Most citizens need to apply for a visa to travel to China. Therefore, we talk about the procedures necessary to apply for a tourist visa and the exceptions to this requirement. You can also find information on 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 traveling to a third country and having to stay in a Chinese airport for less than 24 hours will not have to apply for a visa. On the other hand, people with the following nationalities can make a stopover for up to 72 hours and leave the airport at no cost:

  • A: Albania, Germany, Argentina, Austria, Australia
  • B: Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria
  • C: Canada, Chile, South Korea, Croatia, Cyprus
  • D: Denmark
  • E: 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: Macedonian, Malta, Mexico, Montenegro
  • N: New Zealand
  • P: Poland, Portugal
  • Q: Qatari
  • R: United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Romania, Russia
  • S: Serbia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland
  • U: 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
  • E: The Savior
  • G: Guatemalan
  • 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, you 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:

  • A: Austrian, Australia
  • C: Canada
  • D: Denmark
  • E: 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

Members from Germany have the same right, South Korea y Russia. In this case, the group has to be a minimum of two people and they can stay up to 21 days.

Lastly, 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, including Peru, Ecuador or Bolivia, need to apply for a visa in any circumstance.

Types of visa

Depending on the reason for the trip, we find different types of visa, which are named after a letter:

FPeople invited to China for non-profit exchanges, visits and other activities.
MFor business and commercial activities.
LFor tourism or visit of friends.
QMembers of a Chinese family or foreigners residing in the country.
STo visit relatives who are working or studying in China.
ZFor work, aimed at people hired by a Chinese company.
GTravelers who are in transit to a third country.
CForeign crew members in trains, planes or ships, and their companions.
XTo study in the country.
RAliens 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, the F visa was requested for this activity, 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 entries allowed, the times you can enter and exit in 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 tourist visa, it is necessary to present the following documents at the nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate, as currently it is not possible to do it online:

  • Original passport with a minimum validity of six months at the time of application, as well as two blank pages.
  • Photocopy of the passport page where the personal data appear.
  • Application form filled out along with a recent passport-size photo.
  • If you are not in your country of origin, certificate of legal status: residence, work, student, etc.
  • If you have had Chinese nationality, original and photocopy of the previous Chinese passport or visa.
  • Round-trip plane ticket.
  • Hotel reservation of at least half of the stay or invitation letter from the Chinese Tourism Agency.
  • If you are unemployed, a bank account with at least € 1.000 and € 100 for each day of stay in mainland China.

If you are visiting a Chinese friend, you will need the host's identity card, an invitation letter from the host, and a round-trip plane ticket.

In the case of Spain and the rest of the Schengen area countries, 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 single entry visa 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 the 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 of 7 to 30 days, a period in which it remains isolated.

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

  • Health certificate issued by a licensed 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. Recommended for all visitors are the following:

  • Tetanus-diphtheria
  • MMR (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, as it is unhealthy.

In cities like Beijing there are sometimes high levels of pollution. At such times, exercising outdoors is not recommended. In addition, the elderly and children should protect themselves with a mask.

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

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

Questions from users

How long does a visa for China take?

The regular service takes 5 working 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 express (2 days) shipping. However, in some countries like Spain these options are not available.

Where can I get a visa in Madrid and Barcelona?

En Madrid You can find the Chinese Visa Application Service Center at Calle Agustín de Foxá, 26, piso 4A. In the case of BarcelonaYou 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 need not be any problems. However, to apply for a work visa, you may be required to obtain a criminal record certificate.

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 two times. It is advisable to do it with at least seven days of margin, as well as to consult the regulations of each city.

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