Traveler help

Tips, documentation and requirements to travel to China

Most citizens need to apply for a visa to travel to China. Therefore, we talk about the necessary procedures to apply for a tourist visa and exceptions to this requirement. You can also find information about the recommended vaccines to enter the country.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

Required Documentation

In most cases you need to apply for a visa to travel to China. However, there are some exceptions. The only countries that can go to this territory with passport Ordinary are Singapore, Brunei and Japan. They have a limit of 15 days.

Any citizen who travels to a third country and has to remain at an airport in China for less than 24 hours will not have to apply for a visa. On the other hand, people with the following nationalities can stop up to 72 hours and leave the airport at no cost:

  • TO: Albania, Germany, Argentina, Austria, Australia
  • B: Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria
  • C: Canada, Chile, South Korea, Croatia, Cyprus
  • D: Denmark
  • AND: United Arab Emirates, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, United States, Estonia
  • F: Finland, France
  • G: Greece
  • H: Holland, Hungary
  • I: Ireland, Iceland, Italy
  • J: Japan
  • L: Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg
  • M: Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Montenegro
  • N: New Zealand
  • P: Poland, Portugal
  • Q: Qatar
  • R: United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Romania, Russia
  • S: Serbia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland
  • OR: Ukraine

Likewise, members of countries that maintain diplomatic relations with China can stay up to 6 days without a visa if they travel through Hong Kong or Macao to the Zhujiang River Delta. The countries that are not related to this State are these:

  • B: Belize, Burkina Faso
  • C: Vatican City
  • AND: The Savior
  • G: Guatemala
  • H: Haiti, Honduras
  • K: Kiribati
  • I: Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands
  • N: Nauru, Nicaragua
  • P: Palau, Panama, Paraguay
  • R: Dominican Republic
  • S: Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Swaziland
  • T: Tuvalu

Some countries are exempt if the duration of the trip is less than 15 days, travel with a group of at least five people and go to the Province of Hainan. The tour must be supervised by a travel agency registered in Hainan and authorized by the National Tourism Administration. The following territories have this advantage:

  • TO: Austria, Australia
  • C: Canada
  • D: Denmark
  • AND: Spain, United States
  • F: Philippines, Finland, France
  • H: Holland
  • I: Indonesia, England, Italy
  • K: Kazakhstan
  • M: Malaysia
  • N: Norway, New Zealand
  • S: Sweden, Switzerland
  • T: Thailand

The same right has the members of Germany, South Korea and Russia. In this case, the group has to be a minimum of two people and can stay up to 21 days.

Finally, foreigners with a Permanent Residence Card or with a Residence Permit in China, as well as holders of an APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum) card, can enter without a visa.


Apart from the exceptions explained above, most countries, among which are Peru, Ecuador or Bolivia, need to apply for a visa in any circumstance.

Visa types

Depending on the reason for the trip, we find different types of visas, which have a letter as their name:

FPeople invited to China for non-profit exchanges, visits and other activities.
MFor business and commercial activities.
LFor tourism or visit friends.
QMembers of a Chinese family or foreigners residing in the country.
STo visit relatives who work or study in China.
ZFor work, aimed at people hired by a Chinese company.
GTravelers who are in transit to a third country.
CForeign crew members on trains, planes or ships, and their companions.
XTo study in the country.
RForeigners authorized by China.
JCorrespondents and journalists.
DPermanent residence permit.

Therefore to travel like a tourist you need a type L visa, while to do business or buy merchandise you need type M. Previously for this activity the F visa was requested, but this has changed.

The permit will have three different characteristics: the validity reflects the period for which you can use it. The number of tickets allowed, the times you can enter and exit at that time. The maximum stay, the number of days you can stay in the country.

It should be remembered that if you go to Hong Kong or Macao it is considered an exit, as they are special administrative regions. From Hong Kong you can apply for a visa to China through agencies.


To apply for a visa as a tourist, it is necessary to present the following documents at the nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate, because it is currently not possible to do it online:

  • Original passport with a minimum validity of six months at the time of the application, as well as two blank pages.
  • Photocopy of the passport sheet where personal data appears.
  • Application form filled out along with a recent passport-sized photo.
  • If you are not in your home country, certificate of legal status: residence, work, student permit, etc.
  • If you have had Chinese nationality, original and photocopy of the previous Chinese passport or visa.
  • Roundtrip plane ticket.
  • Hotel reservation of at least half of the stay or invitation letter from the Chinese Tourism Agency.
  • If you are unemployed, bank account with at least € 1,000 and € 100 for each day of stay in mainland China.

If you are going to visit a Chinese friend, you need the host's identity card, a letter of invitation from the host and a round trip plane ticket.

In the case of Spain and other countries in the Schengen area, the price of a regular application is € 126.55. This figure includes the visa fee and the service fee. To know the rest of the countries covered by this treaty, you can visit the following article: The Schengen area and the member states of the European Union.

In the United States, a visa for a single entry has a cost of 140 dollars, while in Mexico 730 pesos are paid.

Other formalities

It is possible to travel to China with a baby or child. To apply for a visa, minors must present the Family Book or the Birth Certificate. They must have their own passport.

As for pets, you can go with dog. However, it must go through a quarantine for 7 to 30 days, during which time it remains isolated.

If you decide to take your pet, you will need the following documentation:

  • Health certificate issued by a registered veterinarian stating that the animal is in good condition and vaccinated against rabies
  • Vaccination certificate
  • Export certificate issued by a government veterinarian

Vaccines and medical requirements

The only mandatory vaccine to travel to China is that of the yellow fever, but only in people from a country where this disease exists. The recommended for all visitors are the following:

  • Tetanus-Diphtheria
  • Triple viral (measles, rubella and mumps)
  • Hepatitis A

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain lists some tips sanitary One of them is not to drink tap water, since it is unhealthy.

In cities like Beijing, high levels of pollution sometimes occur. At that time it is not recommended to exercise outdoors. In addition, the elderly and children should protect themselves with a mask.

Health care is precarious in rural areas. As for the cities, the hospitals are of quality, but in the public they do not speak English. They are also not cheap. Therefore, it is advisable to take out travel insurance.

There is no malaria in big cities or tourist areas. The areas where there is the greatest risk are Hainan and Yunnan.

User Questions

How long does it take for a visa to China?

The regular service takes 5 days to process the visa, while the postal service does it in 10. If you pay an extra, you can request semi-urgent (3 days) and urgent (2 days) shipping. However, in some countries like Spain these options are not available.

Where can I get a visa in Madrid and Barcelona?

In Madrid you can find the Chinese Visa Application Service Center on Calle Agustín de Foxá, 26, 4th floor. In the case of Barcelona, ​​you can go to the Consular Office of Carrer de Lleó XIII, 34.

Can you travel to China with a criminal record?

For a tourist visa there is no need to have problems. However, to apply for a work visa you may be asked for a criminal record.

Can I renew the tourist visa in China?

The tourist visa is usually 30 days by default. Once in China, you can renew it up to twice. It is advisable to do it with at least seven days of margin, as well as consult the regulation of each city.

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Finally, we have selected the previous and next article of the block "Prepare the trip"so you can continue reading:

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