Dubai: Earlier this year, China lifted its COVID-19 travel restrictions and UAE residents can travel there without having to be quarantined in the country. If you are planning to go to mainland China, you will need to know the Chinese visas that are currently available for you to apply. Check out our guide for more details.
There are four types of Chinese visas in total: diplomatic visa, service visa, courtesy visa and ordinary visa. The first three visas are issued to people with specialised passports such as diplomatic passport, and people who are considered of high importance by the Chinese government. However, ordinary visa is for people with ordinary passport or any other valid travel document.
According to the Chinese embassy in the UAE, these are the 16 types of ordinary Chinese visas you might want to know about:
1. L visa. You should apply for this visa, if you are traveling to China for tourism purposes.
2. M visa. This is suitable for you, if you intend to conduct commercial trade activities, such as participation in business events hosted by your Chinese trade partner, in China.
3. Q1 visa. You should apply for this visa if you are a family member or a relative of a Chinese citizen or a foreign resident with a permanent resident permit, who is currently living in China, and you would like to visit this person for 180 days or more. This visa is also applicable for children who need to go to China for foster care.
4. Q2 visa. If you want to stay in China for less than 180 days, to visit your family member or relative, who is a Chinese citizen or a foreign resident with a permanent resident permit, currently living in China, you should apply for this visa.
5. S1 visa. You need to apply for this visa if you want to visit your family member, who is a foreign resident with a long-term resident permit, currently living in China, for 180 days or more.
6. S2 visa. This visa is the same as S1 visa, except for your intended duration of stay in China – you should choose this visa if you plan to stay there for less than 180 days.
7. X1 visa. If you are accepted by a school or a university in China and you are going there to study for 180 days or more, you should apply for this visa.
8. X2 visa. This visa is also for applicants who will study in China after they are accepted by a school or a university there, however, you should choose this one to apply if you are staying in China for less than 180 days.
9. Z visa. This visa is for you, if you need to work in China. For example, if you have received a job offer there, or if you are sent there to work as a representative by an overseas foreign company.
10. F visa. You should apply for this visa if you plan to go to China for exchange programmes such as cultural exchange programmes, or for organisational visits.
11. J1 visa. If you are a foreign journalist who needs to go to China for coverage and stay there for 180 days or more, you should apply for this visa.
12. J2 visa. J2 visa is the same as J1 visa, expect for the duration of your stay in China - you should apply for it if you are staying there for less than 180 days.
13. R visa. If you are a highly talented professional or specialist who was invited by an organisation in China, you should apply for this visa through the inviting organisation.
14. G visa. This is suitable for you if you are transiting to another destination via China.
15. C Visa. If you are a crew member from a transportation company , such as an airline or a shipping company, who is on duty and needs to enter China, then you should apply for this visa through your employer.
16. D visa. If you plan to go to China to stay there permanently, you need to apply for this visa. To get this visa, you will first need to obtain the ‘Confirmation Form for Foreigners’ Permanent Residence Status’ from the Ministry of Public Security of China. You can contact the Chinese embassy or the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre for the details regarding this visa. Their contact information is listed below.
Again, according to the Chinese embassy in the UAE, you don’t need to apply for a Chinese visa, if you belong to any of the following groups:
- Foreigners who fit the description of ‘Mutual Visa Exemption Agreement between China and other countries’.
- Foreigners who hold a Chinese permanent resident permit or any other valid resident permit.
- Foreigners who hold valid Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) business travel card (the virtual card can be used to enter China from May 1, 2023 onwards).
You can read about the details on this agreement on this link: http://cs.mfa.gov.cn/zlbg/tyxy_660627/201202/t20120207_961630.shtml.
Additionally, you can enter China visa-free when you transit through China to a third destination other than your departing country in specific situations. However, it is advisable that you contact the border control authority in the place of your arrival, to confirm your visa exemption status before your travel. Here is a 24-hour hotline that you can call to be directed to the local authority – it is the official number of China National Immigration Administration: +86 010 12367
How to get a list of documents you need for your visa application
If you are in Abu Dhabi, you can contact the consular department of the Chinese embassy for detailed documents you need for your visa application. Here is their contact information:
• Phone number: 02 4434276
• Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are in Dubai and other northern Emirates, you can contact the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre for help:
• Phone number: 04 3711711/05 89732538
• Email address: email@example.com
Other than inquiring with them about a list of documents you need to apply for your visa, you can also consult them on other information regarding your application, including the process.
What is the process to apply for your visa?
After you have prepared all the required documents, you can start the application process as advised by the consular department of the Chinese embassy or the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre in Dubai.
Here are three things you need to keep in mind, as per the Chinese embassy:
- If you are in Abu Dhabi, you should fill your application form through this link: cova.cs.mfa.gov.cn, and make an appointment to submit the visa application via this link: avas.cs.mfa.gov.cn, prior to your visit to the embassy. Only after you fill the digital application form and make an online appointment, will your application be processed by the embassy.
- If you are in Dubai and other northern emirates, you should fill your application form and make an appointment via this link: https://www.visaforchina.cn/#/nav/quickSelection?visacenterCode=DXB2&request_locale=en_US&site_alias=DXB2_EN&isAuthentication=N, prior to your visit to the consulate. The centre will not process your application if you fail to fill your digital application form and make an online appointment in advance.
- Your fingerprint will be collected in person in the embassy or the consulate during your visa application process.
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