Visa regulations may be the only things standing between you and a relaxed trip to China. For US citizens, the road to get there should be a relatively easy one, but even as a tourist planning a short stay, taking the time to research your choices prior to departure can make the process less daunting.
Four different types of visas are typically available to US citizens: service, diplomatic, courtesy, and ordinary, with tourist visas falling under the last category. Americans who think they need an “L” tourist visa should be aware of the application process, where they need to go, and what documents to bring to ensure there are no delays.
Getting a visa to China has never been easier with Travel Visa Pro
Chinese embassies and consulates do not accept applications for visas by mail. Because travelers must apply in person, and because this is often impossible for many in the middle of a business day or due to the distance, Travel Visa Pro can act on their behalf. We’re a visa and passport agency authorized to apply for visas, saving you time and eliminating the hassle. With nine staffed office across the United States and pick up and drop off locations in your area, TVP is accessible to anyone needing help with their Chinese visa.
Applying for a Chinese visa at an embassy or consulate
Where should you go when all your documents are already prepared and you just need to hand in your application? The embassy to the People’s Republic of China is available in Washington DC, with consulates scattered across the rest of the country. Though the embassy can process applications from any nationality, some of the consulates will only accept them if you are a legal resident of their respective host states.
As previously mentioned, the five Chinese consulates in the US – Houston, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles – do not accept applications by mail. If you happen to be a resident of Dallas, the closest consulate is in Houston, 300 miles away. Taking a full day (or two) just to travel to a consulate often isn’t the budget for some travelers.
China visa requirements for US citizens
Some of the requirements for Chinese tourist visas are fairly standard, such as:
1. US passport valid for at least six month with two blank pages
2. One passport-sized photo
3. Chinese visa application form
4. Travel itinerary, including entry/exit dates and proof of accommodation
Tourists can get by with the aforementioned, but those seeking business visas to China may need to prepare an invitation letter from their host organization or an individual sponsor in China, including their name, address, and personal seal.
How much is a visa to China for US citizens?
If you’ve successfully turned everything over to the consulate, you now have the choice of how long the processing time will be. A standard $140 fee for any type of visa will have it returned in four business days. However, there are options to expedite your application. Express service is available for $160 in 2-3 business days, and one-day service for $170 in total. Be sure to give yourself enough time when planning your trip to account for the visa processing time and mailing to and from Travel Visa Pro.
Full Process Can Be Found in the Video
Are there any other visa/passport concerns for China?
As far as your US passport is concerned, just remember some hotels will often only accept a passport as a form of international ID, meaning turning one in to a consulate for visa service in the country should be done after checking in. You can also apply for a second four-year passport before leaving the US.
Though tourist visas may be necessary for those not planning on traveling elsewhere in Asia, transit visas allow Americans access to major Chinese cities without the need for fees or paperwork. Travelers may stay in Beijing or Shanghai for up to 144 hours provided they have proof of ongoing travel to a third country.
Do you have any questions about the fees for Chinese visas?