If you haven’t already known, China has a 10-year tourist visa for U.S. Citizens. You are allowed to stay in the country for up to 60 days at a time.
Things you will need for a 10 year China tourist visa aka, L Visa
- Trip Itinerary (Printed out)
- Hotel Reservation
- Airline Reservation
- Complete, TYPED China Visa Document which you can find here: http://www.china-embassy.org/chn/lszj/bgxz/P020130830121570742708.pdf
- One Passport Photo
- Copy of Drivers License
Luckily my parents live in Maryland so I’m only a 40 minute drive from the China Embassy visa station in Washington D.C. Otherwise you will have to use a third-party service like Allied Passport (http://alliedpassport.com/visas/china.php) a very reputable company.
Washington D.C. Embassy
But if you do live near a Chinese embassy I recommend getting to the visa station early in the morning during the weekdays. The D.C. visa station officially opens at 9:00 am but I was there around 8:50am with plenty of people already waiting. When you enter you get a ticket and wait your turn. Its kind of like a Chinese DMV.
China Visa Application:
**It is important to note that you can only fill out the document by typing. No handwritten applications accepted, besides your signature and date.**
Also, type in N/A or None in the items that don’t apply in the application. I almost forgot to do this!
The application is pretty straight forward but a few confusing items. Your Local ID (Section 1.9) is your Drivers License number! You are most likely applying for an Ordinary Passport (Section 1.10) if you’re a tourist. In Section 2.2 click on OTHER and type in 10 year visa.
(TRIPLE CHECK TO MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS RIGHT) The Chinese Embassy is known for being picky.
I specifically booked a flight on American Airlines because you can place a hold on a flight for a 24 hour period. This ensures that you have some sort of flight itinerary that is emailed to you. Print this out and show it to the visa personnel at the embassy. They didn’t even bother to look at it very closely.
Hotel Reservation (You will want to match the dates for your flights)
I went to http://english.ctrip.com/ , its like the Travelocity of China and books a refundable hotel in Beijing. After you put in your dates of travel and destination, in my case Beijing press search. After the results come up go to the left column and check the boxes “pay at hotel” and “free cancelations.” This ensures that when you book your hotel, you can cancel it “hassle free.”
Book your “reservation” to match your flights! Save the pdf of the booking and print it out! If you are approved for a China visa, make sure you don’t forget to cancel your hotel booking!
The only question the visa person asked me was “what do you do for your job?”
If you are accepted, you will receive a ticket so you can pick up your passport with the visa inside 2-3 days later. Another person is allowed to pick up your passport as long as they have that ticket. My mother picked it up for me as I had to leave back for Seattle.