Until recently, the Chinese visa proceeding in the
The 10-year China visa allows holders to enter China for multiple times during the validity of up to 10 years without the trouble of applying for a visa again and again.
If you’re like most people, you have a host of questions about applying for your China visa.
Everything from what documents you need to apply to whether or not you can send in your application by mail.
Currently, the multiple entry Chinese visa for 10 years is applicable to citizens from the US, Canada, UK, and Argentina.
The 10 years Chinese visa for Australians is on the way according to some reports, but yet not sure when to happen.
China visa requirements for US passport holders
- China Visa Application Form: You can download a copy of the form here.
- U.S. Passport: The passport must have 1 year of validity, measured from the date at which you are scheduled to land in China. It also needs to have at least two (2) blank pages in the passport – one for the visa and one for the customs stamps. Also, make sure to make a copy of the passport’s data page and the photo page if it is separate.
- Proper Headshot Photo: This photo must follow the general requirements of all passport visa photos: no head covering, no smile, nothing covering the eyes (regular glasses allowed, not sunglasses). The background should be pure white. Check the dimensions and requirements here.
Proof of legal stay or residence status (applicable to non-U.S. citizens). You must provide the original and photocopy of your valid certificates or visa of stay, residence, employment or student status, or other valid certificates of legal staying provided by the relevant authorities of the country where you are currently staying.
- Photocopy of previous Chinese passports or previous Chinese visas (applicable to foreign citizens who were Chinese citizens and have obtained foreign citizenship)
If you are applying for a Chinese visa for the first time, you should provide your previous Chinese passport held and a photocopy of its data page.
In case you have obtained Chinese visas before and want to apply for a Chinese visa with a renewed foreign passport that does not contain any Chinese visa, you should present the photocopy of the previous passport’s data page and the photo page if it is separate, as well as the previous Chinese visa page. (If your name on the current passport differs from that on the previous one, you must provide an official document of the name change.)
Documents showing the itinerary including air ticket booking record (round trip) and proof of a hotel reservation, etc. or an invitation letter issued by a relevant entity or individual in China (not obligatory). The good news is that you don’t need to purchase flights and pay for a hotel, you can simply book them, use for visa application and cancel online.
FAQ: 10-Year China Visa Explained
Why get a 10-year China visa?
The way this particular policy for China visas has been named is actually a bit deceptive.
This doesn’t mean that you can stay in China for 10 years, it just means that your visa is valid for 10 years.
Because this is a multiple-entry visa, you will need to leave mainland China every 60-120 days (could be just for 1-2 days to a neighboring country, Hong Kong or Macau, etc.) and come back again to stay for another 60-120 days if necessary.
A 10-year visa could save you quite a bit of money if you plan on visiting China more than once over the next decade.
If you’ll be traveling to China frequently for business, this 10-year travel visa will keep you from having to apply for a new visa every single time you make a trip.
And finally, it will save you money.
That $140-160 USD fee will only have to be paid once and then you’re good for 10 years.
What if my passport expires in less than 10 years?
You’re fine. They’ve already thought about this and there are two solutions that work fine.
If your passport is only recently expired, all you have to do is bring your expired passport that has the visa and show it along with your new passport.
As long as all the information is the same on both passports they’ll allow it. In other words, if you get married and your name changes, this won’t work for you.
After a little while, though, you’ll have to get the visa transferred from your old passport to your new one.
This will involve sending your passports to a Chinese consulate through a visa agency (such as Passport Visas Express) or in person.
How long can I stay in China per entry?
As with most Chinese visas, your stay limit can be anywhere between 30-120 days.
Most of the time you can request and be granted a 60-day stay per entry (for tourists this is the max) but if you need something longer you can make a special request, which is sometimes granted for the case of business or family visit visas.
More than likely they will make you give a reason for this special request and it’s entirely up to the consulate to determine whether or not they give you an extended stay visa.
How long does it take to get a visa?
It generally takes around 4 business days to process an application if you have the proper documents.
A passport that has no less than 1-year validity with blank pages is required as well as a passport-sized colored photo attached to the completed application.
For an extra charge, you can expedite delivery and receive your visa in 1 to 3 days (in some cases even 24 hours!), but this does not include the time it takes for your passport to be mailed to the consulate and can be very expensive.
Is a 10-year China visa more expensive?
No! The fee for a 10-year visa is exactly the same as the prior 1-year visas.
More than likely, you will actually save money since you won’t have to pay for another visa the next time you come to visit China.
When do I apply for a visa?
It is important to get your visa early, but not too early because it is only valid for 90/180 days for single/double-entry visas from the issue date.
It is usually recommended that you apply for the visa one or two months before the intended travel.
Once I get the visa, what requirements are there?
Some people ask whether they still have to submit documents (i.e. proof of round trip tickets, hotel reservations, etc.) every time they visit China on a 10-year China visa.
The answer is a simple no.
The only time you need to provide those documents is when you’re first applying for the visa.
Once you actually get the visa, you have the right to enter China at any time for the duration of the visa, no questions asked.
Just don’t overstay your limit.
Do I need an invitation letter for a 10-year China tourist visa?
While an invitation letter does make the process easier, it’s not necessary. Instead of a letter of invitation, you can submit an itinerary that details all your flights and hotels.
This also means you must include confirmations for all these flights and hotels.
Do I need to have any special vaccinations to apply for a 10-year China tourist visa?
No. There is no point in the China visa process when the embassy or customs will ask for proof of immunizations or check your health.
Are there any travel restrictions for US citizens in China?
At this time, there aren’t.
While the relationship between the two countries isn’t great, there are no travel restrictions for US citizens in China. That said, you might want to check the US State Department China travel page for any warnings prior to your China travel.
Step 1. Prepare the required documents.
Check the list of documents at the beginning of this post.
Step 2. Identify the appropriate China Embassy/Consulate and submit the application.
The next step is to fill out the China visa application form and gather all other necessary documentation as described at the beginning of this post.
It’s important to note that the Chinese embassies in the United States do not accept mailed visa applications. You are not able to apply online or fax in your application either.
Starting from 2018, visa applicants from more and more countries (including the U.S., the UK, and Canada) have to make their visa application in person and have their fingerprints collected.
If you live in a city that hosts a Chinese embassy (Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C.) then this might work out. However, if you live out of state, this could be extremely inconvenient.
They will look over your application as well as all the documentation to make sure that you’ve done it correctly.
If you have missed something, they will let you know.
The regular service processing time is 4 days, and the rushed service takes 1 day. The latter is only available in extreme emergencies pending a consular officer’s approval.
Step 3. Pay the fee and collect your visa.
Go to the place where you apply for a China visa, pay the fee and collect your visa.
If you apply through the Chinese Visa Application Service Center, the service fee and tax are required.
To sum up
As we have mentioned before, the process for a US citizen to get a Chinese visa is pretty straight forward.
There are no major hoops to jump through and no big pitfalls you need to watch out for.
The application form can be a bit confusing at times and the act of turning in the application to the right consulate is inconvenient for some.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to use a reliable China visa service to handle the process.
You ship your passport and application to them, they’ll look it over for any mistakes and then submit it on your behalf.
Are there any other questions about China visas for US passport holders that are not answered here?
Leave a comment with your question!