How to read a Chinese Visa

This guide is designed to help you read the important information on your Chinese Visa though is by no means exhaustive.

Below is an image of a blank visa with each field numbered and typical items briefly explained.

You will find your own Chinese visa attached to a page in your passport, though yours will have all of the fields filled in with your personal details.

You can download the PDF files for Chinese visa explanation here.


Chinese Visa

Chinese Visa

1. Category

This specifies the type of visa you have, and what it can be used for:

L Tourist
M Business (Commerce and Trade)
F Internship (Exchanges and Study Tours)
Z Work and Commercial Performance
G Transit
C Crew Member and Motor Vehicle Driver
R Introduced Talent
X1/X2 Student
Q1/Q2 Visiting relatives with permanent residence in China
S1/S2 Visiting relatives working or studying in China
J1/J2 Journalist

1 - duration of stay more than 180 days

2 - duration of stay less than 180 days

2. Entries

This refers to the number of times the visa holder is permitted to enter and leave China within the validity period of the visa:

01 Single entry visa
02 Double entry visa
M Multi-entry visa

3. Enter before

This specifies the last date that visa holder can enter China on. They may enter any time between the "Issue date" indicated in field 5 until midnight on the "Enter before" date in this field and stay for "Duration of stay" days indicated in field 4.

4. Duration of each stay after entry

This refers to the maximum number of days a visa holder can stay in China during each visit. Under normal circumstances this is 30 days. However, if you wish to stay longer then please let our visa team know when applying. Please bear in mind that the decision on whether to issue a visa and how long for is always at the Consulate’s discretion.

5. Issue date

The date your visa was issued on.

6. Issued at

This specifies the city your visa was issued in. We deal with all Chinese visa applications through the Chinese consulate in London, therefore this field should always read ‘London’.

7. Full name

The initials of your first name and your full surname. Please check the spelling is correct.

8. Birth Date

Please check your date of birth has been entered correctly.

9. Passport Number

This will match the passport number which the visa is attached to. Please make sure this is correct.

10. Visa number

This is generated by the Chinese Consulate.

11. MRZ

This string of characters is encrypted for use by electronic passport scanners and can sometimes include misspellings of customer names. This is caused by translating between different alphabets and is nothing to be worried about.

Please Note

We take great care when processing your visa, however, once your passport is returned to you, you should confirm all the details are correct and the visa is suitable for your needs before you travel. Incorrect visa details could result in you being denied entry to China.

If you believe any of the information is incorrect or have any questions regarding the use of your visa then please contact us as soon as possible and we will be happy to help.