Tourist and Short Stay Visas

Tourist visa(L Visa)

Updated: Apr 21, 2022 chinaservicesinfo.com Print
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Issued to those who intend to go to China as a tourist.


1. Basic Documents

(1) Passport
Original passport with at least six months remaining and blank visa pages; and a photocopy of the passport's data page and photo page if they are separate.

(2) Visa Application Form and photo
One completed Visa Application Form with a recently-taken color passport photo (bare-head, full face) against a light background attached (Photo Requirements for Chinese Visa Application).

(3) Proof of legal stay or residence status (applicable to those not applying for the visa in their country of citizenship)
If you are not applying for the visa in your country of citizenship, you must provide the original and a photocopy of your valid certificates or visa of stay, residence, employment or student status, or other valid certificates of legal stay provided by the relevant authorities of the country where you are currently staying.

(4) Photocopy of previous Chinese passports or previous Chinese visas (applicable to those who were Chinese citizens and have obtained foreign citizenship)
If you are applying for a Chinese visa for the first time, you should provide your previous Chinese passport and a photocopy of its data page.
If you have obtained Chinese visas before and want to apply for a Chinese visa with a renewed foreign passport that does not contain any Chinese visa, you should present a photocopy of the previous passport's data page and the photo page if it is separate, as well as the previous Chinese visa page. (If your name on the current passport differs from that on the previous one, you must provide an official document of name change.)

2. Supporting Documents
Documents showing the itinerary, including air ticket booking record (round trip) and proof of a hotel reservation, or an invitation letter issued by a relevant entity or individual in China. The invitation letter should contain:
(1) Information on the applicant (full name, gender, date of birth, etc...)
(2) Information on the planned visit (arrival and departure dates, place(s) to be visited, etc...)
(3) Information on the inviting entity or individual (name, contact telephone number, address, official stamp, signature of the legal representative or the inviting individual)

3. Application Procedure, Processing Time and Fees
Please visit the Chinese Embassy/Consulate General's websites for more details based on your State of residence.

4. Special Reminder
(1) Each item of the application form must be filled in truthfully, clearly and completely. Any false information, missed items or illegible handwriting may lead to a delay in the processing of the application or even refusal of the visa application.
(2) If necessary, the consular officer may require the applicant to provide other evidence or supplementary materials, or require an interview with the applicant.
(3) The consular officer will decide on whether or not to issue the visa and on its validity, duration of stay and number of entries in light of specific conditions of the applicant.
(4) For further details, please visit the website of the relevant Chinese Embassy or Consulate General.
The L Visa holder shall submit the travel and itinerary plan and the certification letter issued by the travel agency for a group tour. The duration of stay can be extended for 30 days at most.


In 2019, China issued the 72/144 visa-free transit policy, which is introduced here.

According to the notice released by the Foreign Affairs Team of the State Council Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism for COVID-19, temporary measures on the exchange of personnel between China and foreign countries in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (Class B management) were implemented starting from Jan 8, 2023.

Among the measures, one is about Visa applications for China, which is to further optimize the arrangements for foreign nationals to come to China for the resumption of work and production, business, study, family reunion, etc..., and to provide corresponding visa convenience.

As for outbound tourism, in light of the international pandemic situation and capacity of various service guarantees, and based on the principle of piloting before scaling up, China will resume outbound tourism for Chinese citizens in an orderly manner.

Starting from January 8, 2023, the national immigration management agency has timely resumed the processing of foreigners’ applications for regular visa extension, re-issuance, and replacement, as well as stay and residence permit issuance, re-issuance, extension, and replacement. If the applicant has an urgent need, they may apply for expedited processing. The agency has also resumed issuing visas at ports of entry and reinstated the 24/72/144-hour transit visa exemption policy.

In order to better coordinate COVID-19 prevention and control with economic and social development, and to facilitate personnel exchanges between China and other countries, National Immigration Administration decides to adjust policies of foreigners’ visas and entry from 0:00 on March 15, 2023.

First, foreigners with valid visas issued before March 28, 2020 will be allowed to enter China.

Second, the following visa-free policies will be resumed: Hainan 59 country visa-free entry policy, 15-Day visa-free travel for cruise groups at Shanghai ports, visa-free entry to Guangdong province for foreigners’ group from Hong Kong and Macao SARs, visa-free entry to Guilin of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region for tourist groups from ASEAN countries.

Please consult the relevant Chinese Embassy or Consulate General for further policies.

In addition, the latest List of Agreements on Mutual Visa Exemption Between the People’s Republic of China and Foreign Countries was released on Feb 22, 2023, which can be found here: https://cs.mfa.gov.cn/zlbg/bgzl/cgqz/201202/t20120207_961630.shtml.

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