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Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: Aug 29,2014 6:01 PM

1. Why do Chinese visas have different types and categories?

A visa is the basis for the activities the holder may engage in while in China. In light of China’s laws and regulations, Consular Officers make the decision on what type of visa to issue to an applicant based on the applicant’s personal status and purpose for visiting China.

2. What is the relationship between the duration of stay and period of validity of a visa?

Duration of stay refers to the longest period the visa holder is allowed to stay in China from the date of entry into China on each visit.

The holder of a visa is eligible to enter China at any time prior to the expiry of its period of validity (allowed to enter China even before the 24:00 hour of the last date of its period of validity) provided that the granted entries on the visa have not been used up. Duration of stay is no longer useful once the period of validity expires.

3. How do I extend the duration of stay of a Chinese visa?

Some types of visas may be extended. You may apply for extension of the duration of stay of your visa at a local public security authority at the county level and above before the expiration of your stay. Overstay will violate the law of China and will result in punishment.

4. What would be the best time for me to apply for a Chinese visa?

It is advisable that you apply for a visa one month in advance of your intended date of entry into China, and do not apply 3 months earlier than your intended date of entry. Your visa might expire before your intended departure date for China if you apply too early; but if you apply too late, you might not be able to obtain a visa in time for your scheduled departure. For instance, if you plan to enter China on July 1, the best time for you to submit your visa application is the early of June. If you need express service or rush service, you will be required to pay an extra visa fee plus express service fee or rush service fee.

5. Where do I apply for a Chinese visa?

If you are ordinary passport holders of your own country, please submit your application to the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre. However, Holders of diplomatic and service (official) passports or applicants eligible for applying for China’s diplomatic, courtesy, and service visas, and applicants applying for a visa /entry permit to the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Region of China should still apply directly to the Chinese Embassy.

6. Can I apply for a visa online?

For the time being, you cannot apply for a visa through the Internet, however you can complete your application form online.

7. I want to tour China by driving my own vehicle; what type of visa should I apply for?

You should apply for a L-visa for a special tour. A special tour includes: mountain climbing, self-driving, hiking, cycling, horse-riding, hot air balloon, or other expeditions. You need to provide a visa notification issued by China National Tourism Administration or the tourism administration of related province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the Central Government.

8. What type of visa should I apply for?

It depends on the purpose of your visit. Please see the section “A Brief Introduction to Chinese Visas”. It is up to the consular official to decide on the type of visa to be issued.

9. How long in advance should I apply for a visa?

It is advised that you submit the application one month in advance of your planned date of entry. Application made too early may cause the expiry of the visa and you won’t be able to use it in the end, but if you submit an application too late, there might not be enough time for the application to be processed.

10. What are the measures China uses to promote foreign investment?

Investment promotion refers a series of activities that governments adopt to attract foreign direct investment.

Investment promotion includes the following specific types of activities: advertising, direct mail, investment seminars, investment group, participating in the industry fair and exhibition, distributing materials, one-to-one direct marketing, preparing agenda for potential investors, facilitate interaction between potential investors and local partners, acquiring licenses and approval documents from the various government agencies, preparing project proposals, conducting feasibility study, and providing services to investors after the project begins to operate and so on.

Investment promotion does not include offering incentives to foreign investors, screening foreign investment or negotiating with foreign investors, although many organizations that are responsible for carrying out investment promotion activities also carry out these kinds of activities.

11. What procedures should foreign investors follow to set up FBIE?

(1) The investors shall submit the establishment application and relevant documents to the administrative departments in charge of foreign trade and economic cooperation at the provincial level of the place where the FBIE is to be established.

(2) The administrative departments in charge of foreign trade and economic cooperation at the provincial level shall complete the original examination and report to the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (hereinafter referred to as the MOFTEC) within 15 days as of the acceptance of the above-mentioned materials.

(3) The MOFTEC shall, with the consent of the Ministry of Science & Technology,make a written decision on approval or disapproval within 45 days as of the acceptance of all the above-mentioned materials. And it shall issue a Certificate of Approval for Foreign-invested Enterprises to the approved enterprises.

(4) With the approved of establishing an FBIE, the applicant shall file an application for registration at the State Administration of Industry and Commerce or at local bureaus with its authorization by presenting the Certificate of Approval for Foreign-invested Enterprise within one month as of the acceptance of the Certificate of Approval for Foreign-invested Enterprise.

12. How can I get the latest information about Chinese Government Scholarship?

Please visit our website or for up-to-date information. You can also consult the Chinese Embassy (or Consulate General) in your home countries or designated Chinese universities for related information.

13. Who qualifies to work as a foreign expert in China?

The term ‘foreign expert’ refers to foreign professionals who work in China in a capacity that is considered important for the country’s economic and social development - at the invitation of the Chinese government or an enterprise, institution, multinational or other organization.

The following foreign professionals are eligible for foreign expert status in China:

1). Technical or management personnel – based upon specific requirements concerning agreements between governments or international organizations.

2). Professionals specializing in education, scientific research, news media, publication, culture, art, health, sports and other fields.

3). Senior technical or management professionals, at the level of vice-general manager or above - or a similar level.

4). Representatives of overseas organizations or agencies, accredited by the State Bureau of Foreign Expert Affairs.

5). Professionals specializing in fields such as economics, technology, engineering, trade, finance, accounting, taxes and tourism - with special expertise that is required in China.

14. Which department is in charge of these foreigners employed in China?

According to the Regulations on the Administration of Employment of Foreigners in China, foreigners employed in China are in the charge of the of people’s governments of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities and the authorized prefecture-level administrative departments of labor security.

Foreigners here refers to: people do not have Chinese nationality in accordance with the stipulations of the nationality law of the People’s Republic of China; and the term “foreigners employed in China” here refers to the foreigners who are engaged in social labor and obtain the labor remuneration but have not obtained a residency in China in accordance with the law.

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