Page d'accueil > Services consulaires > Visa
Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where can I find information on visa application? How can I contact you?

Please browse our websites or the Embassy in Bern ( and Consulate-general in Zurich ( for general information and details of visa application.

If you cannot find answers to your questions from our websites, please refer to the following Q&As.

 Please come to our office to apply for visa. Applications by post, email or fax are not acceptable.We will not provide service to return the application documents by post.


2. I got information from your website"", can you confirm the infos there are correct?

The webpage begging with are no longer in use, our official German webpage regarding consular affairs is, French webpage, and Chinese webpage


3. Where can I find the application form? Are there any additional forms for non-Swiss passport holders? Should I complete the form by hand or computer?

The only application form we use now is from V2013 (4 pages). It's the same for all types of visa application and for Swiss and non-Swiss nationals. You can complete it by either hand or computer, but please sign it by hand. You can download the form from here: English version (, German Version (, French version (


4. Can I send application by post or on line?

No. Applications by post, email or fax are not acceptable.We will not provide service to return the application documents by post.Please apply for visa from our office directly with all the documents. If you do not have time to do so, please find an agent to help.


5. I already posted my application documents to you. What should I do now?

Normally posted applications containing passports which can be felt by touching the envelope instead of opening it are directly returned. Please check with your post office.

If there's no passport in your post or it's not returned, please come to our consular office to fetch it within one month since the date you send it to us. We will not responbile for keeping all the documents and passports if no one pick it up one month later. The sender should be responsible for delaying of issuing visa. If you assign another person to come, please give him/her a power of attorney.


6. Can my invitor in China send directly to you the invitation and relevant documents by fax or email, and then I go to your place to apply for visa?

No. Applicants are required to prepare all the needed documents by themselves. Faxed or emailed documents to our Embassy or Consulate-general will be ignored.


7. Can One of us or someone else apply for visa for us all? If so, does this person need a power of attorney?

One of you or someone on behalf of can apply for visa for you all. There's no need of a power of attorney.

But we may request some applicants to come by themselves.


8. Where do I apply for Visa?

Swiss passport holders can apply for Chinese visa in either Bern or Zurich.

Non-Swiss passport holders with Swiss Permit B, C or L, and staff of international organizations based in Switzerland with relevant Swiss Permits can apply in Switzerland. Please check the place of issued of the Swiss Permit. If issued in Basel-Land, Basel-Stadt, Bern, Fribourg, Geneve, Jura, Neuchatel, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Solothurn, Ticino, Uri, Valais or Vaud, applications have to be submitted in Bern. If issued in Aargau, Apenzell-Ausserrhoden, Apenzell-Innerrhoden, Glarus, Graubuenden, Luzern, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, St. Gallen, Thurgau, Zug or Zurich, applications have to be submitted in Zurich.

Non-Swiss passport holders with Swiss Permit G or without Swiss Residence Permit cannot apply in Switzerland.

Liechtenstein passport holders and those with Liechtenstein Residence Permits have to apply in Zurich.


9. What's your visiting address?(No Post Address)

Consular Section of the Chinese Embassy in Bern: Lombachweg 23, 3006 Bern.

Consular Section of the Chinese Consulate-general in Zurich: Mythenquai 100, 8002 Zurich.


10. Can I apply in Geneva?

No. There's no Chinese consular office in Geneva.


11. Where do I pick up the visa? Can you send them to me by post? Can someone else pick it up for me?

We don't send visa by post. Anyone can pick them up for you as long as he/she brings the pick-up form.

Please pick up the visa where you applied. If you applied in Bern, please pick up in Bern. If you applied in Zurich, please pick up in Zurich.


12. How long does it take to get the visa? Can I get it on the same day?

It takes at least 4 working days to get the visa. We will make preliminary check when you apply for visa and inform you when you can pick up your visa. There's a pick-up date in the middle of the pick-up form which we give you when you submit your application. After exam your applciation documents, we will inform you if you need to wait more time or submit more papers to complete the application. The same day pick up is only issued under special circumstance which will be decided by us , not according to your request.

Some cases may need longer processing time.

We don't do urgent services for applicants holding the following countries' passports: Afghanistan, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Iceland, Iran, Iraq, Luxembourg, Mali, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.S.A..


13. I cannot come on the pick-up day which shows in the pick-up form. Can I come later?

The pick-up date is the earliest day your visa will be ready, so you can come as from that day.


14. When and how do I pay?

Visa fee will be charged by pick-up.

