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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where can I find information about visa application?

Please browse our websites of the Embassy in Bern: http://ch.chineseembassy.org and the Consulate-general in Zurich: http://zurich.chineseconsulate.org 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 notice: at the moment, applications by post, email or fax are not acceptable. We will not provide service to return the application documents by post either.

2. I got information from your website "http://www.china-embassy.ch/ger/da/...". Can you please confirm the information there are correct?

The webpage with http://www.china-embassy.ch/ger/da is no longer in use, and you will not find this link on our Embassy website.

Our official webpage is http://http://ch.china-embassy.org/ger/lsfw/

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 visa application form we use now is form V2013 (4 pages). It's the same for all types of visa application and all nationality. You can complete it by either hand or computer, but please sign it by hand. You can download the form from here:

English version: http://ch.chineseembassy.org/chn/ls_fw_s/bgxz/P020141023765972743087.pdf;

German Version: http://ch.chineseembassy.org/ger/lsfw/sbqz/P020141023770891951952.pdf

French version: http://ch.chineseembassy.org/fra/lsfw/visa/P020141023768408140249.pdf

4. Can I send application by post or can I make it 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 Consular section directly with all the documents. If you do not have time to do so, you can also ask somebody else to apply visa for you.

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

At the moment, application by post is not acceptable. We will directly returned the envelop, Please check with your post office about the status.

If 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 be responsible for keeping all the documents and passports if no one picks it up more than one month. The sender should be responsible for the delay of issuing visa. In case you assign another person to come, please give him/her a power of attorney letter.

6. Can my inviting party in China send directly to you the invitation and relevant documents by fax or email, and then I come to the Embassy to apply for the 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?

Normally applicant should come personally to apply and pick the visa. But in case that is not possible, one of the applicants or someone on behalf of you can come with complete documents to apply visa for all of you. 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 and non-Swiss passport holders with Swiss Permit B, C or L, and staff of international organizations based in Switzerland with relevant Swiss Permits, also Liechtenstein passport holders and those with Liechtenstein Residence Permits can apply for Chinese visa in either in Chinese Embassy in Bern or Chinese Consulate in Zurich.

9. What's your visiting address? (No Posting 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?

At the moment, we don't send visa by post. Anyone can pick up the passport for you with the “pick up form” which we give to the applicant after we accept the application.

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?

In normal case, it will take 4 working days to get the visa. After we accept your visa application, we will give you a “Pickup Form”, and your pick up date will be mentioned on the “Pickup Form”. After exam your application documents, we will inform you by phone if we need you to provide more document or wait more time to complete the application.

Some cases may need longer processing time. In that case, “To be confirmed” will be marked on the “pickup form” and we will inform you of the pick-up date later by telephone.

Same day visa only can be issue after our Consular officer check the document and case, not according to your request.

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. But Post Financial card and AMX card cannot be recognized by our POS machine.

Bank transfer or posted money in cash are not acceptable.

15. How much do I pay?

Please refer to the fee table: http://ch.china-embassy.org/ger/lsfw/sbqz/t1154295.htm

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 to Friday (except the holidays). 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 to apply the visa.

17. Do you close during local holidays?

We are always post our yearly closure on our Embassy website and for this year, please check : http://ch.china-embassy.org/ger/

Also, we will mention it on our automatic e-mail reply.

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

No, you need to apply visa before travel 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: http://ch.china-embassy.org/ger/lsfw/sbqz/

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

Since September 2013, those who would like to make internship in China have to apply for Z visa (work visa) no matter 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 Invitation letter (PU) 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 visa. Therefore, there's not any hospital in Switzerland specified by our Embassy or Consulate-general.

But you may get ask 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 / Kungfu in China. And I also want to travel to Hong Kong SAR or other countries for holiday during my study. Can I apply for multi-entry visa?

For those who will study Chinese or Kungfu in China, and those who will study in Chinese universities for up to 180 days, we will 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 hours / 144 hours transit visa exemption policy, but it's only for transit. If you will visit Shanghai or other city instead of transiting, you need to apply visa before travel to China. Information about the Visa Exemption, please check our embassy website: http://ch.china-embassy.org/ger/lsfw/sbqz/t1491394.htm

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 as prove. And a copy of the return / forward flight/train ticket is also required.

