Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Asia > China
Reload this Page >

China Visa / Visas Master Thread (all you need to know)

China Visa / Visas Master Thread (all you need to know)

    Hide Wikipost
Old Jun 21, 17, 5:29 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: mnbp
Wiki Link
Your Forum Ambassadors are maintaining this guide. Signed in members with 90 days / 90 posts can edit this Wikipost; wiki contents may be printed by using the (lower right wiki corner).

Visa Information for the People's Republic of China (PRC, Mainland China)
Main source: Visa Page - Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United States of America (external website)

Important: China's visa terms and conditions changed effective 12 Nov 2014 as far as duration, and 1 July 2013 for requirements and procedures. Do not rely on information posted prior to that date.

Note new FT thread regarding up to ten year visa duration: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/china...ov-2014-a.html

The PRC allows certain foreigners to transit China without a visa if they will be exiting the country within 24, 72 or 144 hours provided various other conditions are met. Please see the separate China 24, 72, and 144 hour Transit Without Visa ("TWOV") rules master thread and Wikipost for detailed rules and discussion.

The best source of current visa and travel document requirements is IATA'S TIMATIC, as that is what the airlines rely upon to determine whether they will permit you to fly. Star Alliance provides a free, easy-to-use TIMATIC tool to help you identify your exact requirements based on nationality, residency and specific itinerary. The SkyTeam alliance website contains a link which also allows you free use of TIMATIC, including good printouts of the information.

Note that posts made prior to 1 July 2013 have been archived, but are still available for reference at China Visa / Visas Master Thread (ARCHIVED). The old FAQ: Visa-Free Transit / TWOV thread is also closed but available for reference.

China Forum Ambassadors: moondog----------anacapamalibu----------jiejie----------mnredfox
Print Wikipost

Reply

Old Aug 21, 17, 10:40 am
  #1546  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Whatever Hotel I'm in
Programs: Delta Gold, Bonvoy Titanium Elite Lifetime
Posts: 431
I have some vacation time to burn up and I'm looking at possibly going to Shanghai for a short 4 day trip. Great fares from Phoenix where I will be at a meeting. What actually do I need to go?
Visa - I will be in Chicago in a couple weeks and can go by the consulate or I can go to a service here in Atlanta
Do I need to have my flight booked before I apply or just the flights I'm going to take?
I'm hesitant to book untill I have the Visa ( I dont know any reason I would be refused)
What other information will I need to provide?

Thanks
tuono07 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 21, 17, 1:42 pm
  #1547  
Ambassador, China
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Beijing
Programs: TG, OZ, UA, AA
Posts: 6,598
@tuono07, I'm assuming you are a USA passport holder. If you want to get a Chinese visa, then use a visa agent in Atlanta (who will work with the Houston Consulate which services Georgia residents), or use a Houston-based agent. Chicago Consulate may refuse to process your application if you can't show an address in their consular district. You will need to show flights in/out of China--a printout of a confirmed reservation--and a confirmation printout of hotel bookings. If you are not a journalist, clergy, and not of Tibetan or Uighur background, your application has a 99% chance of being accepted. Be particularly careful about the photo requirements--they have recently changed and Consulates are very very nitpicky. A good agent can advise you further on this.

If you are not planning to go back to China in the next 10 years and wish to economize, then you can avoid getting a visa at all. But you must set up your flights correctly. Refer to our Transit Without Visa thread and sticky for details: but in a nutshell, you'd need to set up a flight sequence that adds a 3rd country in as transfer point, in one direction or the other. You cannot go USA-China-USA on the flights and qualify, but you can qualify for visa-free if you route USA-Japan-China-USA. You don't need to actually schedule a full stopover in the 3rd country, just a short connection between flights is enough. The Chinese only care about the flight segments that touch China: X - China - Y with X and Y being different countries. There are other workable permutations you'll have to look into for pricing. Transits Without Visa in the Shanghai region can be quite long, 144 hours (6 days) and cover the entire Shanghai-Jiangsu-Zhejiang region.
jiejie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 21, 17, 1:51 pm
  #1548  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
2019 FlyerTalk Awards
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 78,624
Originally Posted by tuono07 View Post
I have some vacation time to burn up and I'm looking at possibly going to Shanghai for a short 4 day trip. Great fares from Phoenix where I will be at a meeting. What actually do I need to go?
Visa - I will be in Chicago in a couple weeks and can go by the consulate or I can go to a service here in Atlanta
Do I need to have my flight booked before I apply or just the flights I'm going to take?
I'm hesitant to book untill I have the Visa ( I dont know any reason I would be refused)
What other information will I need to provide?

