Types of Visas in China



For the majority of foreigners who are required to secure a permit from the government of the Peoples' Republic of China, there are various types of visas to apply for.

Those who want to relocate to China will find that there are a number of visa types to apply for. These permits of entry are categorised based on the applicant's identity, the purpose of stay and the duration of the visit.

Processing visa applications

Visa fees, except for Diplomatic and Service visas which are free of charge, range from $30 to $140. The rates vary per country of origin and number of entries into the territory. Visa applications are submitted to the Visa Office in Chinese embassies or the Consulate-General.

Foreign government or United Nations officials and staff on diplomatic missions in China are issued with Diplomatic and Service Visas. The invitation letter from the Chinese government or a diplomatic note from the applicant's government, consulate, or the United Nations is required upon application. Fees are waived for this type of visa.

Applicants who do not fall under the Diplomatic and Service Visa category may apply for Ordinary Visas which are further classified into sub-categories marked with China phonetic letters.


F Visa

  • Foreigners who are invited to China for short-term professional engagements are issued with the F Visa. These work engagements, which last for 6 months, include cultural exchanges, academic research, internship, investigations, short-term studies and business commitments. For similar types of invitations which take more than 6 months, the X Visa is required.

C Visa & J Visa

  • Some profession-specific visas are issued for entry to China such as the C Visa for crew members on missions concerning international aviation, navigation and land transportation. The C Visa is also extended to the crew members' family who is coming along.
  • Journalists from foreign territories are issued either one of the J Visas. The J1 Visa is for journalists assigned in China for at least one year. Shorter-term assignments require journalists to secure the J2 Visa.

G Visa

  • A foreign national is exempted from the requirement of a visa when transiting China by international flight under the condition that he remains in the airport not exceeding 24 hours. However, if he needs to leave the airport, or would be staying for more than 24 hours, the G Visa is required.

Z visa

  • The Z visa is issued to foreigners who are to take a job post, commercial performance or undertake academic correspondence in China. The visa is extended to the applicant's accompanying family members. Z Visa holders should enter China within the validity of the visa, which is usually 3 months. Within 30 days of arrival, the Residence Permit should be secured at the local public security authority.

L Visa

  • For short-term touring or personal purposes, the  is a requirement for foreigners. US citizens have the option to apply for single, double or multiple entries with 6-12 months validity.

D Visas

  • This is issued for foreign nationals applying for permanent residency in China, are valid for 6 months with a single entry. The Permanent Residence Permit should be secured at the local public security authority within 30 days of arrival.