Types of Visas

Chinese visas fall into four types: diplomatic visa, courtesy visa, service visa and ordinary visa. Depending on the purpose of the visit to China, ordinary visas are further divided into the following 12 sub-types and marked with relevant Chinese phonetic alphabets:

(1) C Visa issued to foreign crew members of means of international transportation, including aircraft, trains and ships, or motor vehicle drivers engaged in cross-border transport activities, or to the accompanying family members of the crew members of the above-mentioned ships.

(2) D Visa issued to those who intend to reside in China permanently.

(3) F Visa issued to those who intend to go to China for exchanges, visits, study tours and other activities.

(4) G Visa issued to those who intend to transit through China.

(5) J1 Visa issued to resident foreign journalists of foreign news organizations stationed in China; and J2 Visa issued to foreign journalists who intend to go to China for short-term news coverage.

(6) L Visa issued to those who intend to go to China as a tourist. If travelling with an organized tour group, a group tour-specific L Visa may be issued.

(7) M Visa issued to those who intend to go to China for commercial and trade activities.

(8) Q1 Visa issued to those who are family members of Chinese citizens or of foreigners with Chinese permanent residence and intend to go to China for family reunion, or to those who intend to go to China for the purpose of foster care; and Q2 Visa issued to those who come to China for a short stay for the purpose of visiting relatives who are Chinese citizens residing in China or foreigners with permanent residence in China.

(9) R Visa issued to those who are high-level talents or whose skills are urgently needed in China.

(10) S1 Visa issued to those who intend to go to China to visit foreigners working or studying in China to whom they are spouses, parents, sons or daughters under the age of 18, or parents-in-law, or to those who intend to go to China for other private affairs; S2 Visa issued to those who intend to visit their family members who are foreigners working or studying in China, or to those who intend to go to China for other private matters.

(11) X1 Visa issued to those who intend to study in China for an extended period of time; X2 Visa issued to those who intend to study in China for a short period of time.

(12) Z Visa issued to those who intend to work in China.

Foreign nationals are only allowed to perform activities as specified on their visas.