China Visa for U.K. Passport Holders
iVisa | 11 min read | Updated on Oct 03, 2023

china tourism architecture

China stands as a unique entity on the global stage, where the echoes of ancient customs resonate in harmony with the rhythm of modern innovation, weaving an enchanting melody that captures the hearts of all who visit.

For UK citizens ready to visit this remarkable country, there’s a major bridge that needs to be crossed: acquiring a valid visa for China.

Consider this guide your reliable roadmap in navigating this process before using our award-winning platform. We provide a full visa service that includes an expert review of every application to ensure maximum success.

We'll detail the required documentation, guide you meticulously through the application steps, and equip you with all the necessary information to ensure your visa application proceeds without a hitch. Let’s get started!

What is the China Tourist Visa?

Often referred to as the L Visa, the China Tourist Visa is a travel document that enables UK citizens to visit China for tourism purposes. It's essentially an official permit issued by the Chinese government, allowing you to explore the cultural richness, historical monuments, picturesque landscapes, and culinary delights China has to offer.

Do UK citizens need a visa for China?

If you do not hold Chinese citizenship, then you will need a visa to enter China from the UK. There are different visa types depending on your travel needs.

  • The Tourist Visa (L Visa) is your gateway to China's captivating landscapes, deep-rooted history, and distinct culture - perfect for globetrotters.

  • The Business Visa (M Visa) is what you need if you're interested in trade or commercial ventures in the bustling business landscape of China.

  • The Student Visa (X Visa) is the key for those who've secured a spot in a Chinese university and are ready to dive into a unique educational experience.

  • The Work Visa (Z Visa) is the necessary pick for those heading to China for employment opportunities, tailored for ambitious career enthusiasts.

  • The Family Visa (Q Visa) serves as the ideal pathway for those who look forward to spending time with their loved ones residing in China, be they Chinese citizens or permanent foreign residents.

If you have an onward confirmed ticket on an international flight and are directly transiting through the country with a stay of less than 24 hours, and you don’t plan to leave the airport, you will not need a visa.

If you’re not sure which visa to apply for, our handy visa checker tool can help you determine the best visa type that suits your travel needs.

Am I eligible for getting a China Tourist Visa in the UK?

As an individual seeking a visa for China from the UK, you are eligible to apply for it from your country of residence. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need for your application:

  1. Passport: You must hold a valid UK passport with a minimum of six months validity beyond your planned departure date from China. The passport should also have at least two blank pages.

  2. Return or onward ticket: You need to present evidence of your plans to leave China, such as a booked return flight or an onward ticket to another destination.

  3. Financial stability: You should be able to show that you have adequate funds to support yourself throughout your stay in China. This could be in the form of bank statements or pay slips.

  4. Travel itinerary: Your application should be supported with a clear and detailed plan of your activities in China, including places you plan to visit, accommodation reservations, and any other relevant details.

Please note that these are the basic requirements. Depending on individual circumstances and at the discretion of the Chinese authorities, additional documents may be requested.

As a UK passport holder, you do not need a separate visa to travel to Hong Kong and Macau if the duration of your visit is less than 90 days.

How long is the China Tourist Visa valid for UK citizens?

The validity of a China Tourist Visa is dependent on the number of entries you choose.

  • Single-entry visa: It’s valid for 90 days after issuede and permits a stay of up to 60 days Per Entry. Ideal for those planning a quick and memorable holiday.

  • Double-entry visa: It’s valid for 90 days after issued and allows a stay of up to 60 days Per Entry. It's the perfect choice if you're planning to leave mainland China for Hong Kong or Macau and later re-enter the country.

  • Multiple-entry visa: It’s valid for 90 days after issued and lets you stay for up to 60 days Per Entry. A great option for long-term travelers or those making frequent visits.

In special cases, the Chinese embassy may grant 5-year or 10-year multiple-entry visas.

The final decision on your visa validity and the number of entries rests with the issuing embassy.

China Tourist Visa fee: Cost of the visa for UK citizens

The visa fee levied by the Chinese government is dependent on the number of entries you want and the processing time you prefer. You can visit our website for a better understanding of the costs involved.

The visa fee is separate from iVisa's service fee, which is USD $181.99.

Choosing iVisa brings several benefits:

  • Time savings: We handle the complex visa process, freeing you to plan your China adventure.

  • Support: Our customer service team is available 24/7 to answer all your queries.

  • Efficiency: We review your documents before submission, reducing the chance of errors or rejections.

  • Peace of mind: With our experience and expertise, you can rest easy knowing your visa application is in good hands.

We’ve made your China visa application even easier with the introduction of the iVisa mobile app. You’ll receive real-time alerts and stay up to date on the status of your application with just a few taps.

What is the China Tourist Visa processing time in 2023?

The turnaround time for a China Tourist Visa for UK nationals is influenced by factors such as the visa category and the current workload at the Chinese embassy or consulate.

Generally, the processing time for a Chinese Tourist Visa can take up to 30 days once your application form reaches the hands of the Chinese authorities.

We encourage you to start the application process 1-2 months ahead of your intended entry date into China. Starting too soon might result in the visa expiring before your actual travel day. On the other hand, doing it too late might place you in a situation where unexpected visa processing delays could force you to reschedule your journey.

china city landscape

China Tourist Visa application: How to apply in the UK

Securing your China Tourist Visa doesn't need to be a stressful affair. We're here to simplify it all for you, transforming the process into a handful of manageable steps:

Step 1: Fill out our online application form here, providing key information such as employment details, your planned travel schedule, and more.

Step 2: Assemble the necessary paperwork, which includes a photocopy of your UK passport, a passport-sized photo, and maybe even a health declaration form. To ensure you don't miss anything, we'll provide a comprehensive checklist of documents you need to compile. One of our visa specialists will then meticulously go through your collected documents.