Only credit/debit card (Visa, Master, Maestro) is acceptable in Bern. Post Financial card cannot be recognized by our POS machine.

Only cash is acceptable in Zurich.

Bank transfer or posted money in cash are not acceptable.


15. How much do I pay?

Please refer to the fee table:


16. Do you open in the afternoon? I cannot ask for a leave in the morning. Do I need an appointment to apply for visa?

We only open from 9 to 12 o'clock, Monday-Friday. This is the same in Bern and in Zurich. There's no need of an appointment.

If you cannot come in the morning, you may ask someone else to come on behalf of you.


17. Do you close during local holidays?

Normally we only close during Chinese festival.

There is a holiday list on the website of our Embassy in Bern (, and that of the Consulate-general in Zurich ( Holidays may differ in these two places.

And once we have days-off, there will always be a notice on our website and in the auto-reply or our email box one or two weeks in advance.


18. Can I apply for Chinese visa upon arrival (at the airport when I arrive in China)?

No. Chinese visa cannot be applied upon arrival. Please apply before going to China.


19. What documents are required for visa application?

There are some basic documents required, and different supporting documents are needed according to the purpose you will go to China so that different types of visa will be issued. Please browse our introduction here:


20. I want to do an internship in China. what visa is proper?

Since last September we implemented new visa policy, those who want to do internship in China have to apply for Z visa no matte paid or unpaid. Please ask your employer in China to apply for the Alien Employment License from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Welfare of China and Notification for Visa from municipal or provincial government in China.


21. I want to apply for Z visa/X1 visa, do I need to submit a physical examination record (health report)? And are there hospitals in Switzerland specified by your Embassy?

According to the new visa policy, the physical examination record is no longer needed when you apply for Z visa or X1. Therefore, there's not any hospital in Switzerland specified by our Embassy or Consulate-general.

But you may be asked to do health check in specified hospitals in China when you apply for Chinese Residence Permit after you arrive in China.


22. I want to learn the Chinese language (Kongfu) in China, and I also want to go to other countries during my holidays. Can I apply for multi-entry visa?

For those who will study Chinese or Kongfu in China, and those who will study in Chinese universities for up to 180 days, we issue X2 visa. X2 visa is only single-entry, and the duration of stay will be granted according to the length of the study mentioned in the Admission Letter from the school but no more than 180 days. With X2 visa you cannot exit and re-enter China.

You may finish your study first and then exit China to have a tour in other countries. Please apply for tourism visa before you re-enter China.


23. I want to visit Shanghai for 48 hours, and I heard that for a stay in Shanghai no more than 72 hours I don't need visa.

There's a 72-hour visa exemption policy, but it's only for transit. If you will visit Shanghai instead of transiting from Shanghai, you need visa. Please refer to the transit visa policy here:


24. Can I book the flight and hotel after getting the visa?

To apply for tourism visa, both a copy of round-trip flight booking and a copy of hotel reservation are required. Please book them first and then apply for visa. You may confirm the booking after you get the visa.


25. I want to go to China from Russia by train, so I don't have a flight ticket to China. What should I submit?

Please bring a copy of flight booking to Russia or a copy of train ticket to China. And a copy of the return flight/train ticket is also required.


26. I will have a tour in China. Is a hotel reservation for my first week in China enough?

No. To apply for tourism visa, a hotel reservation for at least 2/3 of your total stay in China is required. For a tour in China more than 30 days, a detailed travel plan or itinerary is required too.


27. I will stay in someone's home in China, so I don't have a hotel reservation. What do I have to submit?

Please ask your invitor in China to write to you an invitation letter stating where (the address) and how long you will stay in China.

If the invitor is Chinese, a copy of his/her Chinese ID card is required. If he/she is foreigner, a copy of his/her passport and a copy of Chinese Residence Permit are required.


28. I will travel with a crew member (flight attendant), I only have a stand-by flight ticket. And I will stay in the hotel provided to the crew members, so no copy of hotel reservation. What should I do?

A copy of the stand-by flight ticket is OK. And please ask the airline company or the hotel in China to issue a letter to certify that you can stay with the crew member in the hotel room provided to the crew members.


29. I booked my trip from a tour agency and it arranges my tickets and hotel. I don't have the booking with me. What should I do?

Please ask the tour agency to give you a copy of the bookings, as you need it when you apply for visa.


