Have you packed up all your things and got ready to visit China?
Before you start your trip, you need to know that foreign citizens generally need a visa to visit China’s mainland. In the meanwhile, you can also visit China with the exception of visa-free entry according to relevant agreements and regulations.
Here is a frequently asked question about Chinese visas and the situations that you can enter China without a visa.
If you are an Expat who will stay in China for several months, you can check this guide about how to rent a short-term apartment. A short term apartment will definitely save a lot of your money comparing to living in hotels.
Let’s dive into the topic.
How long does it take to get a Chinese visa
According to the Embassy of China in the U.S., if you have prepared all the necessary documents before you apply for your visa and the office will give you a pick-up slip.
There will be a date that tells you when to get back your passport with a Chinese visa.
Normally, a Chinese visa processing time is about 4 business days.
If no pick-up date is shown on your slip, you need to wait for a call or mail notification from the Chinese Visa Office as your application may require longer processing time.
You can contact the Visa Office for inquiries.
Also, the Chinese Visa Office advises that you should submit your visa application about one month before the date you will travel to China.
The situations that you can enter China without a visa.
To visit mainland China, usually, we will need to apply for an ordinary tourist visa. However, there are some circumstances we may not need to:
1. Direct Transit
You can stay in China at most 72 hours if you:
- You can stay no more than 24 hours in the airport, harbor or train station while you transit through China. A valid connecting ticket is required.
- Citizens of specific countries can apply to stay for at most 72 hours in the trains cities (on direct transit via the airport PEK, PVG, SHA, CAN, CTU, CKG, SHE, DLC, XIY, HGH, KWL, KMG). Remember to take the international travel documents, such as an interline ticket and a valid visa to the third country or region are necessary.
The specific countries are as below:
- Asia: Brunei, Japan, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Singapore, United Arab Emirates,
- America: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, United States.
- Oceania: Australia, New Zealand
- Europe: Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom.
2. Visiting the Pearl River Delta or Hainan Island
If you already have an ordinary passport issued by any country with diplomatic relations with China, you can visit the Pearl River Delta region (including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing and Huizhou) for 6 days without a Visa.
If you hold an ordinary passport issued by any of the following countries, you can visit Hainan Province by joining a tourist group (of 5 or more persons) organized by an international travel agency registered in Hainan with the approval of China National Tourism Administration for 15 days.
Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, Ukraine and the United States. Citizens of Germany, Republic of Korea and Russia may join an international tourist group (of 2 or more persons) and can stay up to 21 days.
3. Citizens of Singapore, Brunei and Japan
If you are a citizen of Singapore, Brunei or Japan, and wang to visit China mainland for tourism, business, or meeting with friends or relatives, you can enter China through ports open to foreigners and stay for no more than 15 days.
4. Holders of Valid APEC Business Travel Card
If you hold an APEC Business Travel Card, you can visit China multiple times in 3 years. Together with a valid matching passport, you can stay for no more than 2 months each time during the validity of the card.
5. If you hold a PRC Foreigner’s Permanent Residence Card, you will surely be visa-free.
6. Holders of Residence Permit for Foreigners issued by PRC Ministry of Public Security
If you entering China on a D, Z, J1, Q1, S1 or X1 visa must apply for a residence permit at local public security authorities within 30 days of entry into China. Once approved, the permit holder is allowed to stay in China or enter/exit China multiple times for the duration of the validity of the permit. No visa renewal is necessary.
If you want to know the photo size requirements of a Chinese visa and DIY your own Chinese Visa photo, you can check this guide about how to generate the Chinese visa photo by yourself.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to leave a message below! I will respond to you ASAP.