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China Tourist Visa (L)

 China tourist visas have been available again since March 15, 2023 after 3 years’ suspension due to covid-19.

Most travelers to China are required to get a China tourist visa, L visa for short, which allows them to travel freely in most parts of China as tourists, assuming that they do not qualify under the visa-free policies of China. Passports, application form, and documents showing the itinerary or an invitation letter from China are the essential application documents.

Sample of China Tourist Visa
Sample of China Tourist Visa

In most cases, a tourist can get a single entry L visa with a stay duration of 30 days. UK, US, Canadian, and Argentine citizens are able to get a 10-year China tourist visa with multiple entries.

If travelling with an organized tour group, you might not have an individual visa in your passport.  Instead, the tour group will be issued a group tour visa bearing all the members' names. In such situations supply your details to the travel agency beforehand and you will have no further concerns.

If travelling independently, you need to handle visa affairs on your own. The process is not complicated if you follow the guidelines below.

China Tourist Visa Requirements & Documents

1. Passport

- Your passport  with at least 6 months remaining validity and available blank pages, and a photocopy of passport's data page.

2. Application Form

- One accurately completed China Visa Application Form. Please fill in every column of the application form. If the application form is not filled out truthfully, completely and legibly, there could be a delay in processing or refusal of the application.

3. Recent Photo

- A recent passport-size color photo with white background.

4. Round-trip Tickets Plus Hotel Bookings or Invitation Letter from China

- Documents showing the itinerary including proof of round trip tickets booking and proof of hotel reservation.
- Or, if you are being invited to China, you can submit an invitation letter issued by the inviter, whether it's an entity or individual, with following information:
a. Information on the applicant, including full name, gender, and date of birth.
b. Information on the planned visit, including arrival and departure dates, place(s) of visit.
c. Information on the inviter, including name, contact number, address, official stamp, and signature of the legal representative of the entity or the inviting individual.

5. Other Supporting Documents

a. For those not applying in their country of citizenship, a proof of legal stay or residence status is required.
b. In some cases, applicants may need to submit a certification letter from the employer of the applicant with details as follows: name and contact number of the employer, the applicant's income statement, or original copy of recent 6-month bank statement of the applicant.
c. Applicants who intend to travel to Tibet must obtain a Tibet Travel Permit, which can be obtained from Tourism Bureau of Tibet Autonomous Region by travel agencies.

China Tourist Visa Requirements
China Tourist Visa Requirements

How to Get a Chinese Tourist Visa

After preparing all the required documents, make an appointment with Chinese embassies, consulates, or a Chinese Visa Application Center (CVASC) if there are any in your country to submit the application. Generally, applicants aged 14-70 need to go in person. If you don't need to go personally, you can entrust someone else, such as a travel agency or a visa agency to act on your behalf. Applications by mails are not accepted and will be refused at most Chinese embassies, consulates or CVASCs. But the mail-back service is available in more cases. 

Processing Time

It normally takes 4 working days for processing a China travel visa. For express service, an additional fee of USD 20 will be charged for two or three working day service. For rush service, an additional fee of USD30 will be charged for same-day service.

Chinese Tourist Visa Cost

The visa costs vary depending on your nationality and number of entries. However, according to the Visa Fee Abolition Agreement, the nationals of following several countries can get a visa for free, but must pay for express service, rush service or mail service: Pakistan, Maldives, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovakia and Micronesia. For major countries, the fee is listed below.

China Travel Visa Types US Citizens Canadian Citizens UK Citizens Australian Citizens
Single Entry USD 185 CAD 142 GBP 151 AUD 109.5
Double Entries USD 185 CAD 142 GBP 151 AUD 139.5
Multi Entries for 6 Months USD 185 CAD 142 GBP 151 AUD 169.5
Multi Entries for 12 Months or Longer USD 185 CAD 142 GBP 151 AUD 229.5

Click on China Visa Fees for more information.

