How to Obtain a Visa for China

China is a country full of history and one of the world's foremost economic powers. As a result, plenty of tourists to cross into its borders every single year. However, for most countries, China requires a visa for entry. The good news is that the process to obtain this visa is not difficult at all.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Things You'll Need:
  • Valid passport Visa application 1 passport photo Application fee Return envelope (for return by mail)
  • Valid passport
  • Visa application
  • 1 passport photo
  • Application fee
  • Return envelope (for return by mail)
Step 1

Check your passport. In order to obtain a Chinese visa, a passport must be valid for the duration of the visa. If the passport will expire before the visa, a new passport will be required.

Step 2

Take a passport photo. China has the same rules for passport photos as almost anywhere else in the world. It should be 2-by-2 inches, show the full face of the applicant, and be in either black and white or color.

Step 3

Find a local Chinese consulate. Due to the political influence of China, there are many. This is important as this is the place to apply for the visa.

Step 4

Obtain an application. The application can be found on your local Chinese consulate or embassy's website. The instructions on the application are in the local language and Chinese, so it's very easy to fill out and understand. The questions are self-explanatory and are focused on personal information.

Step 5

Apply for the visa in person. Some consulates allow applicants to drop in and apply, while others require appointments. It's best to call or check the website of the consulate before coming in order to clear on these details. It's also possible to send a representative to apply for the visa in person. No matter who does it, the documents listed above will be submitted.

Step 6

Pay for the visa. The Chinese consulate accepts Visa or MasterCard, along with money orders and company checks. For Americans, a normal visa costs $130. For any other nationality, it's only $30.

Step 7

Receive the visa one of two ways. Either pick up the new visa at the consulate in person 2 to 4 days later, depending on the speed of service requested. Or, turn in a self-addressed paid envelope while applying, so it can be shipped back to you in whatever timely manner you require.

Vincent Runyon is a writer working out of Portland, Ore. His work has been featured in "The Oregon Voice" and "Portland Monthly." Runyon received two bachelor's degrees from the University of Oregon. His greatest passions are traveling to new and different places and enjoying a good basketball game. Usually the two are mutually exclusive.