1. Basic Concept
Visas are issued by relevant agencies under the authorization of a government in accordance with national laws and regulations. They are permits for foreign applicants to enter, exit or transit through the country.
According to international laws and international practices, any sovereign country has the right to decide whether to allow foreigners to enter or exit its country (borders) or not, and whether to issue visas or revoke those that have bee issued.
The Chinese visa authorities determine the visa type, number of entries, validity date and period of stay according to laws and relevant regulations. They shall have the right to refuse visa applications or revoke issued visas.
2. Issuing Authorities
Embassies and consulates of the People’s Republic of China or other institutions entrusted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are in charge of issuing entry visas to foreigners outside the country.
Foreigners who meet the relevant provisions regulated in Article 20 of The Exit and Entry Administration Law of the People’s Republic of China can, at the ports that conduct port visa business under the approval of the State Council, apply for port visas at authorities entrusted by Ministry of Public Security.
3. Visa Types
Chinese visas include diplomatic, courtesy, service or ordinary visas. Ordinary visas are separated into the following categories:
|Visa type||Applicants Description|
|C||Issued to foreign crew members of means of international transportation, including aircraft, trains and ships, or motor vehicle drivers engaged in cross-border transport activities, or to the accompanying family members of the crew members of the above-mentioned ships|
|D||Issued to those who intend to reside in China permanently|
|F||Issued to those who intend to go to China for exchanges, visits, study tours and other activities|
|G||Issued to those who intend to transit through China|
|J1||Issued to resident foreign journalists of foreign news organizations stationed in China. The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days|
|J2||Issued to foreign journalists who intend to go to China for short-term news coverage. The intended duration of stay in China is no more than 180 days|
|L||Issued to those who intend to go to China as a tourist|
|M||Issued to those who intend to go to China for commercial and trade activities|
|Q1||Issued to those who are family members of Chinese citizens or of foreigners with Chinese permanent residence and intend to go to China for family reunion, or to those who intend to go to China for the purpose of foster care. “Family members” refers to spouses, parents, sons, daughters, spouses of sons or daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandsons, granddaughters and parents-in-law|
|Q2||Issued to those who intend to visit their relatives who are Chinese citizens residing in China or foreigners with permanent residence in China. The intended duration of stay in China is no more than 180 days|
|R||Issued to those who are foreign high-level talents or whose skills are urgently needed in China|
|S1||Issued to spouses, parents, sons or daughters under the age of 18 or parents-in-law of foreigners working or studying in China who they plan to visit, or to those who intend to go to China for other private affairs. The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days|
|S2||Issued to those who intend to visit their family members who are foreigners working or studying in China, or to those who intend to go to China for other matters. The intended duration of stay in China is no more than 180 days. “Family members” refers to spouses, parents, sons, daughters, spouses of sons or daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandsons, granddaughters and parents-in-law|
|X1||Issued to those who intend to study in China for a period of more than 180 days|
|X2||Issued to those who intend to study in China for a period of no more than 180 days|
|Z||Issued to those who intend to work in China|
4. Hong Kong and Macao Visas
4.1 Hong Kong Special Administration Region (HKSAR) Visa
4.1.1 HKSAR renders visa exemption to citizens of some countries and regions. (for details please visit http://www.immd.gov.hk/sc/services/hk-visas/visit-transit/visit-visa-entry-permit.html#part2 ).
4.1.2 Foreigners who do not qualify for visa-free entry must apply for a visa before visiting Hong Kong.
4.2 Macao Special Administrative Region （MSAR）Visa
4.2.1 MSAR renders visa exemption to citizens of some countries and regions.
4.2.2 Except for a few specific countries, foreigners who do not qualify for visa-free entry can in principle apply for arrival visas in Macau’s ports of entry.
Foreigners who apply to visit mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, and Macao SAR shall apply for separate visas to visit mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macao.
5. Validity Date
The validity date of entrance time range on the visa (“enter before”) refers to the valid time range for the holder of the visa to enter the country. Unless indicated by the issuing authority, the visa shall become valid from the day of issuing and expires at midnight Beijing time on the last day of its validity date. If all entries have not yet been used, the visa holder can enter before (and including) the last day of the validity date.
The entries of the visa refer to the amount of times of the visa holder can enter the country within the validity date. A visa becomes invalid when all entries have been used or entries are available but the validity date has passed, in which case new visa must be applied for if the holder wishes to visit China. Those who come to China with an invalid visa shall be rejected upon entry.
7. Duration of Each Stay
The “duration of each stay” refers to the permitted period of stay for the visa holder’s each entry starting from the day of entry.
8. Residence Procedure
Foreigners who hold a visa types D, J1, Q1, S1, or X1 shall apply for a residence certificate from entry and exit management institutions of public security organization above county level offices within 30 days of entry.
Foreigners who hold a diplomatic, courtesy, service or ordinary W visa shall apply for a residence certificate from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or local department of foreign affairs entrusted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.