China Immigration

Upon arrival

Health Check

On arrival, the first check you have to pass is the Quarantine Check. At the checkpoint, you will be required to show your visa and passport and fill in a Health Declaration Form. Anyone with listed diseases such as yellow fever, cholera, VD, leprosy, infectious pulmonary tuberculosis, or AIDS will be prohibited. Those coming from areas with epidemics yellow fever must show their valid certificates of inoculation against this disease. Those with symptoms of fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or rashes must declare this information accurately.

Frontier Inspection

During this procedure, you are required to fill in Entry Registration Cards, and present your passport, visa and quarantine certificates for inspection.

The frontier inspection station has the right to forbid the personnel with any of the following circumstances to enter China :

  • Those who hold no exit-entry certificates
  • Holders of invalid, false, altered exit-entry certificates
  • Holders of other persons’ certificates
  • Those who refuse to receive the health check and the frontier inspection
  • Those who fail to pass through the port specified
  • Those who are forbidden to enter by the Ministry of Public Security of the State Council and the Ministry of State Security
  • Those who are not permitted according to the Chinese laws and administrative regulations

Luggage Check

For the sake of maintaining social safety, the frontier inspection station has the right to check all luggage brought into China. Also during this process, a customs declaration will be made. And only when you pass all the procedures then you really and legally enter China.

Items which are forbidden to bring into China include:

1. Guns, imitation arms or toy weapons, ammunitions and explosives of all kinds
2. Counterfeit currency and securities
3. Printed matter, films, photos, gramophone records, cinematographic films, loaded recording tapes and video-tapes, compact discs (video & audio), storage media for computers and other articles which are detrimental to the political, economic, cultural and ethics of China Deadly poisons of all kinds
4. Opium, heroin, morphine, marijuana and other narcotic or hallucinatory drugs
5. Infected animals, plants and products; injurious insects and other harmful organisms
6. Foodstuffs, medicines and other articles coming from epidemic-stricken areas or those easy to spread diseases

On departure

On departure, travelers are required to fill up the Exit Registration Cards and have their passports and visas checked. All items or articles, which have been declared on the Customs Luggage Declaration Form upon arrival, should be taken out of China along with you on your departure.

Any missing items or articles must be reported to the relevant department where you can obtain a certificate to certify your reports and to substantial that the items or articles have been missing. Failing which, it will be considered as imported items and a certain amount of import duties would be charged.

Items or articles that have been detained by the customs department upon your arrival can be collected back on your departure except for those items that has exceed their expiry dates or have been rotten.

There are two lanes for departing travelers to go through. Any person that has with him/her the items or articles listed below should take the red lanes:

  • Any person having antiques, valuable articles, and samples along with him/her.
  • Any person having articles that were required to take out of China when entering.
  • When the amount of silver, gold, and currency you are having, exceed the amounts or quantities that you declared when entering.
  • When the articles that the person is having, exceed the customs allowable amounts or quantities.

Export Restrictions

The following are restricted exports item:

Antiques earlier than 1795, ancient paintings and calligraphy as well as some modern ones are not permitted to take out.
Receipt or export form of the antiques is required to be produced on departure. Antiques that were brought in China should bear a red seal; otherwise the customs department without any refunds or compensations would confiscate it.

Gold and Silver
Any gold or silver items that is purchased in China and are intended to be exported, requires the purchasing receipt and should be presented to the customs.

Traditional Chinese Medicinal Products
The total value of traditional Chinese medicinal products to be taken abroad should not exceed RMB 300 yuan.

As for those heading to Hong Kong and Macau , the maximum amount permitted is RMB 150 yuan.

Medicinal products extracted from rare animals, such as muskiness, antler, leopard, tiger bones, rhinoceros horns and elephant skins are prohibited export items.

Travelers who want to convert Renminbi (RMB) currencies to foreign currencies at the airport before leaving China are required to produce the exchange transaction slip issued by the authorized banks or hotels that have carried out the exchange transaction from foreign currencies to RMB while in China.

The total amount of currencies each person permitted to take out should not exceed RMB 6000 Yuan.

The following are other prohibited export items:

  • All prohibited import items or articles.
  • Valuable cultural relics and rare books relating to Chinese history, cultures, and arts.
  • Endangered animals and plants (this includes the seedling).
  • Printed materials, films, tapes, photographs, and others that are related to state secrets.


The Chinese government requires that your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the expiry date of your visa.

You’ll need at least one entire blank page in your passport for the visa. Your country’s embassy or consulate can usually add additional pages to your passport if need be.

Losing your passport is very bad news indeed. Getting a new one takes time and money. However, if you will be staying in China or any foreign country – for a long time, it helps tremendously to register your passport with your embassy. This will eliminate the need to send telexes back to your home country to confirm that you really exist.

