Below is a list of all the types of Chinese Visas. This could come in handy this holiday season if you are wondering which visa you should apply for, to bring your family/relatives and friends to China.
L Visa – Tourist Visa
The L visa is issues to foreigners who enter China temporarily for tourism Tourist visas are typically offered on a single-entry, double-entry or multiple-entry basis with durations of stay ranging from 30 days to 90 days. Citizens from the US can Canada may be eligible for multiple entry L-Visas valid for 10 years.
F Visa – Non-Commercial Visit Visa
The F visa is issues to foreigners who are invited to China for non-commercial purposes, such as research, lectures and cultural exchanges. The F visa previously covered a wider range of activities when it was known as China’s business visa, before being largely replaced by the M Visa. Single-entry and double-entry visas are available. Durations of stay typically range from 30 days to 90 days.
M Visa – Business Visa
The M Visa is issued to foreigners visiting China for business and trade purposes. It is suitable for foreigners who made frequent work-related visits to China, but spend less than six months in a given year in the country, and you are not employed or paid by an entity incorporated in China.
The M Visa or business visa was introduced in 2013 Before the introduction of the M Visa, the F Visa was known as China’s business visa.
Those seeking an M Visa must be invited to the country for business purposes by a China based company, The M Visa is ideal for foreigners who visit China frequently for short business trips.
The visa is issued for a period ranging from one month to one year. This can be extended under certain conditions. Single-entry, double-entry, and multiple-entry visas are available. Applicants from the US and Canada may obtain M Visas valid for up to 10 years.
The documentation required for applying M visas are:
Additional information and documentation may be required depending on the applicant’s country of origin, where the application is being done and where the applicant intends to visit.
Prospective visitors to China are advised to contact their local Chinese embassy or consulate and obtain professional advice when dealing with visa-related procedures, as requirements may differ on a case-by-case basis.
Z Visa – Work Visa
The Z visa is issued to foreigners who are taking up a post or employment in China, and their accompanying family members. The Z visa is the most common type of visa used by foreigners working in China.
The Z visa, also known as the work visa, is issued to foreigners employed by a company that has been incorporated in China.
Z visas are issued prior to entry into China upon the submission of supporting documentation by the employer and related government departments. Upon arrival, the Z Visa holder must then obtain work and residence permits.
When applying for work permit, the employer’s business license, organization code Certificate, tax registration certificate, and FIE approval certificate (if the employer is foreign-invested) must be provided, among other required documents.
Where a foreigner changes his/her job but continues to hold a valid work permit, he/she can undertake an “employer change” procedure with the government to renew the work permit. The actual procedure for the renewal may vary from city to city.
X Visa – Student Visa
The X Visa is issues to foreigners who come to China for studies of fieldwork. While holders of X Visas do not have working rights, they may be able to undertake internships if authorized by their educational institution and other relevant authorities.
The X1 Visa is issues to students whose study period is more than 180 days.
The X2 visa is issued to students who intend to study for less than 180 days.
C Visa – Crew-member Visa
The C Visa is issued to crew-members on international aviation, navigation and land transportation missions, and their accompanying family members.
J Visa – Journalist Visa
The J visa is issued to foreign journalists who are working in China on either a temporary or permanent basis.
The J-1 Visa is issued to foreign journalists who are posted to China for at least on year.
The J-2 Visa is issued to foreign journalists who are on a temporary interview missions in China or up to 30 days.
G Visa – Transit Visa
The G Visa is issued to foreigners who transit through China. Since the cost and application procedure to acquire a G Visa is similar to acquiring an L Visa, travellers tend to opt for an L Visa rather than a G Visa. Several cities in China also offer visa exemptions for travellers in transit.
D Visa – Resident Visa
The D Visa is issues to foreigners who plan to live in China permanently. This visa is also known as “the Chinese green card”, and is notoriously difficult to acquire.
Q Visa – Family/Personal Visit Visa
The Q Visa is issued to foreigners who are visiting family members of Chinese citizens, and to foreigners who are spouses of Chinese citizens, including those who intend to visit China for personal purposes, including foster care.
The Q1 Visa is issues to family members of Chinese citizens or permanent residents of China who intend to stay in China longer than 180 days. The Q1 Visa is a single-entry visa. Upon entry, the holder must apply for a residence permit within 30 days.
The Q2 Visa is issued to family members of Chinese citizens or permanent residents of China who intend to visit China temporarily. The Q2 Visa can be multiple entry, and valid for up to 10 years for US and Canadian citizens, carrying a stay of up to 180 days per visit.
S Visa- Relatives of Foreigners
The S Visa is issued to relatives of foreigners who are working or studying in China. It is the equivalents of the Q Visa for family of foreigners living in China long-term.
The S1 Visa is issued for a stay more than 180 days. The S1 Visa has a single entry, and holders must apply for residence permit within 30 days of entry.
The S2 Visa is issued for a stay of 180 days or less. The S2 Visa can be multiple entry and valid for up to 10 years for US and Canadian citizens, carrying a stay of up to 180 days per visit.
R Visa – Highly Qualified Persons
The R Visa is issued to highly qualified individuals whose skills are urgently needed in China. This refers to Tier A talents under China’s new tiered work permit classification system.
Diplomatic and Service Visa
Issued to foreign government officials and the staff of diplomatic missions and of the United Nations who travel to China for official missions or accreditation.
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