Information on Chinese Visas

Please note: The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the entities or individuals whose names appear on the following lists. Inclusion on this list is in no way an endorsement by the Department or the U.S. government. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. The information on the list is provided directly by the local service providers; the Department is not in a position to vouch for such information.

Entry & Exit

You must obtain a visa prior to arrival, and have a passport with at least six months’ validity remaining.  The lack of either will result in a fine and immediate deportation.

U.S. citizens traveling to China can apply for a ten-year multiple-entry visa, useful for repeated travel or trips to Hong Kong or Macau with returns to China.  This visa may be in an expired passport if the traveler also carries a valid passport.

You must also have a valid visa to exit China and you must leave China before the expiration of the listed duration of stay.  If you overstay in China, you may be detained and fined.  If your visa has expired or will expire before you can depart China, you must apply for a visa extension from the Entry/Exit Bureau before attempting to leave the country.  Requests for extensions from the Entry/Exit Bureau can take some time and may not be expedited to meet your travel needs.

Visit the website of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China for current visa information.

The Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), requires special permits for tourist travel, usually obtained through a Chinese travel agent.  If you do enter a restricted area without the requisite permit, you could be fined, taken into custody, and deported for illegal entry.  To learn more about specific entry requirements for Tibet or other restricted areas, check with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of China.

Transiting China
U.S. citizens may stay in mainland China for up to 72 hours without a Chinese visa if transiting certain international airports.  Consult the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C. for a current list of eligible airports. Transiting without a visa requires a valid passport, a visa for your onward destination (if necessary), and an onward plane ticket departing from the same airport. You must remain in the same municipality or province while in China.  Make sure to get an endorsement stamp at the immigration desk before leaving the airport.

During Your Stay
Failure to register with the police within 24 hours of arrival in the country, whether traveling or residing in China, could result in fines and deportation.  Hotel staff will usually register you upon check-in.  However, if you are staying in a private home with family or friends, take your passport to the local police station to register.

Chinese law requires that you carry your valid U.S. passport and Chinese visa or residence permit at all times

Entry and exit requirements are strictly enforced, as are restrictions on activities allowed by any particular visa class.  Police, school administrators, transportation officials, and hotel staff may check your visa to make sure you have not overstayed.  If you overstay your visa’s duration of stay, you may be denied service by hotels, airports and train stations, be charged a RMB 500 fine per day up to a maximum of RMB 10,000, and face possible detention.

If you encounter problems in Tibet, the U.S. government has limited ability to provide assistance, as the Chinese government does not usually authorize U.S. government personnel to travel there, even to provide consular assistance to U.S. citizens.

Dual Nationality
China does not recognize dual nationality.  The Chinese government often will not permit the U.S. Embassy to provide consular assistance to you if you have entered China on any type of travel document other than a U.S. passport with a valid Chinese visa.  Chinese law requires you to depart China on the same passport used when entering.  However, there is a risk that even dual nationals who enter China with a U.S. passport and a valid Chinese visa may be denied access to U.S. consular representatives if they are detained.

Chinese authorities generally consider a child born in China of a Chinese parent to be a Chinese citizen, even if the child was issued a U.S. passport at the time of birth.  In such cases, prior to departing China with your child, you should contact the local Public Security Bureau and/or Entry-Exit Bureau for information on obtaining a travel document.