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How do I obtain a tourist Visa from the US to visit China?

You can apply for a tourist visa to visit China at the Chinese Embassy or at one of the Chinese consulates in the United States. You should try to apply in person during office hours; no appointment is necessary. If you are unable to go yourself, you can send an authorized representative on your behalf but mailed visa applications are not accepted. In either case, you must complete an application form, include a passport set to expire no sooner than 6 months from your expected date of arrival in China, a passport photo and evidence of your upcoming trip (such as a plane ticket or hotel reservation). The average processing time is four working days. Rush service is available for an additional fee. After your visa is issued, you or your representative will need to pick up your passport from the Embassy or Consultate in person.

A tourist visa (or L visa) is generally valid for 90 days and allows you to stay in China for 30 days after your initial entry. There are several variations depending on whether you require multiple entries or an extended stay. For U.S. citizens, the cost for an L visa, regardless of the number of entries and the duration of one's trip, is $130 at the present time.

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last updated 2008.09.04
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