China Tourist Visa Extension

If you need to stay in China past the allowed stay duration on your visitor visa, you can apply for an extension at the local Exit and Entry Administration of China seven days before your L visa expires. Your passport, a visa application form with your recent color photo attached, a registration of temporary residence, and your travel itinerary will be required for submission. If your application is approved, you can get an extended stay not exceeding the original stay duration on your visa.

Recommended Tour Packages


Further Reading:

8 Tips for Filling Out Chinese Visa Application Form
Top 10 China Destinations for First Time Travelers
Top 8 Reasons Why Your China Visa Gets Rejected
- Last updated on Aug. 09, 2023 by Kate Liu -
Questions & Answers on China Tourist Visa
Asked by Ally McIntyre from UNITED KINGDOM | Aug. 19, 2023 07:29Reply
L visa query
Hi there. I am arriving in Shanghai on October 11th to backpack in China solo, and will visit several cities and provinces. I am just in the process of applying for the visa now and I am perplexed by the exiting flight conundrum. I'm reading a lot online that often the l visa will be 30 days long. However, my itinerary would be a lot more flexible if I was to have around 40 days. I am hesitant to book the exiting flight without knowing how long my visa will last. Do you have any advice? Should I book the exiting flight for no longer than 30 days after entry? Thanks for your help.
Answers (1)
Answered by Bob | Aug. 21, 2023 00:34

Maybe you can book a refundable flight for the visa application. If you need to stay here for longer than 30 days, extend it at local Entry and Exit Administration Office and book another leaving flight.
Asked by Javier from USA | Aug. 09, 2023 13:23Reply
Do I have to go in person to process visa application?
I am considering to apply for tourist visa to visit China for 25 days by my self.
I live in St Paul, Minnesota and it appears closest embassy is in Chicago

Is it possible not to go in person and instead arrange virtual appointment?

If I am not [hope I do] approved for Chinese visa, will I get 185 back ?
Thanks javi
Answers (1)
Answered by Sarah | Aug. 09, 2023 20:43

1. Yes, generally you have to go there to apply in person to submit all the required documents.
2. No, even if you are rejected, the fee is non-refundable, because the staff has spend time and effort in processing your application.
Asked by John from USA | Aug. 09, 2023 01:05Reply
L tourist Visa
I am visiting a friend I met online who is Chinese. I want to pay my own flight and hotel reservation. You could say I’m being invited as a tourist but since I pay everything myself should I say I’m meeting a friend on the application and we will be spending 2 weeks there even if i pay all myself? Also can I book a hotel for the 2 of us and stay together or do I need to provide details .
Answers (1)
Answered by Edward | Aug. 09, 2023 19:15

1. If you can get an invitation letter from your Chinese friend, then the hotel booking or flight ticket is not necessary. The invitation letter should include

a. Information on the applicant, including full name, gender, and date of birth.
b. Information on the planned visit, including arrival and departure dates, place(s) of visit.
c. Information on the inviter, including name, contact number, address, official stamp, and signature of the legal representative of the entity or the inviting individual.

2. You can book a hotel for both of you.
Asked by Constance from USA | Aug. 05, 2023 23:51Reply
Does this travel qualify for visa free?
My daughter and her 4 children traveled from USA, our home country, to Taipei on July 12, 2023 for educational reasons. We have return tickets out of Taipei confirmed for August 15, 2023. If we added a trip to Beijing on the end (from 8/11 to 8/14) would our tickets - USA to Taiwan to Beijing to Taiwan to USA meet the visa free qualifications?
Answers (1)
Answered by Emma | Aug. 07, 2023 02:36

Yes, Taiwan - Beijing - US is eligible for 144-hour visa free transit if you have no other additional landings in mainland China. Have fun~
Asked by Sun Poh Tan from AUSTRALIA | Aug. 04, 2023 03:13Reply
I’m an Australian citizen. I intend to join a group tour originating from Malaysia visiting Xiamen.
Can the travel agency in Malaysia apply a group visa which includes me in the tour.? Or do I need to apply for a separate visa as I’m only transiting in Malaysia as I’m not a resident or citizen of Malaysia.
Thank you.
Answers (1)
Answered by Yoki | Aug. 06, 2023 20:25

You need to apply in where you live and where you are.
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