Chinese Visa Example, Validation and Duration of Stay
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Read your Chinese visa
Upon receiving your visa, you should check the information on your visa for accuracy.
Chinese visa validation
Validation is the period of time, during which a visa is good for the holder to enter China. Validation starts from the date of issurance and the expiration date is shown as ENTER BEFORE on the visa. This date is not the date that you must leave China, but the date you must enter China. The validation period is usually 90 days for single entry visa, 180 days for double entry visa or 6-month multiple entry visa, 1 year or 2-years for 1-year multiple or 2-year multiple entry visa.
Number of entries designates how many times a visa can be used to enter China (mainland) within the validation period. For those who enter from Hong Kong or Macau into mainland China, please note that each time you do so it counts as one entry.
Duration of stay
The duration of stay sets the maximum days of stay in China 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.
It is very common for the consulate to issue an tourist visa (L) with a 60-day duration of stay for US citizens, but for non-US citizens mostly it is still 30 days.
Can I stay in China for more than 30 days with a tourist/family visit visa?
Yes, you can. The duration of stay for a tourist/family visit visa is normally 30-60 days. If you can justify longer stay (e.g. born in China and have family tie there) and indicate the expected dates of stay in China on the application form, you may be issued a visa with a longer duration of stay, upto 180 days for single entry visa, or 90 days double or multiple entry visa. For ordinary tourist, it is very hard to get more than 60 days stay.
If you are issued a visa with duration of stay less than you applied, and still want to stay even longer, you may apply for extension at local public security bureau (police station). The cost is about $150 equivalent.
Please note that although requests for longer stay are usually granted, the consulate officers have the right not to issue a visa for the duration you requested, and their decisions are final.
General notes on visa application
How to apply
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General visa information
Tourist/family visit visa
2-year family visit visa
2-year business visa
Non-US passport holder
You may use self-taken pictures for visa application (please print at photo stores), see visa photo requirement.
For US citizens, a 1-year multiple visa is as easy to get as a single visa, and costs the same.
Frequent travelers, please make sure you have at least one blank visa page.
You may make a single payment to us for consular fee, service fee and shipping.