Getting a Chinese Visa – Six Types of Chinese Travel Visas

Getting a Chinese visa is necessary for any U.S citizen/resident intending to travel to China. The type of Chinese travel visa that you will need depends upon the nature of your trip. It’s important that all travelers bear the correct documentation, including the proper class of visa, in order to enter the country.
Six different types of Chinese travel visas are available. Different types of travel to the country require different classes of visas. Anyone getting a Chinese visa must apply for the correct type. The following is a list of those classes which apply to American tourists and what they mean for you and your trip:
1) Tourist visa (L-visa): This is the most commonly applied for type of Chinese travel visa. Tourist visas are issued to American citizen/residents who are traveling to the country for the purposes of sightseeing, visiting friends or family or for other personal reasons. Tourists possessing an L-visa cannot conduct business or work while in the country.
2) Business visa (F-visa): The F-visa is the second most commonly-issued Chinese travel visa. Any person intending to conduct business in the country must carry a valid F-visa. “Business” refers to conducting “an investigation, a lecture, to do business, [participate in] scientific-technological and culture exchanges, short-term advanced studies or internship.” Stay in China on a business visa is limited to six months or less. The F-visa does not allow a visitor to obtain employment within the country.
3) Employment/Work visa (Z-visa): This type of permit allows a foreigner to work in China. The foreigner’s family members would also be issued a Z-visa.
4) Student visa (X-visa): Foreigners who want to study in China can obtain an X-visa. This permit must be transferred within thirty days of arrival in China to a Residence Permit. The Residence Permit is issued by the public security bureau in the town where you will be living/studying. Your allowable length of stay in the country will be determined at that time. Usually the Residence Permit is issued for the length of the program of study. Students with an X-visa must supply proof that they are registered as students and proof of the length of the program of study. Sometimes students can study in China with an F-visa. Stipulations apply and must be clarified with the Chinese consulate. Students are only allowed to study up to six months with an F-visa.
5) Crew Visa (C-visa): This is a special type of permit issued only to workers such as airline crews, pilots and stewards who enter and exit the country periodically for work purposes. Extended stays are not usually permitted with C-visas other than those required for work.
6) J-1/J-2 Visa: This type of visitor’s permit is issued to news crews and correspondents who come to China for short term stays for the purposes of news coverage/reporting. These visas are also issued to dependents of news reporters and crews working in China. Allowable length of stay is usually determined on a case-by-case basis and generally. J-1 and J-2 visas generally cannot be used for long-term stays (more than a few months.)
Anyone getting a Chinese visa must fill out the proper application form. Chinese travel visa applications are available at passport processing outlets, online passport agencies and U.S. Post offices. Those who are unsure of what type of visa they require should contact the nearest Chinese consulate office. Citizens getting a Chinese visa- must first hold a valid U.S. passport. 

International Travel Visa Advice

Before we proceed, a word to the wise: When I was in my early twenties I bought a round the world ticket, starting in Sydney. The first flight was to Vietnam via Singapore. Rather than take responsibility for my trip, I blindly arrived in Saigon, where they asked for my travel visa, which of course I didn’t have. Travel visa?

Turns out you had to buy your visa before landing on Vietnamese soil. In my case, they quickly escorted me back to the plane I arrived with, and flew me back to Singapore.

Here is my advice for people interested in international travel visa requirements:

Buy travel visas prior to arrival. This lesson was driven home with monster truck force. Ever since that fateful day, I have always arrived with my visa in hand. There are several countries where you can buy your visa once you are on their soil, though I prefer to error on the side of caution.

Understand the different types of visas available. I have seen several instances where someone was denied entry into a country for business, but was able to purchase a tourist visa instead. Some countries grant an automatic visa for thirty days, but you have to apply for a visa if you want to stay longer. Learn the ins and outs of each country, and use them to your advantage.

Expect delays. Ah, the world of bureaucracy, where today can just as easily mean next week. There will be extra charges, fees, delays, bribes… plan your visa purchase at least a week in advance to avoid any chance of delaying your trip.

Unsure if you require an international travel visa? I recommend you search your country’s embassy site, as they provide the best information about limitations and requirements of your stay.

India Travel Visa Requirements

Many people visit India each year for different reasons, including business, religious pilgrimage and tourism. All foreign nationals are required to have a proper visa to enter the country. With few exceptions, there are 4 main requirements to getting a visa to India. Failing to submit the right documents will most likely result in a denied visa. Visa Categories depend on the applicant’s purpose of travel and the maximum length of your stay determine what type of visa is appropriate for your trip. You can get tourist visas that are valid for 6 months, 1 year, 5 years or 10 years. Business and student visas are also available for 1 year.

Give your trip information, passport number, photographs, visa fee and completed application for your visa. Make sure that you send all important documents or your visa could be delayed.

Application Form

The first step in getting a visa to travel India is to fill the application form. Visit the Indian Embassy or one of the Indian Consulates to apply for your visa in person. This sometimes can be done in the same day. Alternatively, you can apply through the mail, but it can take a longer time.

Following are the Indian Consulates, Embassy offices in US:

Embassy Of India, Washington DC
2536 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington,
DC 20008
Tel: (202) 939-9806 Fax: (202) 797-4693

Consulate General Of India, New York
3 East, 64th Street, New York, NY 10021,USA
Tel: 212-774-0600 Fax: 212-861-3788

Consulate General Of India, Chicago
455 North Cityfront Plaza Drive, #850 Chicago, IL 60611, U.S.A., Tel(312) 595-0405
Email: [email protected]

Consulate General Of India, Houston
1990 Post Oak Blvd. Suite 600 Houston, TX 77056 Tel: (713) 626-2355 Fax: (713) 626-2450,
Email:[email protected]

Consulate General of India, San Francisco
540 Arguello Boulevard San Francisco, CA 94118 Tel: (415) 668-0662 | Fax: (415) 668-7968
Email: [email protected]


Travelers to India must have a valid passport with at least 6 months remaining beyond your intended stay before expiration. In addition, there must be at least two blank pages where they can stamp the visa.


Two identical passport-size photographs (color, front facing, 2″ X 2″) must be attached to the application form. Visa applicants should give special attention to the requirements of the photos (i.e. no glasses may be worn). The specific requirements can be found on the visa application form.

Proof of Address

Applicants need to submit a photocopy of either a state issued identification card, driver’s license, or current utility bill (Water, Gas, Electric, Sewage) to get a visa. For more details please refer to visa requirements of the specific country.

Birth Certificate

All U.S. citizens need to submit a copy of their birth certificate. Those born outside of the United States can submit any government document from their country of origin that shows date of birth, nationality and their parents’ names.

Visa Fees

A postal money order made payable to either the Embassy of India or Consulate of India to pay for the visa to be applied to the passport.

Requirement Exceptions

Travelers from certain countries can have additional restrictions. Citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka all need to fill out extra paperwork. United States citizens can be given five- and 10-year visas, while citizens of all other nations are required to leave after 6 months for at least 2 months before they can return.