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How To Apply For A Chinese Visa
All American citizens need a valid visa to visit China. Obtain a visa before traveling; Chinese authorities expect all visitors to comply with the visa terms. Entry on a tourist visa means not looking for a job or becoming a full-time student. Those who violate visa terms may be fined or imprisoned.
Chinese Visa Overview
A visa is a permit issued by the government that allows foreign residents to enter the country. Depending on the purpose of your visit, there are several types of Chinese visas available, including business, journalist, student, transit, and tourist visas.
Who needs a Chinese Visa?
Except for residents of Singapore, Brunei, and Japan, China requires visas for residents of all other countries. Residents of the aforementioned countries can enter China without a visa for up to 15 days for business, tourism, visiting family or friends, or transit. If your parents are Chinese citizens and you do not hold a U.S. green card, you may be exempt from getting a Chinese visa. Transit visitors may also pass through China without a visa for a one- or two-night stay, subject to certain restrictions.
What you need
To apply for a tourist visa, you will need to complete, sign, and return a visa application form. Along with the form, you will need to send a passport with at least one blank page and valid for at least six months beyond the date of travel. A copy of your passport information page and a recent 2 x 2 inch color photo. If your original nationality is Chinese, you will also need to provide your Chinese name and your original Chinese passport.
Processing time and visa validity
Most tourist visas are processed within four working days. Expedited services can be completed within two to three business days, with an additional fee for same-day rush services. Tourist visas are generally valid for 6 or 12 months. Foreigners born in China or spouses and children of Chinese citizens are eligible to apply for visas valid for 24 months.
Chinese Visa Fees
As of April 2011, the cost of a tourist visa for U.S. citizens, whether single or multiple entries, is $140. You can pay the visa fee by credit card, money order, cashier's check or company check. Cash and personal checks are not accepted.
Learning how to enter China is a simple process, but you must follow the corresponding rules. Failure to do so will delay the application and you may not be able to receive the documents in a timely manner.
Please make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after you plan to leave China. If your passport expires before this time, the Chinese government will not give you a visa.
You must have at least one blank page on your passport to apply for a visa. Government officials will stamp that page.
Download the visa application form from the website of the Chinese embassy. Print out.
Fill in the complete application form, write down your personal information, itinerary, reason for your visit and the place you will visit. If you live with Chinese citizens, they must write to prove that you are their guest. Included in visa documents. Sign the form.
Copy your round-trip tickets and hotel reservations and submit them with your application form. It also includes a passport sized photo and a $130 Chinese visa fee (as of 2009).
Pay another $20 for two or three days of express service. There are also $30 at the peak of the day. Pay by draft or company check. The embassy does not accept cash, personal checks or credit cards.
Send the Chinese visa application package by registered mail or express to the address on the form. It usually takes four days for a package to arrive.