Comprehensive China Visa Guide.
Perhaps you’ve heard about the new 10-year China visas that became an option following a meeting between US President Obama and Chinese President Xi JinPing in late 2014. Most people, however, don’t quite understand what this new 10-year visa means.
Questions have been flying around about these Chinese visa rule changes and I’ve been getting quite a few emails myself. While I normally suggest people just work with a professional visa service (I personally recommend Passport Visa Express), I thought it might be helpful if I took some time to answer these questions for all to see.
So if you’re interested in obtaining a 10-year visa (or curious as to why you would even want one), here are a few FAQ’s that might help:
Why Get a 10-Year China Visa?
The way it has been named is actually a bit deceptive. This doesn’t mean that you can stay in China for 10 years, it just means that your visa is valid for 10 years. Because this is a multiple-entry visa, this could save you quite a bit of money if you plan on visiting China more than once over the next decade.
If you’ll be traveling to China frequently for business, this 10-year travel visa will keep you from having to apply for a new visa every single time you make a trip.
And finally, it will save you money. That $160+ fee will only have to be paid once and then you’re good for 10 years.
What if My Passport Expires in Less Than 10 Years?
You’re fine. They’ve already thought about this and the solution, although annoying, will work fine.
All you have to do is bring your expired passport that has the visa and show it along with your new passport. As long as all the information is the same on both passports they’ll allow it. In other words, if you get married and your name changes, this won’t work for you.
How Long Can I Stay in China per Entry?
As with most Chinese visas, your stay limit can be anywhere between 30-120 days.
Most of the time you can request and be granted a 60-day stay per entry (for tourists this is the max) but if you need something longer you can make a special request (which could be the case for business or family visit visas).
More than likely they’ll make you give a reason for this special request and it’s entirely up to the consulate to determine whether or not they give you an extended stay visa.
Can I Work on a 10 Year China Visa?
Technically no, you can’t. Nor should you. If you get caught there will certainly be punishment both for you and the company that has hired you.
Any legitimate business or school should provide you with a work visa. If they ask you to make “visa runs” on your 10-year visa, get the heck out of that situation as quickly as you can!
Is a 10 Year China Visa More Expensive?
No! The fee for a 10-year visa is exactly the same as the prior 1-year visas.
More than likely, you’ll actually save money since you won’t have to pay for another visa the next time you come to visit China.
Once I get the Visa, What Requirements Are There?
I’ve been asked by some people whether they still have to submit documents (ie proof of round trip tickets, hotel reservations, etc.) every time they visit China on a 10-year China visa.
The answer is a simple no. The only time you need to provide those documents is when you’re first applying for the visa. Once you actually get the visa, you have the right to enter China at any time for the duration of the visa, no questions asked.
Just don’t overstay your limit…that could easily get you in trouble!
How do I Apply for a 10-Year China Visa?
Simple. When you fill out your visa application, just tick the box that says “10 Year Visa”. If no such option exists, find section 2.2 where it says “Other” and write “10 Years” in that space.
Unless you live in Houston, LA, San Francisco, Chicago or New York you’re going to need to use a passport agent to apply for a visa. I’ve used Passport Visa Express and they made it quite simple to apply for a 10-year visa (look for the option for a “3650 day stay”…ha!).
If you want some other good options for Visa Services, you can check out this comparison of the best China visa services.