Visa Facilitation Services
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General Information on Chinese Visas


Chinese Visas for Business or Tourism arranged at short notice!
  • Multiple entry business, tourist or transit visas obtained within 4-5 days
  • Chinese visa fast turnaround service
  • Central London on site collection and return
  • Multiple application discount rates available

If you are traveling to China on a lastminute holiday or crucial last minute business meetings, we can get your application processed within just 5-6 days .

chinese pagoda chinese lanterns chinese terracota warriors


Who needs a visa to travel to China?

With the exception of the foreign nationals listed below, all other visitors must obtain a visa prior to traveling to China.

Methods of lodging: Visa applicants my file their visa by post, in person or via us if you are unable to attend the visa center, do not have to time to wait around and are reluctant to to file your application by post.

It is important to note that having seen your visa application form and supporting documentation the Chinese Embassy has the discretion to ask you to attend an interview if it deems it necessary.

Processing time: The consulate processes regular visas within 3 to 4 days depending on whether you request the express visa service. Please allow a working day on each side of the processing time for the mailing of your documents if you do not intend to deliver and collect them from our offices.


Validity: The period of validity, duration of stay and number of entry is at the discretion of the Chinese Consular Officer who will decide pursuant Chinese Immigration Laws and Regulations. The period of validity means the time the visa is valid for as opposed to the length of the permitted visit. A visa holder is entitled to enter China at any time before the expiry of his visa’s validity period providing he has not used up the granted entries. The visa is valid from its day of issuance for the number of entries given. The duration of allowed stay runs from the day you enter the country and will start again each time you re-enter providing your visa is still valid and you have not used up all your entries. Overstaying in China is in direct violation with the Chinese Immigration Laws and Regulation and is punishable by fines and other penalties.

When to apply: The Chinese consulate advise that applications should be filed a month in advance but not more that 3 months earlier than the date of travel.

Chinese Visa Application form: The form can be downloaded here. Visa applications for minor should be signed by one of his or both parents. Questions which are not relevant should be completed with N/A.

Visa exemption:

- Nationals of the countries which have an agreement on mutual visa exemption with China will not require a visa as long as their intended stay in for not more than 30 days. An extension can be obtain from the Chinese authorities in China if necessary. A list of these agreements can be downloaded from here. (List of Agreements on Mutual Visa Exemption Between the P.R. China and Foreign Countries)

- Citizens of Singapore, Brunei and Japan may enter China without a visa through the ports of entry open to foreign nationals provided that the purpose of their trip to China is tourism, family visit, business or transit, and intend to stay in China for no more than 15 days. If the intention is to remain in China for more 15 days, then a visa will be needed. Citizens of these countries will also need a visa if they are traveling to China to study, work, report news or settling. Diplomatic and service passport holders are required to obtain a visa in advance as well.

- Citizens of the countries which have diplomatic relations with China and on a tour to Hong Kong and Macao, and taking part in group tours to the Zhu Jiang River (Pearl River) Delta Area for a stay of less than 5 days organized by the travel services legally registered in Hong Kong or Macao shall not need to apply for a visa. The Zhu Jiang River (Pearl River) Delta Area refers to the administrative area under the nine cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing, Huizhou and Shantou.

- Foreign nationals who are transiting through China and will not be staying for more than 24 hours within the airport boundaries shall not need to apply for a transit visa. They will however have to show that they hold confirmed onward tickets and seats on international flights.

- No visa will be required for citizens of the following 20 countries, who transit through China via Shanghai within 48 hours, regardless of the type of passports they hold: Republic of Korea, the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Schengen states - Germany, France, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy.

- Foreign nationals holding ordinary passports of the following 19 countries and in group tours to Hainan Province for a stay of less than 15 days organized by the international travel services approved by the National Tourism Administration of China and registered in Hainan Province shall not need to obtain a visa either: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand, Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Germany, the UK, France, Austria, Italy, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands and the United States of America.

- Staff of foreign airlines offices resident in China and crew members on international flight and trains are exempted from visa requirements or entitled to simplified visa application procedures in accordance with the agreements between the Chinese Government and the governments of their respective countries.

What type of visa?

