How to obtain a Chinese VISA during pandemic

Harry · October 7, 2021

How to obtain a Chinese visa became a pain point for many expats who have been stuck outside of China since the pandemic. It has been more difficult than ever to get a Chinese visa, and even if people do get a Chinese visa, they struggle to get a ticket, green code, or face other challenges to go to China. This article serves as a guide for expats stuck outside of China to obtain a Chinese visa.

Due to the pandemic, most visa types such as travel visa and student visa have been paused by the Chinese Consulates around the world. Most common ways for expats to enter China right now is through business/work visa and humanitarian family reunion visa. Travelling to China is still NOT recommended by the Chinese government, and applying for a visa during the pandemic will cost tremendous time, effort and money.

  1. Work/business (Z/M) visa

According to the consulate, one must obtain a PU letter from “Provincial Foreign Affairs Office” and “stating the specific reasons and necessity of your visit to China” in order to apply for a work visa to China.

  1. Family reunion visa for humanitarian reasons (Q) visa

Family reunion visas are only open for emergency humanitarian reasons, which means you can apply for this kind of visa only if one of your direct relatives in China is in “critical illness”, and the applicant must provide recent, valid proof from Chinese hospitals. 

Additional ways to enter China: as of September 28th, work-related or family reunion residence permit holders are allowed to enter China with a valid residence permit without needing pre-approval from the local consulate.

People have been complaining about the lack of response from their local consulates. However, according to the Consulate General’s website, no-response means the application’s been declined, and there’s no need to continue waiting. There’s most likely missing documents that need to be added before receiving approval from the Consulate.

If you meet one of the above requirements, application must be made first by appointment through online appointment system

After your appointment has been approved by the Consulate, an email will be sent to you with detailed instructions to mail them additional documents to complete the application process. The whole process will take anywhere from 3 weeks to 2 months.

Hopefully this article is helpful to all expats stuck outside of China, and to people who’re urgently trying to go to work or visit family in China. Good Luck!

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