Travel Documents &

REQUIRED Visa for China

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Travel Documents

A TOURIST visa is REQUIRED for travel to China. You are encouraged to begin the visa application process 6-12 weeks prior to your departure.

IMPORTANT - the tourist visa application must be followed EXACTLY for travelers, we highly recommend working with G3 Visa Processing in order to be sure that your visa application is completed properly and not denied.

Read below to review important notes about the visa process and application:

  • The visa will be placed inside of the traveler's passport. You will need to mail your valid passport in with your visa application. Passports must have at least two blank pages available. Passports must be valid for at least six months prior to its expiration date.
  • Apply for a "L" (or Tourist) Visa. You may be denied a visa if you apply for a volunteer visa, as this is referring to a long term volunteer visa (i.e, Peace Corps) which requires more time for approval and is more expensive.
  • As of 2016, China has implemented very strict guidelines for the photos that are submitted with the visa application. In addition to standard visa photo requirements, please be sure that the photo you submit adheres to the following specs:
    • Your head must measure between 1 1/8" to 1 1/4" from the top of your head to the bottom of your chin.
    • Your hair must not cover your ears or eyebrows.
    • You may not wear jewelry (earrings, necklaces, or facial piercings).
    • Do not wear a white shirt or jacket that matches the background.
    • Do not wear hats, headbands, hair bows, or large hair clips.
    • Wearing glasses is not recommended.
    • The photo must be clear and undamaged. Do not staple or glue the photo to the application.
  • You must have a flight itinerary to apply for a visa.

Option 1 - Full Service Option (Discover Corps Highly Recommends This)

  • Use our recommended visa processor: G3 Global Services. G3 is familiar with our programs and can assist you every step of the way
  • Please download, print, and carefully read the document attached below to apply for your visa (Document: G3 Visas - China Application)
  • Email G3 for questions and help with your visa process:
  • You do not have to physically go to the embassy with this option

Option 2 - Apply Directly Through the Embassy

  • Apply and work directly with the Embassy. Please see instructions below which are also detailed on the embassy website
  • You will have to go to the embassy or consulate to both drop off your passport & visa application and again to pick up the visa and pay once it is processed. We highly recommend you go through G3 Visas if you do not live near a Chinese consulate or embassy.
  • Discover Corps is not able to assist in the do-it-yourself visa option. The Embassy may return your application and passport without the tourist visa, and are not required to tell you what documents/items were missing from your application.
  • For travelers located outside of the United States, please contact the Chinese Consulate in your home country.

Instructions for applying for the China Visa from the Embassy Website:

Step 1: Apply for the L Visa (Tourist Visa) and Submit the Following

1. Passport

  • Original signed passport with at least six months of remaining validity and blank visa pages, and a copy of the passport's data page and the photo page if it is separate.

2. Visa Application Form (Form V.2013) and Photo

  • One completed Visa Application Form with a photo on glossy photo paper glued onto the form (your photo must meet the requirements).

3. Document showing Round Trip Air Ticket

4. An invitation letter issued by a relevant entity or individual in China (please see the visa invitation letter attached below - you will need to fill in any of the areas marked in red). The invitation letter contains:

        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)

4. Proof of legal stay or residence status (only applicable to non-U.S. citizens)

  • You must provide the original and photocopy of your valid certificates or visa of stay, residence, employment or student status, or other valid certificates of legal staying provided by the relevant authorities of the country where you are currently staying.

5. Photocopy of previous Chinese passports or previous Chinese visas (applicable to foreign citizens 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 held 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 the 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.)

6. If the applicant is a child born in the U. S. to a Chinese parent, the visa requirements are different. Please click to see detailed info.

7. If you are traveling with a child and are not the legal guardian or there is only one parent traveling with the child, a separate set of documents needs to be submitted as well for the visa. Please click here to view the requirements.

Step 2: Submit your application to the Visa Office of Chinese Embassy/ Consulate General based on your State of residence (Locate a Visa Office that serves your state)

Step 3: Pay the visa application fee at the Visa Office and pick up your visa. (Click to check fees and payments)


1. In accordance with a 2014 China-U.S. visa arrangement, U.S. citizens may be eligible for 10-year multiple entry visa. The remaining validity of the U.S. passport must be over 12 months.

2. The applicant should guarantee that all information provided in the application is true and correct. Any false, misleading or incomplete information may result in denial of the visa or refusal of entry into China.

3. The Visa Notification Letter and the official media letter may be in the form of fax, photocopy or computer printout. An applicant may be required to submit an original invitation, provide other supporting documents, or schedule an interview with the consular officer.

4. The consular officer will make decisions on whether or not to grant a visa and allowed validity, duration of stay and number of entries based on individual application.

Below are the documents you need to get started and learn more:

G3 Visas - China Application.pdf
Visa Invitation letter - China - DC.docx