The Chinese visas fall into 4 categories: diplomatic visas, courtesy visas, service visas and ordinary visas.

The ordinary visa category is further divided into the following 8 sub-categories:    

(1) Tourist and family visit visa (L-visa)- applicable to foreign national visiting China for tourism purposes, family visit or other personal affairs.  

(2) Business Visa (F-visa ) - suitable for foreign nationals invited to China for visit, research, lecture, business, exchanges in the fields of science, technology, education, culture and sports, or attending various kinds of trade fairs or exhibitions, or short-term study, intern practice for a period of no more than 6 months.   

(3) Student Visa (X-visa) - applies to foreign nationals wishing to study in China for a period of six or more months.

(4) Work Visa (Z-visa) - suitable for foreign nationals wishing to come to China to work and his/ her accompanying family members as well as commercial performing artists.

(5) Transit Visa (G-visa) - applies to foreign nationsl wishing to transit through China on their way to a third country.

(6) Crew Visa ( C-visa) - applicable to crew members on board an international train, or on an international airliner, to sailors on board an international ocean-liner or freighter, and also to their accompanying family members. 

(7) Journalist Visa ( J-visa) - applies to foreign journalists. The J-visa has two further subcategories: the J-1 visa which is issued to resident foreign journalists in China and their accompanying spouses and under-age children and the J-2 visa to foreign journalists who visit China for temporary news coverage. 

(8) Permanent Residence Visa ( D-visa ) - applicable to foreign nationals who have been approved by China 's public security authorities to settle in China permanently.

The above information is for guidance only. Readers are recommended to check with the Chinese Embassy in London before proceeding.


Q1 When should I apply for my Chinese visa?
The Chinese Embassy recommends 1-2 months before your anticipated date of travel.Back

Q2 How long will my Chinese visa be valid for?
Your visa will be valid for 3 months from the date of its issue. This means that that you will have 90 days to enter China . Once there you should be able to stay up to 30 / 60 days from the day you enter. If you apply for a double entry visa you should be able to enter China twice within a 6 months period. Each time you enter, you should be able to remain for a maximum of 30 to 90 days. If you obtain a multiple entry visa it should be valid for 6 or 12 or 24 months from its date of issue. As the Chinese Embassy change its policy without warnings it is impossible to predict whether you will be granted what you ask for. The length of your visa is entirely at the discretion of the Chinese Embassy. Back

Q3 How long will I be able to remain in China ?
It will depend on what you have asked for on the Chinese visa application form and what the Chinese Embassy has decided to grant you. It could vary from 30 days to 60 days or 90 days from the day you enter China . Back

Q4 Do I have to submit my original passport with my application?
Yes and it will be retained for the entire duration of the process. The Chinese visa will be endorsed in your passport. We strongly advise that you send your application in a secure way, using a traceable courier such as Royal Mail Special Next Day Delivery or a reliable courier company. Back

Q5 I am traveling to China on 5 th August but my visa states: “Good to enter before 9 th August”. Can I still travel and if so how long can I stay? You can travel to China providing you enter the country before the expiry of your visa i.e. 9 th of August. You will be able to remain there for the period indicated on your visa (i.e. duration of stay). Note that the duration of stay starts from the day you land in China . Back

Q6 How will you return my documents to me?
We will return your documents by secured Special Next Day Delivery, it is insured and guaranteed to arrive on the next day before 1 pm. You will be required to provide us with a self addressed pre paid delivery envelop. Alternatively you can come to collect your documents from our offices or arrange for them to be collected by a courier. If your documents are to be collected by a third party we will need to see a letter of authorization from you before releasing your documents to them. Back

Q7 When will my passport be returned to me?
You will need to take into account the processing time from the day we receive your application together with the time necessary for the return of your documents. In most cases it should not take more than a week. If you are due to travel in less than 10 days we urge you to use the express service. Back

Q8 What does the price include?
The price includes the embassy and visa center fee, our fees and VAT. It is all inclusive unless you pay online in which case there will be about 3% surcharge. Back

Q9 I cannot download the Chinese Visa Application form, what shall I do?
Please email us your fax number or postal address and we will send you the form without delay once instructed. Back