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Chinese Embassy in UK
Home > Visas to China > Guidelines for Visa Applications
Part Six: FAQs and Answers
2013/03/15

 

1. Do I need to apply for a visa beforehand if I plan to go to Chinese mainland?

Answer: Normally you will need a visa to go to Chinese mainland as foreign citizen unless you are visa exempt based on relevant agreements or regulations (please refer to the section "A Brief Introduction to Chinese Visas").

2. Where can I apply for a visa?

Answer: You can apply for a visa at a Chinese Embassy or the Chinese Consulate General, or the China Visa Application Centre. You can apply for an ordinary visa at the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre.

3. What type of visa should I apply for?

Answer: It depends on the purpose of your visit. Please see the section "A Brief Introduction to Chinese Visas". It is up to the consular official to decide on the type of visa to be issued.

 

4. What kind of documents should I provide for a visa application at a Chinese embassy or consulate? And is there anything particular I should pay special attention to?

Answer: You need to prepare required documents according to the purpose of visiting China. For details please see the requirements for visa applications.

 

5. How long in advance should I apply for a visa?

Answer: It is advised that you submit the application one month in advance of your planned date of entry. Application made too early may cause the expiry of the visa and you won't be able to use it in the end, but if you submit an application too late, there might not be enough time for the application to be processed.

 

6. When can I get the visa after I submit my application?

Answer: If the documents are well prepared, it will normally take four working days for the application to be processed, but the time may vary dependent on a case by case basis.

 If you intend to travel urgently, you may apply for the express service and collect the visa on the third working day, in which case you will need to pay an extra fee. Express service is not guaranteed in the Chinese Embassy or the Chinese Consulate General, and the eligibility for express service is judged on a case by case basis.

It is important that the applicant comes to collect the visa on time. The visa may be collected after the collection date, but if the visa has not been collected within 90 days after issuing date it will be disposed of as Unclaimed.

 

7. What is the number of entries? What should I do if I have used up all the entries?

Answer: A visa's number of entries refers to the number of times the visa holder can make entry to China within the validity period of the visa. A visa is normally issued with single entry, double entries or multiple entries. Single entry or double entries visa will expire after the times are used up. If you go to China again you will need a new visa. If the entries have not been used up but the visa has expired because the visa has reached the end of its validity period, you will need to apply for a new Chinese Visa. Anyone holding an expired visa that goes to China will be refused entry at the border. It is essential that you check carefully the number of entries and make sure your visa is valid.

 

8. I am planning to go to Beijing with a British passport and then go to Hong Kong to travel for 7 days, and afterwards, back to Guangzhou, how many entries do I need to apply for?

Answer: You need to apply for a double entry visa because you need your first entry when you visit Beijing from the UK, and your second entry to Guangzhou from Hong Kong.

 

Suppose you have obtained a single entry visa, you will need to apply for a new visa at the Commissioner's Office of China's Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong SAR while visiting Hong Kong.

 

Holders of a British passport are exempt from a visa to visit Hong Kong.

 

9. When will my visa start to take effect? And when will it expire?

Answer: Unless otherwise specified, a visa is valid from the date of issue.

A visa expires if one of the following situations occurs:

(1) The visa has passed 24:00 (Beijing Time) on the date of entry, namely the 'Enter Before' date given on the visa page;

(2) The number of entries have been used up;

(3) The visa has been revoked or cancelled by the authorities of the Chinese government.

(4) Other circumstances governed by the Chinese laws

 

10. Can I change my itinerary after I've got my visa?

Answer: Unless otherwise specified on the visa, you may change your itinerary but must make your entry to China before the visa expires. The Chinese Embassy or the Chinese Consulate General do not take the responsibility for the expiry of your visa due to the change of your travel plan.

 

11. What does "Duration of Each Stay" mean? What should I do if I need a longer duration for my stay?

Answer: The Duration of Each Stay refers to the maximum number of days a visa holder is permitted to stay in China after each entry, namely, the maximum number of days a visa holder can stay in China from the day of entry. If you hold an ordinary visa and need to extend your stay after arrival in China, you will have to apply for an extension at the public security authorities (however approval is not guaranteed) before your duration of stay runs out.

Holders of D visa, J1 visa, Q1 visa, S1 visa, X1 visa, and Z visa must register with the public security authorities for residential formalities within 30 days of entry. It will lead to illegal overstay if a permitted stay runs out but no required formalities have been processed accordingly.

It is a breach of Chinese laws and regulations if someone stays longer than the visa permits while visiting China. As a result, he or she may face fines or other means of penalties. Therefore, you are advised to make sure your stay is within the permitted duration of stay.

 

12. After I get the visa, can the validity period, duration of stay and number of entries be altered?

Answer: No. They cannot be changed. Therefore, it is essential that before you apply for a visa you make proper arrangement. While filling out the application form, you must complete all relevant items truthfully. While collecting your visa, you must check all the contents of the visa. If an alteration must be made, then you will have to submit a new visa application with supporting documents and pay for the application again.

 

13. What are the things foreign citizens should pay attention to while in China?

Answer:  Foreign citizens must abide by the laws and regulations of the People's Republic of China after they enter China, and must not conduct any activities other than covered by the purpose of the visit as stated in application, or activities not approved by the authorities of the Chinese government. If foreign citizens are seeking employment in China, they need to apply for work permits from relevant authorities. They would face penalties if they breach relevant laws and regulations.

 

14. Can I enter China as soon as I get a visa?

Answer: After you obtain a visa, you should be able to enter China through a port open to foreign citizens. However, it is up to the border control staff members to make decisions on whether or not to allow the visa holder to enter China according to individual cases.

 

15. Understanding the visa

Visa Type

 

 

Visa Paper Number Number Number

 

 

 


Duration of Each Stay

 Passport Number

 

 

Enter Before

 

Initial(s) of Name

Machine-readable Codes

 

 

Issue Place

 

Entry Times

 

 

Date of Birth

期期

Issue Date

 

16. I have a new passport now but the Chinese visa on my old one is still valid. Can I go to China with both of these passports without applying for a new visa?

Answer: You don't have to bring two passports. If your old passport has expired or its validity period is less than six months, then you need to apply for a new visa for your new passport.

 

17. The validity period has expired while I am in China. Can I still stay?

Answer: As long as the duration of each stay allows, you may still stay in China, although your visa has expired.

 

18. What should I do if I have lost my passport while in China?

Answer: You need to report to the local Chinese public security authority as soon as you can and then apply for a new passport (or international travel permit) at your embassy or consulate in China, and then submit new applications for entry and exit at a Chinese public security authority.

 

19. May I check with the Chinese embassy or consulate in the UK about someone else's visa application?

Answer: No.

 

20. Does Chinese visa application require interview and fingerprints collection?

Answer: According to Chinese laws and regulations, visa officers may interview certain applicants and collect their 10 fingerprints.

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