Chinese visas

To apply for a Chinese visa in person you first need to book an appointment at one of the Chinese Visa Application Centres in the UK. There you would be likely to experience long waiting times, especially during the high season. As a registered agency, Real Russia is authorised to submit visa applications at the London centre on a daily basis. If you buy your Chinese visa through us, you are not only guaranteed professional assistance with your application paperwork but you will also get your visa far quicker. We process the most popular types of Chinese visas depending on the purpose of your trip. Before you read the specific requirements related to your visit, please check if you are entitled to get your visa issued in the UK.

Biometrics for Chinese visas

The Chinese Visa Application Centre has informed us that they will be gradually introducing a fingerprinting requirement for all visas applied for in the UK. Fingerprints will be taken at the Chinese visa processing centres in London, Manchester or Edinburgh.  

While they have yet to confirm all the implementation dates, they will be introducing fingerprinting gradually throughout 2018 and early 2019.We will continue working with the Chinese Consulate to clarify the situation.

This is what is known so far.

If you are applying for a Tourist or Business visa of the following types, you do not yet need to give your fingerprints:

  • Single entry
  • Double entry
  • Multiple entry visas with up to two years’ validity

In addition, if you are a national of the USA, Canada, Israel, Argentina, or Brazil, you can apply for a multiple entry visa with between five and ten years’ validity without needing to give fingerprints.

Over the next few months, fingerprinting requirements will be added to these visas. When this happens, we will update our advice to you.

If you are eligible for a two-year multiple entry visa, and are planning to travel within the next few months, we advise getting your visa as soon as possible, to avoid having to travel to a visa centre to give fingerprints.

Who will have to give fingerprints now?

From 8th May 2018, only applicants who fit the following criteria will have to go to the visa centre in person, and give their fingerprints when applying for their Chinese visa:

  • Applicants aged between 14 and 70 years,

and applying for the following categories of visa:

  • Any type of Multiple-Entry visa which is valid for a period of between five and ten years
  • Permanent Residence visas - Category D
  • Journalist visas - Category J1 and J2
  • Family member of foreigners staying or living in China visas - Category S1 and S2
  • Family member or relatives of Chinese citizens or foreigners resident in China visas - Category Q1 and Q2
  • Student visas - Category X1 and X2
  • Work - Category Z

What if I need to give my fingerprints?

If you need to give fingerprints, apply as usual through our website, and when we receive your application we will contact you to arrange a time and date for giving them; this will be similar to our current Russian visa application process.

On the day you arrive in London to give your fingerprints, our courier will meet you with your documents, and talk you through the fingerprinting process.

Our systems and website are being updated to match these changes, ensuring we continue to offer a simple Chinese visa service which gives you peace of mind and comprehensive support. We will also keep you updated on this situation through our website’s news feed, service status page and via Facebook and Twitter.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our visa specialists via online chat, over the phone or by e-mail.

Am I entitled to apply for my Chinese visa in the UK?

In principle, we can help obtain a Chinese visa for all British passport holders regardless of your current location. Other foreign nationals are eligible to apply in the UK provided they hold a valid long-term UK visa or residence permit (the start date should be ideally 6 months ago or more). All applicants regardless of nationality should ideally present the travel booking confirmation which shows that your trip to China starts in the UK; otherwise the Consulate may not accept your application. If for any reason you are unable to provide this or you have any questions related to your specific circumstances, please contact us and we will see how we can assist you.

What is a tourist visa?

Tourist visas are usually issued to travelers visiting China as tourists and may be issued for a single, double or multiple entries, allowing for a 30- or 90-day-stay upon each entry. For UK passport holders a tourist visa is valid for 2 years and allows multiple visits for a 90-day-stay each entry. Please be aware, that you cannot apply for this visa more than 90 days before the first entry.

For all other nationals, the visa will be issued either for a single visit or double visits with a validity “window” that starts from the date the Consulate grant you the visa, and you should enter China before this validity “window” expires. For single entry visas the validity “window” is 90 days and for double entry visas it is between 90 and 180 days. The exact validity “window” of a double entry visa depends on whether you have been issued a Chinese visa before or not. Only if the original of such a visa is available, are you eligible to receive a visa with a validity window of 180 days. If you have never been issued a Chinese visa before or the original visa is not available, the window length will be shortened to 90 days. Please note that the final decision is always made at the Consulate’s discretion.