If you lose your passport, you should certainly have some ID card with your photo as many embassies require this before issuing a new passport. Some embassies will accept a driver’s license, but others will not – an expired passport will often save the day.

Chinese visa is a permit issued by the Chinese visa authorities to those foreigners who want to enter into, exit from or transit through the Chinese territory. According to the applicants’ identity, visiting purpose and passport type, the Chinese visa falls into four categories, namely, diplomatic, courtesy, service and ordinary visas.

The ordinary visa consists of nine sub-categories, which are respectively marked with Chinese phonetic letters F, L, Z, X, C, J-1, J-2, G, and D.

Visit / Business Visa (F)

Issued to those foreigners who are invited to China for visit, research, lecture, business, scientific-technological and cultural exchanges or short-term advanced studies or intern practice for a period of less than six months.

Tourism Visa (L)

Issued to those who enter China temporarily for touring, family visiting, or other personal affairs (multiple-entry is not granted for this category).

Working Visa (Z)

Issued to foreigners who are to take up a post or employment in China, and their accompanying family members.

Study / Student Visa (X)

Issued to those who come to China for study or intern practice for a period of six months or above.

Crewmember Visa (C)

Issued to crewmembers on international aviation, navigation and land transportation missions and their accompanying family members.

Journalist Visa (J-1)

This visa is for journalists who are posted to China for at least one year.

Journalist Visa (J-2)

Issued to foreign correspondents on temporary interview mission in China.

Transit Visa (G)

Issued to those who transit through China.

Residence Visa (D)

Issued to people who are going to live in China permanently.

The Chinese visa authorities overseas include Chinese embassies, consulates, visa offices, and the consular department of the office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China. If a foreigner intends to enter into, exit from or transit through the Chinese territory, he shall apply to the above-mentioned Chinese visa authorities for a Chinese visa. For further information, please consult the nearest Chinese visa authorities.

Detailed information of Chinese visa

Visa CategoriesEntries of VisasValidityDuration of Stay
Journalist Visa (J-1)Single3 months/
Journalist Visa (J-2)Single//
Study / Student Visa (X)Single3 months/
Residence Visa (D)Single3 months/
Tourist Visa (L)Single/Double3 months
1-60 days
Crewmember Visa (C)Single/Double3 months1-30 days
Transit Visa (G)Single/Double3 months7 days
Visit / Business Visa (F)Single/Double/Multiple6/12 months1-60 days

The following notes are offered as a general guide in order to assist you to understand the passport and visa requirements. Should you require any further information, we recommend that you contact the Chinese Embassy or the Chinese Consulate in your country of domicile.
General Requirements for applying for a Chinese Visa:

1. A completed Visa Application form. The form coulc be obtained from the local Chinese Embassy or Consulate, or could be downloaded from the official website of the Chinese Embassy in your country.
2. Two 2″ X 2″ passport photos showing applicant’s full front face.
3. Current Passport that is valid for a minimum of six months from the date of travel. The passport must have more than two blank visa pages.
4. Submitting documents which explain one’s reasons to enter China .

Requirements applicable to the 9 different classes of Visa

Visa D: Permanent Residence Visa

A permanent residence confirmation form is required. This can be obtained by the applicant direct or through his/her designated relatives in China from the exit and entry department of the public security bureau in the city or county in which the applicant wishes to reside.

Visa Z: Working Visa

Foreign applicants wishing to take up employment in the PRC are required to obtain an Employment Licence from either their proposed employer in China or from the provincial or municipal labor authority. A visa notification letter or a telegram issued by an authorized organization or company as appropriate should accompany this document.

Visa X: Students Visa

Certificates from the receiving unit and competent authority concerned are required. These comprise JW-201 or JW_202 form issued by the Ministry of Education of China and a letter of admission from a Chinese University / College.

Visa F: Visit/Business Visa

The invitation letter from the inviting unit or a visa notification letter/telegram from the authorized unit is required.

Visa L: Tourism Visa
In principle a tourist must be able to demonstrate the ability to finance all of his/her expenses whilst in China . It is also necessary to produce evidence of exit travel arrangements in the form of air, rail or ship tickets for the onward/return journey to the appropriate destination.
Applicants who are intending to stay with relatives in China will be required to show an invitation letter from such relatives by way of confirmation.

Visa G: Transit Visa
When arrangements have been made to continue foreign travel applicants must be able to produce the necessary visas and/or travel permits that are required by the country to which they will travel upon leaving China .

Visa C: Crewmember Visa
Applicants must produce relevant documents in accordance with bilateral agreements or regulations stipulated on the Chinese side.

Visa J-1 and J-2: Journalist Visa
Applicants for these classes of visa are required to produce a certificate issued by the competent Chinese authorities.

Besides providing the above-mentioned documents, an applicant is also required to answer relevant questions and go through the following formalities (with the exception of those stipulated otherwise by agreements):

Providing valid passport or a travel document in lieu of the passport

Filling out a visa application form, and providing a recent 2-inch, bareheaded and full-faced passport photo.

