FAQs about China's port visas
Updated: February 27, 2024 08:59 National Immigration Administration

I. Do China's port visas equal the commonly known "visas on arrival"? Which ports are authorized to issue port visas?

Answer: China's port visas are similar to the "visas on arrival" of some other countries. The term refers to a "way" or "method" to apply for visas, rather than a specific type of visa like a "business visa" or "tourist visa". Regardless of the names, every country sets corresponding application conditions and processing procedures according to its laws for foreign nationals to apply for visas in this way.

According to the relevant Chinese laws and regulations, foreign nationals holding ordinary passports, who have urgent needs to enter China but do not have enough time to apply for visas at Chinese embassies or consulates abroad, can apply for port visas for entry. Foreign nationals applying for port visas can submit applications in advance to the port visa authorities by themselves or through inviting parties, or apply on site upon arrival at ports in China.

To facilitate the applications, avoiding situations where applicants are unable to obtain approval for entry due to legal reasons such as being legally ineligible for visa issuance or entry upon arrival at ports, which may affect travel arrangements and increase economic and time costs, it is recommended that foreign nationals submit their applications in advance to the port visa authorities in the intended destinations, obtain preliminary approval from the port visa authorities, and then go to the corresponding ports for applying for visas. For foreign tourist groups applying for port visas, the Chinese travel agencies responsible for the reception should apply for them in advance at the port visa authorities.

As of now, port visa services have been provided at 99 ports in 72 cities nationwide with a large number of international flights and a high volume of foreign nationals entering China. (For the details of the major port visa authorities in China and their contact information, please visit the official website of the National Immigration Administration.)

II. What are the "situations of urgent needs of entering China" that are eligible to apply for Chinese port visas?

Answer: Any foreign ordinary passport holder who has an urgent need to travel to China for business cooperation, visits and exchanges, investment and entrepreneurship, visiting relatives and handling private affairs, etc., or for humanitarian reasons such as attending funerals or visiting critically ill patients, and are unable to obtain a visa from Chinese embassies or consulates abroad in time, can apply for a port visa at a port visa authority in China.

III. What documents are required to apply for a port visa in China?

Answer: A foreign national who plans to apply for a port visa at a port visa authority is required to submit his/her valid passport or any other international travel document, along with relevant supporting documents that evidence the urgent reason(s) for his/her entry into China. Once the visa is issued, he/she may enter China from the port where the visa application is made. As for the supporting documents, a foreigner entering China for urgent business activities, for example, shall submit the inviting party’s invitation letter explaining the business purposes, details of emergency, and main itinerary arrangements, as well as relevant proof of the emergency. For more information, please contact the port visa authority at the intended port of entry.

IV. What types of visas can be extended, renewed, and re-issued for foreign nationals in China in their vicinity?

Answer: Foreign nationals coming to China for short-term non-diplomatic and non-official activities such as business cooperation, visit and exchange, investment and entrepreneurship, visiting relatives, tourism, or private matters, etc., and have legitimate reasons for extending their stays may submit applications to the nearest exit-entry administrations of the public security organs located in the places where they stay for the extension, renewal, and re-issuance of their business visas (M visas), visit visas (F visas), short-term private affair visas (S2 visas), and short-term family visit visas (Q2 visas), as well as for the extension and re-issuance of their tourist visas (L visas).

V. How to apply for group tourist port visas?

Answer: For foreign tourist groups consisting of two or more people applying for group tourist port visas, the Chinese travel agency responsible for organizing and receiving such groups must submit invitation letters, lists of personnel, and tourist reception plans to the relevant port visa authorities in advance. The above tourist groups can enter and exit from all open ports in China.

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