Tianjin bridge

Visas for China

Applying for your visa may seem daunting, but it's a straightforward process and we will guide you through each step. There are two different visas you can apply for, depending on which course you’re studying with us. 

Types of visa

There are two Chinese visas relevant to you:

  • Tourist Visa (L)
  • Student Visa (X1)

Visas for short-term study (less than six months)

If you are studying a programme with INTO China that lasts less than six months, you should apply for a Tourist Visa (L). A Tourist Visa is valid for the INTO China Summer Language Programme and is standard practice for short-term language programmes in China as it is much easier and quicker to obtain than a Student Visa (X1).

Visas for long-term study (six months or longer)

For degree studies or a programme with INTO China that lasts six months or more, you will need to apply for a Student Visa (X1). Once you arrive in China, you will also need to apply for a residence permit within 30 days which will allow you to enter and leave China multiple times (for holidays for example) within an 11 month period. The residence permit can be extended whilst you are in China. The INTO China student services team will assist with the residence permit application process once you’ve arrived in China.

Important: Do not apply for an X2 Student Visa as this will require you to depart from, and return to, China from your home country within 6 months.

Medical checks for a Chinese visa

If you are on a short-term visa of less than 6 months such as a Tourist visa or L visa, no medical check is required.

If you’re studying a degree or any programme longer than 6 months, you will need to do a medical check to covert your L visa into a Residence Permit once you’re in China. It’s better to have the Foreigner Physical Examination carried out in China, and the INTO China Admissions Team will help you with this when you arrive. This examination includes an x-ray, an ultrasound, an ECG exam, blood test and a general examination of your health. There is a fee of approximately RMB 622 for the medical check.

For some nationals, the Foreigner Physical Examination is a requirement for your visa application, which means having the examination in advance of your arrival in China. You should print the Foreigner Physical Examination form (supplied on request by the INTO China Admissions team), take the form to a public hospital or to your physician, undergo a physical examination and have a doctor complete the form. On the first page of the form, the hospital must affix its official seal along with your photograph.

You must bring with you all the reports produced by your hospital (X-ray scans, blood test reports etc), and make sure that the photo on the Foreigner Physical Examination is also stamped by the hospital. If you do not bring the completed Foreigner Physical Examination form with stamps and accompanying reports, you will be required to have the examination redone in China.

If you are diagnosed as having one of a certain number of diseases that prohibit entry into China (mostly very serious diseases such as AIDS), you must return to your country at your own expense.

10 step guide to applying for a Chinese student visa

Step 1: Ensure that you have a valid offer letter from INTO.

Step 2: Ensure you have a passport with at least 18 months validity and at least 4 blank pages.

Step 3: Download the visa application form from the Chinese embassy website in your country.

Step 4: When completing the application form, fill in all which are not applicable with N/A.

Step 5: If you are under 18 years old then make sure your application form is signed by a parent or guardian.

Step 6: You’ll need at least one colour passport photo to submit with your application form.

Step 7: You must have a medical examination from a Chinese Embassy recognised hospital, including HIV test and all lab reports, including original copies of x-ray examinations. Complete a Physical Examination Record for Foreigners (English language), and submit this with your visa application.

Step 8: Ensure that you have a JW-201/JW-202. This will be provided by INTO.

Step 9: Submit your passport, passport photograph, JW-201/JW-202, admissions notice and completed application form to your local Chinese Embassy. Allow plenty of time to submit your application as visa processing times may be longer than anticipated during the busy summer months.

Any questions?

Contact our Admissions team at: [email protected]

Please note:

Unless specifically requested in your application form (and approved by consular officers) a single-entry visa is valid for three months, and a double-entry visa valid for six months. Both have a 30-day duration of stay.

Don't apply for your visa more than three months before your intended date of entry into China.

You may want to consider using a visa processing service to get your Chinese visa. Be aware this is much more expensive than applying directly to the Chinese Embassy.

Do I get a refund if my visa is refused?

Yes, you can claim for a full refund if your visa application is refused. You’ll need to show evidence of the refusal before a refund can be made.

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