30. I will go to HK, Macao and mainland (Shenzhen/Hainan) China. Do I need multi-entry tourism visa?

Entries to mainland China and to HK or Macao are counted separately. If you will enter mainland China one time, it will be single-entry, and if two times, it will be double-entry. Please note that we don't issue multi-entry tourism visa, if you want to enter mainland China more than two times, please apply for double-entry visa and you may apply for new visa in HK or Asian countries


31. I will go by cruise, so I don't have flight ticket nor hotel reservation. What should I do? And the cruise may stop many times at Chinese ports, can I get multi-entry visa?

Please submit a copy of your cruise plan. If the cruise will stop at Chinese ports at least 3 times, we will issue multi-entry visa valid for 3 months.


32. I want to travel by my own vehicle (car, bicycle). What should I do?

Please apply for tourism visa, and refer to questions 25 and 26. Please note that you cannot enter China with the tourism visa only, you also have to contact a tour agency in China so that it can apply for Special Travel Permit for you.


33. Can I apply for multi-entry business visa as I travel frequently to China to meet my business partner?

To apply for multi-entry business visa, please ask your business partner in China to get Notification for Visa from local government for you.

If you don't have the above mentioned official invitation, but went to China many times, please submit your old passport which contains Chinese visa or a copy of your previous Chinese F/M visa and Chinese entry/exit stamps. If you are considered qualified, we will issue multi-entry visa for you.


34. Should the invitation letter be original or just a printed scanned copy is OK?

Normally an invitation letter can be a printed copy. But for some special cases, we may request the applicant to submit the original invitation letter.


35. I'm a Chinese living in Switzerland. My husband and daughter are Swiss. Can I invite them to China to visit my parents and apply for family visiting visa (Q2 visa)?

The invitation letter has to be from a person residing in China. So please ask one of your relative to write the invitation and attach a copy of his/her Chinese ID card, and we will issue Q2 visa.

If there's no one in China who can write the invitation letter, please apply for tourism visa(L visa) with a copy of flight booking and hotel reservation.


36. I want to visit my girlfriend in China. Can I get multi-entry visa?

For those who will visit spouses (either Chinese nationals or foreigners studying or working) in China and can provide relevant certificates, we issue Q2 or S2 visa, and Q2 and S2 visa can be multi-entry.

But since you are not married, you can only apply for L visa which can be at most double-entry valid for 6 months.


37. My son (not Chinese national) is working in China and I want to visit him frequently. Can I apply for multi-entry visa?

Please submit an invitation letter from your son, a copy of his passport and Chinese Residence Permit, and a copy of your Family Book or his Birth Certificate. And we can issue S2 visa for you. S2 visa can be multi-entry.

If you cannot bring a copy of Family Book nor your son's Birth Certificate to prove your relationship, we can only issue L visa for you. L visa can be at most double-entry.


38. Do I need visa for HK? How should I apply? What documents do I need?

Swiss passport holders can go to HK for visit (tour/business) and transit for up to 90 days without HK visa. For other purposes such as employments, study, training are investment, no matter what passport you have, visa is always required.

Please refer to the website of HK Immigration Department ( to see relevant information or you can send email to them

Applications may be submitted directly to HK or at our Embassy or Consulate-general. The processing time vaires from case to case. Some take 4 working days, and some take one month or more.


39. Do I need visa for Macao? How should I apply? What documents do I need?

Swiss passport holders can go to Macao for tour or business for up to 90 days without Macao visa. The following webpage shows the countries which are exempted from Macao visa:

Nationals of Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam are required to apply for Macao visa in advance at our Embassy or Consulate-general. Nationals of other countries who don't enjoy Macao visa exemption can apply for Macao visa upon arrival.

For other information, please refer to


40. We are a group of people. Can we apply for Group Visa?

Group visa is issued when foreign tourists join a tour group organized by a Chinese tour agency and the tour agency gets Group Visa Notification issued by the Ministry of Tourism of China.

The Group Visa Notification contains all the passports' data of the group members, the planned dates of entry and exit and the places to be visited. All the members of the tour group are required to enter and exit China together on the days the Notification specifies. Once a member is added or reduced, or the dates are changed, new Group Visa has to be applied.


41. I want to go to Tibet. What should I do?

Foreign tourists who are intended to travel to Tibet are required to join a tour group organized by a tour agency in China and the tour agency bears the responsibility of applying for Entry Permit for its tour group members.

When you apply for visa, please bring a copy of the Entry Permit so that a remark will be made in the tourism visa stating you can enter Tibet.

If you cannot get the Entry Permit before applying for visa, please apply for ordinary tourism visa. And you can go to mainland China except Tibet with the ordinary visa. You may contact a tour agency when you are in China. And there're also tour agencies in India and Nepal which can arrange tour to Tibet.


42. I'm planning a world tour and will depart from Switzerland soon but enter China 3 months/6 months later. Can I apply for Chinese visa now?

Single-entry visa valid 3 months and double-entry 6 months.

If you will enter China in 3 months but within 6 months, you may apply for double-entry tourism visa, or apply for single-entry visa when you are in Asia before going to China.

If you will enter China in 6 months, please apply for Chinese visa in Asia before going to China.


43. I'm in Thailand now, and for urgent matters I need to go to China. Can I apply for Chinese visa here?

Foreigners can apply for Chinese tourism or business visa in other Asian countries.

But visa for work, study, family visiting, family reunion, high-level talents and journalism (visa type Z, X1, X2, Q1, Q2, S1, S2, R, J1 and J2) have to be applied in your home country or the country where you have Residence Permit.


44. I'm in China with a tourism/business visa. I got a job here. Can I change my visa in China or apply for work visa here?

Visa for work, study, family visiting, family reunion, high-level talents and journalism (visa type Z, X1, X2, Q1, Q2, S1, S2, R, J1 and J2) have to be applied in your home country or the country where you have Residence Permit.


45. My passport was damaged/ had no vacant page, so I applied for a new passport. But my Chinese visa in the old passport is valid. Can I travel with both the passports? Or can you move the visa to the new passport?

According to our visa policy, once a passport becomes invalid, no matter cancelled with stamp, punch, angle cutting or not, the visa in it becomes invalid, too. So the holder has to apply for new visa with the new passport.

Some international airports in China may allow passengers to travel with both the old and new passport with a valid Chinese visa in the old one. But it does not mean every passenger can go to China in this way every time.


46. It takes a long time for me to get a new passport. But I need to go to China soon. Can I apply for Chinese visa with a temporary passport?

Yes, temporary passports are acceptable.


47. I got a double-entry visa and used it one time. There're only 20 days before my visa get expired, but I want to go to China this week and stay there for 30 days. Do I need to apply for new visa or can I use the second entry now?

The validity of visa starts from the day you apply for visa. You can enter China when the visa is valid and there are unused entry/entries.

The duration of stay grants you a certain period of time to stay in China counting from the day you enter.

So if the duration of stay of your visa is 30 days or more, and you will use the other entry of the visa to enter China before it expires, you can use the current visa. If you still have one valid visa, we will not issue new visa for you.


48. The duration of stay of my visa is 30 days, but now I want to stay longer in China. Can you extend the visa for me?

Chinese visa cannot be extended. You have to apply for new visa with a longer stay.


49. I applied for single-entry visa this morning, but now I suddenly realize that I need double-entry. As the visa hasn't been picked up, can you change the visa for me?

We cannot change the visa for you. You completed the visa application form and signed which means you bear the responsibility of any fault you made in your application.

Since examination work were done with your application, you have to pay for the single-entry visa although you don't want it any more. And if you need double-entry, please apply for new double-entry visa with a set of new documents and follow the same application procedure as you did last time.


50. I just applied for visa. It takes 4 working days to get the Chinese visa, but I need my passport as soon as possible to go to other countries. Can I cancel my application and apply for Chinese visa later?

Since examination work were done with your application. If you want to cancel the application, we can cancel the visa but you still have to pay. You may apply for Chinese visa again when to come back from abroad.


51. I applied for visa, but hasn't picked it up. Now my trip to China is cancelled. Can I get my passport back without visa?

If you don't need the visa anymore, we can cancel it. But as examination work were done with your application, you still have to pay.


52. Why the visa I get is not the same as I applied?

Our Embassy and Consulate-general have the right to decide the type of visa, times of entry, validity and duration of stay, and whether to issue visa or not according to the purpose of visit and documents submitted.


53. Can you promise that I can get visa?

We will decide whether to issue visa or not after examining your documents. If there are further documents required, we will let you know. But if your application is rejected, we don't have to explain the reason.


54.How to contact you?

You may contact our Embassy in Bern by email: For urgent matters, you may send fax to 031-3518256.

Please contact our Consulate-General in Zurich directly when your questions or matters are related to them.

Tel:044-2091500(15:00-17:00 Tuesday and Friday),Fax:044-2091501


Suggest to a friend: