Most of the times, Chinese Visa is confusing since there are so many types of visa that you need to understand before applying. With this post, Dalian Laowai is trying to break down all the visa types in China that applied for foreigners.
C VISA FOR FOREIGN CREW MEMBERS
The Chinese mainland C Visa is issued to foreign crew members (eg. those working on aircraft, trains and ships), or motor vehicle drivers engaged in cross-border transport activities, or to their accompanying family members.
D VISA FOR PERMANENT RESIDENCE (CHINESE GREEN CARD)
The D visa (or “China Green Card”) is issued to those who intend to reside in China permanently. It’s basically a visa that, while continuing to acknowledge you as a foreign passport holder, allows you to enter and leave China freely, staying for as long as you wish, and working as you wish.
According to a regulation issued in 2012, green card holders are supposed to enjoy the same benefits as Chinese citizens, from employment and investment to housing, social insurance, and even education for their children.
F VISA FOR “NON-COMMERCIAL”VISITS
China’s F Visas are issued to people who are visiting the Chinese mainland for the purpose of exchanges, study tours and similar activities. Note that this is not the same as the L Visa, aka the “Tourist Visa”.
G VISA FOR TRANSIT
The G Visa is a 72-hour visa issued to those who intend to transit through China using air, land and sea routes. Citizens of certain countries are allowed to apply for a 72-hour visa exemption once in China if flying into and out of certain cities’ airports; everyone else must apply for a G Visa before coming to the country.
J VISAS FOR JOURNALISTS
The Chinese visa system offers two different kinds of journalism visa depending on the length of stay intended by the journalist and the nature of their employment
J1 visa for long-term journalists
This is issued to resident foreign journalists working for foreign news organizations, and intending to stay for over 180 days
J2 Visa for short-term journalists
Issued to foreign journalists who intend to visit China to report for a period of up to 180 days.
L VISA FOR TOURISTS
The “Tourism Visa” is issued to tourists and other people visiting China for leisure or personal reasons (eg.to visit a family member – although the Q and S visas can be used for that purpose if the stay is to be a particularly long one)
M VISA FOR BUSINESS PEOPLE
The M visa is issued to those who intend to go to China for commercial and trade activities.
Q VISAS FOR SPOUSES AND FAMILY MEMBERS OF CHINESE PERMANENT RESIDENTS/ CITIZENS
Q Visas are issued to the spouses and family members of either Chinese citizens or foreigners with Chinese permanent residence who want to go to China for a family reunion or for the purposes of foster care. There are two kinds, depending on how long the person intends to stay in China. If the person on the mainland is actually a foreigner who is in China to work or study and has a residence permit, then their spouse or relatives should apply using an S Visa.
Q1 Visa for spouses and family members (long-term stay)
To apply for a Q1 Visa, the intended duration of stay in China must exceed 180 days. “Family members” refers to spouses, parents, sons, daughters, spouses of sons or daughters,brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandsons, granddaughters and parents-in-law. Note that the more distant the relatives you are visiting, the more limited your stay may be; this is at the discretion of the visa officer.
Q2 Visa for spouses and family members (short-term visit)
For a Q2 Visa, the intended duration of stay in China must not exceed 180 days. Note that the more distant the relatives you are visiting, the more limited your stay maybe; this is at the discretion of the visa officer. The visa can be applied for from within China.
R VISA FOR SOMEONE WHOSE SKILLS ARE IN DEMAND (THE 1,000 TALENT PLAN)
The 1,000 Talent Plan of Foreign Experts, also known as the National Recruitment Program of Global Experts, is a scheme set up by the Chinese government to encourage high-end foreign talent to relocate to China to work on long-term or short-term programs across the country, in management or research positions. It is a sub-set of awider ’1,000 Talent Plan’ that also includes incentives for ethnically Chinese people (including Chinese nationals working abroad or outside the mainland) to work in the country
S VISAS FOR SPOUSES AND FAMILY MEMBERS OF FOREIGNERS WORKING OR STUDYING IN CHINA
S Visas are issued to those who intend to go to China to visit foreign relatives (spouses, parents, sons or daughters under the age of 18, or parents-in-law) who are working or studying in China, or who intend to go to China for other private affairs. There are two kinds, depending on how long the person intends to stay in China. If the person on the mainland is actually a Chinese citizen or a foreigner with a permanent residency permit, then their spouse or relatives should apply using a Q Visa.
S1 Visa for long-term family visits
For an S1 Visa, the intended duration of stay in China must exceed 180 days.
S2 Visa for long-term family visit
For an S2 visa, the intended duration of stay in China must be no more than 180 days.
X VISAS FOR STUDENTS
X Visas are issued to those who intend to go to China to to study. There are two kinds, depending on how long the person intends to stay in China
X1 Visa for long-term students
Issued to those who intend to study in China for a period of more than 180 days.
X2 Visa for short-term students
Issued to those who intend to study in China for a period of no more than 180 days.
Z VISA FOR WORKERS
The Z Visa is issued to those who intend to work in China.
DIPLOMATIC AND SERVICES VISA
These visas are issued to foreign government officials, as well as the staff of diplomatic missions and the United Nations who are travelling to China for official business or accreditation
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