CHINA STUDENT VISA APPLICATION

You will need to apply for a China student visa before coming to study Chinese at LTL.

As a fully accredited Chinese language school, LTL can issue study visa invitations for the whole duration of your course in China.

The process of applying for a Chinese visa is different in every Chinese consulate and embassy. It will also depend on your nationality, the country you live in and your previous Chinese visa history.

The Chinese visa application process is famously opaque and even official information given by government authorities often is incorrect or outdated.

However, we at LTL have many years of experience in providing visa support and will guide you through the process.

Getting a Chinese Visa - What you should know

Visa Invitation Documents

Invitation letters – School admission notice + visa invitation letter
Accommodation – Get your accommodation confirmation letter
Payment confirmation – Course documents to support your application
Originals – We can organize delivering the originals via DHL

Visa Support

Experienced – We have guided thousands of students
Support – Let us advise you on how to apply
Guidance – If you have any questions, just ask us
Visa agencies – We know which ones are reliable

Visas for China are quite complex and it is important to pay attention when organizing them. The bureaucracy is often very inefficient.

However as long as you study at an accredited Mandarin school like LTL, the authorities welcome foreign students to the People’s Republic of China and you will be able to get a visa for your course.

We have had more than 5,000 students learning Mandarin at LTL so far and only one couldn’t come to China because of visa issues and that was because he left applying for the visa until the last week and did not follow our advice on how to do it. The other 2999+ all got theirs.

Once you book your Chinese course with us, we will ask you to send us a copy of your passport and will then issue your visa invitation documents.

Which kind of visa you should apply for will depend on how long you are coming to China for, your nationality and which embassy you are planning to apply at. We have tried to answer the most common visa related questions in our FAQ section below.

Student Visa China – Document Delivery

Unless you specifically ask us to do otherwise, we will always send you the electronic copies of your Chinese visa documents first so you can apply with them and save yourself the DHL courier charges.

If you want your Chinese visa to be valid a bit longer than your course to travel around China, it is possible to organize this.

Electronic DocumentsOriginal Documents
FREEDHL charges, depending on your location

Student Visa China – What Are The Costs?

Visa Invitation Documents

Visa DocumentPrice
Visa for <90 daysFREE
Visa for >90 days1200 CNY
Visa extension documents in ChinaFREE

Extended Visa Validity

DurationPrice
<14 daysFREE
14-31 days500 CNY
>31 daysN/A

Student Visa China – FAQ’s

How long does it take to apply for a China Student Visa?

This depends very much on the embassy you are applying at. Some offer 24 hour express rush service, while others can take up to a week or longer.

It’s always a good idea to apply early to avoid potential problems. Also remember that for example a 24 hour rush service doesn’t mean that the embassy is obliged to process your visa application within a day. If they have any questions or are just very busy that day it might still take longer, so always try to give yourself as much extra time as possible.

How long in advance can I apply for the visa?

This depends on the embassy, however in most Chinese embassies you will only be allowed to apply for a Chinese visa three months before your planned arrival in China.

What is a visa application centre?

Many Chinese embassies have outsourced the first steps of the visa application process to private companies that run visa application centres.

This means that you might not be going to the embassy to apply for your visa, but instead to a visa application centre who will check your documents and then pass them on to the embassy. Unfortunately, sometimes visa application centre staff are not that familiar with visa rules and if you have the option to do so we always recommend to apply directly at the embassy.

What does the visa application for look like?

This is the general Chinese visa application form, though the consulate you will apply at might have a slightly different template, so we recommend you to download it from their website.

How much does a China Student Visa cost?

Visa application costs at the embassy vary a lot from country to country and can also frequently change.

The embassy will be able to tell you. The money they will charge you is one of the few things that Chinese embassies usually communicate very well and transparently.

Should I use a visa agency?

Not all countries have good Chinese visa agencies so if there isn’t one in your country then do not bother. However, if there is an experienced and reliable Chinese visa agency in your country, it is usually a good idea to use them. Chinese embassies are in general very unreliable at communicating what exactly is needed at the moment to apply for a visa. An experienced Chinese visa agency knows what the current situation is at your local consulate and can advise you in advance which additional documents might be required and how to get them.

An embassy might ask you to provide your travel and health insurance documents, flight bookings or any other kind of stuff they might come up with – or nothing at all. It all depends on the visa officer. This is different at each consulate, frequently changes and is usually not published anywhere. However, a good visa agency will know, as they apply for Chinese students visas every day and are familiar with what visa officers currently want. Having a visa agency check your documents before applying can often save you several wasted trips to the application centre. At some embassies visa agencies also receive preferential treatment and can apply for visas faster and with fewer documents required than for people who apply themselves.

Do I need an accommodation booking?

Yes at most embassies you will need to show an accommodation booking for your intended stay in China.

Chinese embassies have very specific requirements on what an accommodation confirmation should look like and the ones issued by hotels, Airbnb or private landlords are often not accepted. For that reason an accommodation confirmation will always already be included in your China student visa invitation documents from LTL.

Do people study Chinese on a tourist visa?