Thanks
If you're a DL GM based in ATL, I assume you would fly DL. In that case, be aware that DL GAs might refuse to let you do TWOV even is your itinerary is fully TWOV compliant. Be ready to argue your case; you will need to know the rules fully.
MSPeconomist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 21, 17, 1:57 pm
  #1549  
Ambassador, China
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Beijing
Programs: TG, OZ, UA, AA
Posts: 6,598
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
If you're a DL GM based in ATL, I assume you would fly DL. In that case, be aware that DL GAs might refuse to let you do TWOV even is your itinerary is fully TWOV compliant. Be ready to argue your case; you will need to know the rules fully.
Unfortunately, both DL and AA can be problematic when it comes to TWOV's--too many of their staff are untrained and do not understand the TWOV regulations, nor do they know how to call up the correct information in their databases. This would be a point in favor of getting a Chinese visa....then there's no argument for airline staff to challenge.
jiejie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 21, 17, 5:18 pm
  #1550  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Whatever Hotel I'm in
Programs: Delta Gold, Bonvoy Titanium Elite Lifetime
Posts: 431
It looks like Shanghai could go through Narita but Beijing would be PHX /SEA/ Beijing so
I will still need a visa!
Now if I can get my CO to let me know the meeting schedule
In PHX so I can make plans.
tuono07 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 21, 17, 7:50 pm
  #1551  
889
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 1,433
The ten-year visa is a great deal. And who knows when political winds might suddenly blow it away. Strongly suggest going for it, and not worrying about possible pitfalls under TWOV.
889 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Aug 21, 17, 9:04 pm
  #1552  
Ambassador, China
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Beijing
Programs: TG, OZ, UA, AA
Posts: 6,598
Originally Posted by tuono07 View Post
It looks like Shanghai could go through Narita but Beijing would be PHX /SEA/ Beijing so
I will still need a visa!
Now if I can get my CO to let me know the meeting schedule
In PHX so I can make plans.
My examples above were only one possibility. The third country can go before or after China, so while USA-Beijing-USA nonstop flights in each direction is a no-no for TWOV, USA-Japan(or other country)-Beijing-USA or USA-Beijing-Japan-USA are both equally acceptable to the Chinese.

Originally Posted by 889 View Post
The ten-year visa is a great deal. And who knows when political winds might suddenly blow it away. Strongly suggest going for it, and not worrying about possible pitfalls under TWOV.
I agree with this. And given that the political US-China winds are blowing in various unpredictable directions right now, grabbing that 10-year visa while it's available would be smart. When the political chips are down, tightening up the availability of visas/visa terms is often an early casualty. Whereas people who already have existing visas normally don't have them cancelled.
jiejie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sep 7, 17, 4:16 am
  #1553  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: South Wales, UK
Programs: UA 1k
Posts: 672
I'm a UK passport holder and resident, trying to get an L visa for a three day visit to PVG for a journey starting from the US.

My travel plans are to fly from the UK to NY one day and overnight in NYC, then continue on via SFO to PVG, returning the same way.

I supplied a copy of my NYC to PVG itinerary to the visa application service but they have returned it, stating that they want to see a round trip flight booked from the UK.

If I provide them with copies of both itineraries which show me travelling from the UK to the US and then to China the foloowing day, should that be sufficient or should I rethink the entire trip. The purpose was to get a last UD trip on the 747's so it was either PVG or ICH.
Richym99 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sep 7, 17, 6:12 am
  #1554  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: China and Canada
Posts: 1,655
They want to see a flight showing you leaving China.
JPDM is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sep 7, 17, 8:58 am
  #1555  
Ambassador, China
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Beijing
Programs: TG, OZ, UA, AA
Posts: 6,598
Originally Posted by Richym99 View Post
I'm a UK passport holder and resident, trying to get an L visa for a three day visit to PVG for a journey starting from the US.

My travel plans are to fly from the UK to NY one day and overnight in NYC, then continue on via SFO to PVG, returning the same way.

I supplied a copy of my NYC to PVG itinerary to the visa application service but they have returned it, stating that they want to see a round trip flight booked from the UK.

If I provide them with copies of both itineraries which show me travelling from the UK to the US and then to China the foloowing day, should that be sufficient or should I rethink the entire trip. The purpose was to get a last UD trip on the 747's so it was either PVG or ICH.
This trip should be perfectly OK for getting a visa. Go back to the visa service with both tickets--the UK-US-UK and the USA-PVG-USA ticket, and insist that they accept your application. Frankly, I cannot figure out why this service is being a [email protected] on what you already showed them. This is the problem with these "gatekeeper" outsourced agencies--they add their own version of rules in place and you can't get to the source (directly in front of a Chinese visa officer) to show your stuff. Technically, you should be able to get a visa as a UK citizen, with any itinerary showing an entry/exit from China, such as Japan > PVG > Bangkok, without having to deal with this nonsense of having endpoints in the UK.

