How to apply for a Chinese visa for UK passport holders!

When we began to plan out the next leg of our round the world adventure we decided on China as our first stopping point. Flying into the north of Eastern Asia before making our way down through the South East and to Australia and New Zealand. We had always wanted to visit China, for many years it was near the top of the list, we after booking our flight we were pretty damn excited! But hold us, what’s this, a visa you say! Why yes, and not just any old visa on entry or simple pre travel form. Oh no, it was Russia all over again and in many ways even worse! But fear not, its actually not as hard as your panicked state initially believes… here’s how to get one (and also how to do it if you are backpacking and not planning on flying home!) Chinese visa application advice: how to apply for a Chinese visa in uk –

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Chinese visa application advice: how to apply for a Chinese visa in uk

What do you need: (in simple terms)

A completed application form

Your passport with 6 months validity and at least 2 clean pages

Two passport photos

Scans of your passports photo page

Details of your flights in and out

Details of your itinerary whilst in China

Declaration

Here is some more info if you need it/ to check if there are any changes: www.travelchinacheaper.com/china-travel-visa-requirements-guide

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China visa application advice

What you need: Explained!

Chinese visa application advice: how to apply for a Chinese visa in uk –

A completed application form

At first the application form can seem a little daunting that’s for sure. There are a few questions on there that we were a little unsure how to answer. But what we found is that sticking to your instinct and not over thinking each one worked out best.

Sticking points we were unsure on:

If there are sections that are not applicable then make sure to not leave them blank and instead write N/A

Name in Chinese: Put N/A

Local I.D: N/A

Employment: We are technically unemployed but also run this blog, not what the Chinese want to hear! We instead just gave the details of our previous employer/ jobs.  Also, just try to tick “Member of staff” if you can and keep it as simple as possible! They clearly don’t check this stuff!

Major Family members: I included my mum, dad, brother and husband (Shorty, lol)

Purpose of visit: Tourism

Intended number of entries: We just put one to keep it simple even though we intended to visit HK which is technically leaving and then reentering China. They now give you a multi entry visa as standard so it is easier to just keep it as simple as you can and say single entry!

Expected date of arrival: The date on your legit flight into China. If you don’t know because you are travelling overland then just estimate but you might have to get a fake document to prove this. You should be given a 90 day visa that is valid for 2 years from the date it is issued so you can just enter on any day in this time.

Longest stay in China: If you plan on leaving on a set date and have a flight to leave this is easy, if you are backpacking like us its hard. We just put 30days, which is our estimate, and then made sure all our other documents we included such as our fake itinerary matches those dates. Bear in mind the visa you will get issued with allows max 90 days at a time. 

Itinerary in China: We decided to keep this really simple. We chose 4 cities: Beijing, Xian, Chengdu and Shanghai and booked refundable accomodation for each for about a week at a time, to match up with the time we said we would be in China. I will go into detail about the bookings later, but here you just state the days in each place and the addresses. Just keep your plans as simple as you can on here!  Again, we also didn’t mention Hong Kong as it would just complicate matters! 

Who will pay for my stay: Me (That is all we put)

Information of inviter in China: N/A for this section. Mostly for those on an organised tour or visiting family and freinds. But it is best to just put N/A either way as this adds yet another bunch of documents to the application! You need scans of their passports and all sorts!

Other countries visited: For us we visited like 20 this year, so it was quite a list. We just literally listed them and didn’t use full official titles for each country either. Just like: Italy, Slovenia etc.

The rest should be pretty self explanatory, but shoot us any questions if you have them!

You can download the form here: www.visaforchina.org/LON_EN/upload/Attach/mrbj/265048.pdf

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Two passport photos 

Pretty self explanatory, it says no older than 6 months for the photos but ours were probably taken a couple of years ago…but we look the same. As long as your photos aren’t from 1978 and stick to the general rules needed for any official document (no smiling, plain background, no hats/ hair in fact etc) then you should be fine!

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Scans of your passports photo page

Again, nothing complicated here. We made sure it was in colour just to be on the safe side.

Details of your flights in and out 

Flight into China: Simple as we already had a legit booking, so we just printed off all the confirmations. If you are travelling overland this might also be an issue. Either get confirmations of train tickets if you can, or do what we did for our flights out.

flights out: Problem! We are backpacking and want to continue on to South East Asia from China. We are unsure when we want to head down and whether it will be via a land border or flight. So we used FlyOnwards, you can basically rent a flight confirmation for a day for around $10. Some people photoshop their tickets but with the high price of the visa we decided to use this company for more legit looking tickets. We also made our tickets from China back to England as sometimes that is a requirement and also made sure they were with a different airline than the one we were flying out with. This means they cannot check it on their system when you board.

