As of January 2016, the visa arrangements between China and the UK changed to grant any eligible British nationals a 2-year multiple-entry visa for China. This can be used for tourism, trade, visiting relatives etc. This makes it much easier to travel China for an extended period of time, and is a great time to be applying for a visa!
Follow these steps to apply for a visa from the UK
1. Download forms online
Firstly, choose which type of Visa you need.
You can do this at the Chinese Embassy website here.
2. Get all documents together
You can find a definitive list of what you need on the Embassy website. Documents will change depending on the visa.
For a tourist visa:
- Passport photo
- Visa form
- Proof of entry and exit to the country (i.e. flight tickets)
- Proof of stay during primary duration
- Copy of any past Chinese visas (if not in current passport)
For the proof of stay documents, if you were to plan and apply for a two-week stay, you’d be granted a two-year visa regardless. All you would need is two weeks of hotel bookings. This can be done here. If you’re not one to plan ahead, booking.com provide a useful service that allows you to cancel most bookings free of charge. So, if you’re not sure of your exact plan, you can create your journey and accommodation bookings before you apply for your visa, then revise them later on.
3. Research nearest visa office
Depending on where you’re based in the UK, the nearest visa office that will handle your Chinese visa will vary.
Main ones include London, Edinburgh, and Manchester.
If there is no office near to you, you can also choose the slightly more expensive postage option. This is much more convenient!
4. Apply at visa office
The current cost for this is £85. However, there is also a service processing fee, which varies in cost. The official Chinese Visa Application Center charges are as follows:
Standard service: £66 (including VAT)
Express service: £78 (including VAT)
Postal service: £90 (including VAT)
An express service is also offered for an extra £15
5. Pick up your visa!
Visas will be ready for collection 4 working days after the application.
If you chose the standard service, you will need to make sure you can pick it up on the exact day.
Once you have your Chinese visa, you’re free to use it as many times as you like within the two year period.
An important thing to remember is that you have a 90 day limit on each visa. This means you cannot stay in the country longer than 90 days at each visit. There isn’t, however, a limit as to how long you have to stay out of the country once these 90 days are up. So, if you’re loving China travel and wanting to stay a bit longer, a quick hop over the nearest country or border is a good idea. You could make a holiday out of this or just do a visa run.
Enjoy your travels in China!