26. I will have a tour for 60 days or more in China. Is a hotel reservation for my first week in China enough?

No. To apply for tourism visa, we request at the least 60% of the hotel reservation. 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 inviter in China to write to you an invitation letter which mention where (the address) and how long you will stay in China and also the passport information of you, also the relation of both of you and the personal detail of the inviter.

If the inviter is Chinese, a both sides copy of his/her Chinese ID card is required. If he/she is non-Chinese citizen, 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 reservation 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. Or a confirmation letter to confirm the flight detail and hotel booking.

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

Entries to mainland China and to Hong Kong SAR or Macao SAR 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 Hong Kong SAR / Macao SAR or the neighbor countries of China.

31. I will go with 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 more than 2 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 only with the tourism visa , 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 official invitation letter (Verification letter of invitation / Invitation letter PU / Invitation TE) from local government for you which mentioned “Multiple”, then we can consider if we can issue the Multiple visa for you or not.

If you don't have the above-mentioned official invitation, but went to China many times for Business reason, 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 kid(s) are Swiss. Can I invite them to China to visit my parents and apply for family visiting visa (Q2 visa)?

To apply a “Family visit visa, the invitation letter has to be from a person residing in China to prove they have family in China to visit. That’s why you are not qualified to invite your family in Switzerland to travel to China. So please ask one of your relatives in China to write the invitation letter (with Signature) and attach a copy of his/her Chinese ID card (both sides), and we will issue Q2 visa.

If there's no relatives in China who can write the invitation letter, please apply for tourism visa (L visa) for your husband and kid(s) with a copy of flight booking and hotel reservation (also can be the Chinese property certificate).

For some case, your child might apply Chinese Travel Document, so please contact us via e-mail: visastelle@bluewin.ch or by phone: 031 351 45 93 (working hour, 09:30-11:30 and 14:00-17:00).

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 maximum double-entry for 6 months.

38. Do I need visa for Hong Kong SAR? How should I apply? What documents do I need?

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

For more detail, please check the website of Hong Kong Immigration Department https://www.immd.gov.hk/hks/services/visas/visit-transit/visit-visa-entry-permit.html. Or you can send email to them directly: enquiry@immd.gov.hk

Applications may apply directly from Hong Kong Immigration department.

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

Swiss passport holders can go to Macao SAR for tour or business for up to 90 days without Macao visa. The following webpage shows the countries which are exempted from Macao visa: http://www.fsm.gov.mo/psp/eng/EDoN.html.

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 more detail, please check: http://www.fsm.gov.mo/psp/eng/Service_Imm.html.

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'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 will valid for 3 months, the maximum valid time of Double entry will be 6 months.

You can apply Double entry 6 months Tourist visa if you will travel to China after 3 months, or you also can apply visa before travel to China from the Chinese Embassy / Consular in Asian country, and please contact them for detail before you apply.

If you will enter China after 6 months, please apply visa from the Chinese Embassy / Consulate in Asia before going to China, and please contact them for detail before you apply.

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

In principle, foreigners can apply for Chinese tourism or business visa from Chinese Embassy / Consulate 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.

43. 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.

44. 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 for visa application, but the passport has to be valid not less than 6 months.

45. I got a double-entry visa and used it only one time. There is 20 days left still 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.

46. 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?

We cannot extend the visa here. In case you are still in Switzerland, you should apply a new visa from us for a longer stay and pay again. If you are in China already, then you should check it with the local government in China before the visa expired.

47. 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. 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.

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.

48. 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.

49. 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.

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

Our Embassy and Consulate-general have the 100% 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.

How to contact you?

If you cannot find out the information from our webpage, you may contact the Embassy of China in Switzerland by email: visastelle@bluewin.ch or by phone: 0313514593 (Our working day,09:30 -11:30 and 14:00-17:00).

Please contact the Consulate-general directly when your questions or matters are related to the Consulate-general by phone: 044-2091500(15:00-17:00 Tuesday and Friday) or by fax: 044-2091501.

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