Are you planning a trip to China? Make sure you have all the required travel documents before getting on your flight! Here’s everything you need to know about the China travel requirements for US citizens and how to apply for a China tourist visa.

Do US Citizens Need a Visa to go to China?

Yes! US citizens need a visa to travel to China. There are many different visa options depending on the purpose of your trip. 

For example, if you are planning a short trip for fun you will need to apply for a tourist visa. If you are going to China for a business trip with your US employer, you will need to apply for a business visa.

Shanghai, China

China Travel Requirements for US Citizens

Before traveling to China, it’s important to make sure you meet the entry requirements. As a US citizen, you’ll need a valid passport and a visa.

Your passport will need to have at least six months of validity remaining beyond your trip. Additionally, your passport must have 2 blank pages for the Chinese visa.  Please note that the Amendments & Endorsements pages at the back of a passport ARE NOT considered visa pages and will not count towards this requirement!  RushMyPassport is able to assist with passport renewals for U.S. citizens whose passports do not meet the validity or page requirements.

4 Easy Steps to Get a China Visa

Once you have your passport in hand, the next step is to apply for a Chinese visa. The process can be complex. Consider utilizing a professional expediting company to simplify the application process and obtain your visa efficiently.

4 steps to get a China Tourist Visa

1. Determine Visa Type

Begin by identifying the type of visa you need. China offers the following visas:

  • Tourist Visa (L Visa)
  • Business Visa (M Visa)
  • Work Visa (Z Visa)
  • Student Visa (X Visa)
  • Family Reunion Visa (Q Visa)
  • Journalist Visa (J Visa)
  • Transit Visa (G Visa)
  • Residence Permit (for extended stays)

Each visa type has specific requirements and documentation, so it’s important to select the correct one. A China Tourist Visa is best for anyone planning a short vacation. This visa lets U.S. citizens stay in the country for 30-90 days per entry. 

2. Complete Visa Application Form

Check the Chinese visa requirements. Fill out the required visa application form completely and accurately, ensuring that all information matches your passport and travel plans.  Clients of RushMyTravelVisa will receive application assistance in the form of a visa questionnaire and a dedicated visa agent will prepare the form to the Consulate’s specifications. This will be used to prepare your visa application form, which is the form that will be submitted to the Chinese government for the visa service.

Using a private expediting company can help simplify the process because they will review your application for any mistakes. Having extra eyes on your application can help you avoid delays.

3. Gather Required Documents

Collect the necessary documents to support your visa request. These documents are required for a China Tourist Visa:

  • Valid Passport (with a validity of at least 6 months beyond entry and 2 blank pages)
  • One Digital Passport-Style Photograph
  • Visa application form
  • Proof of State Residency (driver’s license, government ID, or utility bill)
  • Invitation letter from local Chinese contact, if applicable
  • Travel Records (covering the last 12+ months; for residents of DC’s jurisdiction only)
  • Round-trip air ticket booking record (not required for residents of the jurisdictions of Los Angeles, New York, or San Francisco)
  • Hotel reservations or tourist invitation (not required for residents of the jurisdictions of Los Angeles, New York, or San Francisco)
  • Travel Itinerary (not required for residents of the jurisdictions of Los Angeles, New York, or San Francisco)
  • Supporting documents
    • You may also be asked to include a copy of your travel insurance, a letter explaining the purpose of your trip, or a birth certificate for children.

If you are traveling with children, you will also need the following documents for a child tourist visa:

  • Parental Consent Form
  • Copy of Birth Certificate
  • Copy of parents’ or guardians’ IDs (passports and/or driver’s licenses)
  • Adoption Papers or Custody Documents, if applicable

4. Submit Application

Visit the Chinese embassy or consulate with your completed application form and supporting documents. You will need to check the Chinese consular district map to find the office that services your state. 

Be prepared to pay the visa fee at this time, as most embassies and consulates require payment upon submission of the application.

How Long is a China Tourist Visa Valid?

clock iconThe China Tourist Visa usually lets US citizens stay in the country for 30 to 90 days per entry. The Chinese consulate will decide the length of the visa validity and the number of times you can enter the country when you apply. U.S. and Canadian citizens may be granted visas valid for up to ten years, though the actual period of issue is always at the discretion of the local consulate.

China Tourist Visa durations can be single-entry, double-entry, or multiple-entry visas. This determines how many times you can visit China with the same visa. 

How Long Does It Take to Get a China Tourist Visa?

The processing time for obtaining a tourist visa (L visa) to visit China can vary depending on several things.

  1. Standard Processing: For most China tourist visa applications, the standard processing time ranges from 8 business days to a few weeks. It’s recommended that you apply for your tourist visa at least six weeks before your trip.
  2. Expedited Processing: Some Chinese embassies or consulates offer expedited processing services for tourist visas, typically for an additional fee. With expedited processing, you may receive your visa within a few days. However, availability may vary because appointments at the consulate can fill up. Using a private expediting company can help! They will be able to help you find an appointment and can get you your visa in as little as 4 business days.
  3. Peak Travel Seasons: During peak travel seasons, such as holidays or popular tourist seasons in China, visa processing times may be longer due to increased application volumes. To avoid any potential delays, it’s recommended to apply for your tourist visa ahead of time if you plan to travel during these busy periods.
  4. Additional Documentation Requirements: When applying for a tourist visa, you’ll need to provide specific documents. This includes your passport, a completed visa application form, passport-sized photos, and proof of travel arrangements (such as flight itineraries and hotel reservations). 

Make sure you have all required documents ready before submitting your application to prevent processing delays.

COVID-19 Testing and Health Declarations

As of August 30th, 2023, people traveling to China don’t need to take a COVID-19 PCR test or Antigen Rapid Test (ART) before they go. Also, they don’t have to show their test result on the Health Declaration Form anymore.

Get your Travel Documents In Time for your Trip

RushMyTravelVisa helps you navigate the visa application process, so you can focus on planning your trip. Get started on your application today.

If you need a passport quickly before applying for your China Tourist Visa, you can apply online with RushMyPassport or visit a FedEx Office location near you!