If you are a U.S. resident and you are planning to visit China then keep your visa ready because all U.S. citizens need to have a valid visa to visit China. There are certain terms associated with the type of visa you have obtained and the Chinese government expects you to obey those terms. If you violate the terms then you could be fined or imprisoned.


Depending upon the intent of your visit there are different types of visa you can apply for.

  • F Visa for Business Travellers
  • X Visa for Students
  • C Visa for crews of international trains, planes and ships
  • L Visa for tourists

Visas are also classified on the basis of entry.

  • Single entry visas let you enter China once during their period of validity.
  • Double entry visas allow two entries into country.
  • Multiple entry visas allow you to enter and leave as often as you want as long as the visa is valid.

Validity can be for either 6 or 12 months.

Before choosing the type of visa you apply for you have to be sure about the purpose of your visit. You cannot start working in china if you have gone there with a tourist visa. So if you are planning to do anything that falls outside general sightseeing or visiting your family then be sure of not applying for a tourist visa.



To apply for the visa you’ll need the following

  • Completed copy of visa application form
  • Valid passport with at least 6 months validity
  • 2 square inches of colour passport-style photograph
  • Appropriate fee with your application. Currently all tourist visas (single, double, multiple entry) cost $140.

Payment is only accepted through MasterCard, Visa, money order, company check or cashier’s check.

Visa forms for China – download


  • To apply for your visa you need to go to China’s embassy and consulate service in the United States.
  • China has consulate general offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston and San Francisco. Chinese embassy is located in Washington, D.C.
  • The offices do not accept postal applications.
  • In order to submit the application you either need to drop it off yourself or have a friend or relative do it for you. You can also hire a travel or a visa agent.


As long as you have a valid visa you can travel within china without restrictions.

  • According to the U.S. state department in order to visit some parts of china you will need a special permit.
  • Areas such as most of the region of Tibet outside Lhasa and Shan Nan are not open for foreigners.
  • Chinese government is strict in its rules so if you are found in these regions without permit you will in all likeliness be arrested and deported back.

Be sure of your travel plans, apply for the suitable visa and you’ll be good to go.

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
3505 International Pl NW
Washington, DC 20008
United States
+1 202-495-2266

The Consulate General of The People’s Republic of China

443 Shatto Pl
Los Angeles, CA 90020
United States
+1 213-807-8088

Chinese Consulate-General in San Francisco
1450 Laguna St
San Francisco, CA 94115
United States
+1 415-852-5900

Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in New York
520 12th Ave
New York, NY 10036
United States
+1 212-244-9392