The china visa application process can be a confusing one. Failure to apply for the right category may result in a delay or cancellation of a trip. Understanding the difference between a Chinese tourist visa and a Chinese business visa can save applicants time and trouble.
All travelers to China must fill out a china visa application prior to their trip. This rule applies to all U.S. citizens and residents across the board, regardless of the nature of the trip. China visa applications can be obtained from several sources, including:
* U.S. Post Offices.
* Online passport processing centers.
* Private passport processing outlets.
* Your local Chinese embassy office.
The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China differentiates between a “business” trip and a “pleasure” or “tourist” trip to China. It defines “business” as a visit to conduct “an investigation, a lecture, to do business, scientific-technological and culture exchanges, short-term advanced studies or internship for a period of no more than six months.” Any visitor who falls into one of these categories must apply for a Chinese business visa. A Chinese business visa is also known as an “F” class visa.
The Chinese embassy defines a “pleasure” trip as coming to China “for sightseeing or visiting family members or friends or for other personal affairs.” U.S. citizens/residents in this category must obtain a Chinese tourist visa. This classification is known as an “L” visa.
Chinese business visas (“F” visas) are granted in three types. Single-entry visas are typically valid for three to six months. A holder of this type can enter China only one time and stay for the time specified on the visa.
Applicants who plan to enter the country on more than one occasion can apply for the second or third type of Chinese business visa. A Double-entry visa allows a holder to enter China twice during the specified time. They are typically valid for six months. Holders who intend to enter the country three or more times can request a Multiple-entry visa. The Multiple-entry visa is usually valid for six to twelve months. Under special circumstances a 24 month Multiple-entry visa may be granted. Applicants requesting this extension must meet specified criteria and are subject to the discretion of the Chinese consulate.
No business of any type can be conducted by a person holding a Chinese tourist visa. This type of visa is granted strictly for pleasure and for the purposes of visiting family/friends. Any person caught conducting business while visiting China with a Chinese tourist visa may be subject to fines, prosecution and/or deportation.
Like the F-class visa, a Chinese tourist visa can be granted as a Single-entry, Double-entry or Multiple-entry permit. The times of validity are the same for both the L-class and the F-class.
China visa application forms are the same for both Chinese business visas and Chinese tourist visas. The form has a section dedicated to the nature of a particular trip or entry/entries. Several categories are listed for “nature of visit” to China. Applicants must check off which category/categories apply to a particular trip/trips. An applicant who is unsure what type of China visa he/she requires need only check off the appropriate box(es). The Chinese consulate will issue the appropriate visa in response.