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Visa Application

201612021523299329To visit China, most non-Chinese citizens need a visa in addition to a valid passport. For more detailed visa information, please visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in China:

If you are invited to visit IHEP, please follow these instructions to get a valid visa.

1. First, be sure your passport is current and valid for at least 6 months after your planned visit.

2. Know which category of Chinese visa you need.

There are numerous types of visa available to non-Chinese residents when visiting China. You will need to apply for the correct type of visa, depending on the purpose of your travel to China. For the different visa categories, please visit

For short-term visitors to IHEP, we recommend that you apply for “F” (business) or “L” (tourist) type visas. The easiest way is to apply for a tourist visa.

3. Applying for a “L” (tourist) category visa

You can apply for a Chinese tourist visa without any special documentation from IHEP. Such visas are issued to foreigners for sightseeing, visiting relatives or other personal affairs, and are marked “L”.

L visas allow short stays, usually 30 days and no more than 90 days, and cannot be extended upon expiry. Some countries have reciprocal visa arrangements with China which allow multiple entries over more than one year.

To apply for an L visa, you can either go in person to a Chinese embassy, consulate or other diplomatic mission which handles visa applications, or can entrust a travel agency or visa agency to act on your behalf. Postal applications are often not accepted. Please check the website for your nearest Chinese embassy or consulate to check opening hours, the availability of postal or expedited services, and whether or not you need an appointment.

4. Applying for an “F” (business) category visa

For short-term visits to IHEP, you may also apply for an “F” category visa (business visa). For this, you will need an official visa notification form (also known as a “visa application letter”).

To get this, please send your personal information (as listed below) to the person at IHEP who has invited you. He or she will contact our Foreign Affairs Office to apply for a visa application letter for you.

The information should include:

Date of Birth  
Passport number  
Passport expiration date  
Profession and title  
Expected date of arrival in China  
Expected date of departure  
Mailing address  
Chinese embassy or consulate where you will apply for the visa  

If you intend to apply for a multiple entry visa, you should also provide an electronic copy of any previous “F” category visas you were issued, and your plan for future visits to China (at least 2 more entries to China within one year, with the purpose, time, place, and source of funding for your visits).

An official invitation letter requires at least ten working days to process. Applicants should initiate the process as early in their travel plans as possible.

5. Applying for a "Z" category visa

If you are going to visit IHEP for more than 180 days, or going to be formally employed by IHEP, you need to apply for a Z type visa. Below is the current application procedure for Z type visa. Please refer to this procedure and obtain your visa before come to IHEP. We also suggest that you should consult the local secretary or the staff at the IHEP international Office if you have any questions during the visa application.

Step 1: Contact your collaborator at IHEP, and prepare a contract and plan for your visit.

Step 2: Prepare the forms and materials for application for an official visa notification form and Notification Letter of Foreigner’s Work Permit in China.

Step 3: IHEP staff will apply for an official visa notification form (which normally needs two weeks) and a Notification Letter of Foreigner’s Work Permit (which normally needs one month) for you in China.

Step 4: IHEP staff will send the hard copy of the official visa notification form and the electronic version of the Notification Letter of Foreigner’s Work Permit to you.

Step 5: Present the notification letter and other relevant documents at the embassy or consulate office of the People’s Republic of China when applying for a Z visa.

Step 6: Enter China with Z visa.

Step 7: If you are staying at a hotel or IHEP residence, check in then complete temporary residential registration at the local police station within 24 hours of your arrival in China. (If you are staying at a hotel, the hotel could do this for you, but still check with the front desk. If you are staying at an IHEP residence, please ask your collaborator or local secretary to help you do this. (Question: how to apply for staying at IHEP residence?) If you are staying in other private accommodation, you will have to register at the local police station for your area; please ask your landlord about the location of the police station and any necessary documents.

Step 8: Complete your medical check and get an official Health Certificate. This has to be done at the Haidian Clinic of Beijing International Travel Healthcare Centre, #10 Dezheng Street, Haidian District. More information is available here.

Step 9: Within 15 days of entry into China, present your valid visa, employment contract and other relevant documents to the local government department in charge of foreigners working in China to apply for a foreigner’s work permit. IHEP staff will help you prepare the necessary documents and apply for the work permit.

Step 10: Within thirty (30) days of entry into the People’s Republic of China, after obtaining the work permit, you should present the work permit and other relevant documents to the Entry-Exit Administration of the Public Security Bureau (near Yonghegong Lama Temple) to apply for a work-type residence permit. IHEP staff will help you prepare the necessary documents. When all the documents are ready, you will have to apply in person.


1 Extensions of the foreigner’s work permit should be done yearly and at least 30 days in advance of the expiration date.

2 Most of the procedures should be done with the help of the local secretary and IHEP International Office staff, so please keep in close touch with them throughout the process and let them know if you have any questions.

6.Applying for an X category visa

Foreigners coming to China for study shall apply for a student visa at the Chinese Embassy/Consulate in their country of nationality or country of residence.

There are two types of student visa: X1 type visas are usually issued to students planning to study for over 180 days; X2 type visas are usually issued to students planning to study for less than 180 days.

For more information on applying for X visas, you may refer to the guidance on the website of the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences:

7. Submitting visa application materials at your local Chinese consulate or embassy

Please note that different countries or cities may require different visa application materials. Please visit the website of the local Chinese consulate or embassy to check exactly which materials are necessary before making your application.

You must allow adequate time (at least 1.5 months) for the whole visa application process.

Please note that it is your responsibility to obtain an appropriate visa on time.