that to happen.

1. Countries That Have Chinese Visa Exceptions

Below is the list of countries that may not require a visa to travel to China. All you need if you come from any of these countries is a valid passport. Here they are:

90-day visa exception

  • Armenia
  • San Marino
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina

60-day visa exception

  • Mauritius

30-day visa exception

  • Belarus
  • Bahamas
  • Ecuador
  • Tonga
  • UAE
  • Serbia
  • Qatar
  • Grenada
  • Fiji
  • Seychelles
  • Barbados

15-day visa exception

  • Japan
  • Brunei
  • Singapore

If you need to stay in China for longer than the stated periods above, you may need a visa even if your country has a visa-free agreement.

You may also be eligible for a visa-free entry to China if you are transiting through the country. This exception may last anywhere from 24-72hours on average.

And if you are a foreigner that is part of a tour group, you may be able to take advantage of a visa-free trip lasting up to 15 days in some parts of China. Be sure to confirm whether you are eligible for any of these exceptions. And find out the conditions under which you will be eligible for them.

Generally speaking, most foreigners need a visa to China regardless of the duration of stay. For this reason, you must learn what you need to do to get a visa to China.

2. What You Need To Know About the China Tourist Visa

You need a tourist visa to travel to China for sightseeing purposes. You can also apply for it if you intend to visit China to see your family or friends. This tourist visa is also known as the L visa.

Here are some things that you should know about a tourist visa to travel to China:

  • Your visa can be a single-, double-, or multiple-entry visa. That means you can use it to enter once, twice, or multiple times into China. If you have long-term personal interests in China such as a spouse studying or working in the country, it makes more sense to apply for a multiple-entry visa to China.
  • Your visa allows you to stay in China for anywhere from 30 days to 180 days from the date of entry.
  • If you are a U.S citizen, you may be eligible for a 10-year multiple-entry Chinese visa. But one condition for this is a passport that is valid for at least one year. You must also take a proactive role in asking for this visa so that you are considered for it.
  • If you intend to stay in China beyond the duration that your tourist visa accords you, you can apply for an extension with the Bureau of Exit and Entry Administration of the People’s Republic of China.

You also need to provide some supporting documents when applying for a visa to travel to China. Some of these documents may include:

  • If you intend to visit Tibet as a tourist, you must also present an approved notice. This should come from the China Tibet Tourism Bureau
  • A valid passport with at least two blank pages that must be valid for at least 180 days
  • A photocopy of your passport’s data page
  • A completed visa application form
  • 2 passport photos
  • Hotel booking confirmations
  • Travel itinerary
  • Air ticket records OR
  • An Invitation letter from the individual or Chinese travel agency that will be your host
  • If you were previously a Chinese citizen, you should also provide a copy of your previous Chinese visa. Alternatively, you should present a copy and original data page of your previous Chinese passport. Ensure that you present the most recently issued documents of this nature.

Once you provide all the relevant documents need for your visa to China and submit your application, you need to pay for the entire process. You can pay using Cashier’s Check, Money Order, or credit cards like Visa and MasterCard. You can also use a company check.

Your visa to travel to China may vary in terms of cost. The total cost for the visa application process will depend on the following:

  • The country whose passport you hold
  • The duration of stay
  • The number of entries your visa will allow you to have
  • How fast the visa is processed.
  • The cost of the visa application on your behalf by a third party

For American citizens, the average cost of applying for a visa to travel to China is about $140.

3. What You Need To Know About the Chinese Business Visa

If you are a foreigner that intends to travel to China for business or other commercial reasons, then you need a Chinese business visa.

Here are a few things you should know about the business visa to travel to China:

  • The business visa types fall under either the M or F categories
  • The M business visa is one that enables you to carry out business and commercial activities within China
  • The F visa type is for non-commercial business activities that you intend to do on behalf of your employer. Such activities include attending lectures, academic visits, scientific research, etc.
  • You should be in the U.S, rather than mainland China when making this kind of visa application.
  • You can obtain a single-, double-, or multiple-entry business visa to travel to China. Some multi-entry visas last for up 6 months while others can last for 12 months or longer.
  • If your business takes longer than it should, your local Bureau of Exit and Entry Administration of the People’s Republic of China can give you an extension. But you must apply at least one week before your business visa to China expires.
  • You could be eligible for a 10-year multiple-entry visa if you are a citizen of the U.S, Canada, Argentina, and the U.K. But this kind of visa is not always guaranteed.

When applying for a visa to China try to ensure that you have all the relevant paperwork. This will make your visa application process smooth.

Here are some of the documents that you may need when applying for a business visa to travel to China:

  • A valid passport and a copy of the information page. It should have at least one blank page. The passport should also be valid for at least 6 months.
  • One passport-sized photographs. The photos must have been taken recently and your picture should have a light background.
  • A filled-in visa application form.
  • An official invitation letter from your business host. This could be a China-based company, exhibitor, Chinese institute, etc. It must have a clear stamp and signature of the official representative of the organization. The letter must also show the purpose of your visit, your arrival and departure dates, contact details of the official doing the inviting, as well as all your relevant personal details.
  • Letter from your current employer. This should show you work for the company you will be representing in China. Your business purpose must be stated as well.
  • For members of the media, religious and non-governmental organizations a personal statement letter is required in addition to a letter from your employers. These letters must state that you don’t intend to carry out religious or journalistic work while you are in China.

Concerning the cost of visa application, the average price is $140 for Americans regardless of the number of entries the visas provide. If you need a Chinese visa quickly and you want to rush the process, however, be prepared to pay an additional fee.

You can pay for it via:

  • Credit card (Visa and MasterCard)
  • Cashier’s check
  • Money order

The payment should be payable to the Chinese Consulate in your locale. And please note that personal checks and cash are not acceptable modes of payment for this kind of visa to travel to China.

By having all the relevant documents that you need, you can make your visa application process faster. But you may not have any idea of where to start. And seeing the process through will take time and effort on your part. And you may be too busy to do that anyway.

If that is the case, and yet you need a personal or business visa to travel to China, you can entrust your visa application process to agencies that specialize in such work. We happen to be one of those companies. And we can ensure that you get your visa to China as painlessly as possible.

Once you give us all the required documents and information we will see the process through on your behalf. Please contact us and let us help you. You can find us at