Step 3: Make an appearance in person to present your application and submit fingerprints at the Chinese Visa Application Center in London, Manchester, or Edinburgh.

China Tourist Visa requirements in the UK

To get a valid Chinese visa, there are a number of requirements in the application process. As a UK citizen, you’ll need more than your passport to enter China. Let’s take a closer look at everything you could possibly be asked for.

Necessary documents for the China Tourist Visa for UK citizens

Here's a rundown of the essential documents you'll need to gather for your Chinese visa application:

  1. Passport: Your original passport needs to be submitted, which must be valid for at least six months and contain a minimum of two blank visa pages. Also, a color photocopy of the biographical page is needed.

  2. Visa application form and photo: The visa application form should be filled out online, and a recent color passport photo should be attached.

  3. Copy of previous Chinese visa or passport: This applies to UK nationals who have obtained a Chinese visa before. Additionally, if you were previously a Chinese citizen and have now changed your citizenship, you must provide a copy of your previous visa or passport.

  4. Travel and accommodation information: Prepare to present your round-trip flight itinerary and hotel booking. If you plan to stay with friends or relatives during your visit, you'll need an invitation letter and a copy of the host’s Chinese ID (both sides) or their residence permit and passport.

Individuals who aren't British citizens but live in the United Kingdom can also apply for a Chinese visa. To do this, they need to provide valid proof of their legal status in the UK. This could be in the form of proof of employment or student status, or a residence certificate.

China Tourist Visa requirements for children in the UK

When it comes to securing visas for children, a few more pieces of documentation are needed.

  • Child's birth certificate: A copy of the child's birth certificate is mandatory.

  • Identity documents of parents/guardians: Identity proof of each parent or legal guardian, in the form of passports or ID cards, should be included in the application.

  • Permission for travel: Written consent from both parents or legal guardians authorizing the child's travel to China is an absolute requirement.

China Tourist Visa passport requirements for UK citizens

Here are the key requirements for those holding UK passports:

  1. Your passport needs to be valid, with at least six months left beyond your planned departure date from China.

  2. Make sure there are at least two blank visa pages for any necessary stamps when you enter or leave China.

  3. If you've been to China before with a different passport, you'll need copies of your previous China visas.

  4. Your passport should be in good condition, without any damage that makes the information hard to read or its use difficult.

If you have dual nationality, you will have to:

  • Apply with your UK passport if you have one, or your EU passport if that's the case, or the passport that has the UK visa/permit if you don't have a UK or EU passport.

  • Provide both original passports, a copy of the biographical pages from each, and a copy of an identity card if you have one. If you can't provide both original passports, an original statement explaining why this is not possible may be accepted, as long as it's for a reason other than being used for travel.

China Tourist Visa photo requirements for UK citizens

These are the photo requirements for the China visa application:

  • Background: A plain, white background without any borders around the edges is necessary for the photo.

  • Quality: A high-resolution, colored photo that is not more than 6 months old should be provided. The photo should be clear, without any grains or pixels.

  • Size: The photo should be 48mm x 33mm in size.

  • Face positioning and expression: Your face should take up 70% to 80% of the photo. It should be centered and directly facing the camera. A neutral facial expression is preferred, clearly visible and with both eyes open.

  • Glasses: If you wear glasses, they should not have heavy frames or tinted lenses that could obscure your eyes.

  • Headwear: Unless for religious reasons, headwear is not permitted in the photo. Even in cases where headwear is worn, it should not obscure any part of the face.

There’s an easier way to get a government-compliant photo: through our online digital photo service! It’s an affordable and convenient way to make sure your passport photo is up to standard. And you can do it from the comfort of your home.

How to prepare for the China Tourist Visa interview in the UK?

UK visa applicants may be asked to meet with a consular officer at the Chinese embassy or consulate as part of the application process. The following are helpful pointers for a successful interview.

  1. Know your facts: The purpose of the interview is to authenticate your travel plans and confirm your compliance with visa regulations. Have a clear idea about your travel itinerary, accommodation details, and intended activities during your stay in China.

  2. Keep time: It's essential to be punctual for your meeting, if not a bit early. This shows respect for your interviewer's schedule and helps you avoid any last-minute stress.

  3. Dress smart: There's no strict dress code, but appearing neat and well-groomed can leave a positive impression.

  4. Be honest and consistent: Honesty is important when answering questions during the interview. Stick to the point and make sure your responses are consistent with what's in your visa application.

  5. Remain respectful: Keep calm throughout the interview, and always be polite when answering. If a question is not clear, don't hesitate to ask for further explanation.

My China Tourist Visa in the UK was denied. What should I do?

If your application for a China visa is rejected, it can be a frustrating setback to your travel plans. China visa denials can occur for several reasons, and understanding why can provide a roadmap to a successful future application.

Firstly, obtain the reason for your denial. This information is crucial and will help you address the issue effectively in your subsequent application. The Chinese embassy or consulate general usually provides this reason, so be sure to request it if it's not explicitly given.

Next, consider seeking expert assistance. At iVisa, we have extensive experience dealing with visa applications, denials, and the reapplication process. We can provide a comprehensive review of your case, offer guidance, and help you make the necessary adjustments to your application.

Remember, though, while we can significantly improve your chances of a successful visa application, the final decision lies with the China embassy or consulate general.

Where can I contact you for more questions about the visa?

Need more information about the Chinese Tourist Visa? Or details about the local public security bureau or provincial foreign affairs office for the city you plan to visit? Our customer support team is on standby and ready to help. Shoot us a message on our live chat or drop us a line at [email protected].

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