For US citizens traveling to China, there are complex visa requirements to navigate. Many visitors see the process of applying for a visa, even as a tourist planning on a week’s stay, as a daunting one.
When it comes time to apply for a visa to China, US citizens have four choices: Diplomatic Visas, Courtesy Visas, Service Visas and Ordinary Visas (tourism falls under this category). However, those seeking an “L” tourist visa should be aware of the application process, where they need to go (no applications are accepted by mail), and what they’ll need to bring to ensure a valid visa is in their hand prior to departure.
China visa requirements for US citizens
Shortly after booking a flight and arranging accommodations (you will be asked for this information when applying for a visa to China), take note of the paperwork and requirements. Some of the requirements are basic, such as having a passport with at least six months’ validity and two blank pages, a passport-sized photo, a printout of your travel itinerary, and a completed Chinese visa application form. However, others are slightly more complicated.
Though a rundown of your travel itinerary to China is acceptable for tourists most of the time, business travelers need an invitation letter from an individual or organization based in China, which includes all their contact details and a legal signature. Upon arrival in China, remember your hotels will often only accept a passport as a form of international ID; if you need to apply for any other visas while in the country, be sure to do so after checking in, or obtain a second passport before leaving the US.
Applying at a Chinese embassy or consulate
Once you have all the documents ready and forms filled out, you’re ready to apply for a Chinese Visa, but where? Chinese consulates are scattered across the US, with the embassy located in Washington DC. However, if you’re planning on applying for a visa while in transit (e.g. taking a few days to see New York before your flight to Beijing), just be aware some consulates will only accept visa applications from residents of their jurisdiction. The embassy can accept them from any US citizen.
Unfortunately, applications by mail will not be accepted and if you send your application to the wrong consulate it will be delayed and may even be rejected, resulting in a costly trip delay or cancellation. The five Chinese consulates in the US are located in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco. So if you live in Miami, the closest consulate available is Houston… not exactly an ideal vacation when you may already be saving for one to China.
Travel Visa Pro can help with your Chinese visa
Because you must apply in person, and because this is often impossible for many travelers due to distance or scheduling, there is an alternative. An agency like Travel Visa Pro can be authorized to apply for a visa on your behalf, saving you time, money and skipping the hassle. We have nine staffed office in the US accessible to major cities, as well as dozens of pick up and drop off locations in your area that offer free shipping to our trained staff.
China visa requirements: cost and processing time
Chinese tourist visas cost $140 regardless of whether you require a single or multiple entry visa. If you think you’ll be entering China more than once then you have the option of double or multiple entry visas (with further choice between multiple entry visas with six or twelve month validity).
The standard turnaround time for a visa is four days. However, there are options to expedite your application. For an additional $20, you can receive an express service so your visa is ready for collection in two or three days. If you’re really in a rush, you can pay for one-day turnaround service for an additional $30. Be sure to give yourself enough time when planning your trip to account for visa processing time and shipping to/from Travel Visa Pro.
Contact Travel Visa Pro if you need any hassle-free visa services to China!