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China Tourist Visa for US citizens: Apply for the China Visa online now!
iVisa | 11 min read | Updated on Feb 15, 2024

China boasts a history that spans thousands of years, offering an unparalleled opportunity for American visitors to immerse themselves in ancient traditions, arts, and philosophy. From the iconic Great Wall of China to the magnificent Terracotta Army, the country's historical landmarks evoke a sense of wonder and curiosity for tourists.

Navigating the visa application process to enter the People’s Republic of China can seem daunting, especially when gathering the required documents and potentially undergoing biometric data appointments. This complete guide will provide all the necessary information!

Learn everything you need to know about getting a China Visa for US citizens below and apply instantly through our easy online platform or download the iVisa app for an even smoother experience!

china night shangai

Do US citizens need a visa for China?

Yes, as a US citizen you need a visa to enter China for tourism purposes.

Remember that if your main goal is to perform commercial and business activities, you might want to apply for a business visa instead. The same applies to those looking for academic experience, a student visa or temporary residence permit might better suit your needs. Find more info on the website of the Chinese Embassy in the United States.

What is the China Tourist Visa for US citizens?

The China Tourist Visa for US Citizens is a type of visa that allows American passport holders to enter China for leisure and tourism purposes. It is officially known as the L (Landscape) Visa. This visa category allows visitors to explore China's cultural heritage, experience its unique traditions, visit famous landmarks, and enjoy its natural beauty.

The visa request should be submitted well before the intended travel dates to allow sufficient time for processing and avoid any potential delays or complications.

Am I eligible to get a China Tourist Visa in the US?

Visa applicants from the US need to familiarize themselves with the specific requirements and procedures for getting a China Tourist Visa before planning their trip.

Listed below are the standard eligibility criteria the relevant entity processing a foreign citizen China Tourist Visa might consider:

  • Purpose of visit: The L Visa is issued for tourism and leisure purposes, so you must demonstrate that your trip to China is for sightseeing, visiting friends or family, or participating in non-business activities.

  • Valid passport: You need a valid US passport with at least six months of validity remaining beyond your intended departure date from China, and two blank pages.

  • Travel itinerary: Present a detailed travel itinerary and airline confirmation to support your travel dates, including flight reservations and hotel bookings. An invitation letter might be necessary if you’re staying with a host.

  • Enough funds: Show bank statements of the last three months to prove that you have sufficient funds to cover your expenses in China.

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

Chinese embassies can issue this document as a multiple-entry visa or single, with varying durations of stay depending on the applicant's needs and unique context.

The duration of each stay allowed on a China Tourist Visa ranges from 30 to 90 days per entry, and you must exit mainland China before your stay expires:

  • Single-entry: This visa allows one entry into China. The validity period is usually 3 months, meaning the arrival and departure dates should fall between that time window.

  • Double-entry: With a double-entry L Visa, you can enter China two times. The validity period is typically 3 to 6 months, depending on the consular officer's decision.

  • Multiple-entry: The multiple-entry L Visa grants you multiple entries into China within a specified duration. The validity period for this type of visa is often 6 months to 10 years, depending on various factors, including the applicant's travel history, the purpose of travel, and the consular officer's assessment.

China Tourist Visa requirements for US citizens

Now that we’ve listed out general recommendations to determine American traveler’s eligibility to get the China Tourist Visa, we’ll delve more in depth into the various requirements and documentation.

Necessary documents for the China Tourist Visa for US citizens

When applying for a China Tourist Visa (L Visa) as a US citizen, you must prepare a set of necessary documents to support your application:

  • Valid passport: Your US passport with at least six months of validity remaining beyond your intended departure date from China. It should also have one or two blank visa pages for the visa to be affixed.

  • Passport photo: A recent passport-sized photo compliant with the Chinese government requirements. To ensure this, you can use our affordable online passport photo service.

  • Travel itinerary: A detailed travel itinerary includes your flight reservations (round-trip), hotel bookings, and the intended dates of your stay in China.

  • Financial proof: Evidence of sufficient funds to cover your expenses during your trip to China. This could be in the form of bank statements or proof of income.

