When applying for a Chinese tourist visa, you need to bear in mind that only the tourist (L) and transit (G) visas are the only ones that you can apply for without help from a business, government, or academic organization.
In most cases, you will only need a Chinese tourist visa (L) to freely travel in most parts of China. In instances when you are traveling with in an organized tour group, you might not have an individual visa on your passport. In this case, the group will be issued a group L. However, you will still need the invitation letter by the agency. You only need to provide your details to the travel agency before your trip. If you are traveling to Hainan province via a tour group, no visa is needed.
Here now are the requirements for applying for a Chinese tourist visa:
1. Passport should for valid for at least 6 months with still available blank pages
2. Truly completed Visa Application Visa Application Form. Every column should be filled out, indicating N/A, if not applicable. Your application could be delayed or refused due to an incomplete form.
3. A recent passport-sized photo with white background pasted on the application form
4. Proof of legal stay or residence status (for those not applying in their country of citizenship)
5. Documents indicating itinerary including roundtrip air ticket booking record and proof of hotel reservation
6. Invitation letter issued by a relevant entity or individual in China, stating the following:
a. Applicant information
b. Planned visit information
c. Information on inviting entity or individual(name, contact number, address, official stamp, signature of legal representative of the entity or the inviting individual)
For tourism, you may also submit the following documents on a case-to-case basis:
7. Certification letter from the working unit of the applicant (indicating the name and contact number of the working unit, income statement of the applicant) or original 6-month bank statements of the applicant.
8. For second time tourist applicants, they should provide a personal statement stating their purpose of revisit, the places they are visiting this time as well as the previous places they have visited before.
9. When traveling to Tibet, they must secure a Tibet Travel Permit. They can get this by securing one from the Tourism Bureau of Tibet Autonomous Region.
To apply for a Chine Tourist Visa, you can come in person to the Chinese Embassies, Consulates, and other Chinese diplomatic missions. If you cannot come in person, you can send a representative, a travel or visa agency to act on your behalf. Mailed applications will not be accepted or refused in most Chinese embassies or consulates.
Processing time is usually 4 working days. For express service, an additional US $20 will be collected for second or third working day release. For rush service, additional US$30 will be charged for one day release.
The fees may vary enormously depending on your nationality and number of entries. However, nationals of the following countries are covered by the Visa Fee Abolition Agreement: Pakistan, Maldives, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Poland, Yugoslavia and Slovakia.