Types of Visas

Chinese visas are classified as: diplomatic visa, courtesy visa, service visa and ordinary visa. Classified by the purpose of visiting China, ordinary visas issued to foreign nationals are further classified into eight types: residence visa, professional visa, study visa, visit visa, tourist visa, transit visa, crew-member visa and journalist visa. Each type of visa is marked by the first phonetic letter of its name’s Hanyu Pinyin, some plus a number after the letter, such as: Z, X, F, L, G, C, J-1 and J-2. Ordinary visas are issued to the following nationals:

1.    Visa D to foreign nationals granted permanent residence in China;

2.    Visa Z to foreign nationals who come to China to take up posts or employment and to their accompanying family members;

3.    Visa X to foreign nationals who come to China for education, advanced studies or internships for over six months;

4.    Visa F to foreign nationals who are invited to China for visits, inspection tours, lectures, business, scientific and cultural exchanges, short-term refresher courses and internships for no more than six months;

5.   Visa L to foreign nationals who come to China for sight-seeing, visiting relatives or other private business (A group visa may be issued to a group of nine or more foreign nationals who are on a sight-seeing trip to China);

6.    Visa G to foreign nationals who transit through China;

7.    Visa C to crew members of trains, aircrafts and ships on international travels, flights or voyages and to their accompanying family members.

8.    Visa J-1 to resident foreign correspondents in China; Visa J-2 to foreign correspondents on specific temporary reporting assignments to China.

Foreign nationals in China are only allowed to engage in permitted activities in accordance with the certain types of visas they have been granted.