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Chinese Visa

  • by Apple
  • Last Updated: 2021-08-19

Apart from citizens of Brunei, Japan, and Singapore, all visitors to Tibet require a valid Chinese 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. For sometimes, the China embassy may request you to present Tibet Tourism Bureau 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 embassies request more details of your tour, Great Tibet Tour is happy and capable of providing you with the supporting docs to apply for your Chinese visa.

And here's another critical factor. If you are going to visit Tibet from Nepal, then you need a China Group Visa instead of a Chinese Visa. 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 China Visa?

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

According to various visa policies, applicants can submit a Chinese visa application at the Chinese Embassy, ​​Consulate, Chinese Visa Application Service Center or a specific port of entry. You need to prepare and submit a valid passport with a validity period of at least 6 months and blank pages, a copy of the passport homepage, 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 if any.

How Long Does It Take to Get a China Visa?

Most Chinese embassies and consulates will issue a standard 30- or 60- day, single-entry tourist (an ‘L’ category) Visa in three to five working days. The ‘L’ means tourist visa. Fees vary according to how much your country charges Chinese citizens for a visa (US citizens pay a lot more than anyone else). Fees must be paid in cash at the time of application, and please remember to take two passport-sized photos. It’s possible to download an application form at the embassy or visa agency websites. Express services cost double the standard fee. Your application must be written in English, and you must have one entirely blank page in your passport for the visa.

Some Chinese embassies offer a postal service for a fee, but this takes around three weeks. Chinese embassies in the USA do not accept mail-in applications, so unless you live in a major city, you’ll have to use a visa agent. In some countries, the visa service has been outsourced to a visa-issuing servicing center that levies an administration fee, which effectively doubles the cost of your visa.

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 visa.

3. A standard single-entry visa will be activated on the date you enter China and must be used within three months from the date of issue. 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 are 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.

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Typically Asked Questions from Our Clients

Asked by Rob ***

Hallo, We are planning our summer hollidays. First a round trip in China till July 21st. Then go by train from Chengdu to Lhasa and arrive in Lhasa on July 23rd. We would like to go from Lhasa to Mt E. Over land tour (your 8 day tour ). After that we are thinking about going to Kathmandu. Are you also providing this tour for 4 persons (2 parents, son of 18 and daughter of 15 years)? How many days wil it take and what way of transportation we have to think about? Furthermore what costs do we have to consider for the 8-Day tour to mt. E and to Kathmandu? I look forward to hearing from you soon. Kind regards, Rob Bakker 0031 6 55 21 58 36 (Netherlands)

Answered by Nance 2018-09-20

In your inquiry, you mentioned that four of you are interested in our 8 days Lhasa Everest overland tour, then go to Kathmandu. Since you will go to kathmandu after the tour ends, I suggest you join our 7 days Lhasa Mt. Everest Kathmandu Overland Group Tour, after the tour ends, you can drive to Kathmandu from Gyirong border and don’t have to take a flight from Lhasa to Kathmandu. Here is the brief itinerary, 

Asked by Dani***

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

Answered by Amy 2017-09-19

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.