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A visa is an officially approved document issued by authorized bodies for the government, in accordance with the laws of the country, to foreign citizens applying to enter, leave or transit through the country.
In line with international law and practice, any sovereign state is entitled to make its own decisions as to whether to allow a foreign citizen to enter or leave its borders, and to issue or refuse to issue a visa, or to revoke an issued visa according to its own laws.
Based on Chinese laws and regulations, Chinese consular officials may decide on the type of visa, number of entries, validity period and duration of stay, and may also refuse a visa application or revoke an issued visa.
1. The necessity to apply for a Chinese visa if a foreign citizen is planning to visit China
Foreign citizens should have applied for and obtained appropriate visas before entering China unless they are visa-exempt according to certain agreements and regulations.
You are advised to ensure that your visa is valid before travel. If your visa has expired or the visa has insufficient number of entries, you need to apply for a new visa.
2. China's Visa Authorities are:
(1) Chinese diplomatic missions, consular posts, Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Macao Special Administrative Region, and other resident organizations abroad authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are responsible for handling visa applications by foreign citizens for entry into and transit through Chinese mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China.
(2) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the local foreign affairs offices authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are responsible for issuance, change and extension of diplomatic and service visas and for issuance of residence permit to holders of diplomatic and service visas.
(3) The Ministry of Public Security and the local public security authorities authorized by the Ministry of Public Security are responsible for inspection on entry and exit of foreigners, issuance of visas at the port of entry, extension and change of ordinary visas, and issuance of residence permit to holders of ordinary visas, who are already in China.
(4) The Immigration Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is responsible for matters relating to foreigners’ entry into and exit from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Its Website address: http://www.immd.gov.hk
(5) Macao Public Security Police Force Immigration Service. Unless visa exempted according to bilateral agreements, a foreigner may apply for a visa to enter Macao upon arrival at the Port of Entry. Website address of the Macao public security police force: http://www.fsm.gov.mo/psp/cht/main.html