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China Visa

  • by Apple
  • Last Updated: 2023-09-20

Apart from citizens of Singapore, Japan, and Brunei, all visitors to Tibet 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.

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 a China Visa?

There're 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 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, 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 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 the application form or submit an application from 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 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.

Related Articles

  • China Group Visa(Tibet Group Visa)
    To enter Tibet from Nepal, you need a China Group visa from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu with your passport, an invitation letter and one headshot.

  • Tibet Border Pass
    Traveling to Mt.Everest, Mt.Kailash and other border areas between Tibet and other countries, you are required Tibet Border Pass.

  • Tibet Travel Permit(Tibet Visa)
    Tibet Travel Permit/Tibet Visa is a mandatory entry document to Tibet. To obtain it, you need to entrust a Tibet travel agency to apply it for you.

  • Why Not Mention Tibet During Your China Visa Applying
    When going to Tibet, you would be advised you not to mention Tibet during your China Visa application. But why it is so? Check more for detailed info.

  • Permit without Tour
    Some of tourists want to obtain Tibet Permits without tour while according to the regulations, it is impossible for us to help with Tibet Travel Permits for independent travelers anymore.

  • Nepal Visa
    Tourists can get a Nepal visa on arrival when reaching Kathmandu airport or road borders at Birganj, Sunauli, etc. $30 for a 15-day entry Nepal tourist visa.

  • Tibet Visa for Indian
    For Indian citizens or passport holders, the first thing to travel to Tibet is to obtain Tibet Visa, which is not as difficult as you imagine to obtain.

  • Tibet Tourism Bureau
    Tibet Travel Permit, also known as the “Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit”, is an indispensable permit for international travelers to travel to Tibet.

  • Permit Application
    Input the Tibet Travel Permit application online, and we will help get it on your behalf. Please provide detailed info to achieve the visa successfully.

  • Alien's Travel Permit
    Alien's Travel Permit, also being called as PSB, is required if foreigner travelers wish to visit the territories outside Lhasa, such as Shigatse, Shannan, Nyingchi, etc.

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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.