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China Visa Information

Visa Procurement

All foreign nationals must obtain a visa for a visit to China. It is essential that the China visa is obtained prior to travel.

China visas can only be processed three months prior to the start date of your tour or tailor-made holiday. Standard visas take on average 9 to 10 working days to process plus return postage time. You must leave a minimum of 3 weeks before your trip to ensure you get your visa on time. If you need your visa faster then you’ll need to pay an express visa fee.

NOTE: Please be advised that visa requirements are subject to change and that visa procurement is the responsibility of the traveler. Please also ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months from your planned date of return from China.

Hotel List: When applying for a visa you will be required to provide a list of the hotels that you will be staying in throughout your holiday. For the list of the hotels we use on our tours in China - please click here.

Proof of Travel Arrangements: In order to obtain a visa you will also need to provide proof of your travel arrangements. Once you have booked and we have received a scanned copy of your passport we will provide you with relevant paperwork that your local embassy requires to process your visa. If you are a resident of the UK, Ireland, US, Canada or South Africa, this proof will be in the form of Hotel Confirmation Vouchers.

Please note that the Hotel Confirmation Vouchers are in Mandarin and are simply required for visa application purposes. You do not need to take them on tour with you and there is no need for you to attempt to translate them. You do not require a confirmation voucher for any nights spent on an overnight train.

China Visa Requirements For

UK residents

Travel visas are an essential part of your holiday and you can’t get on with your adventure until you have them but they can be complicated things to sort out. There are application forms to complete, paperwork to provide and embassy queues to stand in. If you're a resident of the UK and would like someone to handle your visa application for you then we recommend CIBTvisas. Please follow this link for more details on how to start your visa application with them -

If you prefer to obtain your visa yourself then upon confirmation of your holiday, please click on the link below.

China Embassy London
49 Portland Place
Tel: 020 7299 4049

Note: you will be required to visit a Chinese consulate to have your fingerprints taken in either London, Manchester, and Edinburgh to secure your tourist visa for China

China Visa Requirements For

US & Canadian residents

Please visit the relevant embassy link below for visa form and instructions.

US Embassy of China
2201 Wisconsin Avenue
N.W., Suite 110
Washington D.C. 20007
Tel: (202) 338-6688

Canadian Embassy of China
515 St. Patrick Street
Ont. K1N 5H3

China Visa Requirements For

AUS & NZ residents

Please visit the relevant embassy link below for visa form and instructions.

Embassy of China in Australia
15 Coronation Drive
A.C.T 2600
Tel: 0262734780

New Zealand
Embassy of China in New Zealand
57 Messines Road
Tel: 04721382-600

China Visa Requirements For

South African Residents

Please visit the relevant embassy link below for visa form and instructions.

China Embassy
972 Pretorius St,
Pretoria, 0083,
South Africa
Tel: +27 12 431 6500

Visa Free Trips To China

Travelers can enter China via Beijing, Shanghai and a number of other cities visa free for stays of up to 144hours (6 days). These new regulations are making it easier to enjoy China, whether it is the ancient history, intriguing culture and imperial beauty of Beijing across three days or the neon lights, futuristic skyscrapers and charming classic gardens of Shanghai in a long weekend.

Both Beijing and Shanghai make for exciting stopovers, breaking up your journey to experience some of China’s incredible highlights. Our Beijing Visa Free tour takes you to Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the UNESCO listed Great Wall of China while our Shanghai Visa Free is a three day whistle stop tour of the city’s futuristic skyscrapers, peaceful temples and charming classic gardens.

The exciting new visa change means Shanghai can also be considered for a long weekend enjoying all this sprawling futuristic metropolis has to offer. Our five day Eye on Shanghai tour includes guided sightseeing to the serene Jade Buddha Temple, the beautiful Yuyuan Gardens, the iconic Oriental Pearl TV Tower and many more of the city’s top destinations. End the second day with an evening cruise on the Huangpu River for fantastic views of the bright neon lights of the city’s high-rises against the night sky.

Visa free regulations require that travelers are stopping over in Beijing or Shanghai en-route to elsewhere or that they are travelling to a different country from which they arrived. On arrival in China, you will need to fill out the Arrival/Departure Card and go straight to the dedicated counter at immigration inspection. Once you have had your passport stamped with the permit, which will show the allowed duration of your stay, you will need to check in with your hotel. Your hotel will take care of registering your stay with the local authorities.

Visa requirements - Tibet

When travelling to Tibet you need a Tibetan Permit in advance. If you are booked on our Group Tour Take me to Tibet, we can arrange this for you. It has to be applied for one month in advance and we need a copy of your Chinese visa in order to obtain this.

Visa requirements - Hong Kong

The Hong Kong visa system is almost exactly the same as it was under British rule, and therefore wholly separate to the Chinese visa system.

Most Western visitors to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the People’s Republic of China do not require a tourist visa issued in advance of travel. Currently, nationals of Australia, Canada, Ireland, most other EU countries, New Zealand and the US do not require a visa for a stay not exceeding 90 days. UK nationals do not require a visa for a stay not exceeding 180 days, whilst holders of RSA passports do not require a visa for a stay not exceeding 30 days.

Visa requirements are subject to change. Visa procurement is the responsibility of the traveler and not that of On The Go Tours.

Your passport must possess at least 2 blank pages and have at least 6 months validity remaining after date of intended exit from China.

See Also

For further information to help plan your trip to China, see the following:

Best Time to Visit - climate and seasons in China
Best Places to Visit - our favorite spots in China to include on your visit
Top Travel Tips - covering everything from money to health, food to shopping
Traveler Reviews - see what our passengers think of our China tours
Visiting the Great Wall - a handy article on this incredible man-made feat with everything you need to plan the perfect trip
Visiting Pandas - where to see China's iconic pandas
Video Lounge - captivating China caught on camera