I have heard of some people in similar situations getting the same treatment at CVASC in the UK, but others have no issues with itineraries not showing UK endpoints or return journeys. So it might depend on the specific office you are using in the UK, and/or the specific visa officer that you ended up in front of.
jiejie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sep 7, 17, 10:23 am
  #1556  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: South Wales, UK
Programs: UA 1k
Posts: 672
Thank you.

I finally got hold of the CVASC in London on the phone, and they have assured me as well that if I provide both itineraries it will be fine. It may well be that they just insisted on it because they had already rejected the application for photo (despite it meeting their measurement guidelines, and missing the copy of my passport info page.
Richym99 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sep 12, 17, 5:16 pm
  #1557  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
2019 FlyerTalk Awards
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 78,624
Originally Posted by jiejie View Post
This trip should be perfectly OK for getting a visa. Go back to the visa service with both tickets--the UK-US-UK and the USA-PVG-USA ticket, and insist that they accept your application. Frankly, I cannot figure out why this service is being a [email protected] on what you already showed them. This is the problem with these "gatekeeper" outsourced agencies--they add their own version of rules in place and you can't get to the source (directly in front of a Chinese visa officer) to show your stuff. Technically, you should be able to get a visa as a UK citizen, with any itinerary showing an entry/exit from China, such as Japan > PVG > Bangkok, without having to deal with this nonsense of having endpoints in the UK.

I have heard of some people in similar situations getting the same treatment at CVASC in the UK, but others have no issues with itineraries not showing UK endpoints or return journeys. So it might depend on the specific office you are using in the UK, and/or the specific visa officer that you ended up in front of.
If you show Japan-PVG-BKK as your itinerary (and are staying too long in China or are otherwise ineligible for TWOV), there could be concern about whether you have the correct entry documents for Thailand, which could include an onward ticket within a certain time period. Certainly TWOV rules are explicit about the requirement of being able to show that you are admissible to the next country.
MSPeconomist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sep 13, 17, 8:16 am
  #1558  
Ambassador, China
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Beijing
Programs: TG, OZ, UA, AA
Posts: 6,598
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
If you show Japan-PVG-BKK as your itinerary (and are staying too long in China or are otherwise ineligible for TWOV), there could be concern about whether you have the correct entry documents for Thailand, which could include an onward ticket within a certain time period. Certainly TWOV rules are explicit about the requirement of being able to show that you are admissible to the next country.
??? The poster in question is applying for a Chinese visa. TWOV regulations are irrelevant. This is the visa thread, not the TWOV thread.
jiejie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sep 13, 17, 8:31 am
  #1559  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: SEA, FLL, Martha’s Vineyard
Programs: AS MVPGold75K, Hilton Gold, IHG Platinum, Pan Am million-miler
Posts: 2,019
I'm currently having an argument with two flight attendant friends of mine who want to come to Shanghai with me but don't have Chinese Visas. One of my friends insists if you have an onward flight out of PVG/SHA within the 144hr window, the airline will let you depart from the states to China, then onto your next flight. You just have to present a confirmed ticket within the 144hr window that is a booked flight to somewhere out of mainland China. Her plan was to fly with us to Shanghai, stay a day or two, then leave for Thailand and have a ticket already booked to continue on and be able to board the Shanghai bound flight without a Chinese Visa.

However friend number two asked one of her co-workers because the co-workers mom is a counter agent. Co-workers mom said that she doesn't allow anyone to go to china without a visa, and she doesn't issue boarding passes to people going to china without a chinese visa. This is AA btw.

im pretty sure friend number one is right, but that's why I'm asking. Also if she is right, how many people has that AA agent screwed over I wonder, or if AA has a specific policy?
Edgerfly is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sep 13, 17, 10:45 am
  #1560  
Hilton Contributor BadgeIHG Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: DFW
Posts: 629
Originally Posted by Edgerfly View Post
...
im pretty sure friend number one is right, but that's why I'm asking. Also if she is right, how many people has that AA agent screwed over I wonder, or if AA has a specific policy?
Number 1 is right. Shanghai is a layover and Thailand is the final destination. My friends just did the same thing with a layover in Beijing with the final destination being Japan.

Here's some Q&A on it.

http://www.shanghaidaily.com/metro/E.../shdaily.shtml
vh_bu98 is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread