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A Brief Introduction about Chinese Visas
2017/09/08
A visa is an officially approved document issued by authorized bodies for the government, in accordance with the laws of the country, to foreign citizens applying to enter, leave or transit through the country.
In line with international law and practice, any sovereign state is entitled to make its own decisions as to whether to allow a foreign citizen to enter or leave its borders, and to issue or refuse to issue a visa, or to revoke an issued visa according to its own laws.
Based on Chinese laws and regulations, Chinese consular officials may decide on the type of visa, number of entries, validity period and duration of stay, and may also refuse a visa application or revoke an issued visa. The visa-issuing authorities are not required to give reasons for refusing the issuance of a visa.
 
1. The necessity to apply for a Chinese visa if a foreign citizen is planning to visit China
Foreign citizens should have applied for and obtained appropriate visas before entering China unless they are visa-exempt according to certain agreements and regulations.
You are advised to ensure that your visa is valid before travel. If your visa has expired or the visa has insufficient number of entries, you need to apply for a new visa.
 
2. Types of Chinese visas
Chinese visas fall into the types of diplomatic visa, courtesy visa, service visa and ordinary visas. Ordinary visas can be further classified as the following categories:
Visa Categories
Description of Visa
C
Issued to foreign crew members of means of international transportation, including aircraft, trains and ships, or motor vehicle drivers engaged in cross-border transport activities, or to the accompanying family members of the crew members of the above-mentioned ships.
D
Issued to those who intend to reside in China permanently.
F
Issued to those who intend to go to China for exchanges, visits, study tours and other activities.
G
Issued to those who intend to transit through China.
J1
Issued to resident foreign journalists of foreign news organizations stationed in China. The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days.
J2
Issued to foreign journalists who intend to go to China for short-term news coverage. The intended duration of stay in China is no more than 180 days.
L
Issued to those who intend to go to China as a tourist.
M
Issued to those who intend to go to China for commercial and trade activities.
Q1
Issued to those who are family members of Chinese citizens or of foreigners with Chinese permanent residence and intend to go to China for family reunion, or to those who intend to go to China for the purpose of foster care. The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days.
"Family members" refers to spouses, parents, sons, daughters, spouses of sons or daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandsons, granddaughters and parents-in-law.
Q2
Issued to those who intend to visit their relatives who are Chinese citizens residing in China or foreigners with permanent residence in China. The intended duration of stay in China is no more than 180 days.
R
Issued to those who are high-level talents or whose skills are urgently needed in China.
S1
Issued to those who intend to go to China to visit the foreigners working or studying in China to whom they are spouses, parents, sons or daughters under the age of 18 or parents-in-law, or to those who intend to go to China for other private affairs. The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days.
S2
Issued to those who intend to visit their family members who are foreigners working or studying in China, or to those who intend to go to China for other private matters. The intended duration of stay in China is no more than 180 days.
"family members" refers to spouses, parents, sons, daughters, spouses of sons or daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandsons, granddaughters and parents-in-law.
X1
Issued to those who intend to study in China for a period of more than 180 days.
X2
Issued to those who intend to study in China for a period of no more than 180 days.
Z
Issued to those who intend to work in China.
 
3. The Validity of Visa
The validity period of a visa ("Enter Before") refers to the valid time length of the visa itself. A visa is valid for the visa holder to enter the Chinese border from the date the visa is issued until 24:00 of the expiry date (as of Beijing Time). If a visa has unused entries, the holder can still use it before the expiry date (inclusive).
 
4. number of entry
The term "Entries" of a visa refers to the number of times the visa holder is permitted to enter the Chinese border within the validity period of the visa. A visa becomes invalid if all the entries are used up or if the visa has expired even though there are entries unused. In this case, you will have to submit a new visa application if you wish to visit China. Holders of an invalid visa will be refused to enter China at the border.
 
5. Duration of stay
The "Duration of Each Stay" refers to the maximum number of days a visa holder is permitted to stay in China after each entry, namely, the maximum number of days a visa holder can stay in China from the next day of entry.
 
6.Resident Procedures
Holders of D, J1,Q1, S1, X1 visa shall, within 30 days from the date of their entry, apply to the exit/entry administrations of public security organs under local people's governments at or above the county level in the proposed places of residence for foreigners' residence permits.
Holders of W series visas shall, within 30 days from the date of their entry, apply to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign affairs or the local governments of foreign affairs for foreigners' residence permits.
 
7. Important notice:
1) The consular officer may ask extra documents other than the basic documents, the applicant should provide all the documents asked by the consular officer.
2) The consular officer has the right to decide whether the applicant will get the visa or not, and which type of visa the applicant will get, according the Chinese laws and regulations.
3) After receiving the visa, the applicant should check the information on the visa carefully. Please ask the consular officer in case of any problem or question.
4) Please fill the visa application form fully and correctly and sign (the parents need to sign for their children who are under 18-year-old).
5) Please apply for the Chinese visa no more than three months before the trip to China.
6) The validity, number of entry and the duration of stay of the visa will be decided by the consular officer according to the Chinese laws and regulations.
7)Foreign citizens who stay in China longer than permitted by the visa without applying for an extension of stay will be considered as violating the Exit adn Entry Law of the People's Republic of China , and as a result will face prosecution of fines or other penalties. Therefore, the visa holder must apply for an extension of stay at local public security authorities above county level (detailed requirements are available on the websites of local public security authorities) should it be foreseeable that an overstay would happen. (However, approval of the application cannot be guaranteed.) Chinese embassies and consulates in foreign countries do not accept applications for visa extension.
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