Perhaps you’ve heard about the 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. I’d like to answer the most commonly asked questions about China’s 10-year tourist visa.
*Note: For complete information on getting a visa for China, please see the TravelChinaCheaper Comprehensive China Visa Guide.
Questions have been flying around about the China 10-year visa 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.
It’s worth noting that this information is taken out of a chapter of my China travel handbook, a book available on Amazon as both an ebook and a paper back. It’s basically everything you need to know before you step foot in China and if you read the reviews on Amazon, you’ll know that it truly is a helpful travel resource.
So continue reading here about the 10-year China visa and then go grab a copy of the book titled Travel to China | Everything You Need to Know Before You Go. I promise you won’t regret it!
*Note* Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may be compensated if you choose to use a service listed here. I don’t recommend anything I don’t personally use, though, so you can be confident that I’m sharing a valuable resource here!
Why Get a 10-Year China Visa?
The way this particular policy for China visas 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.
A 10-year visa 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 $140+ 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 there are two solutions that work fine.
If your passport is only recently expired, 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.
After a little while, though, you’ll have to get the visa transferred from your old passport to your new one. This will involve sending your passports to a Chinese consulate through a visa agency (such as Passport Visas Express) or in person.
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 is sometime granted for the case of 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.
And for those of you with a 10-year China business visa who are confused, when I say “work”, I mean coming into China and getting directly paid by a Chinese company for doing work in China. You can conduct business for your foreign company on a business visa, but you cannot work here as an employee.
This is more of a warning for tourists who come to China with a school on the promise of a work visa. They are told to work on their tourist visa until all the paperwork comes through.
This is a BAD idea.
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.