  • Letter of invitation (if applicable): If you are visiting China at the invitation of a family member or friend, you may need a letter of invitation from your host in China. The letter should include their contact information, details about your relationship, and the purpose of your visit.

  • Other supporting documents: You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances and the consulate's requirements, such as a copy of your travel insurance, a letter explaining the purpose of your trip, a birth certificate for children or minors.

China Tourist Visa requirements for children of US citizens

The China Tourist Visa requirements for children of US citizens are generally similar to those for adult applicants. However, there are additional considerations when applying for a China Tourist Visa for a child.

Here are the extra requirements:

  • Passport: The child must have their own valid US passport with at least six months of validity remaining beyond the intended departure date from China. If the child does not have a passport, they must apply for one before applying for the visa.

  • Visa application form: A completed visa application form must be filled out for the child. A parent or legal guardian should sign the form on behalf of the child.

  • Parental consent: If only one parent accompanies the child to China, a notarized letter of consent from the non-accompanying parent or legal guardian is necessary. This letter should grant permission for the child to travel to China and specify the travel dates and purpose.

  • Birth certificate: A copy of the child's birth certificate is usually required as proof of parentage.

  • Additional documents (if applicable): Additional documents, such as adoption papers or custody documents, may be necessary, depending on the circumstances.

China Tourist Visa passport requirements for US citizens

When applying for a China Tourist Visa (L Visa) as a US citizen, you need to ensure that your passport meets specific requirements set by the Chinese authorities:

  • Validity: Your US passport must have at least six months of validity remaining beyond your intended departure date from China. If your passport is set to expire within six months, you should renew it before applying for the visa.

  • Blank visa pages: Your passport must have at least one or two blank visa pages for the visa to be affixed. Some Chinese consulates may require two blank visa pages for visa issuance.

  • Good condition: Your passport should be in good condition and free from significant damage or alteration. Damaged passports may not be accepted for visa processing.

  • Previous visas: If you have previously traveled to China and have Chinese visas in your passport, ensure that those visas have not expired. Expired visas should not be in your current passport, and you should provide any old passports that contain valid Chinese visas when submitting your application.

China Tourist Visa photo requirements for US Citizens

When applying for a China Tourist Visa (L Visa) as a US citizen, it's crucial to adhere to the specific photo requirements set by the Chinese authorities.

Here are the essential photo requirements for US citizens applying for a China Tourist Visa:

  • Recent photo: The passport-sized photo submitted with your visa application should be taken within the last six months to ensure that it accurately reflects your current appearance.

  • Color photo: The photo should be in color, not black and white.

  • Background: The background of the photo should be plain white or light-colored, without any patterns or shadows.

  • Size: The photo's dimensions should be 48mm x 33mm (approximately 1.9 inches x 1.3 inches).

  • Facial expression: You must have a neutral facial expression, with both eyes open and visible. The mouth should be closed.

  • Head position: The photo should show your entire face, with the head centered and directly facing the camera.

  • Glasses and headwear: While prescription glasses are generally allowed, the lenses must not be tinted, and the frames should not cover your eyes. Avoid wearing headwear unless for religious or medical reasons; even then, it should not obscure your facial features.

  • Photo quality: For the China visa for US citizens to be processed without issues, the photo should be high-quality, with no smudges, creases, or red eyes.

Follow these photo requirements precisely to ensure your visa application is not rejected due to photo-related issues. Or simply use our handy and affordable digital photo service from the comfort of your own home!

China Great Wall

China Tourist Visa Application: How to apply in the US

To apply for the China Tourist Visa, you just follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Complete our simplified visa application form online or through our app with your travel details and personal information, such as gender, date of birth, and passport number.

  • Step 2: Pay the iVisa processing fee and submit the required documentation according to the instructions and tips you have received by email.

  • Step 3: Attend the embassy appointment with the documents and pay the government visa fee.

Then, simply wait for your visa approval email, and get ready to travel!

China Tourist Visa processing time for US citizens in 2023

The iVisa processing time for a Chinese Tourist Visa is around 30 days.

From then, the government processing can take another month. During peak travel seasons or holidays, the processing time may take longer due to increased visa applications and depending on the application location in the United States.

