A Chinese visa is a permit issued by visa authorities of the People’s Republic of China in accordance with its laws and regulations to a foreign citizen for entry into, exit from or transit through Chinese territory. The Chinese visa authorities will issue a diplomatic visa, courtesy visa, service visa or ordinary visa according to the foreign citizen’s status, purpose of visit and type of passport.
China's Visa Authorities are:
1. Chinese embassies, consulates general, Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and in the Macao Special Administrative Region, and other resident organizations abroad authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are responsible for handling visa applications by foreign citizens for entry into and transit through Mainland of China and the Hong Kong or Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR).
2. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the local foreign affairs offices authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are responsible for issuance, change and extension of diplomatic and service visas and for issuance of a residence permit to holders of this type of visa.
3. The Ministry of Public Security, and the local public security bureaus authorized by it, are responsible for inspection on entry and exit of foreigners, issuance of visas at the port of entry, extension and change of ordinary visas, and issuance of residence permit to holders of ordinary visas already in China.
4. The Immigration Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is responsible for matters relating to foreigners’ entry into and exit from the SAR.
5. Public Security Police Force of the Government of Macao Special Administrative Region is responsible for matters relating to foreigners’ entry into and exit from the SAR.
How to read a Chinese visa?
(1) Passport: Original passport with at least six months of remaining validity and blank visa pages, and a photocopy of the passport's data page and the photo page if it is separate.
(2) Visa Application Form and Photo: One completed Visa Application Form with two recently-taken colour passport photos (bare-head, full face) against a light background attached. Please Click to see the following large photo for details.
(3) Proof of legal stay or residence status (applicable to those not applying for the visa in their country of citizenship): If you are not applying for the visa in the country of your citizenship, you must provide the original and photocopy of your valid or visa of stay, residence, employment or student status of the country where you are currently staying..
(4) Photocopy of previous Chinese passports or previous Chinese visas (applicable to those who were Chinese citizens and have obtained foreign citizenship): If you are applying for a Chinese visa for the first time, you should provide your previous Chinese passport and a photocopy of its data page.
If you have obtained Chinese visas before and want to apply for a Chinese visa with a renewed foreign passport that does not contain any Chinese visa, you should present the photocopy of the previous passport’s data page and the photo page if it is separate, as well as the previous Chinese visa page. (If your name on the current passport differs from that on the previous one, you must provide an official document of name change).
2. Supporting documents
Applicant's round trip flight ticket reservation and hotel reservation.
If applicants can't provide the hotel reservation, instead of staying at friend's, relative's place during holiday in China. Please provide the tourism invitation letter and a photocopy of the inviter's Chinese ID (Front & Back) or a photocopy of foreigner's residence permit and passport. The Invitation Letter should contain:
(1) Information on the applicant (full name, gender, date of birth, passport number etc.);
(2) Details on the planned visit (arrival and departure dates, place(s) to be visited, expenditure arrangement etc.);
(3) Information on the inviting entity or individual (name, contact telephone number, address, official stamp , the legal representative's signature or the inviter's signature).
3. Special notes
(1)The invitation letter may be in the form of fax, photocopy or computer printout, but the consular officer may require the applicant to submit the original of the invitation letter.
(2)If necessary, the consular officer may require the applicant to provide other documents or supplementary materials, or require an interview with the applicant.
(3)The consular officer will decide on whether or not to issue the visa and on its validity, duration of stay and number of entries in light of specific conditions of the applicant.
(4) For further details, please visit the web-site of the relevant Chinese Embassy or Consulate General.
Source: Chinese Visa Application Center