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China Visa

  • by Eric
  • Last Updated: 2024-07-16

All international tourists visiting Tibet are supposed to require a valid China visa. Visas for individual travel in China are easy to get from most Chinese embassies, though it’s important not to mention Tibet on your application. If you mention Tibet, the China embassy may request you to present the Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit(TTB permit); but here in Lhasa, we have to have a Chinese Visa first to apply for the TTB permit for you. So really, it’s an egg-and-chicken bureaucratic error. Therefore, you'd better not mention Tibet while applying for a Chinese visa. If Chinese consultants request more details of your tour, Great Tibet Tour is happy and capable of providing you with the supporting docs to apply for your China visa.

Latest News about China Visa:

  1. Visitors from France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia can enjoy a 15-day visa-free policy till 31 December 2025.
  2. Visitors from Singapore can enjoy a 30-day visa-free policy from 9 February 2024.
  3. Visitors from Thailand can enjoy a 30-day visa-free policy from March 1, 2024.
  4. Visitors from Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Australia, New Zealand and Poland can enjoy a 15-day visa-free policy till 31 December 2025.

And here's another critical factor. If you are entering Tibet from Nepal, then you need a China Group Visa instead of a Chinese Visa. It requires 4 participants at present. Yet, it still looks complicated and confusing for many travelers. Here's an image to make it simple and easy to understand.

Difference of Chinese Visa and China Group Visa
Chinese Visa VS China Group Visa.

How to Obtain a China Visa?

There are different types of Chinese Visas and you should figure out which kind of visa you're going to apply for. Usually, most tourists will apply for an L visa, which is a tourist visa issued to aliens who come to China for sightseeing or to visit family members/friends. Besides Tourist Visas, Work Visas (Z Visa), Business Visas (F Visa), Student Visas(X Visa), etc. are also commonly seen in the queue of applying for Tibet Travel Permit.

According to current visa policies, applicants can submit a Chinese visa application online first and then make an appointment for an interview. You can book the interview at a nearby consulate according to the application forms below. Both sites can submit official application forms but may cover different cities.

FYI: Here are step-by-step guides about how to choose among the items.

Then you need to prepare a tour itinerary and a tourist invitation letter from a legit Chinese travel agency, as well as flight tickets and hotel booking info, to go for the interview on the appointed date. You need to submit a valid passport with a validity period of at least 6 months and blank pages, a copy of the passport homepage, and a completed visa application form with your recent photos (2 colorful photos taken in the past 6 months with a white background, size: 33mm x 48mm ), sufficient visa fees and service fees and other supporting documents must be paid at the time of application. Finally, your fingerprints will be collected at the Chinese consulate.

How Long Does It Take to Get a China Visa?

The time duration might be taken from two weeks to three months long, according to your location. For some Chinese embassies, if they have enough quota, you can make a visa appointment in a few days. However, some Chinese embassies may wait as long as three months to book an interview, which is a little bit longer for travelers.

After your interview, the consulates usually issue the visa in five working days. And you need to take back your China visa, affixed in your passport.

Notes for China Visa Application

1. The visa application form asks you a lot of questions (your entry and exit points, travel itinerary, means of transport, etc.), but once in China, you can reform this as much as you like. When listing your itinerary, consult our experienced tour consultants in case further documents are required, e.g. hotel confirmation, etc.

China Visa

2. Visas valid for more than 30 days can be difficult to obtain anywhere other than Hong Kong, although some embassies abroad (e.g., US, UK) often give you 60 or even 90 days if you ask nicely. This saves you the considerable difficulty of getting a visa extension in Tibet. Most agencies in Hong Kong can arrange a 90-day visa. Most Chinese embassies abroad can issue a double-entry or multi-entry visa.

3. A standard single-entry visa will be activated on the date you enter China and must be used within three/four months from the date of issue according to the expiry date listed on the visa. There is some confusion over the validity of Chinese visas. Most Chinese officials look at the ‘valid until’ date, but on most 30-day visas, it is actually the date by which you must have entered the country, not the visa’s expiry date. Long-stay visas are often activated on the day of issue, not the day you enter the country, so there’s no point in getting one too far in advance of your planned entry date. Please check with the embassy if you are unsure.

4. It’s possible to travel in Tibet with a student (X), resident (D ) or business (F or Z) visa, etc., but not a journalist (J) visa.

5. Tourists holding ordinary passports of The United Arab Emirates, Republic of Belarus, Serbia, Bahamas, etc. are allowed to enter China for up to 30 days without visas for tourism or family/friend visits.

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Typically Asked Questions from Our Clients

Asked by Moha***

Greetings, I want to spend my honeymoon with my wife in China and the embassy requires an invitation from the tourist office in China. can you do that? We come for 15 days from 2024-04-05. I live in the USA and she lives in Cameroon we have a Cameroonian passport and I want two separate invitations

Answered by Merry

Dear Moh***, 

We can provide a China tourist invitation letter for you if you book the tour with us. Now, we have 8 days group tour and 9 days group tour on 9 April.

Asked by Dani***

i would like to get a tibet permit
and also a china visa

Answered by Amy

Dear Daniel Smith,

Travel to Tibet as foreign travelers, Tibet Entry Permit is the most basic document required to be applied before your coming, we have been recommended by Lonely Planet as one of the best reputed local travel agencies with over 10 years Tibet tour running experiences for both domestic and foreign travelers, so we could surely get all your necessary travel permits to Tibet after your tour booked with us, we need your passport and China visa copies to apply for them from Tibet Travel Bureau usually 30 days(shortest 16 days) before tour starts and get them for you usually in 8 working days. 

About your China visa, you need to apply for it at Chinese embassy yourself in your country before coming to China. If later you decide to book the tour with us, you could send us your passport first by email, your China visa later is okay but latest 12 days before the tour starts.