Yes many people who are on a tourist (L) visa also learn Mandarin. L stands for “lüyou” in Chinese (travel).

What is a Chinese study visa called?

A Chinese study visa is called an X visa. X stands for “xué xí” (study). There are many other kinds of visa, like F visas for business or cultural visits, S visas for visiting relatives and so on.

Sometimes an embassy might issue you a random kind of visa that you didn’t actually apply for. Usually this is not a problem though, but do ask us if you were given something that looks a bit strange.

We have no idea why, but in our experience especially Chinese consulates in Russia have a tendency to issue the wrong kind of visas.

Can someone else submit and pick up a visa for me?

This is possible. A travel agent, a friend or a relative for example can go to the consulate on your behalf.

To do this however the relevant forms must be completed by yourself and no one else.

If someone goes to pick up the visa on your behalf then the relevant pick-up form must be completed and handed over.

Does the 10 year tourist visa exist?

The 10 year Chinese visa does exist, but only if you are lucky enough to be the holder of an American passport! Canadians may also be granted a visa for anything up to ten years but this can vary. It’s worth noting that this can only work with M, L, Q2, S2 visas.

It’s also worth noting that for each trip to China the person must exit the country again within 60 days. That could simply involve a trip to Hong Kong, Tokyo or Seoul for example but you must exit the country 60 days after the first day of entry.

Do I need the original visa invitation documents?

Each Chinese consulate decides itself whether to require originals to apply for a visa or not. This can change at any time and is often different even for each individual Chinese consulate in the same country. You can give them a call and ask, though be prepared that what you will be told on the phone might not always be what you will be asked to do when applying.

However, we have had thousands of students apply for visas at hundreds of different consulates in the world, so your student advisor will be able to let you know what they required from other LTL students who applied there in the past.

How much does it cost to send originals via DHL?

This depends on where you live. We will pre-pay the DHL fees for you and you can pay for them once you arrived at our school.

How long does it take for the originals to arrive?

This depends on where you live, but usually a DHL delivery arrives within one to three days after it was sent.

How long does it take LTL to issue visa invitations?

Once you booked your course we can have your visa invitations ready within less than a working day.

While we appreciate being given a bit more time, if you booked a course on very short notice we can have them also ready within about an hour. Customer service is very important for us and we can process a booking, issue visa documents and get them to you very quickly if you are in a rush. However, visa documents can only be issued during working hours in China as otherwise the necessary documents are not available. So make sure you keep time differences and Chinese holidays in mind when planning.

Are visas issued for specific dates?

While you will apply for specific travel dates, your visa will not be issued for those specific dates.

Your visa will be for a duration (for example 180 days) and you will be allowed to remain for that duration in China after entering the country. It usually also includes a date by when you have to come to China for the visa to be valid. Usually you are required to enter China within three months after you received your visa for it to be valid.

Do all travellers need a visa to come to China?

Citizens of Japan, Singapore and Mongolia can receive a 15 day visa on arrival.

All others need to have a visa before boarding a plane to China.

Do not try to fly to China without a visa as they will not let you in. The only exception is a transit visa which you can get at some Chinese airports on arrival, however you need an onwards flight booked to another country. Depending on the airport, Chinese transit visas are issued for different durations, though never for more than three days, so this is not suitable for a Chinese course in BeijingShanghaiChinese immersion or gap year program.

Can I get a visa invitation if I do not study at LTL?

No.

If I study part time can I get a visa invitation from LTL?

The Chinese authorities only issue study visas for students who learn Mandarin full time.

It is not possible to come to China on a student visa if you only learn Mandarin for a few hours a week. To classify as a full time Chinese language student, you will have to take at least 10 hours of individual or 20 hours of group classes per week.

Who is responsible for applying for my visa?

You are. We have many years of experience in supporting students to apply for visas, can provide you with the needed documents, give advice on where to apply, how to fill out the application forms and so forth.

However, even though we would like to, we are not authorized to apply for a Chinese visa on your behalf. This means only you yourself can apply or authorize a Chinese visa agency to do so for you. You are the one who will receive your passport back from the embassy and therefore are also responsible to make sure you received the correct visa (Chinese embassies don’t always issue the kind of visa you applied for) and it is valid for your whole Mandarin course in China. If you are unsure or need advice, just email us a scan of the visa you received and we can check it for you.

What does “entries” on the visa mean?

Entries basically means the number of times you can enter Mainland China in a period of time (listed on the visa itself). The visa will become void if it goes beyond the date which relates to “Enter Before”. This is still the case even if there are some entries left.

Entries can vary from single, double and multiple depending on the type of visa issues.

A single entry visa is listed like this > 01 (壹)

A double entry visa is listed like this > 02 (贰)

A multiple entry visa is listed like this > as M (多)

Can I apply if my passport has less than 6 months?

You can still apply but we’d strongly advise to have 6 months on the passport validity.

In this case it’s probably worth renewing your passport before to avoid any potential hiccups when obtaining your visa. Try and keep all bases covered

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  • LTL Avatar Irene Magnosi
    Irene Magnosi, Student Advisor

    Welcome to LTL Mandarin School!

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