To ensure a smooth visa application process, it's advisable to apply well before your intended travel date. This way, you'll have sufficient time to handle any potential delays and ensure you obtain your Chinese Tourist Visa promptly.

Furthermore, individual circumstances can also play a role in visa processing times. Factors such as the completeness and accuracy of your visa application, previous travel history, and ties to your home country can influence the processing duration.

China Tourist Visa Fee: Cost of the visa for US citizens

The visa costs are divided into two parts, the iVisa service fee and the government visa fee.

iVisa application fee

Our service fee for this Chinese Visa is USD $182.99. This includes the following benefits:

  • Best chances of visa approval - Applying with iVisa maximizes your approval chances, ensuring an error-free application.

  • Flexible form completion - Fill out your forms at your own pace, take breaks, and save progress.

  • Guaranteed appointment scheduling - We’ll secure your visa appointment promptly, sparing you the search for available dates.

  • Expert agent support - Receive end-to-end agents´assistance for any doubt or worry during the process.

  • Real-time order tracking - Easily monitor your visa application process through your iVisa account.

Government service fee

The government at the time of writing is US$140, but this can change over time. To check the current government for this visa, start the application online and apply directly through our platform!

How to prepare for the China Tourist Visa interview for US citizens

Preparing for the China Tourist Visa interview is crucial to ensure a successful visa application process. Here are some essential tips to help US citizens get ready for their interviews:

  • Complete the visa application form: Fill out the visa application form accurately and truthfully. Double-check all the information to avoid any errors that could lead to delays or rejection.

  • Gather the required documents: Collect all the necessary documents to support your visa application. Typical documents include a valid passport, passport-size photographs, flight itinerary, hotel reservations, travel itinerary, financial statements, and proof of travel insurance.

  • Provide proof of sufficient funds: Show evidence of adequate financial means to cover your travel expenses in China. This can include bank statements, employment contracts, or salary slips.

  • Have a detailed travel itinerary: Present a well-planned travel itinerary with your intended entry and exit dates from China, along with your accommodation and sightseeing plans.

  • Dress appropriately: Dress neatly and professionally for the visa interview. Your appearance can contribute to the overall impression you make.

  • Arrive early and stay calm: Arrive at the visa interview location early to avoid any stress caused by being late. Stay calm and composed throughout the interview process.

My China Tourist Visa for US citizens was denied. What should I do?

It can be disappointing if your China Tourist Visa application has been denied as a US citizen. Still, there are steps you can take to understand the reasons for the denial and consider your options moving forward:

  • Review the denial letter: When your visa is denied, the consular officer will provide a denial letter explaining the reasons for the rejection. Carefully review this letter to understand the grounds for your application being denied. This information is crucial for determining the best course of action.

  • Identify the issues: Based on the denial letter, identify the specific issues that led to the rejection. Common reasons for visa denials include incomplete documentation, insufficient financial proof, lack of strong ties to your home country, or concerns about the purpose of the trip. Understanding the reasons will help you address them effectively.

  • Address the concerns: If possible, address the issues raised in the denial letter. This may involve providing additional documentation, clarifying your travel intentions, or demonstrating stronger ties to your home country.

  • Wait for an appropriate period before reapplying: In some cases, you may be able to reapply for the China Tourist Visa. However, it's essential to wait for an appropriate period before doing so. Applying too soon without addressing the previous issues may result in another rejection.

  • Reapply with a more robust application: If you decide to reapply, ensure your new application is comprehensive, accurate, and well-documented. Ensure to address the concerns raised in the previous denial and provide any additional information that may strengthen your case.

Contact us for more information about the China Visitor Visa

We are available to assist you and address any concerns you may have regarding the China visa for US citizens or any other visa-related services. Please do not hesitate to contact our customer service team at [email protected] or via online chat.

  • iVisa is NOT affiliated with any government agency. This app does not provide legal advice and we are not a law firm. None of our customer service representatives are lawyers and they also do not provide legal advice. We are a private, internet-based travel and immigration consultancy provider dedicated to helping individuals travel around the world. You may apply by yourself directly on the various government websites. The source of information: https://en.nia.gov.cn/

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