An Introduction to Immigration and other Visas to China

China Visas

Applying for a Chinese visa is a necessary requirement for almost all foreign nationals who wish to visit or immigrate to China for any length of time. In China, visas are broadly separated into tourist visas and business visas. However, various options exist under both categories and a range of other Chinese visas are also available.
At BAIS, our team of immigration consultants can help you obtain a wide range of visas for travel and work permits for a variety of destinations. We offer a complete range of immigration services and as a specialized immigration consultancy, we can manage your application from your initial inquiry through to receipt.

Eligibility Requirements

Chinese Tourist Visas

In China, immigration for the purpose of tourism is possible under two types of tourist or visit visas, for either single entry, or double entry. The maximum duration of tourist visas for China is a period of three months.
In all cases, candidates must travel to China within three months of being granted entry clearance.

Chinese Business Visas

Applying for a Chinese business visa offers a single entry option similar to that provided in tourist visa applications, but also affords a multiple entry variant, valid for 6 months, 1 year, or 2 years.
However, eligibility for these permits is based upon prior visits to China; a first-time applicant will be permitted a maximum of a double entry permit. A second-time applicant may receive 6 months multiple entry permit, a third-time applicant can get a 1-year permit, and the 2-year permit is available only to 4th-time applicants and beyond. In China, visas are given letter designations, with tourist visas being referred to as Chinese L visas and business visas as the Chinese F visa category. In addition to the types already covered, Chinese immigration also issues the following types of permit.

Chinese X Visa

This category is essentially a Chinese study visa, issued to those who wish train or study in China for a period of six months or more. A letter of acceptance must be provided from a Chinese educational institution.

Chinese Z Visa

  • These are designed for those immigrating to China for an extended period of time in order to undertake a position of employment.
  • Spouse immigration and dependent immigration are also provided for the family of candidates relocating to China through this route.
  • Applications must include a letter of invitation from the host company or Government department.

Chinese G Visa

  • In China, visa applications can be made for this category when a candidate will be entering Chinese territory for a very brief period en route to another destination.
  • This category is effectively an airport transit visa. Candidates must be able to demonstrate valid entry clearance for their ultimate destination.

Chinese C Visa

This category is specifically designed for the crew members of international aviation, land transportation or navigation missions.

Chinese D Visa

These permits are intended for permanent residency. Applied for within China, this extended grant of leave is given to those who intend to live and work in China on a long-term or permanent basis.

Chinese J Visa

  • These are issued to journalists and are subdivided into two categories, the J1 and J2. 
  • The former is intended for long-term correspondents whereas the latter is for conducting reports in China for a short period.

Processing Times and Fees

Although processing times are subject to change, applications will normally be processed within four working days. A next day service is available at a premium cost and applications may be processed on the same day for an extra charge. Costs vary based on the type of application being submitted and the nationality of the applicant and are also based on whether the application is a single entry visitor visa or a 2-year business permit.