All foreigners need an entry visa. If part of a group, the tour operator will often obtain your visa for you; group visas will usually be issued for groups with at least 10 members, and the guide accompanying your group will keep the visas. Individual travellers can apply at any Chinese embassy. The procedure is usually straightforward and takes about a week.
If your visa runs out while in China, it can be extended by the local Public Security Bureau, the police. However, make sure you visit them before it expires, because you will be fined for overstaying your visa.
A valid passport is required to enter China. China does not allow entrance if the holder's passport expires in under six months; returning home with an expired passport is illegal, and may result in a fine.
It is a good idea to photocopy the page of your passport that contains your photograph, passport number, and other identifying information, along with other important documents such as visas, travel insurance policies, aeroplane tickets, and traveller's check serial numbers, in case you lose anything. Originals are usually preferred to photocopies. However, copies are certainly better than nothing and will often do in a pinch.
Information for Chinese Visa Application
1. For tourist "L" visas, a letter of confirmation of the tour arrangement made by a travel agency in China or letter of reservation of hotel in Chin is required.
2. For group tourist visas, A group comprising at least 5 members; 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 photo copy of the information page of each passport.
3. For visitor / business "F" visa, an official invitation letter with a seal and code from a Chinese Ministry or a provincial government or government-authorized Chinese companies (institutions) is required.
4. For work "Z" visa (single entry, no multiple), an employment license or a work permit or an official visa notice from authorized Chinese organizations is required.
5. For student "X"/"F" visa (single entry, no multiple), Form JW202 or JW 201 issued by the State Education Commission of China and notice of admission from the receiving university are required. An "X" visa is issued for those who study in China over 6 months and "F" visa for those who study in China less than 6 months.
6. When you apply for "Z" and "X" visa, you should provide a "physical examination Record for Foreigner" which can be picked up from the Chinese embassies or Consulate General.
7. For multiple entry visitor/business visas (6 months or one year), an invitation letter from government-authorized Chinese organizations is required.
8. For transit "G" visa, it is requested to provide a valid visa to or from the next country of destination or a letter of invitation of the visiting country or an air ticket.
9. For travel to Tibet, please contact your local travel agency to obtain approval from the Tourist Bureau of Tibet before applying for visa. (Tibet Tourist Bureau, Lhasa, Tibet, China, Telephone: (86-891 633 4313 Facsimile: 86-891-633 4632.)
10. Please be sure that your passport should be valid over 6 months with blank visa pages. To applying for multiple entries visas, the validity of the passport must be longer enough. Suggested time to apply for visa is one month before your departure (to avoid expiration of the visa).
11 You should provide your original passport, a complete visa application from and one recent passport-size (2x2) photo (full face and without hat).
12. For Canadian passport holder, $50 (Canadian Dollars) is charged for a single entry/transit visa, $100 for double entries/transits visa, $150 for 1-6 months multiple entries business visa and $300 for one year multiple entries business visa.
13. Seven days are needed for regular processing. An additional $40 rush fee per person is charged for one day service (If you deliver your application before 10:30 am, then you can get your passport between 12:00-13:00), an additional $30 per person for two days service and an additional $20 per person for three days service.
14. The applicants can apply by mail or courier, you are requested to provide a self-addressed return envelop with sufficient stamps for registered, double registered or express-post (Do not use meter stamps). If you need to return your passport promptly, please prepare a self-addressed and pre-paid envelop of a courier such as Priority Courier or Federal Express. Except the cost of post and courier, additional $2.00 handling fee per person should be provided.
15. The Chinese Embassies and Consulate General will not be responsible for any mishandling by post office or courier.
16. Personal checks are not acceptable. Money order or company check should be made to the order of the Embassy or Consulate General of the People's republic of China. Cash is accepted when you come to the visa office in person.
17. Persons suffering from mental disorder, leprosy, AIDS, venereal disease, contagious tuberculosis or other infectious diseases shall not be allowed to enter China.
18. The Chinese Embassies or Consulate Generals reserves the right to refuse any application and withhold disclosure of the reason. All regulation and cost are subject to change without notice. If you have any question, please write or send fax to the Chinese consulate general or embassy in the area you live.
* Z-type visa is granted to foreigner with permission to work in China .
* Z-type visa holder should, within 30 days after the entry, apply for the foreigner residence certificate or the provisional foreigner residence certificate.
*Z-type visa could be signed valid for twice or multiple entries.
* The certificate for invitation or employment from a Chinese employer, or the letter or telex of visa notification sent by the authorized unit is needed when applying for Z-type visa.
* Foreigner applying for more-than-one-year residence in China should submit a health certificate issued by the medical and health department designated by the government