For entry into China, foreigners shall apply for visas from Chinese diplomatic missions, consular offices or other resident agencies abroad authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Visas are categorized as diplomatic visas, courtesy visas, business visas and ordinary visas. Business people usually use ordinary visas. According to the stated purposes of aliens' visits to China, the ordinary visas shall be marked with such Chinese phonetic letters as M visa, Z visa and F visa.
M visas are issued to persons who come to China for commercial and trade activities;
Z visas are issued to aliens and their accompanying family members who come to China for employment;
F visas are issued to aliens who are invited to China for a visit, inspection, lecture, business, scientific, technical or cultural exchanges, or for short-term advanced studies or internship, for a period not exceeding 6 months.
In case of urgent business, if the foreigner does not have enough time to apply for a visa at the Chinese agencies abroad, as long as he/she has an invitation letter issued by the authorized agency in China and an ordinary passport of a country with which China has diplomatic relations or official trade contacts, he/she can apply for the visa from the port visa agencies authorized by the State Ministry of Public Security of the PRC. Port visa agencies are located in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Dalian, Fuzhou, Xiamen, Xi'an, Guilin, Hangzhou, Kunming, Guangzhou (Baiyun Airport), Shenzhen (Luohu, Huanggang, Shekou), Zhuhai (Gongbei) and some other locations.
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 a recently-taken colour passport photo (bare-head, full face) against a white background attached (Photo Requirements for Chinese Visa Application)
(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 visa or certificate 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.)
Documents on the commercial activity issued by a trade partner in China, or trade fair invitation relevant entity or individual. The invitation letter should contain:
a) Information on the applicant (full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)
b) Information on the planned visit (purpose of visit, arrival and departure dates, place(s) to be visited, relations between the applicant and the inviting entity or individual, financial source for expenditures)
c) Information on the inviting entity or individual (name, contact telephone number, address, official stamp, signature of the legal representative or the inviting individual)
Application Procedure, Processing Time and Fees
Please visit Chinese Embassy/Consulate General's websites for more details based on your State of residence.
(1) Each item of the application form must be filled truthfully, clearly and completely. Any false information, missed items or illegible handwriting may lead to delay of the application processing or even refusal of the visa application.
(2) According to Chinese laws and regulations, visa officers make decisions on the validity period, number of entries, and the duration of each stay of a visa.
(3) According to Chinese laws and regulations, visa officers may interview certain applicants and collect their 10 fingerprints.
(4) Authoritative interpretation remains with the Embassy should there be any change to the information above.
For more details of the application of Z visa: http://bcms.cndy.org/servlet/PagePreviewServlet?type=1&articleid=118135&nodeid=9962&siteid=48
For more details of the application of F visa: http://bcms.cndy.org/servlet/PagePreviewServlet?type=1&articleid=118148&nodeid=9962&siteid=48