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Applying for a Chinese visa in 2019: What you need to know

Our quick and concise guide to applying for a Chinese visa in 2019

A Chinese visa is an official document issued by the Democratic Republic of China to enter the country legally. In this short post, we will provide all you need to know about how to apply for a Chinese visa in 2019 including the documents you need, the correct visa to apply for, how much this is likely to cost, and how the Real Russia application process works.

Do I need a visa to enter China?

Most countries will require a visa to enter China; however, whether this applies to you will often depend on the amount of time you are staying in China. Both the USA and the UK can enter China visa-free for 72 hours if transiting to a third country via Beijing. However, if you are travelling to China as a tourist and plan to stay beyond this time period or do not have a follow-on destination then you will need a full Chinese visa.

See our Chinese visa-free FAQ or more detailed information on which countries qualify for 72-hour visa-free status.

What documents do I need for a Chinese visa application?

  1. A completed and signed application form.
  2. Your passport.
  3. A single, recent colour passport photo.
  4. A photocopy of your last Chinese visa (if applicable).
  5. Confirmation of inbound and outbound flights or trains bookings.
  6. Confirmation of accommodation (hotels, hostel or personal invitation if staying with a friend).
  7. Birth certificate and parent’s passport information (if under 18 only).
  8. Payment.

You may also require further documentation in special circumstances. For example, if you are studying or working in China then you will need the appropriate visa or permit. If you are a journalist, then you may need proof of travel and your reasons for visiting China which may include confirmation from any Chinese companies you are working with as well as written confirmation from your own business.

What types of Chinese visa exist?

There are multiple visa types to choose from and it can often be challenging to pin down exactly which visa you need. However, most cases will fit into the tourist, business, study, work or transit criteria.

Chinese tourist visas: Tourist visas are essentially for tourism purposes and may include group visas if applying as part of a group or auto-tourist visas if you are using a vehicle to travel the country.

Chinese business visas: These are visas for business purposes that include attending conferences, interviews and negotiations.

Chinese transit visas: These visas are used when travelling through China to another country as part of an in-direct flight, train travel or cruise.

Chinese study visas: If you plan to study in China or have a place at a university, you will need to apply for a Chinese study visa. Your study visa will need to include the course start and end date as well as include confirmation of your place from your university.

Chinese work visa: You will require an official work visa if you are travelling to China strictly for work purposes. Your visa will need to clearly indicate your start and end date as well as include confirmation from your employer in China.

Applying for your Chinese visa with Real Russia

  1. Select the type of visa you need
  2. Fill in the online application request form
  3. Complete payment – once complete your form will be sent back to you to confirm the details are correct.
  4. Check the details on your application form are correct and sign.
  5. Send your completed application form along with a colour photograph and your passport to us.

What we will do once you have sent your application to us:

  • We will complete all the necessary forms and submit your completed visa application to the Chinese Consulate.
  • Once your visa application pack is complete, we will contact you to arrange a day to visit the Chinese Visa Application Centre in London in order to provide a scan of your fingerprints (required).
  • The day your visa is ready we will collect it in person and return this to you using Royal Mail special delivery so you will have it the next business day before 13:00pm or hold it at our office for your collection.

Applicants can follow the progress of their application using our visa order tracking system which will detail the steps taken and the steps remaining to obtain your visa.

Ready to start your visa application? See our Chinese visa page to begin.

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