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Types of visa

Updated: Dec 8, 2017 China Legal Information Center Print

Based on purposes for visa, Chinese visas include diplomatic visa, service visa, courtesy visa, and ordinary visa. Diplomatic and service visas shall be issued to foreigners who enter China for diplomatic or service purposes; and courtesy visas shall be issued to foreigners who merit courteous treatment for their special identities. The scopes of issuance and methods for issuance of diplomatic, courtesy and service visas shall be determined by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ordinary visas of the corresponding type shall be issued to foreigners who enter China for purposes other than diplomacy or service, such as work, study, family visit, tourism, business, and talent introduction. The types and methods for issuance of ordinary visas shall be determined by the State Council.

According to the relevant Chinese legal provisions at present, in light of the purposes for foreigner’s application for entry, the ordinary visas are divided into 12 categories and 16 types. Different categories are differentiated in the Chinese phonetic alphabet;

(1) The C visa is issued to crewmembers performing duties on board an international train, aircraft or vessel, and the accompanying family members of vessel crewmembers, and vehicle drivers engaged in international transportation services;

(2) The D visa is issued to persons who come to China for permanent residence;

(3) The F visa is issued to persons who come to China for exchanges, visits, study tours or other relevant activities;

(4) The G visa is issued to persons who transit through China;

(5) The J1 visa is issued to resident foreign journalists of permanent offices of foreign news agencies in China; the J2 visa is for foreign journalists who come to China for short-term news coverage;

(6) The L visa is issued to persons who come to China for travel; persons who come to China for group travel can be issued Group L visas;

(7) The M visa is issued to persons who come to China for commercial and trade activities;

(8) The Q1 visa is issued to family members of Chinese citizens and family members of foreigners with permanent residence status in China who apply for residence in China for family reunion, as well as for persons who apply for residence in China for fosterage or other purposes; the Q2 visa is issued to relatives of Chinese citizens living in China, or relatives of foreigners with permanent residence status in China, who apply for a short-term visit;

(9) The R visa is issued to foreigners of high talent who are needed, or specialists who are urgently needed, by the State;

(10) The S1 visa is issued to the spouses, parents, children under the age of 18 or parents-in-law of foreigners residing in China for work, study or other purposes who apply for a long-term visit to China, as well as for persons who need to reside in China for other personal matters; the S2 visa is issued to family members of foreigners staying or residing in China for work, study or other purposes who apply for a short-term visit to China, as well as to persons who need to stay in China for other personal matters;

(11) The X1 visa is issued to persons who apply for long-term study in China; the X2 visa is issued to persons who apply for short-term study in China;

(12) The Z visa is issued to persons who apply for work in China.

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