Updated last year

Ready to visit China? This big and versatile country offers a lot to see and experience. But first, you will need a valid “L” visa (tourist visa). Here’s how to apply for a tourist visa to China.

Tourist visa

Type “L” visa is issued for those travelling to China for sightseeing, in group tours or to visit friends and family. It is typically valid for 90-180 days from the date of issue and allows up to 60 days of stay per visit. Most visas will be issued for 30 days and can be further extended. If you wish to stay in the country longer than 30 days, it’s recommended to make it clear in the application. You may get a single or multiple entry visas.

 Good to know:

US passport holders are eligible for tourist visas valid for up to ten years with the maximum of 60 days per visit (a ten year-visa is not a guarantee).

The Chinese Consulate reserves the right to issue visas with limited entry or shorter periods of stay and validity depending on various factors.

Travel visa checklist for individual travellers

To apply for a tourist visa to China, you will be required to submit the following documents to the Chinese Embassy in your country:

  • A passport valid for six months after the return date
  • A duly completed visa application form
  • A passport sized photo
  • A letter of invitation (when visiting friends and family)
  • Return plane tickets and itinerary
  • A visa application fee (varies depending on the country of origin)

Additional documents may be required.

Travel visa checklist for tour groups

A collective tourist visa (or Tourist Group Visa) is issued to a group of at least five travellers organised by a travel agency who will enter and exit the country together.


The Tourist Group Visa will be stamped onto the Group Tourist Form and not into individual passports.

The documents needed to apply for the collective visa to China include:

  • a letter of invitation from the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), from a region or a municipality under the Chinese central government or a travel agency accredited by the Chinese authorities;
  • completed Tourist Group Visa Form in triplicate (forms are available online or at Chinese embassies and consulates); and
  • original passports arranged in the same order as the travellers’ names appear on the Group Tourist Visa Form.

Note that fees will apply.

 Useful links:

Chinese Visa Application Center
Chinese Embassy in the US

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.