What is a business visa?

Business visas are usually issued to travelers visiting China on official or private business and may be issued for a single, double or multiple entries, allowing for a 30- or 90-day-stay upon each entry.

For UK passport holders, a business visa is valid for 2 years and allows multiple visits for a 90-day-stay each upon entry. Please be aware, that you cannot apply for this visa more than 90 days before the first entry. For all other nationals, the visa can be issued either for a single, double or multiple visits within a validity window starting the day that the application is made to the Consulate, and you should enter China before the expiration of this window. For single entry visas the window is 90 days, for a double entry it may be between 90 and 180 days and for a multiple entry visa it may be between six and twelve months.

What is a transit visa?

Transit visas are used by travellers who are going to transit through China en route to a third country (or region). These visas are granted based on an onward air, train or ship ticket confirming the date and seat number to the destination country (or region). You must also have a valid visa (if required) to the destination country (or region) or be a resident there.

This visa allows for either one (single entry) or two (double entry) transits usually of up to 7 days if travelling by train or 10 days if travelling by air. It is issued with a 90-day validity “window” that starts from the date the Consulate grants you the visa and you should enter China before this validity “window” expires.

The visa is not required if you are in transit for a period not exceeding 24 hours as determined by scheduled flight arrival and departure times, provided you have documentary evidence of your onward flight arrangements. Multiple stops are allowed so long as they fall within the 24-hour period. If you want to leave the airport, you can apply for a special stopover permit. In addition to the 24-hour visa-free transit applicable to all travellers regardless of the nationality and the airport you are transiting through, China also grants a 72-hour visa-free transit for the nationals of 51 countries travelling by air via Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Guanghzou, Guilin, Kunming, Shanghai, Shenyang and Xi’an. Click here for more information. If you require a transit visa, please contact our visa team who will guide you through visa application process.

When should I apply for my visa?

One should not apply for a Chinese visa more than 90 days in advance, as your first entry "window" will expire before you come to China.

It is advisable to apply at least one week before your trip to China, to be able to process the visa on standard service (4 working days) which is the most cost-effective. 

Today the Chinese Consulate are issuing visas that are valid for entry before 19 December 2018 regardless of visa type, number of entries and validity.

The date when you can apply for a visa may also be dependent on your profession. Please consult our FAQ page for further information on this.

How do I read my visa?

Please see the following guide for more information: Reading a Chinese visa

What is included in the price?

Our prices include all the costs necessary to get your visa, among which are:

  • consular tariffs
  • Visa Application Centre costs
  • delivery, collection and management of your application at the consulate by our staff

In addition to this, you can choose from the following optional services

  • central London courier delivery the day your visa is ready
  • Royal Mail Special Delivery of your passport and Belarus visa back to you (UK only)
  • £2,500 of consequential loss postal insurance (UK mainland only)

There are no hidden fees; the price you see is the price you pay!

How can I pay for my visa?

You have several options to pay for your visa including:

Can I deliver my passport and collect my visa from your office in person?

Yes, of course you can. We have an office in central London and we will be happy to see you there and assist with your application if needed. If you intend to deliver an application in person or collect your passport and visa we are open for collection and deliveries during the following times:

Passport Collection and Delivery times
Weekdays 09.00 GMT 18.00 GMT
Saturday Closed Closed
Bank / public holidays By arrangement

  • Monday-Friday:  09:00-18:00.
  • Public/bank holidays (except 25th and 26th December and 1st January):  09:00-12:00.

Visa applications received by our office after 4.30 pm on weekdays or at any time on Saturdays or non-working days will not start to be processed until the following working day.

The processing time will vary dependent upon the type of visa you order. Please see the visa-specific pages for more information and consult our tooltip in order to find out when you can expect your visa to be ready.

Sounds good, how do I get my visa?

To order your Chinese visa online, please select the type of visa you require from the options above.

If I plan to travel on the Trans-Mongolian, can you help me obtain Mongolian and Russian visas as well?

Yes, of course we can. We will process all necessary visas ‘back to back’ and return your passport with all three visas when they are complete. See the following links for further details:

Can you tell me more?

If you still have more questions please feel free to look at our Frequently Asked Questions or simply contact us directly and we are happy to help.