How to Get a Chinese Visa for U.S. Citizen?

Looking to get a Chinese visa? United States citizens traveling to China would need to get a Chinese visa prior to travel.  Here you would show how to get a Chinese visa. If for some reason a person enters the country without a visa, he or she will not be permitted further access, and proper deportation processes will be carried out.

In addition, the person may have to pay hefty fines. Most airlines flying to China, however, will not allow a person to board a plane unless a visa has been obtained. It is also important to know that for U.S. citizens that China requires a six-month passport validity on a passport which is your passport must be valid for at least six months.

How to Apply for a Chinese Visa?

To apply for a visa to China, a person will need to go to the Chinese Embassy or Chinese Consulate in one’s area. If a person cannot appear in person, they can have a friend or family member apply for them. Additionally, a travel visa expediter can apply for a person as well.

Required Documents for Chinese Visa

To apply for and receive a visa;  the following requirements must be met:

  • A person must have a passport that is valid for at least six remaining months
  • The person must have at least one blank page in his or her visa book
  • There must be a picture of the person on the passport
  • The picture must be recent as well as at least 48mm x 33mm in size
  • A Chinese visa application must be properly filled out

There are several types of visas that a person can apply for to enter China; however, certain requirements must be met in order for each type of visa to be obtained. For people who are under the age of 18 and wish to enter China, a clear copy of their birth certificate must be provided.

How Long is a Chinese Visa Valid?

Depending on the type of Chinese visa you have applied for but usually, a  visa would be valid for the following: 10 Years, 1 Year, 6 Months, and three months depending on the type of visa you have selected. These visas are only valid for the time they would issue, and once the last day of the visa is reached, you will need to apply for a new visa, as the months-old visa would not be able to extend past the last day of validity.

In addition, those under the age of 18 who are traveling with their parents will have to provide copies of their parent’s driver’s licenses. If minor travel with only one parent, authorization for travel from the other parent must be provided. When traveling with no parents, authorization from both parents has to be provided.

Access to the Visa Application Form

There are several ways to go about gaining access to the China visa application form for entering China. For starters, a person can visit his or her embassy to get the application, or if preferred, it’s possible to print it online. The application itself is four pages long and has six sections that must be filled out. For those who complete the form online, it is possible to enter into text on the form and then print it.

Things to Remember

A supplementary application must be filled out by those people who are:

  • Applying for a work visa
  • Applying for a student visa
  • Traveling on the same passport as someone else

Processing a Chinese Visa

Once the application for a Chinese visa is filled out, a person needs to decide how to have it processed. It could take four days for the visa to be processed; however, express service can be obtained, which will have it processed in two to three days. If same-day processing is needed, a person will have to pay an additional fee. In order for a Chinese visa to be processed on the same day, it will have to be submitted by 12:00 pm.

If a person chooses to submit their visa application in person, it should be noted that long lines are almost inevitable. Finding parking isn’t very simple either. It’s also important to keep in mind that the China Embassy will not provide updates about an application’s status. When filling out the visa application form, it is of the utmost importance to fill it out correctly, as one error can result in having to start the entire process over.

The smartest way to apply for a visa to China is to have a visa expediting courier service submit it. Such courier services are easy to find online.

Types of Chinese Visas

  • Tourist Visa
  • Business Visa
  • Student Visa
  • Work Visa
  • Crew Visa
  • Journalist Visa
  • Transit Visa
  • Permanent Resident Visa

Embassy Fee for Getting a Visa for China
The fee that must be paid to the China Embassy in order to get a visa is determined by the number of entries a person wants to make into the country, the amount of time that the visa needs to be valid for, and the processing time that the person chooses. The lowest fee is $140.00, with the highest being $170.00.

Chinese Embassy & Consulate in the United States:

The People’s Republic of China currently maintains 1 Embassy and 5 Consulate below is the address, phone, and fax numbers for each embassy and consulate.
Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C.

2201 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.,
Washington D.C. 20007
Telephone Number: 1.202.338.6688, & 1.202.588.9760
Fax Number:  1.202.588.9760

Chinese Consulate General in Chicago, Illinois 

 1 East Erie Street, Suite 500,
Chicago, IL 60611
Telephone Number: 1.312.453.0210 & 1.(312.803.0095
Fax Number: 1.312.803.0122

Chinese Consulate General in Houston, Texas

3417 Montrose Blvd.,
Houston, TX 77006
Telephone Number:  1.713.520.1462
Fax Number: 1.713.521.3064

Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles, CA

443 Shatto Place,
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Telephone Number: 1.213.807.8088
Fax Number: 1.213.807.8091

Chinese Consulate General in New York, NY

520 12th Avenue,
New York, NY 10036
Telephone Number:
Fax: 1.212.465.1708

Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco, CA

1450 Laguna Street,
San Francisco, CA 94115
Telephone Number: 1.415.674.2900
Fax Number: 1.415.563.0494

Common Chinese Visa Questions:

Does a United States Citizen require a visa to China (mainland)?

Yes! All U.S. citizen is required to have a Chinese visa.

Where should I apply for a Chinese visa?

You will have to apply for a Chinese visa at the People’s Republic of China embassy or consulate around the United States.  It is also possible to apply for a visa using a visa expediting company – These companies usually have a preexisting arrangement with the Chinese embassy and consulate to expedite your visa application.

When applying for a Chinese Visa, what type should I apply for?

Depending on your type of stay, refer to the visa type above to figure out which visa is needed.

I am a U.S. citizen. Could I apply for a visa at the port of entry?

No! U.S. citizens must apply for a Chinese visa before their trip.

How long before my trip should I apply for a Chinese Visa?

All Chinese visas must be used 90 days from the day of issue. It is recommended to apply for a Chinese visa one month prior to your trip. The embassy has a number of services type to get your passport back on time below are the type of services:

Regular Services –   4 business days: The Embassy may take longer, depending on the case.

Express Services – 2 – 3 business days

Rush Services – 24 Hours

Could I apply for a Chinese visa by mail?

No! The Embassy does not process a visa application by mail you will have to get a family member or third party to submit your visa application on your behave. U.S. Passport Help Guide recommends getting the help of a visa expediting company to get your visa application processed with these companies, you will be able to mail your documents to the company address and have them expedite your visa application to the embassy.

What does the entry in visa mean? 

Entries on visa mean how much time you could enter the country with the visa in 90 days. For example, if you have a double entry visa which means you are able to enter China (mainland) two times. If you travel from New York to China, this would be one entry, and let’s say you then visit Hong Kong and go back to China, this would be the second entry.

How many Chinese visa entries there is? 

Currently, there are three visa entries 1. Single entries 2. Double entries  3. Multiple entries.

If I lost my passport in China. What should I do?

You should apply for the DS-64 Application form for a Lost or Stolen Passport and submit it to the nearest U.S. Embassy in China.  Once you have obtained your passport, you could then apply for a new visa entry or exit visa in China.


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