Chinese Visa Sample, Validity and Duration of Stay

Modified: 2016-08-06

Upon receiving your Chinese visa, please check the visa for accuracy immediately, and contact us if there is something wrong.

Please make a copy of your new visa, or take a picture and store somewhere!

I. Chinese visa sample: How to read information on your Chinese visa

Here is a typical Chinese visa:

  1. Visa type: L for tourist, M for business, Z for work.
  2. Number of entries: 'M' means multiple entry, '01' means single entry, '02' means double entry.
  3. Enter before: you must enter China before this date.
  4. Duration of stay: the number of days you may stay in China upon each entry. For some work visa (Z) or student visa (X), it may be '000', indicating the duration of stay will be determined upon entering China.
  5. Date of issue: the date your visa was issued.
  6. Place of issue: in this example, Houston.
  7. Your name: only the first initial will be printed here.
  8. Date of birth
  9. Passport number
  10. Machine coded region: please check your full name here, should be the same as in your passport.
  11. Visa number
Chinese Visa
Fig. 1 Sample Chinese visa.

II. Visa validity period and duration of stay

The visa validity period and duration of stay are two concepts that are often mixed up.

Validity period

Validity period refers to the date that the visa is still valid for use to ENTER China, indicated on your visa by the "ENTER BEFORE" date. It is not the date that you must leave China, but the date you must enter China.

This date is usually 10-year after issue for 10-year multiple entry visa, or 90/180 days for single/double entry visa.

Duration of stay

The duration of stay is the number of days you can stay in China after each entry, counting from the date of entry.

For example, John has a single entry visa showing ENTER BEFORE Nov-20-2007 and with a duration of stay 30 days. If John enters China on November 18, 2007, he can still stay in China for 30 days, that is, until December 17.

For some visa types (Z, S1, Q1), the duration of stay is "000 days", indicating that the holder of the visa must report to local police department upon entering China and convert the visa into a "resident permit", which acts as a temporary green card and allows for unlimited exit/entry.

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