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How to Get a Chinese Visa Before Traveling to the Shanghai World Expo

Where: Shanghai, China
April 21, 2010 at 11:26 AM | by | ()

When the Shanghai World Expo opens to the public on May 1—a week and a half away—hundreds of thousands of Chinese and international tourists will pour into the park and its pavilions daily until October 31, when the Expo closes. With the Expo looking at entertaining some 600,000 visitors per day, China will be a huge destination for spring travel. Americans traveling to the country require a Chinese tourist visa to enter, a fact many are not aware of. We've gone through the process before, so allow us to walk you through, too.

How to get a Chinese tourist Visa, which you'll need to visit Shanghai:

· If you're a regular tourist to China, you'll be applying for the "Tourist (L Visa)." Download and print this application form.

More steps to getting a Chinese Visa, after the jump

· In order to get the visa, you must have a US passport that is valid for at least another six months and has at least one completely empty page. Fill out the application and be sure to check the "multi-entry valid for 12 months" option, as it costs the same amount as others, but offers greatest flexibility. Our friend made the mistake of having a travel agency help her do her visa application, and they put her down for single-entry visa, meaning she couldn't come when we went to China for a second time in one year.

· Locate your nearest Chinese consulate via this website. If you live in the Washington DC area, it will be the Chinese embassy. Note the consulate's opening days and hours and plan for a day to go and hand-deliver your application. Mailed applications are not accepted.

· You do not need an appointment to drop off your visa application. Bring along your passport, completed application form, and a 2x2" passport photo. The consulates are usually busy with wait times, and you must take a number and wait for the windows to call you up, by number.

· Once the consular official has deemed you have all the necessary paperwork, they will take your passport and documents for processing, giving you a stub with a time and date for pickup. This is typically a week from the day you dropped it off. Go home, relax.

· Go to your pick-up appointment at the consulate, but this time do not take a number; instead, go to the window used expressly for visa pick-ups. Here, you will retrieve your passport with the Chinese visa inside, taking up an entire page. Americans must also pay $130 for said visa, payable only by Visa, MasterCard, Money Order, Cashier's Check or Company Check.

· You must then visit China within 90 days of receiving the visa in order for it to remain valid, and you cannot stay longer than 30 days in the country. With a multiple-entry visa though, you can leave and return as many times as you want during your dates of validity.

Have a safe and happy World Expo in Shanghai! We'll be there briefly to check it out, so stay tuned for Shanghai Expo coverage here on Jaunted, later this spring.

Related Stories:
· Shanghai's Expo Trials Get Crowded, rocky start [AP]
· Tourist Visa rules [Chinese Embassy/Consulates]
· Shanghai Travel [Jaunted]

[Street signs in Shanghai photo: Jaunted]

Archived Comments:

Chinese Visa

If you can't make it by the consulate, you can also use a private visa service like RushMyTravelVisa.com.


I've been very happy with the Travisa (travisa.com) for rush and complex visa issues. I've used them for acquiring visas for China and India, as well as a second passport. FYI, it is unusual these days for China to issue multi-entry 12 month visas on a first request. It is much more common to get a 2-entry visa on first application, and a multi-entry visa on a second request.

I had no idea about this

You are right, i had no idea i would need a visa in order to visit China. The good side of all this is that it doesn't seem very difficult to get it, i think few weeks before the trip should be enough for all the process to be over. Global Visas Complaints