Find out if you need a visa
For most visitors, you need a visa before visiting China, unless you are a Chinese citizen traveling on a valid Chinese passport or permanent residence, or hold a valid Mainland Travel Permit for citizens of Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan.
There is also the possibility of 144-hour visa-free transit in China if you are from some countries and if stay in certain region in China.
How long it takes to get a visa
The earliest time to apply for your Chinese visa is 3 months (90 days) before your departure date. It might take more than a month from submission of visa application to receiving the visa. Please refer to the official webpage of the Chinese Embassy or Consulates in your country for the most up-to-date procedure and requirements.
Make sure you have a valid passport
Must be valid for more than 6 months at the time you submit the visa application.
How to apply for a visa
1) Find out which consulate you will visit to apply for your visa.
Check the official list of embassies and consulates provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.
2) Complete your visa application.
Gather the required materials listed.
Check your consulate’s website for the rate based on your nationality.
PLEASE NOTE: Different consulates have different requirements. You should visit the website of your local consulate or embassy to make sure you have everything you need.
3) Make an appointment at your local consulate to submit your visa application, if required.
In order to schedule an appointment at a Chinese embassy or consulate, you will need to follow the instructions and provide the required documents listed on the website of the Chinese embassy or consulate you will visit.
PLEASE NOTE: It is the visitor's responsibility to obtain an appropriate visa on time. Applicants shall initiate the visa process as soon as possible, usually at least one month prior to your planned departure. We will offer necessary support such as invitation letters. However, the invitation letter does not guarantee that you will receive a visa from a Chinese embassy or consulate.
L VISA (for stay less than 90 days)
L Visa allows visitors to travel to China for a short stay between 30 and 90 days. Simple and fast, L Visa only requires travel documents, such as itinerary, flight tickets and hotel confirmation letter.
Foreigners who intend to go to China for exchanges, study tours, sports, and other non-business activities may apply for an F visa, which requires an invitation letter from Tsung-Dao Lee Institute. For detailed information, please ask the embassy/consulate visa offices.
To apply for a Chinese visa, the following items are needed:
Passport: valid for at least six months following the date of submission, with two blank pages for the visa
Visa Application Form
Photo: 2-inch full-faced and bareheaded passport photo
Official invitation letter
Itinerary, flight tickets, hotel confirmation letter, etc.
Other supporting documents required by your visa category
If you need an official invitation letter, please contact to TexasInShanghai@sjtu.edu.cn with the following information:
1) Name as it appears in your passport
2) Position and Institution
3) Passport number
6) Birth date
7) Arrival and departure dates
Please also indicate “TDLI-invitation-letter “in the email subject.
Please refer to the official webpage of the Chinese Embassy or Consulates in your country for the most up-to-date procedure and requirement, some links are provided below for your convenience and for information purpose only.
At the last link, we provide an example of a commercial service organization that may provide additional assistance in applying the Chinese visa ("Chinese Visa Application Service Center").
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/
China Visa https://visa-chinese.com/tourist-visa/
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States of America
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United Kingdom
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Switzerland
Botschaft der Volksrepublik China in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
Ambassade de la Republique Populaire de Chine en Republique Francaise
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Republic of Italy
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Japan
Chinese Visa Application Service Center