Is China open for travel, and how can I apply for the visa

Last Updated: Monday, 08/05/2023

1 Overview

After closing its borders for three years because of a pandemic, China is now opening its borders to foreigners.

People with multi-year visas granted before March 28, 2020, when China closed its borders to most foreign visitors to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus, were allowed to use them as long as they were still valid.

In January, when China partially reopened, the government got rid of the ban on people coming from other countries. This made the country's people very happy and relieved, especially the hundreds of millions of people who had been stuck inside the country for the past three years.

Here we will discuss if China is open for travel, the type of visa you can apply and the requirements you ought to be to be allowed to enter China.

2 Visas can apply to enter China.

Even though China has opened its border, it is crucial to note that China is yet to start issuing tourist visas.

There are signs that China is considering reopening its tourism industry, but they are still not issuing tourist visas. Currently, China is issuing the following types of visas to foreign visitors.

  • Business Travel (M visa)
  • Work Permits (Z visa)
  • Family Visit/Family Reunion visas
  • A limited number of student visas

In addition, the present suspension applies to any visas awarded before March 2020. This covers already-issued visas for periods of five and ten years, even those that have not yet run their course and have not yet reached their expiration date.

If you already possess one of these visas and desire to travel to China, you will be required to submit an application for a new visa in one of the categories outlined above.

3 How to apply for a China visa

To apply for a China visa, you must fill out an application form, attach a recent colour photo of yourself, and have a valid passport.

You will then need to send all of these things and any other supporting documents to the China Visa Application Service Center, the Chinese embassy or consulate in your area, or both.

For more information, please read the step-by-step how to apply for a China visa below.

1. Confirm if you need a visa

Before moving on to the next step, you must know if you need a visa. If you meet China's visa-free rules, you do not need a visa to enter the country.

However, you will still need to bring your passport, tickets for getting into and out of the country, and sometimes proof that you have enough money if immigration officials ask to see these things.

2. Know the visa you need to get

Determine which type of visa you will apply for based on the reason you travel. Learn about the different types of China visas to choose the one that best fits your needs. The L visa is the one that is appropriate for travellers.

3. Prepare all documents needed

A passport, a visa application form, and a photograph taken within the past few months are essential pieces of paperwork for obtaining any type of visa.

In addition, extra supporting documents are required. However, the specific requirements for these documents change depending on the visa type you are requesting.

If you are applying for a tourist L visa, for example, the supporting documents will refer to round-trip airline tickets, hotel reservations, or an invitation letter from your China travel agency.

Make sure that your documents meet what the Chinese embassy or consulate needs.

Passport: at least six months left on the expiration date; blank pages on the visa.

Visa Application Form: honestly online, printed, and signed. Click here and fill out the form to ask for a visa to China.

Photo: taken within the last six months; full face against a light background; size: 48mm x 33mm; no head covering unless necessary for religious reasons.

Book an appointment & submit the application

To apply for a Chinese visa, you must first make an appointment with the Chinese embassy, consulate, or Chinese Visa Application Center (CVASC) in your area, then show up at the set time.

In some embassies and consulates, like the China Consulate in Los Angeles, you might not need to make a reservation beforehand. Just click here to make an appointment to submit your China visa application.

Most of the time, applicants, especially those between 14 and 70, must show up in person.

In some situations, one may give this job to another person or an agent. Several consulate offices and CVASCs also have mail services for their customers.

If you count the day it was sent in and the day it was picked up, the average time it takes to process an application is four working days.

Remember that there is a chance that Chinese public holidays will give you more time off from work.
You can usually shorten the time it takes to process your application if you pay an extra fee.
Your application can be completed overnight, and you can pick it up in the afternoon or the day after. But if you get to a certain office right when it starts, you might be able to get a service on the same day.
In general, you should send in your application with enough time to spare in case of delays.

Pay the fee and pick up your visa

On the day specified on the pick-up slip, go to where you apply for your China visa. You will receive your passport and visa back after paying the cost. Sometimes, the money must be paid when the application is submitted.

4 Requirements when Entering China

There have been reports that the Chinese government might relax this rule for certain countries, but people who want to visit China still have to show the results of a negative PCR test.

Currently, people from China who want to enter the territory of 22 different countries must show proof that they have passed a negative PCR test. These countries include Australia, Canada, France, Spain, the UK, and the US.

The Chinese consulates in Japan and South Korea give entrance passes to people from those countries. This practice had been stopped before.

At the moment, there are sometimes delays in getting visas and getting them processed. This is because of several things, such as a backlog of people wanting to travel to China and a need for more workers at consulates.

We strongly recommend that anyone who wants to go to China gives themselves enough time to finish the visa application process well before their planned leaving date.