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China visa application advice: Details of your itinerary whilst in China 

This is the bit that stresses everyone out but it is actually not that hard when you look at it properly. All we did was to use Booking.com to make bookings with hostels and hotels that we made sure were refundable without charge. We made sure these dates matched up with the ones we had on our application form, probably better to book these first before you fill in the section on the form! All you do then is print out the confirmations and make sure you name is on there, the dates and address. Just be sure to book one that clearly says it is freely refundable, usually until a few days before you were supposed to stay. This is the the best way to avoid unnecessary spending and our best China visa application advice.

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Border patrol waiting for you!!

Declaration

This you just need to print off and sign, we just needed one each and actually signed it when we got to the visa centre.

you can download it here: www.visaforchina.org/LON_EN/upload/Attach/mrbj/277453.pdf

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Chinese visa application advice: how to apply for a Chinese visa in uk

Extra bits/ other:

We highlighted the dates on all of our supporting documents and also our names to make it easier. We also make sure all the names were in full too. We also organised everything so it was easy for the clerk to see we had everything.

Chinese visa application advice: how to apply for a Chinese visa in uk:

We were lucky that there is an official visa centre in Manchester. We made an appointment online but all that does is skip you ahead of the queue if there is one. You can just turn up though but you might be in for a wait.

The guy on the desk has a quick look to see if you have everything and then the person you see the booth checks everything in more detail. We felt quite confident that we had everything as other people were being turned away at this point and asked to come back. I felt that they do actually check rather than just taking it and making you pay if you are turned down.

We then had to wait a week, would have been 7 days but we had a bank holiday and weekend in between. We arrived on the day we were told and got a number from the machine to wait and collect. Everything went smoothly and we just paid for the visa.

There are centres in London too but if you are too far away from either you can apply via post, this will take a little longer and incur more costs. You will need to send you passport recorded and also send a prepaid for recorded envelope for them to post it back. You will also have to add a postal order for the cost of the visa. hopefully our China visa application advice makes the difference for you!

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Chinese visa application advice: how to apply for a Chinese visa in uk

Cost

Our visa cost £151 each for a multi entry visa valid for 2 years and 90 days per entry.

China visa application advice: Your visa and entering the country 

When you do enter China the fuss is not over. You must fill in a form stating where you will be staying and when you will be leaving. We made sure to print copies of our bookings and return fight but we wasn’t asked for proof. You are then left with a slip inside your passport with the date you should be leaving on this. They don’t however stamp this so collecting another slip for when you leave is a good idea if you plan on staying longer.

Upon leaving the country we had no issues leaving on a different day and method of transport than what we wrote on our departure form. We took some extra forms when we arrived just in case but at the border there were cards anyway that you could fill in as we literally only knew which train we would be on an hour before we got on it! They just stamped us out and that was that!

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Good luck!

See more from this country:

CHINA

See more from our backpacking adventures:

ASIA LEG

EUROPE LEG

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Chinese visa application advice: how to apply for a Chinese visa in uk, How to apply a Chinese visa for UK passport holders, application form, price, cost, how to apply, time, multi entry, hong kong, itinerary, bookings, fake bookings, flights, requirements, how easy is it.

Nicola Hilditch-Short

Nic is one half of the Roaming Renegades, a passionate traveller, climber, adventurer, photographer and artist who has a B.A in Fine Art and M.A in Design & Art Direction.
  • Nathan James Coverdale

    Thank you so much for this, looked into going to China but the visa always looked so complicated! This is really helpful, thanks!

    • Thanks, hopefully it makes it easier for people considering it as we can see how this might put people off.

  • Lynne Sarao

    I’m not sure why they have to make the process so complicated, but this guide certainly helps a lot. Thank you!

    • I know, it is strange really as once you get there you can just go anywhere and stay for much longer than you asked for! Just China I guess!!

  • Allison Green

    This is really helpful, although I’m American so it doesn’t apply exactly 🙂 Hoping to go to China next year sometime, so thanks for this!

    • Thanks. Yes it differs slightly but I am sure for the most part that it is quite a similar process so hopefully it should help!

  • Lara Dunning

    This is a wonderful explanation with lots of great tips for getting a Visa to China. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks, I was so confused at first but really it isn’t that bad when you break it down!

  • CurlyCurlyK

    Super helpful guide! Just got my 10 year multi entry visa a few months ago, US only though I think.

    • Thanks, I wish we got 10 year visas! So much money but at least it lasts for 2 years!

  • bi11y

    hey! love your blog + regret only discovering it now!
    hope you can help – did you select ‘unemployed’ or ‘member of staff’
    i really wanna go climbing in yangshuo – have you been?

    • Hey, thank you very much! Yeah we selected “member of staff” and just put in our old work details. I tried to avoid complicating matters in any way we could! They don’t appear to check this stuff. Yeah we went down and climbed there, amazing place. We have a post a week or so ago on the blog about it. 🙂