Getting a Visa to Study in China

Visa for ChinaEvery foreigner travelling to China needs to apply for a visa to be allowed to stay in the country. Depending on the purpose of the visit different kinds of visa are issued. For example students staying longer than six months in China will need a “X Visa” while shorter stays only require an “F Visa”.

Fortunately almost all universities will help their students to get the necessary documents for the visa application ready, so they just have to get a few additional things like a recently-taken passport photo and send everything to the Chinese Visa Application Service Center in their home country. All in all the following documents are needed:

  • Original passport which has more than 6 months left before it expires from the date of application (original passport should be valid for at least 18 months if the period of stay in China is more than one year) with 2 or more blank visa pages.
  • One completed Visa Application Form (Download) with a recently-taken passport photo; all the items on the application form should be completed neatly with genuine information; if the applicant has a Chinese name, the Chinese name should be filled in; false or incomplete information and illegible characters may lead to refusal of a visa.
  • Copy of passport information page of the applicant.
  • Applicants who have obtained Chinese visa before are required to provide photocopy of the latest visa.
  • In addition to the above-mentioned documents, applicants applying for a student visa should also provide:
    (1) Visa Application for Study in China (Form JW-201 or Form JW-202, original and copy);
    (2) Admission Notice (original and copy)

How to apply

An applicant may submit his or her visa application to the Centre in person or entrusts someone or a travel agent to submit on his or her behalf. You must make an appointment online in advance via the Centre’s website before submission. If you select to apply by post, you need to follow Guidelines on Postal Application in addition to preparing for all the documents provided for above. You may be required to go to the Chinese Embassy for an interview if the Chinese Embassy deems it necessary.

Processing Time
Regular visa processing time is 4 working days. For example, customers applying on Monday will pick up their visas on Thursday. Express visa processing time is 3 working days. For example, customers applying on Monday will pick up their visas on Wednesday. Please note that express service is only available to those customers who submit applications to the visa counter before 12:00 at noon, Monday to Friday. Therefore, if you request express service, please select the time slot before 12:00 at noon for submission when making an online appointment.

Visa fees
The X Visa costs $130 for Americans and $30 for citizens of other countries.

Additional Information

  • If the visa application form is not filled out completely, correctly and legibly, this can cause a delay in processing or refusal of the requested visa.
  • Generally, (X) visa is valid for one entry, three months. The holder of a (X) visa must go through residential formalities in the local public security department within thirty days of entry into China.
  • American citizens may apply multiple entry ( X ) visas valid for 12 months.The holders must go through residential formalities in the local public security department within thirty days of entry into China.
  • Visa Officers may require some other relevant documents
  • Any person suffering from a mental disorder, leprosy, AIDS, venereal diseases, contagious tuberculosis or other such infectious diseases shall not be permitted to enter China.

Which other types of Chinese visa are there?

  1. Tourist and family visit visa (L-visa) is issued to a foreign citizen who comes to China for tourist purpose, family visit or other personal affairs.
  2. Business Visa (F-visa ) is issued to a foreign citizen who is invited to China for visit, research, lecture, business, exchanges in the fields of science, technology, education, culture and sports, or attending various kinds of trade fairs or exhibitions, or short-term study, intern practice for a period of less than 6 months.
  3. Student Visa (X-visa) is issued to a foreign citizen who comes to China for the purpose of study or advanced study for a period of six or more months.
  4. Work Visa (Z-visa) is issued to a foreign citizen who comes to China to work and his or her accompanying family members, or to give commercial performances in China.
  5. Transit Visa (G-visa) is issued to a foreign citizen who is to transit through China on his or her way to a third country (or region).
  6. Crew Visa (C-visa) is issued to crew member performing his/her duties on board an international train, or on an international airline, to a sailor on board an international ocean-liner or freighter, and also to their accompanying family members.
  7. Journalist Visa (J-visa) is issued to foreign journalists. J-visa has two categories: J-1 visa and J-2 visa. J-1 visa is issued to resident foreign journalists in China and their accompanying spouses and under-age children, J-2 visa to foreign journalists who visit China for temporary news coverage.
  8. Permanent Residence Visa (D-visa) is issued to a foreign citizen who has been approved by China’s public security authority to reside in China permanently.