China Visa and Passport Requirements

Passport required Return ticket required Visa required
Australian Yes Yes Yes
British Yes Yes Yes
Canadian Yes Yes Yes
Other EU Yes Yes Yes
USA Yes Yes Yes

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Passports

To enter China, a passport with at least six months' validity is required by all nationals referred to in the chart above.

To enter Hong Kong, a passport valid for the duration of stay is required by nationals in the chart above.

Passport note

Foreign nationals are advised to carry their passports at all times particularly around times of heightened security such as sporting events.

Those wishing to visit Tibet are strongly advised to join a travel group. Individual travellers need a Tibet Travel Permit issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau. Applicants also need to show their Chinese visa.

Visas

Visas are required by all nationals referred to in the chart above to enter China, except:

• All nationals above when visiting Hong Kong or Macau only, in which case visas are not required for varying lengths of stay.

• Holders of Japanese, Singaporean, Qatari and Bruneian passports as long as their purpose of travel is for tourism, meeting relatives and friends, conducting business or for transit. Also, the length of stay must not exceed 15 days.

• Nationals of Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK and the USA visiting Hainan Province only as part of an approved, organised tourist group for stays of up to 15 days (21 days for German, Russian and South Korean nationals).

Please also see the transit section below to find out about visa-free transit in China.

Visa note

When making the visa application you will need to submit a detailed itinerary of all places you plan to visit and all hotel bookings (including addresses and phone numbers and dates of arrival and departure).

Business travellers are required to provide an official invitation from the company or institution in China when applying for a visa.

Visitors must register with the local Chinese Public Security Bureau within 24 hours of arrival.

Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements.

Types and cost

How much you would pay for a visa to China depends on your nationality.

If you're applying for a visa to China from the UK, the following fees apply:
• British: £151 for single, double, multiple-entry for 6 months and multiple-entry 12 months and longer (regular service). £178 for Express service.
• American: £156 for single, double and multiple-entry (regular service).
• Canadian: £121 for single, double and multiple-entry (regular service) or £148 for single, double and multiple-entry (express service).
• Other nationalities: The cost is £86 (regular) and £113 (express) for a 3-month single entry; £96 (regular) and £123 (express) for 6-month double entry; £106 (regular) and £133 (express) for 6-month multi-entry; and £126 (regular) and £153 (express) for 12-month multi-entry.

If you're applying for a visa to China from the USA, the following fees apply:
• American: USD$140 for single and multiple-entry (regular service) and USD$160 for single and multiple-entry (express service).

Validity

Single-entry visas are normally valid for three months, double-entry for six months, and multiple-entry either six months, 12 months, 24 months, 5 years and above (for some countries it can reach up to 10 years).

Transit

Transit visa exemptions allow eligible foreign travellers a visa-free visit for 24, 72, or 144 hours. As of 2018, nationals from 53 countries can visit certain parts of China without a visa for up to 144 hours (six days) if you're transiting through one of the following 19 cities: Beijing, Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Guangzhou, Guilin, Hangzhou, Harbin, Kunming, Nanjing, Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Wuhan, Xiamen, or Xi’an. The key point is you must depart China within 144 hours (six days) for another international destination.

Example 1: if you are flying from New York to Beijing and onwards to Singapore within 144 hours (six days), you can visit Beijing without a visa.

Example 2: if you are flying from London to Shanghai and back to London after five days, you must apply for a visa as you do not transit in China.

The 53 countries whose citizens can take advantage of this 144-hour visa-free transit include: Albania, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea (South), Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Macedonia (FYROM), Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom.

Application to

Consulate (or consular section at embassy). Many consulates (including those in the UK) issue visas through the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre (www.visaforchina.org) rather than directly through the consulate.

Working days

Visa applications for China should be made one month in advance of your planned date of entry.

The express service requires three days, and the regular service takes four days.

Postal applications are usually processed and returned within 10 working days if all the documentation is in good order.

Extension of stay

Generally speaking, it isn’t possible to renew or extend a China visa once it has been issued. However, it is possible to apply for a visa extension within China.

Visa extensions must be applied for at least seven days before your visa expires at the Public Security Bureau (PBS) Exit or Entry Administration office and typically last for up to 30 days.

The usual fee for nationals of some countries is CNY 160, however, it differs by country. US citizens are charged CNY 760 (approximately US $110) for an extension, and UK citizens CNY 469 (approximately £52).

Entry with pets

All pets must have an ISO compliant microchip and a rabies vaccination administered between 30 days and 12 months prior to arrival in China. As of May 2019, pets not from the following countries can avoid quarantine if they are microchipped, vaccinated twice for rabies, have a rabies titer test and the sample is processed at a lab approved by the General Administration of Customs:

Australia, Cyprus, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Macao, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

Failure to meet these requirements will result in a 30-day quarantine.

Embassies and tourist offices

British Embassy in China
Telephone: 0(10) 5192 4000 ; 0(10) 8529 6600 (consular section). Website: https://www.gov.uk Opening times: Mon-Fri 0830-1200 and 1330-1700.
Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the USA
Telephone: (202) 495 2266 ; (202) 338 6688 (visa section). Website: http://www.china-embassy.org Opening times: Mon-Fri 0900-1730; Mon-Fri 0930-1230 and 1330-1500 (visa section).
Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the UK
Telephone: 020) 7299 4049 ; (020) 7631 1430 (consular section). Website: www.chinese-embassy.org.uk Opening times: Mon-Fri 0900-1200 and 1400-1700.

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Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.