Let China Tour Take Care of the Hassle
On top of your passport, US citizens will need to obtain a Chinese visa if they want to visit China. If you show up in China without one, you will probably be detained and possibly deported on top of having to pay some serious fines.
Don’t worry, if you don’t have a visa with you, there’s a good chance you will be stopped from boarding your flight to China in the first place.
Importantly, not only do you need a visa to visit China, your passport will also need to have been valid for no less than six months.
In addition, be careful not to apply for your visa too early—if you do not use it, it will expire after 90 days beginning the day you first obtained it. Instead, try to apply for your Chinese Visa between two months and fifteen days prior to leaving on your trip to China.
So how do I get a Chinese visa?
Typically, anyone wanting to obtain a Chinese visa will need to head down to the nearest Chinese Embassy or consulate in their area and apply in person, otherwise they need a travel visa expediter to apply for them.
While there are multiple types of visas you may apply for, tourists from outside China will need to apply for an L Visa.
Where is the Chinese Embassy?
The main Chinese Embassy in the US is, not surprisingly, located in Washington, D.C., surrounded by Van Ness Street and International Drive to its north and west, respectively. This particular building was actually designed by the world-renowned Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei, complete with a Chinese garden in the back of the structure.
Washington D.C. Chinese Embassy Chancery
3505 International Place, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008 USA
Phone: +1 (202) 495-2266
Fax: +1 (202) 495-2138
Office Hours: 9:00 am – 5:30 pm, Monday – Friday (except holidays)
2201 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Suite 110
Washington, D.C. 20007 USA
Phone: +1 (202) 337-1956
Fax: +1 (202) 588-9760
Visa Office Hours: 9:30 am – 2:30 pm, Monday – Friday (except holidays)
There are five additional consulates-general located in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Houston. Which consulate-general prepares your visa depends on where you live, so make sure you find which office has jurisdiction over your part of the country or your visa application may be delayed or denied.
The other consulates can be found below:
1 East Erie Street, Suite 500
3417 Montrose Blvd.
443 Shatto Place
1450 Laguna St.
520 12th Ave.
What do I need to apply for a Chinese Visa?
- A passport which has been valid for at least six months
- At least one blank page in your visa book
- Your picture must be present in your passport
- The picture needs to be recent and 48mm by 33mm in size
- Your correctly-filled out Chinese visa application
- A copy of your birth certificate if you are under 18 years old
- Proof of legal status in the country where you are applying
Those traveling to China under 18 years old will also need authorization from both parents if they are not accompanying their child to China.
You have your choice of how quickly you can have your visa application processed: typically this can take four days, but express service can have it processed in two or three days. For a fee, same-day processing can be obtained if they application is submitted by 12:00pm.
Those visiting the embassy or consulate in person to submit their application should expect long lines and difficult parking.
How can I get a visa application?
You can visit the embassy or consulate nearest to you and obtain a visa application or simply print one out from online. The application is four pages long with six sections to be filled out.
If you are applying for a work visa, student visa, or are traveling on the same passport as another person, you will need to fill out a further supplementary application.
Overall, it is usually much easier to submit an application for a Chinese visa via a courier service. China Tour provides such services for hundreds of clients each year who are eager to visit China. All that you need to do is send us your passport and other documents and we handle everything.
Different Types of Chinese Visas
- Tourist Visa
- Work Visa
- Business Visa
- Student Visa
- Transit Visa
- Crew Visa
- Journalist Visa
- Permanent Resident Visa
The fee to process your Chinese Visa application depends on how many entries you would like to make into China, how long you need the visa to be valid, and if you would like faster processing. The fee ranges from $140 to $170.
Can I apply for my Chinese Visa through the mail?
This is a common question, but no—the embassy does not process mail applications. You will need to apply in person, via a family member, or a third party such as a visa expediting company. You can mail your application to such an expediting company who will transmit it to the correct embassy or consulate.
What is meant by “entry”?
The entries portion refers to how long you intend to stay in China. A double-entry visa, for instance, means you can enter China twice. It is important to note that traveling from Hong Kong to mainland China counts as one entry, just the same as flying to China from anywhere in the US. Single, double, and multiple entry visas are available.
What if I lost my passport in China?
Fill out a DS-64 Application form for Lost or Stolen Passport and submit it to the nearest US Embassy in China.
Can I apply for a Chinese Visa at a port of entry?
No, you will need a visa before you arrive in China.
Have questions about obtaining a Chinese visa? Our talented agents are ready to answer them and help you in any way they can! Call China Tour to book your affordable and exciting trip to China and let us handle all the paperwork!