Passport requirements

A) There must be at least one totally blank page in the passport. Pages for endorsements or amendments cannot be used as a visa page.
B) Single or double-entry visa requires a passport valid for at least 6 months. For multiple entry visas, a passport should be valid for at least 9 months.
Accompanying person using the same passport;
– The photo of the accompanying person using the same passport should be affixed to the form.
– The full visa fee will apply.

How to apply for your Visa

Applicants should come in person or through a third party (e.g. Travel Agent or Tour Operator) to apply for the Chinese visa during office hours 9 -12 am in Chinese Embassy / Chinese Consulates-General in the country you live. Usually, the processing time is about 5- 7 working days.

Applications by Mail: It takes 2 weeks to process the application, so there is no same-day or express day service. It is advised that your passport(s) should be sent by registered post for security and proof of posting needs to be kept. Please enclose a self-addressed envelope, the visa application form, and payment (visa fee and service fee—see item: visa fee).

You should send a stamped, self-addressed envelope with your application together with the appropriate fee.

How to apply for a tourist visa?

Traveling in China requires a tourism visa (L). L Visa is sub-divided into two kinds: group visa and individual visa. If you are a part of a group, the tour operator will often obtain it. Group visas will usually be issued for groups with at least 5, and the guide accompanying your group will keep the visas.

An Individual traveler can apply for one at any Chinese embassy or consulates, and the procedure is usually straightforward. China has its embassies and consulates in most western and many other countries. You can either get an application form in person at the embassy or consulate or download one by visiting the website of Chinese embassies in foreign countries.

After fully and accurately completed your application, you submit it to the nearest Chinese consulate and embassies, either in person or by mail. A standard 30-day, single-entry visa from most Chinese embassies abroad can be issued in three to five working days. Rush processing of 24 hours issue or same-day is also available (additional Embassy fee applies).

When apply for a tourism visa, some extra documents are required sometimes besides the basic general requirements:

1) For individual tourism visa, a letter of confirmation of the tour arrangement made by a travel agency in China or letter of reservation of hotel in China is required.

2) For group tourist visas, a confirmation letter from a provincial tourist bureau or a government-authorized Chinese travel agency; a name list of the whole group in triplicate and one copy of the information page of each passport are required.

Foreigners from countries which have visa agreements with China are treated in accordance with these agreements.

Visitors who want to Tibet need to acquire the consent of the Tourism Administration of the Tibet Autonomous Region or any one of its foreign representative offices.

Foreigners requesting to visit Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Xiamen and other Special Economic Zones may apply directly to visa authorities in these zones for tourist visas. Foreign tourist groups from Hong Kong for a 72-hour visit to the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone are exempt from entry visas.

Tourist visas are usually valid for three months, but can be extended for an extra month at the Foreigners Section of the Public Security Bureau. Passports must be valid for at least six months before you travel to China .

Extension of Visa

Foreigners who want to stay in China beyond what their current visa allow need to apply for an extension to their visa with appropriate reasons.

The extension application should be made at the municipal public security bureau 7 days before the visa expires. Multiple visas cannot be extended.

Foreigners who wish to apply for extension or alteration of visas or certificates need to provide the relevant documents:

1) A valid passport and visa as well as the documents regarding accommodation registration
2) A fully completed application form for extension or alternation

3) Documents and papers supporting reasons for extension or alternation.

The duration of visa extension:

1) F Visa: the total extensions add up to no more than 1 year and each extension should be less than 3 months
2) L Visa: The L visa held by visitors could be extended once with the duration no more than 1 month; L visa held by family visitors could be extended three times with each duration under 3 months
3) C Visa: C visa only could be extended once with the total duration less than 7 days

Foreigners who are disallowed to extend:

1) Foreigners whose duration of stay is shortened and those whose residence right are deprived
2) Individual travelers who have no sufficient traveling expenses
3) Family visitors who has no special reason for extension when their visa expires

General Notes

It is vital that you have the necessary documents with you when you travel to China otherwise entry will be denied.

Fees for Visas can vary from one country to another but details can be obtained from the web site of the Chinese Embassy in your country.

Overseas Visa Authorities are: Chinese Embassies, consulates, visa offices, the consular department of the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in HKSAR and other agencies abroad authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China.

All foreigners intending to enter into, exit from or transit through Chinese Territory must have a valid visa. For further information please consult your nearest China Visa authorities.

Visa validity: A single or double entry visa is normally valid for three months form the date of issue. Multi-entry visas can be valid for either six months, one year, or two to five years.

Duration of stay/number of entries: Duration may vary and it is possible to extend the period of your stay when appropriate. It should be noted that entry into China from Hong Kong or Macao is subject to a special permit.

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