Travel China Guide

China Visa Application and Requirements

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You must provide your actual signed passport, including one copy of the personal information page of your passport. Your passport must:

  • Be valid for six months beyond the length of your requested visa (for example, if you are requesting a 12 month visa your passport must be valid for 18 months )
  • Contain at least two blank visa pages for the visa stamp (amendments and endorsement pages cannot be used to fulfill this requirement)
  • If requesting multiple entries, the passport must contain at least two blank facing visa pages, there can be no stamps or amendment endorsement type on the pages
  • Not be frayed, torn, separating, or altered in any other way

If your passport does not meet these requirements, please contact CEV at +1-320-844-4444 for further details.


You must provide one color, passport-type photograph that meets the following criteria:

  • Be taken within the last six months, against an all white background, and printed on high-quality photo paper
  • Be 48 mm tall by 33 mm wide exactly. Note many passport photo vendors provide standard photos that are 2 inches by 2 inches
  • Provide the full frontal view of your head with your face centered in the middle and displaying a neutral (non-smiling) expression, eyes open, ears visible
  • No background light or shadow over your face
  • You may not wear eyeglasses, jewelry, or headwear except for religious purposes
  • You should not wear any garment identical to the photo background
  • Your photo should not be affixed to your application and it may not display evidence of adhesive tape or staples

Letter of Invitation

To fulfill the tourist visa invite requirement, you must select one of the following options:

  • A copy of your round trip airline ticket, or
  • Itinerary and airline confirmation: A copy of your day-by-day cruise itinerary, or if on a tour, your tour itinerary. In addition you must provide a copy of your confirmed airline reservations showing all segments of your flights from state of residence in the U.S. to China and returning to the U.S. to your state of residence. Your itinerary and flight information must include your full name as it appears on your passport, or
  • A copy of an official letter of invitation from a governmental agency or individual sponsor.  If you obtain a letter of invitation from an individual sponsor in China, the invitation must include the following:
  1. Your name, gender, date of birth
  2. Purpose of applicant’s visit
  3. Date of arrival and departure
  4. Places to visit, specific names of cities required
  5. Details of your flight itinerary and hotel reservation
  6. State who will bear the cost of the applicant’s lodging while in China
  7. Information on the sponsor: name of the unit, phone number, address, copy of sponsor’s passport or ID
  8. Have company or organizations seal/stamp

If your invitation is from a non-governmental sponsor your letter must include your job title/occupation, passport number with issue and expiration date. The relationship of the applicant and sponsor must also be stated. If the individual inviting you is in China on a work permit then you must provide a copy of the inviter’s residence permit

The invitation may be a copy, fax, or printout but the consular office may request the original.

Proof of State Residency

You must provide a proof of your current address of residency. The document must either be a copy of the front and back of your driver’s license or government ID, or a utility bill. The document must:

  • Display your name as it appears on your passport
  • Display the current residence address as provided on your visa application

Please note, if you must submit a utility bill the consulate requires electric, gas, or a water bill; phone and cable bills are not accepted.

CEV Order Form

Provide the CEV Order Form included in this kit.

Visa Application Form

You must provide one fully completed copy of the visa application form found in this kit. The application form must:

  • Be typed (no handwritten forms will be accepted)
  • Include answers for all fields
  • Be printed single-sided
  • Display your full name as it appears in your passport
  • Be signed

CEV provides a guide to assist you in completing the application. To access the guide follow this link: Download

Former PRC Nationals or Born in Chinese Territories

If you are a former PRC passport holder or were born in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, or Macau:

  • You must write your name in Chinese characters for question 1.2 on the visa application form
  • You must present copies of any previously issued China visas in your current or expired passport, as well as the expired passport
  • If you have never been issued a China visa you must submit your original passport and a copy of your birth certificate showing your name in Chinese characters
  • If you are a minor who was adopted from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, or Macau you must also include a copy of your adoption papers (do not include the original papers)
  • If applicable, include a copy of your naturalization papers and U.S. birth certificate.

Applicants Under the Age of 18

All minors under the age of 18 traveling to China must:

  • Provide a copy of their birth certificate
  • Provide a copy of both parents’ driver’s licenses or state IDs (if the minor does not have a state ID)
  • Provide a copy of both parents’ passports
  • Provide a copy of the parents’ proof of U.S. residency status (if not U.S. citizens)
  • Provide a notarized letter of consent from both parents (if the parents are not accompanying the minor on the trip) that states the child has permission to travel. To access a sample consent letter follow this link: Download
  • On page 4 of the application, both parents must complete and sign sections 4 and 5.
  • Above the signature at section 4.3 the parents must write the minor’s name as it appears on the passport.

Media Professionals and Religious Professionals

If you are a media professional or employed by a media company, even if you are not traveling for business purposes, you must submit both a personal statement and a letter from your employer on company letterhead indicating that you are not traveling on company business and will not be performing any media related work.

Cruise Passengers

Cruise ship passengers: You must list the city where your ship docks in China in the Chinese address section of the application form.

China Visa Validity

Applicants will be eligible for a 10-year visa provided that the traveler has at least one year of remaining validity on their U.S. Passport. If you have less than one year you will be granted a six-month visa to China.CEV can help you renew your passport. Call 800-929-2428 for more information.

U.S. Citizens Born in Afghanistan, Cameroon, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, or Syria

U.S. citizens born in Afghanistan, Cameroon, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Nigeria or Syria and currently traveling to China with their American passport will need to make a personal appearance in order to apply for a visa to China. CEV will be unable to assist you with your visa request.

NGO/Non-Profit Workers

If applying for a tourist visa, you must provide an employer letter and personal statement. Processing time varies on a case by case basis. If you employer is a NGO or nonprofit your application will require additional review by the China Visa Section.

Applicants with Criminal Record

Travelers with a criminal record will be required to appear in person at the Consulate in order to provide biometrics.