New visa requirements: invitation letter and itinerary
From August 1, 2012, some new document requirements will be required for application of Chinese tourist and business visa.
Please pay special attention to the items that must be included in the invitation.
There is a sample invitation letter for family/private visit visa application at the end of this page.
This page has been updated to reflect changes implemented on Sept. 1, 2013.
You may refer your Chinese host to the Chinese version of this page, which may help him/her better when preparing the invitation letter for you.
If you can read Chinese, we strongly suggest you to read the Chinese version instead.
Important: The consulate may call the person in China to verify information in the invitation letter. So please ask your friend/relative in China to answer phones with strange phone numbers. If they do not answer, your application will be on hold or returned!
I. Tourist Visa (L Visa)
Document(s) from ONE of the following categories are required:
- An Invitation Letter for Tourist Group of Invitation Letter for Tourist by an Authorized Tourism Unit;
- photocopies of the round trip airline ticket AND hotel reservation. Receipts and intinerary from online booking are fine.
Regarding hotel reservation, YES, it is now needed at Houston consulate, in combination with the flight itinerary. However, at Chinese Embassy in Washington DC, hotel reservation is optional.
If you rent or own a house/apartment in China, copy of lease agreement or apartment/house ownership document may be used in lieu of hotel reservation.
- If you will be on a cruise trip, you may provide your cruise receipt AND itinerary in lieu of flight. On a lot of occasions, people stay on cruise ship during the night. However, if your trip involves multiple days on land and you do not go back to the cruise ship during the night, please provide hotel reservations.
II. Family Visa (Q2, Q1) and Private Visit Visa (S1, S2)
- An Invitation Letter issued by individuals in China, and
- photocopy of the ID of the individual (both sides are required). If the invitor is not a Chinese citizen, please provide copies of passport and residence permit.
Invitation letters from companies, corporations, institutions are not good for these types of visa, so do not use.
The invitation letter issued by individuals in China shall include the following items:
- Personal information of the applicant: name, gender, date of birth.
- Information concerning the applicant's visit to China: purpose of the visit, date of arrival and leaving, places to visit, relationship between the applicant and the inviter, and who will bear the cost of the applicant's accommodations in China.
- Information of the inviter: name of the unit or individual, phone number, address.
The invitation letter needs not to be original, it can be a scanned copy and sent to you by email. If necessary, the consular officer will ask the applicant to submit the original invitation letter, or to provide some supporting and supplementary documents, or schedule an interview, or contact the person who invites you for verification.
III. Business Visa (M), Visit Visa (F)
Special note:Currently the consulate issues M visa with 10-year multiple entries, but only 1-year multiple entries for F visa.
One of the following documents is required:
- An Invitation Letter of Duly Authorized Unit or a Confirmation Letter of Invitationissued by an authorized Chinese agency;
- An invitation Letter issued by the Chinese local governments, companies, corporations and institutions other than above-mentioned Chinese agency.
The invitation letter shall include the following items:
- Personal information of the invitee: name, gender, date of birth.
- Information concerning the invitee's visit to China: purpose of the visit, date of arrival and leaving, places to visit, relationship between the applicant and the inviter, and who will bear the cost of the applicant's accommodations in China.
- Information of the inviter: name of the unit, phone number, address.
- Official seal stamp (usually round, with red ink) of the inviting organization and signature of the legal representative.
When drafting the invitation letter, consider simply listing the required items.
In this way, both you and the consul are unlikely to miss something. The letter does NOT have to be pretty, it just needs to have the required items!
The invitation letter needs not to be original, it can be a scanned copy and sent to you by email. If necessary, the consular officer will ask the applicant to submit the original invitation letter, or to provide some supporting and supplementary documents, or schedule an interview.
The consulate does random check by calling your host in China to verify. Failure to answer the phone calls may cause delay or even rejection of your application.
IV. Proof of Kinship (Q1, S1, S2)
Copies of documents showing the relationship between applicant and invitor are required for family based residence visa (Q1) and private visit visa (S1, S2).
Short term family visit (Q2) does not need proof of kinship documents.
Non-family based S1, S2 visa also do not need this kind of documents.
The documents include, but not limited to, marraige license, birth certificate,
adoption paper, court issued documents, Chinese HuKou.
Sometimes you may need more than one document and through a third person to bridge the applicant and invitor (e.g. grandparents and children relationship).
"Family members" refers to spouses, parents, sons, daughters, spouses of sons or daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandsons, granddaughters and parents-in-law.
V. Sample invitation letter
Notice: Form-like letter is no longer accepted at Houston consulate. We are not responsible for the approval/disapproval/delay of your visa application arising from using this sample letter.
I, xxx, current address: xxx, phone number: xxx
xxx, (male/female), born on xx/xx/xxxx,
(repeat for each person invited)
to come to xxx city between (date) and (date) and visit me (or attending a wedding, etc), and the cost of the trip will be paid by xxx.
(You may add things you want to say/explain to the consul, this section is entirely optional.)
(Please provide a copy of Chinese ID card of the invitor, both sides; non Chinese citizen invitor please provide copies of passport and residence permit)
(If you have multiple applicants, you may list their information on one letter. However, you need to make multiple copies of both the letter and the Chinese ID card of the invitor, as each application is processed independently of other applicants, even from the same family.
VI. Questions and Answers
Can I change/cancel my hotel reservation after I get my visa?
Definitely. You can even cancel the entire trip.
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