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Chinese mainland visas: Introduction to visa types

Photo by Kristoferb

China’s visa system is often complicated, oblique and frustrating. Just look at the number of different visas available to foreigners planning to visit or live in China! This list breaks down each class of visa, who they’re intended for, and the basic application requirements. Clicking on the title of the relevant visa will take you to a page explaining the requirements for getting it. 


C Visa for foreign crew members

D Visa for permanent residence (aka “the Chinese Green Card”) 

F Visa for “non-commercial” visits

G Visa for transit

J visas for journalists

L Visa for tourists

M Visa for businesspeople

Q visas for spouses and family members of Chinese permanent residents/citizens

R Visa for someone whose skills are in demand (the 1,000 Talent Plan)

S Visas for spouses and family members of foreigners working or studying in China

X Visas for students

Z Visa for workers

Diplomatic and Services Visa


Useful Chinese words and phrases

旅游签证   lǚyóu qiānzhèng tourist (L) visa
学习签证  xuéxí qiānzhèng student (X) visa
工作签证 gōngzuò qiānzhèng work (Z) visa
商务签证 shāngwù qiānzhèng business (F) visa
延期  yánqī extension
停留时间 tíngliú shíjiān duration
有效期 yǒu xiàoqī validity
入境 rùjìng entry









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One Response to Chinese mainland visas: Introduction to visa types

  • I am originally from Sri Lanka but currently I am work in Maldives. My girlfriend is Chinese citizen. How do I apply for the visa for stay long time in China with her..

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