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China Tourist Visa (L)

Most travelers to China are required to get a China tourist visa, L visa for short, which allows them to travel freely in most parts of China as tourists, assuming that they do not qualify under the visa-free policies of China. Passports, application form, and documents showing the itinerary or an invitation letter from China are the essential application documents.

Sample of China Tourist Visa
Sample of China Tourist Visa

In most cases, a tourist can get a single entry L visa with a stay duration of 30 days. UK, US, Canadian, and Argentine citizens are able to get a 10-year China tourist visa with multiple entries.

If travelling with an organized tour group, you might not have an individual visa in your passport.  Instead, the tour group will be issued a group tour visa bearing all the members' names. In such situations supply your details to the travel agency beforehand and you will have no further concerns.

If travelling independently, you need to handle visa affairs on your own. The process is not complicated if you follow the guidelines below.

China Tourist Visa Requirements & Documents

1. Passport

- Your passport  with at least 6 months remaining validity and available blank pages, and a photocopy of passport's data page.

2. Application Form

- One accurately completed China Tourist Visa Application Form. Please fill in every column of the application form, using "N/A" if not applicable. If the application form is not filled out truthfully, completely and legibly, there could be a delay in processing or refusal of the application.

3. Recent Photo

- A recent passport-size color photo with white background attached to the application form.

4. Round-trip Tickets Plus Hotel Bookings or Invitation Letter from China

- Documents showing the itinerary including proof of round trip tickets booking and proof of hotel reservation.
- Or, if you are being invited to China, you can submit an invitation letter issued by the inviter, whether it's an entity or individual, with following information:
a. Information on the applicant, including full name, gender, and date of birth.
b. Information on the planned visit, including arrival and departure dates, place(s) of visit.
c. Information on the inviter, including name, contact number, address, official stamp, and signature of the legal representative of the entity or the inviting individual.

5. Other Supporting Documents

a. For those not applying in their country of citizenship, a proof of legal stay or residence status is required.
b. In some cases, applicants may need to submit a certification letter from the employer of the applicant with details as follows: name and contact number of the employer, the applicant's income statement, or original copy of recent 6-month bank statement of the applicant.
c. Applicants who intend to travel to Tibet must obtain a Tibet Travel Permit, which can be obtained from Tourism Bureau of Tibet Autonomous Region by travel agencies.

China Tourist Visa Requirements
China Tourist Visa Requirements

How to Get a Chinese Tourist Visa

With all the required documents at hand, you can go to Chinese embassies, consulates, Chinese diplomatic missions, or a Chinese Visa Application Center (CVASC) if there are any in your country to submit the application in person. If you can't go personally, you can entrust someone else,such as a travel agency or a visa agency to act on your behalf. An appointment is not mandatory. Applications by mails are not accepted and will be refused at most Chinese embassies or consulates. In countries with CVASCs, applicants may be able to apply by post, or submit applications based on an online appointment via the website of CVASC.

Processing Time

It normally takes 4 working days for processing a China travel visa. For express service, an additional fee of USD 20 will be charged for two or three working day service. For rush service, an additional fee of USD30 will be charged for same-day service.

Chinese Tourist Visa Cost

The visa costs vary depending on your nationality and number of entries. However, according to the Visa Fee Abolition Agreement, the nationals of following several countries can get a visa for free, but must pay for express service, rush service or mail service: Pakistan, Maldives, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovakia and Micronesia. For major countries, the fee is listed below.

China Travel Visa Types US Citizens Canadian Citizens UK Citizens Australian Citizens
Single Entry USD 140 CAD 142 GBP 151 AUD 109.5
Double Entries USD 140 CAD 142 GBP 151 AUD 139.5
Multi Entries for 6 Months USD 140 CAD 142 GBP 151 AUD 169.5
Multi Entries for 12 Months or Longer USD 140 CAD 142 GBP 151 AUD 229.5

Click on China Visa Fees for more information.

China Tourist Visa Extension

If you need to stay in China past the allowed stay duration on your visitor visa, you can apply for an extension at the local Exit and Entry Administration of China seven days before your L visa expires. Your passport, a visa application form with your recent color photo attached, a registration of temporary residence, and your travel itinerary will be required for submission. If your application is approved, you can get an extended stay not exceeding the original stay duration on your visa.

Recommended Tour Packages


Further Reading:

8 Tips for Filling Out Chinese Visa Application Form
Top 10 China Destinations for First Time Travelers
Top 8 Reasons Why Your China Visa Gets Rejected
- Last modified on Jan. 20, 2020 -
Questions & Answers on China Tourist Visa
Asked by Rosalia from UNITED STATES | Jan. 30, 2020 22:18Reply
Which visa type is best to apply for
My daughter works and lives in China. Which visa type(S2 or L) would be best to apply for if my plans are to visit for 37 days.
Answers (1)
Answered by Cindy from USA | Jan. 31, 2020 19:54

L visa will be the best option.
Asked by Sherry from CANADA | Jan. 29, 2020 14:41Reply
recent corona virus
Will I have to apply for visa again if not able to travel because of outbreak? Finger prints will be taken and papers presented on February 4th. If not able to travel will I have to apply in person again for another visa at a later date when the outbreak is no longer an extreme threat to health.
Answers (1)
Answered by John Doe | Jan. 30, 2020 21:52

Once the visa is granted then it will be valid for any visit before its expiration date. This is the case even if you do not make your planned initial visit (which is why may people book and cancel).
Asked by Saeed from CANADA | Jan. 25, 2020 23:05Reply
Applying during the recent outbreak in China?
Will the current situation in china affect the visa process for getting a 10-year tourist visa? Is there a higher chance of denial?
Answers (1)
Answered by John Doe | Jan. 30, 2020 21:54

It's unknown at this point, but if this keeps going on past Spring then you probably will not visit anyway.
Asked by jeff kirby from UNITED KINGDOM | Jan. 22, 2020 02:51Reply
City of arrival and departure
I am applying for my visa but the cities of arrival and departure that I will use (Kashgar, in Tashkurgan Tajik) are not shown in the drop down selection on the form - any ideas how I get past this?
You cannot manually enter a name, it deletes it automatically.
Answers (1)
Answered by John Doe | Jan. 30, 2020 21:56

You probably don't want to mention any plans for Xinjiang or you risk having your visa refused. But if you still want to then try spelling the name in Pinyin.
Asked by Connie from USA | Jan. 21, 2020 17:26Reply
Photo attachment to application Form
Is it a requirement that ears are showing on the photo for female applicants?
Answers (1)
Answered by Mandy from USA | Jan. 31, 2020 19:53

Yes, your ears should be shown on the photo.
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