How To Get a Chinese Visa With A UK Passport

Step by step guide on how to get a Chinese visa with a UK Passport, if you are planning on visiting China.

Travelling to China can be an exciting adventure, filled with the opportunity to explore rich history, indulge in unique cuisine, and witness stunning landscapes. However, before you can embark on this journey, there’s a critical step you need to take: obtaining a Chinese visa.

For UK passport holders, the process of securing a visa can be straightforward, provided you follow the correct procedures and submit all required documents.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the entire process of obtaining a Chinese visa with a UK passport, covering everything from the required documents to the costs involved.

What is a Chinese Visa?

A Chinese visa is an official document issued by the Chinese government, granting foreign nationals’ permission to enter, stay, or transit through China.

The type of visa you need depends on the purpose of your visit, whether it’s for tourism, business, or family reunification. It’s crucial to apply for the correct visa type to ensure a smooth travel experience.

Types of Chinese Visas for UK Passport Holders

  • Tourist Visa (L Visa): This is the most common type of visa for travellers wishing to visit China for sightseeing, visiting friends, other personal purposes and short-term visits up to 60 days.
  • Business Visa (M Visa): This visa is for individuals travelling to China for business-related activities, such as attending meetings, conferences, or trade fairs. Valid for 60 days.
  • Work Visa (Z Visa): If you plan to work in China, you’ll need a Z visa. This includes both employment and internships.
  • Student Visa (X Visa): There are two types of student visas: X1 for long-term study (more than 180 days) and X2 for short-term study (less than 180 days).
  • Family Reunion Visa (Q Visa): This visa is for foreign nationals who are family members of Chinese citizens or permanent residents. Valid for 90 days.

However, in this post we will mainly focus on the L or tourist visas. This is the type of visa I applied for when I visited China and I assume anyone reading this post is going to China as a tourist or for short term travel.

Eligibility for Chinese Visa

To be eligible for a Chinese visa with a UK passport, you must:

  • Have a valid UK passport with at least 6 months validity left and blank pages for visas.
  • Provide details of your roundtrip booked flight and hotel reservations in China.
  • Have sufficient finances to cover your stay in China.
  • Meet the eligibility criteria for the specific visa type you are applying for.
  • Not have any criminal record or immigration offences.
  • Be in good health with no contagious diseases.
  • Apply at the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre (VAC) in your home country.
  • Meeting the eligibility criteria is essential for your visa application to be approved.

How to Apply for a Chinese Visa

Follow these key steps to apply for your Chinese visa as a UK passport holder:

1. Determine the Type of Visa Needed

Choose the appropriate visa category based on your purpose of visiting China – tourist, business, work, study etc. Each has specific eligibility criteria.

How to Apply for a Chinese Visa with a UK Passport

  • Prepare Your Documents: Gather all required documents and ensure they are correctly completed and signed.
  • Book an Appointment: Schedule an appointment at the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre (CVASC) in the UK. You can do this online through the CVASC website.
  • Submit Your Application: Attend your appointment and submit your application, along with all required documents and the visa fee.
  • Pay the Visa Fee: Fees vary depending on the visa type and duration of stay. Check the CVASC website for the most up-to-date fee information.
  • Wait for Processing: Visa processing times vary, but it typically takes about four working days for regular service. Express and rush services are available for an additional fee, reducing processing times to two or one working days, respectively.

Cost of Chinese Visa for UK Citizen

The cost of a Chinese visa for UK passport holders varies depending on the visa type, duration of stay, and the processing service selected.

As of my last update in April 2023, the standard fee for a tourist visa is £130. Express and rush services are available for an additional fee of £30 and £55, respectively. It’s important to check the CVASC website for the most up-to-date fee information.

Pay the exact fee amount as per current exchange rates. Keep the payment receipt for your records.

Schedule a Visa Application Centre (VAC) Appointment

Schedule an appointment at the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre (VAC) in your home country. In the UK, there are 6 Chinese VACs.

  • London
  • Manchester
  • Edinburgh
  • Belfast
  • Cardiff
  • Newcastle

Book your appointment well in advance to get your preferred date and time.

Attend the Biometrics Appointment

Go to your scheduled VAC appointment with your original passport, photocopies, completed forms and supporting documents.

Your fingerprints and facial biometrics will be collected at the VAC. Your application will then be sent to the Chinese consulate for processing.

Track Application Status and Get Passport Back

You can track your visa application status online using the unique reference number provided at the VAC.

Once approved, your passport with visa affixed will be couriered back to you. Review all details on the visa to ensure there are no errors.

Following these steps correctly will help streamline your Chinese visa application process.

Time Required for Chinese Visa Processing

It takes around 4-5 working days for a tourist or business Chinese visa to process through standard service.

The different visa processing times are:

  • Tourist visa: 4-5 working days

You can pay additional fees for expedited visa processing in 2-3 working days for tourist and business visas.

Avoid applying too close to your date of travel in case more processing time is required. Apply at least 1 month in advance for work and student visas which take longer.

Interview Requirements for Chinese Visa

Most UK passport holders do not need to attend an in-person interview for their Chinese visa application.

Interviews are only required in specific cases:

  • First-time applicants with long validity visas like 10-year business or work visas
  • Applicants with a history of immigration offences or criminal records
  • Citizens of certain countries on a watchlist
  • When additional screening is needed for high-risk applicants

The Chinese consulate will contact applicants required to appear for an interview. The interview takes place at the Visa Application Centre or the consulate. You will need to provide biometrics and answer questions about your background and purpose of visiting China.

Bring any additional documents requested to your visa interview. Honesty and being well-prepared is key to a successful interview.

Key Tips for Chinese Visa Application

Follow these tips to ensure a smooth visa application process:

  • Provide accurate details on all forms. Any discrepancies will delay processing.
  • Book appointments at the VAC well in advance to get your preferred date.
  • Organize documents carefully in a folder so nothing gets misplaced.
  • Pay the exact visa fee amount based on current exchange rates.
  • Check the status online regularly and follow up on delays.
  • Verify all visa details once you get your passport back.
  • Keep photocopies of your passport and visa separate from originals.
  • Be polite and patient with VAC staff – they are there to help.

Chinese Visa Application in the UK Wrap-up

Obtaining a Chinese visa with a UK passport is a straightforward process, provided you follow the steps outlined in this guide.

Ensure you apply for the correct visa type, submit all required documents, and pay the applicable fees. Remember, preparation is key, and applying in advance can save you from unnecessary stress. With your Chinese visa in hand, you’re one step closer to exploring the incredible sights, sounds, and tastes of China.

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  1. […] China is an amazing and interesting place to visit. The landscape is varied and you’ll have plenty to do and see, such as hiking the Great Wall and tobogganing down it (which I recommend) or wandering the impressive grounds of the Summer Palace and Forbidden City. […]

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