A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a Chinese Tourist Visa

Planning a trip to China? Before you can embark on your adventure, you’ll need to obtain a Chinese tourist visa. Don’t worry, though, we’re here to guide you through the process and make it as smooth as possible.

How to Get a Tourist Visa for China from the US

The China tourist visa, also known as visa Type L, is designed for people visiting China for vacation, tourism, or to spend time with family living there. However, it’s important to note that this visa does not allow you to work, study, or conduct business activities.

To obtain a tourist visa, you’ll first need to complete an application form online. Once that’s done, make an appointment to submit your form and supporting documents in person at your nearest Visa Office. The Chinese Embassies and Consulates in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Washington D.C. are the places where you can find these Visa Offices.

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How Long Can You Stay in China as a Visitor?

With a tourist visa, you can stay in China for up to 90 days. However, there are options to extend your stay. You can apply for a double entry visa, valid for 6 months, or a multiple-entry visa, valid for 1 year.

Are Tourist Visas Open for China?

Yes, following the Covid-19 pandemic, China began issuing visas to foreigners in March 2023. This means that applications for the China tourist visa for US citizens are now being accepted.

China Tourist Visa Requirements

Before you can apply for your China tourist visa, you’ll need to gather the necessary documents. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A valid passport with at least 6 months of validity remaining and at least two blank pages.
  • A photocopy of the bio page of your passport.
  • Round-trip air tickets and proof of hotel reservations or an invitation from a travel agency.
  • Your completed COVA Visa Application Form.

You may also need to provide additional documents such as proof of residence, a health declaration, and a signed form confirming your US residency.

Applying for Your Tourist Visa to China – Step-by-Step

Now that you have your documents in order, it’s time to apply for your tourist visa. Follow these steps:

  1. Gather all your documents and check the remaining validity of your passport.
  2. Visit the China Online Visa Application (COVA) website and fill in all the required forms.
  3. Make an appointment to submit your application at a Visa Office in the US by visiting the Appointment for Visa Application Submission (AVAS) website.
  4. Attend your appointment and bring all completed forms and required documents.
  5. If your application is successful, pay the fee when you collect your visa.
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How Long Does It Take to Get a China Tourist Visa?

The average processing time for a Chinese visa is just 4 working days. However, if you’re in a hurry, you can pay an extra fee of $25 to get your visa in 3 working days.

China Tourist Visa Fees for 2023

The China tourist visa for US citizens costs $185 USD. This fee is the same for other types of visas as well. If you need your visa processed more quickly, you can pay an additional $25 for express turnaround, which reduces the average processing time by one day.

Safe, Convenient, and Low-Cost Travel Spending in China with the Wise Card

While you’re applying for your visa, it’s a good idea to consider how you’ll manage your expenses while in China. The Wise card is an excellent choice for covering your spending. It’s a contactless card accepted in over 150 countries.

Wise is a money service business that offers a multi-currency account, international money transfer services, and a debit card. With a Wise card, you’ll enjoy the following benefits:

  • Your dollars will be automatically converted to Chinese yuan at the mid-market exchange rate whenever you spend. There’s just a small conversion fee, or no charge if you already have the currency in your Wise account.
  • Fee-free foreign ATM withdrawals up to $100 per month (ATM operators may charge their own fee).
  • A Wise account that enables you to send money to China with low, transparent fees.

Order your Wise card today for a one-time fee of $9.

How to Get a 10-Year Tourist Visa to China

If you have family living in China and plan to visit regularly, you might want to consider the 10-year tourist visa. This multiple-entry visa allows you to come and go as often as you please, with a maximum stay of 60 days per visit.

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To obtain a 10-year tourist visa, you’ll need to apply at the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in the US. The application process is similar to that of the standard tourist visa, although you may be required to provide additional documentation.


Q: How long can you stay in China with a tourist visa?
A: With a tourist visa, you can stay in China for up to 90 days. However, you can also apply for a double entry visa or a multiple-entry visa to extend your stay.

Q: How long does it take to process a China tourist visa?
A: The average processing time for a Chinese visa is 4 working days. If you need it faster, you can pay an additional fee for expedited processing.

Q: How much does a China tourist visa cost for US citizens?
A: The China tourist visa for US citizens costs $185 USD. There is also an option to pay an additional fee for express turnaround.


Now that you have all the information you need about obtaining a Chinese tourist visa, you’re ready to fill out your application form and book your appointment at the visa center. Remember to also consider the Wise card for convenient and cost-effective travel spending while in China. Safe travels!

A Complete Guide to Getting a Chinese Tourist Visa (2023)

Sources used for this article:

  1. iVisa – China tourist visa
  2. Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Malaysia – Notice on New Adjustments to Chinese Visa and Entry Policies (March 2023)
  3. Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States – Requirements for Chinese Visa Application
  4. Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States – Visa Processing Time & Fees
  5. iVisa – 10 Year China Visa for a US Citizen
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Sources checked on 16-Aug-2023.

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