Passport Requirements when visiting China
All travelers to mainland China require passports valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry, if traveling on a single entry visa. Passport validity must be at least 12 months for a double entry visa or six month multiple entry visa. 12 months multiple entry visa requires 18 months validity of the passport. Passport should also contain enough blank pages.
China Visa Requirements
All travelers need a visa to enter mainland China. The exceptions are citizens of Japan, Singapore and Brunei who do not require a tourist visa to mainland China for stays up to 15 days.
There are several types of visas issued by Chinese authorities to visitors from foreign countries, including "F" visas for business visitors and short-term students, "G" visas for transit, and "L" visas for tourists. Most common are single entry tourist visas that are valid for stays of up to 30 days and must be used within three months of the date of issue. Double entry visas must be used within six months of the date of issue. There are also multiple entry visas which are issued for periods of six or nine months. Visas should be obtained from Chinese embassies or consulates in advance.
Fees for tourist visas depend on the country of residence and the type of visa. For nationalities of some countries, visa fees have been waived (for example: Pakistan, Maldives, Bulgaria, Poland or Slovakia). As of 2008, fees for China tourist visas have increased for US citizens.
When traveling in an organized tour, the tour operator usually takes care of visa formalities for the whole group and tourist visas are not issued individually (group visas).
Note that visas for Hong Kong and Macau are separate from visas to mainland China. Also, traveling from mainland China to Hong Kong or Macau and then back to mainland China requires double or multiple entry visa.
Individual travelers visiting Tibet need to obtain Tibet Travel Permit from the Tourism Bureau of Tibet Autonomous Region in addition to the Chinese visa. For tourists who join organized tours to Tibet, this permit is obtained by the Chinese tour operator for the entire group.
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