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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I need a visa to visit China"s mainland?

Answer: Foreign citizens generally need a visa to visit China"s mainland with the exception of visa-free entry according to relevant agreements and regulations. (See Chinese Visa for more information.)

2. Where should I apply for a visa?

Answer: You can apply for a visa at a Chinese Embassy or Consulate General.

3. What type of visa should I apply for?

Answer: It depends on the purpose of your trip to China and other factors. See Chinese Visa for more information on the visa types. Consular officers have the final say on the type of visa to be issued.

4. As a U.S. citizen, can I apply for a Chinese visa at the port of entry?

Answer: U.S. citizens must obtain a visa before arrival in China. They cannot apply for a visa at the port of entry.

5. What documents should I submit when I apply for a visa? What are the requirements?

Answer: Necessary materials should be submitted based on the purpose of your trip to China.See relevant visa regulations for details.

6. How long before my planned trip should I apply for a visa?

Answer: We suggest you submit your visa application a month before your planned trip to China. If you apply for the visa too early, the visa may have expired when you need to use it. If you apply for the visa too late, you may not have enough time to get the visa.

7. How long does it take to get a visa after my application?

Answer: If you have submitted all documents required, it normally takes 4 business days (it varies case by case). If you have a special or emergency situation, you may request express (2 or 3 business days) or rush service (within 24 hours) for an additional fee. Approval for such services may and may not be provided by the Chinese Embassy or Consulates General.Applicants should come to get the visas on time. Visas not taken after 90 days from the day it should be taken away will be deemed abandoned.

8. Can I apply for a visa by mail? Could you mail the passport with visa back to me?

Answer: No. The Chinese Embassy and Consulate General do not accept mailed visa applications, or mail back your application materials, or mail back your passport with the visa in it.Applicants may entrust others to submit visa applications or get the visas on a voluntary basis, and applicants should take all responsibilities arising there from.

9. I live far away from the Chinese Embassy or Consulate General. How can I apply for a visa?

Answer: If you like, you may entrust someone else to submit your application at the visa office. The Chinese Embassy or Consulate General is not responsible for any consequences that may arise in the entrustment process.If the Chinese Embassy or Consulate General requires an interview with the applicant, the applicant must be there in person.

10. Do I need to make an appointment for visa application?Answer: No. You can visit the visa office anytime during business hours. We suggest you come before 10:30a.m. Applications for the same-day rush service must be submitted before 12:00p.m. Applications submitted after that hour cannot be processed in the same day.

11. What does "Entries" on the visa mean? What should I do if the number of entries on the visa runs out?

Answer: "Entries" refers to the number of times the bearer is permitted to enter China within the validity of a visa. It can be single-entry, double-entry, or multiple-entry. For single-entry and double-entry visas, once the number of entries is used up, the visa becomes invalid, and you need to apply for a new visa to visit China again. A visa also becomes invalid if its validity period expires, regardless of the number of entries left. Visiting China with an invalid visa will result in denial of entry. Therefore, please check your visa"s number of entries and make sure you have a valid visa before your departure for China.

12. As a U.S. citizen, I plan to visit Beijing and then spend 7 days in Hong Kong. After that I will visit Guangzhou. How many entries do I need?

Answer: You should apply for a double-entry or multiple-entry visa: one entry for going from the U.S. to Beijing, and another for going from Hong Kong to Guangzhou. If you only have a single-entry visa, during your stay in Hong Kong, you should apply for another visa to go to Guangzhou at the Commissioner"s Office of China"s Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong SAR. With U.S. passport, you do not need a Hong Kong visa for a visit of up to 90 days, but you need a visa to visit China"s mainland.

13. When will my visa become valid and when will it expire?

Answer: The validity of a visa starts from the date of issue, unless otherwise indicated on the visa.A visa expires under any of the following circumstances:(1) After 24:00 (Beijing Time) of the Enter Before date shown on the visa;(2) The number of entries is used up;(3) The visa is revoked or canceled by the Chinese government authorities;(4) Other circumstances in accordance with Chinese laws.

14. Can I change my trip plan after getting a visa?

Answer: Unless otherwise specified, you can change your trip plan. But you must enter China before your visa expires. The Chinese Embassy or Consulate General will not be responsible if your visa cannot be used due to changes of your travel plan.

15. What does "Duration of Each Stay" mean? What should I do if I want to stay in China longer than the "Duration of Each Stay" allowed?

Answer: Duration of Each Stay refers to the maximum days the bearer is permitted to stay in China. The duration of stay is calculated from the date of entry into China. Bearer of an ordinary visa should apply for an extension of the duration at the local public security authorities if he/she intends to stay in China longer than the Duration of Each Stay shown on the visa (but the application may or may not be approved).Bearers of Z, X, J-1 or D visas must apply for a resident permit at the local public security authorities within 30 days of entry into China, or their stay in China will be illegal.Overstaying a visa in China is a violation of Chinese laws and regulations. The perpetrator is subject to fines and other penalties. Please check the duration of each stay on the visa and make sure you do not overstay your visa in China.

16. Can the validity, duration of each stay and number of entries be changed after I get the visa?

Answer: No, they cannot be changed. Please plan your trip before applying for a visa, and fill out the application form with accurate and complete information. You should check thecontents of your visa when you get it. If you want to change your visa, you should submit a new application and pay the visa fee again.

17. What a foreign citizen need to know during his/her stay in China?

Answer: A Foreign citizen in China should comply with Chinese laws and regulations, and should not engage in activities unrelated to the purpose of trip specified on your visa application form or not authorized by relevant Chinese government authorities. If a foreigner intends to work in China, he/she must apply for a work permit at competent authorities. Violators of relevant laws and regulations will be punished.

18. Can I enter China after I get the visa?

Answer: You can enter China via Chinese ports open to foreigners after getting the visa. Chinese customs/checkpoint officials reserve the right to allow or deny a visa bearer"s entry into China.

19. How do I read a visa correctly?

Answer : 

20. I get a new passport, but I have a valid Chinese visa in my old passport. Can I travel with both passports to China without applying for a new visa?

Answer: It is not necessary to travel with two passports. If your passport has expired or is going to expire in 6 months or less, you should apply for a new visa with your new passport.

21. If visa expires during my stay in China, can I continue my stay?

Answer: Although your visa expires, you can still stay in China until the allowed Duration of Each Stay expires.

22. What should I do if I lose my passport during my stay in China?

Answer: You should report the loss to local public security authorities as soon as possible and go to your country"s embassy or consulate in China to apply for a new passport or other travel document. After that, you should go to the local public security authorities to apply for a new entry and exit visa.

23. Can I check other applicants" visa application information at the Chinese Embassy or Consulate General?

Answer: No.

Embassy of the People"s Republic of China in the United States of America
3505 International Place, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008 U.S.A.
Tel: +1-202-495-2266
Fax: +1-202-495-2138
E-mail: chinaembpress_us@mfa.gov.cn

Visa Section
2201 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Suite 110
Washington, D.C. 20007 U.S.A.
Automated Voice System: +1-202-338-6688
Telephone Consulting Service: +1-202-337-1956
Fax: +1-202-588-9760
E-mail: chinavisadc@gmail.com