How long does it take to get a Chinese visa

China is one of the world’s most popular tourist and business destinations, welcoming over 30 million visitors a year. And when you consider its array of attractions, including the Great Wall of China, the bustling metropolises of Beijing and Shanghai, and ancient sights such as Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum, it’s no wonder. The country’s position as the world’s second-biggest economy also makes it extremely fertile ground for business opportunities.

However, if you’re looking to visit China yourself, you’ll need a visa to gain entry, regardless of your reason for visiting and the duration of your stay. And if your trip is approaching fast, you may be concerned about how long this process will take, and whether you can secure the required travel documentation in time. This is why we’ve outlined how long it takes to get a Chinese visa below, as well as how it may vary depending on your circumstances, and the ways you can speed the process up.

How long does it take to fill out a Chinese visa application?

The application requirements for a Chinese visa are as follows:

  • Your passport. This must be valid for a minimum of six months from your entry date, and have two blank adjoining pages.
  • A 5x5cm passport-style photo. This must have been taken recently against a white background, with your ears showing, and no jewellery being worn.
  • A completed Chinese tourist visa or business visa application form.
  • Biometrics, which you will provide at the China Visa Application Service Centre in London.
  • Those applying for a business visa will need to attach an invitation letter courtesy of a Chinese sponsor or company.
  • A copy of your flight and hotel details, which show that you are travelling from the UK.
  • A copy of your most recent Chinese visa, if you have one.
  • A printed and completed declaration form.

Although the application form itself consists of ten sections, and shouldn’t take you too long to complete, how much time the overall process will take you depends on whether you have the relevant documents and information to hand. Another key factor is how quickly you can get things like the business letter and biometrics completed.

It’s important to note that the China Visa Application Centre is closed on weekends, meaning that those who want to complete their application on a Saturday or Sunday will face a delay. You should also take into account how long it takes you to travel to and from the centre, as you will need to arrive at least twenty minutes before your appointment, with the actual process completed within a half an hour slot.

How long does it take for a Chinese visa application to be processed?

Once you have completed all of the steps outlined above, you will then need to send your application to the Chinese Embassy for processing. Generally speaking, it will take around four business days, though one-day, and two to three-day services are available for an additional fee. That said, this does not take into account shipping and delivery times. The process may also take longer if the embassy requests supplementary information or an interview, or if you didn’t fill in the forms correctly and need to re-submit them. It’s actually recommended by the Chinese Embassy to send off your application around one to two months before your trip, though of course, this isn’t always possible.

How can I speed up the Chinese visa application process?

The best way to speed things up is to use an accredited visa agent like GulfVisa, for the reasons listed below:


In addition to offering advice during the visa application process, GulfVisa will guide you through each step of the way. This includes checking your documents, submitting them to the Chinese Embassy, and arranging the biometric appointment on your behalf. All of this helps to cut the application time, especially with our fast track service, which can speed things up even further.


One of the biggest reasons visa applications get delayed is because of mistakes. China has particularly stringent rules too, meaning just one error could invalidate the whole thing, leading to your application being sent back or rejected entirely. Here at GulfVisa, we know the Chinese visa application processes like the back of our hand, so we can weed out any mistakes right away and boost your chances of having your application approved, first time.


As well as assisting with visa applications, our Chinese document attestation and passport renewal services can also boost your chances of a successful visa application and speed up the process accordingly. The former involves authenticating documents so that they will be accepted by the Chinese embassy, while the latter ensures that you have enough time on your passport to successfully receive a Chinese visa. The minimum period is six months upon entry to the country.

So there you have it — now you know roughly how long the Chinese visa application process takes, and how you can secure your travel documentation even quicker. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any more questions around the topic, or Chinese visas in general.


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