Applying for a Visa can be a real pain, they really don’t make it easy for one to enter the country.
But if you are sticking to some simple rules, it can be done without getting a major headache and a bad surprise. It is actually quite simple to get a Chinese Visa.
Where to apply?
If you are in your home country you will apply at the Chinese Consulate responsible for your district if you have more than one. Germany for example has 4.
I had to go to Frankfurt.
Generally you have to apply in the country in which you are registered, which means getting the Visa in another country like Hong Kong or the rest of Asia isn’t officially possible anymore, it got a lot stricter over the last years.
A week ago I saw that a woman from England had to get a special paper before she was able to get her Visa in Germany, even though they just can live in Germany without a special permit.
When to apply?
The best is a month or 6 weeks before you are planning to leave…not earlier then 3 month ahead, because that’s how long your Visa is valid before you have to enter. I always say better early enough, because if something is missing or there are questions you have enough time to fix everything.
What kind of Visas are there?
L Visa-Tourist (Tours or Individual Travel), M-Visa for meetings or trade or other short-term work related invitations, Z-Visa if you are going to work in China for a longer time,S-Visa to visit the family for a longer time, X-Visa for Students (long and short-term), C-Visa for Crews and the family members,J-Visas for Journalist and the F-Visa for School Trips, short exchanges or short visits for which you got invited to China and lastly D-Visas if you plan to stay forever in China 😉
Requirements for a Tourist Visa?
There where a couple of changes 2013, since then it is not necessary to completely reserve all hotels before you leave or to take part in a tour. But you must have at least the start Hotels booked and you have to make a travel plan with your destinations.
They might also ask you to prove that you have enough money for your travels, for that they ask you to show that you have about 200 Dollar per Day. Means if you plan to stay two weeks they expect you to have 2800 Dollar stashed away.
But I haven’t heard about that happening to somebody yet.
The Tourist Visa is usually about 30 Days long, but you can extend it in China for another 30 Days. But then you never know, sometimes things can be a bit random.
The more you prebook the easier this whole process becomes.
Requirements for a Visitor-Visa?
Besides the usual Passport, pictures and Papers, one always needs an Invitation Letter for this Visa. If it is a private person than name, sex, passport number and date are needed as well as phone number, address and eventual official stamp if it is a organization.
Also the travel plans have to be written down.
Usually the invitation Letter can be a copy, but sometimes the Visa Center will ask for the original or extra information like a passport copy of the person inviting you, so better prepare it all. To write an invitation you must have a student, work or other long-term Visa. If you just have a tourist Visa yourself, you can’t invite others to China 😉
Requirements for a Student Visa?
Here it is about the same as the Visitor Visa. You do need the Invitation of the school you are going to. You can either apply for a 180 Day Visa(X2) or 360 Days (X1) depending on how long you will stay.
Sometimes you maybe are going to get just a 180 Day Visa, but it is quite easy to extend it in China. Worst case you might just get 3 month, but same here, just get it extended in China. I am sure your school will help you with the procedure.
The other Visas?
Well I can’t tell you much about them, as I never had to apply for them, but for the work Visas you usually are going to need an invitiation too. Also it seems like they are the only type of Visas for which you can apply for a Express Visa of 72h.
Other things you need to know?
- There are no Express Visas anymore, so count in at least 4 work days until your Visa is ready to be picked up.
- Post service takes a lot longer, sometimes up to 10 work days to process.
- There are many agencies doing the Visa application for you , if it is too difficult for you to go to the Visa Center yourself. They usually will need about 5-8 workdays to sent the Visa back to you and charge a small fee for their work. But applying for a Visa is so easy, that I really just would use the agencies if you really do not have the time. I combined the Visa with a Frankfurt Sightseeing trip and paid with the Visa, the trip and transport to Frankfurt the same, then what I would have paid the agency.Ps. You always just pay at the end when they sent your Visa back.
- If you just stay short term it is easier to get the Visa if you already have a flight booked back or train, ship leaving the country.
- Prices got raised again. Now it is 95 Euro for most European Countries. But each one has different regulations so you better check. You pay when you pick the Visa up.
I hope this helps somewhat and it is now easier for you to get a Chinese Visa.
I know that applying for a Visa sometimes can be a big hassle or better pain in the ass, but it is how it is and if you inform yourself properly beforehand it is super easy. Just visit the chinese embassy homepage of your country, check the services and they usually link you to the service center, where you will get the information’s you need =)
Did you have any experiences yet with the Chinese Visa? Or are you planning to go to China anytime soon? Leave a comment if you have any questions or tips =)
Liked it? Share it!