People's Republic of China

Introduction of China Visa -- How to obtain China Visa   Private Tours In Beijing

Introduction of China Visa

The Chinese government issues visas to travelers from countries that have a normal diplomatic relationship with the People's Republic of China. Most foreign travelers need an "L" type- "Tourist" visa to travel in China.

It is not difficult to apply for a visa from Chinese embassies and consulates in most countries. Travelers need to wait no longer than three to five working days to obtain a standard 30-day, single entry visa which are valid for entry within three months. For business people and other regular visitors there are multiple-entry visas good for six months at a time. As an alternative, many tourists make arrangements through travel agencies.

Visa Extensions are dealt with by the local Public Security Bureau (Gong'anju). The period of extension varies, but if travelers hold a 30-day visa, they can expect to obtain an extension of 15 days to one month. Second extensions are rarely granted. The penalty of overstaying your visa in China is at least RMB300 per day.

In the past, many foreign travelers made the trek to Hong Kong to renew visas and get extensions. It is possible to get a "Business Consulting" Visa in Hong Kong from most travel agents. Costs vary and the Visa can usually be obtained within 48 hours. Some agents may ask for a Business Card as proof. As long as your "Business Card" doesn't list your job description as "Journalist" you should be ok. Another option for Visa renewal is to go through one of the agents in Beijing. Check out the bi-weekly magazine "City Weekend" for classifieds listing possible agents.

When applying for lodging in a hotel, guesthouse, school or any other Chinese establishment, a foreign visitor should provide a valid passport and fill in a registration form for temporary lodging. A foreign visitor staying with a Chinese family should apply to the local public security organ within seventy-two hours after arrival with valid identification documents of both the guest and the host. A foreign visitor staying with a Chinese family in a rural area should apply to the local police station or residential administrative organ within seventy-two hours after arrival. This stipulation also applies to a foreign visitor staying in a foreign establishment or with a foreigner's family in China.

A foreigner staying in China with a tourist visa is not allowed to engage in activities beyond the capacity as a tourist, such as employment, religious propaganda and illegal journalist interviewing. Violators of this stipulation will be punished. The Chinese Government protects the lawful rights of foreigners in China. On their part, foreigners staying in China should abide by the Chinese laws and respect the Chinese habits and customs, and on no account should they do anything to jeopardize China's national security, public interests and social order.

A foreigner who has lost his passport in China should promptly report to the local public security organ, explain what has happened, apply to the Embassy or Consulate of his own country for an exit document with a certificate issued by the local public security organ, and go through related formalities at an entry and exit inspection department. Only then is he allowed to leave China.

How to Obtain the Chinese Visa

Tourist Visa Foreigners wishing to travel to China should apply to a local Chinese embassy or consulate for tourist visas. In the event of a group tour of more than nine persons , the organizer has to apply for group tourist visas. Foreigners requesting to visit Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Xiamen Special Economic Zones may apply directly to visa authorities in these zones for tourist visas to special economic zones. Foreign tourist groups from Hong Kong for a 72-hour visit to the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone are exempt from entry visas. When applying for a visa, foreigners are required to answer certain questions and go through the following formalities:

  1. Providing a valid passport or any document in place of a passport;
  2. Filling in a visa application form and handing in up-to-date passport photos;
  3. Submitting documents needed for visa application and documents which explain one's reason(s) to enter China.

Points for foreigners with tourist visas:

A foreigner holding the tourist visa should go to an appointed port of entry or one which is opened to foreigners, receive the examination by a frontier inspection station, submit a valid passport and visa for inspection, and fill in an entry card, entry into China is granted only after the frontier inspection has approved all the documents and stamped them with an entry seal.

Foreigners may travel in places opened to them in China with a valid passport and tourist visa. By March 1996, China had opened 1, 220 cities and counties to foreign visitors. Foreigners traveling with their own transport vehicles should apply for approval before they enter China. These include bicycles, motorcycles, cars, boats and aircrafts.

Foreign tourists are not allowed to enter areas not opened to foreigners; violators will be penalized according to law. Foreigners who want to visit an area on business not opened to them should apply to the local public security organ for a Foreigners Travel Permit . When they apply for such a permit, they should show their own passports and valid visas, provide letters which explain the reasons for such a visit , and fill in the Application Form for Foreign Travelers. Only after approval is granted, can they enter the area not opened to foreign visitors. The Foreigners Travel Permit should be used along with the passport.

When applying for lodging in a hotel, guesthouse, school or any other Chinese establishment , a foreign visitor should provide a valid passport and fill in a registration form for temporary lodging. A foreign visitor staying with a Chinese family should apply to the local public security organ within seventy-two hours after arrival with valid identification documents of both the guest and the host. A foreign visitor staying with a Chinese family in a rural area should apply to the local police station or residential administrative organ within seventy-two hours after arrival. This stipulation also applies to a foreign visitor staying in a foreign establishment or with a foreigner's family in China.

A foreign tourist may travel in China within the approved period of time. If he wishes to continue traveling in China after the approved time of his stay expires, he should apply to the local public security organ for the extension of his stay. After he has finished his travel in China, he should fill in an exit document before his visa expires and submit his documents to the frontier inspection station in a port opened to foreigners; he is allowed to leave the country only after his document is stamped with an approval seal.

A foreigner staying in China with a tourist visa is not allowed to engage in activities beyond the capacity as a tourist, such as employment, religious propaganda and illegal journalist interviewing. Violators of this stipulation will be punished. The Chinese Government protects the lawful rights of foreigners in China.

On their part, foreigners staying in China should abide by the Chinese laws and respect the Chinese habits and customs, and on no account should they do anything to jeopardize China's national security, public interests and social order. A foreigner who has lost his passport in China should promptly report to the local public security organ, explain what has happened, apply to the Embassy or Consulate of his own country for an exit document with a certificate issued by the local public security organ, and go through related formalities at an entry and exit inspection department. Only then is he allowed to leave China.

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