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How to apply for a Chinese visa in Hong Kong




If you want to visit China, or live in China and want to stay beyond the duration of your visa you have to apply for a new Chinese visa. The easiest, if not cheapest, way to do this is to visit Hong Kong on the infamous Hong Kong China Visa Run.

Hong Kong Skyline

Finding the Chinese Visa Office

The visa office is in the China Resources building, mid-way between Wanchai MTR station and Wanchai Ferry Terminal. This is pretty easy to find, but identifying the correct entrance for the visa office is a little trickier. Facing towards the water, the China visa bureau is on the far left side. If you ask for the visa office at the main entrance they’ll ask which one, which isn’t very helpful. The magic word is ‘official’. Ask for the official office or you’ll be sent to a visa agency.

China Resources Building Visa Entrance

China Resources Building Visa Entrance

Consular Department Office of the Commissioner Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China
Chinese Visa Office
7th Floor, Lower Block, China Resources Building
26 Harbour Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: 3413-2424
Opening hours: 9am-12pm then 2-5pm on Weekdays.

Check for public holidays as this will affect both opening hours and processing times.

Getting In

A queue forms outside within a few minutes of the visa office opening. When I was there it reached the far corner and looked pretty daunting, but only took 25 minutes to reach the front. The holdup is caused by two things – the small lifts and the airport style security. You’re not allowed to take in food or drinks, lighters and knives, all of which will be permanently confiscated. Bags, computers and phones all have to pass through an x-ray machine, as do you.


Arriving on the 7th floor you’ll be given a Visa application form to fill out. This form can be downloaded in advance, but the one they gave me was slightly different so I completed it again to be sure everything was correct. Make sure it’s complete, that you’ve got a 1-1/2″ by 2″ photo, and any supporting documents. All documents need to be photocopied on both sides and there’s a photocopier available in the lobby for HK$1 per sheet. There’s also a photo booth, and a gaggle of people complaining about the high price, so get photos before you arrive. Make sure they’ve got a plain, pale background.

This is the most important stage, as there’s no pleasure in waiting for the next part only to be told something is up with your form and you need to start again. The visa officers are understandably strict so it’s best to get it right first time. Whilst I was waiting I would estimate that 1 in 5 people got turned away for missing some element. Most of these were easily avoidable – for example one chap had a 5×5 Polaroid of his face rather than a standard passport photo, and another was offering an email as proof of employment.

Before you leave home, you can check the instructions for different visa types and what documents you’ll need at the VisaForChina website. The site also shows alternative locations, such as Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Singapore.

Once you’re ready, take the form back to the person who gave it to you and they’ll give it a quick once over, and all being well a queue number.


This is the worst bit. A large LED screen at the front indicates which booth to visit. The paper slip with your number on also shows how many people are in front of you. For me this equated to about a minute per person, so 71 minutes later my number came up. Take something to pass the time, but don’t miss your number as they won’t process you unless you’ve got the current ticket.

This stage could be avoided by using one of the many Chinese visa agencies in town, who for around HK$250 will fill out the form and wait on your behalf. This is great for a simple tourist visa but I was applying for a more flexible stay so wanted to be there to deal with any issues.


The visa officer briefly looked through all my papers and z-visa documents before stamping them and giving me a blue slip of paper, telling me to come back in 24 hours.

Standard visa applications are turned around in 4 working days, with 2 or 3 days being available for an extra fee. The number of days includes the day of application, so 2 days is actually next day. The price of hotels in Hong Kong is so high that it’s considerably cheaper to pay for the fastest service possible than pay for an extra night in a hotel.

Take the rest of the day and enjoy looking round Hong Kong for a while.


The day of collection is much easier. Arriving at the downstairs entrance show your blue slip to the guard outside and you’ll be ushered through security without queuing. Back on the 7th floor proceed to the cashier on the far left and pay for the visa. They’ll give you a receipt, which must then be taken to the collection point in the adjacent booth. This had a longer queue but moved rapidly.

Once you’ve got your passport back check everything before you leave the building as there’s a policy of no returns once you’ve left. In the unlikely event anything is wrong just go back to the collection point and they can rectify it on the same day assuming you can provide any extra documentation.

In conclusion

It’s not that hard, and doesn’t really need the assistance of a Hong Kong travel agency unless you’re very short on time. If you’re applying for a more complicated visa an agency from your Chinese town of residence is more useful to ensure you take all the correct paperwork.

May 2012 Update

This is from Ross. Please thank him here in the comments
I’m an American who was granted a Z visa in mid-May 2012 through the Hong Kong Consulate. Here’s what I needed:

#1 Invitation Letter or Z-Visa Notice from Provincial Foreign Expert’s Bureau (aka Ministry of Foreign Affairs) – It MUST be addressed to HK Consulate; Applicants may only apply at the consulate/embassy to which this letter is addressed.

#2 Alien Employment License “JiuYeXuKeZhengShu” from Ministry of Labor and Social Security (aka Labor Bureau, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security)

#3 Certificate of Health Examination (For me, a “Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine” Booklet from provincial-level Health Bureau)

#4 Invitation Letter with official company chop

#5 A copy of the Business Registration License from your company (QiYeFaRenYingYeZhiZhao) – although a friend applying in Singapore didn’t need this document.

#6 I used Everbright, who completes the (#6) application form for customers – but bring photos (#7), passport (#8) and several copies of everything. Thankfully, Everbright also will review documents over e-mail before you visit their offices ( ph: 852-23693188). They finished my application by the next day, and charged HKD1600 total. They seem to know very well the various China visa situations for many different countries.

August 2012 Update

You now also need to take a photocopy of your hotel reservation and a photocopy of your round-trip flight ticket.

The letter of invitation has been further defined as:

An invitation Letter issued by the Chinese local governments, companies, corporations and institutions other than above-mentioned Chinese agency.
The invitation letter shall include the following items:
(A) Personal information of the invitee: name, gender, date of birth, etc.
(B) Information concerning the invitee's visit to China: purpose of the visit, date of arrival and leaving, places to visit, relationship between the applicant and the inviter, and who will bear the cost of the applicant's accommodations in China.
(C) Information of the inviter: name of the unit, phone number, address, seal and signature of the legal representative.
* Generally, the invitation letter may be submitted as a fax, copy or printout. If necessary, the consular officer will ask the applicant to submit the original invitation letter, or to provide some supporting and supplementary documents, or schedule an interview.

May 2013 Update

This recent comment indicates that everything is going smoothly at the moment as long as you prepare fully.

This post got to over 400 comments. I’m going to remove a few of the older, repetitive or less relevant comments to help people find the useful information.

If this has been helpful, please share the page using the buttons below, so others can benefit. I’ll also notify any updates via this Facebook page. Good luck with your application!

New Regulations update – from July 2013

There are quite a few changes, but it boils down to applying for the right visa. Tourist visas are no different, work Z-visa are now in 2 categories: Z2 only allows under 90 days, Z1 allows longer than 90 days. There’s also a new M-visa for people coming for work, but not actually working (i.e. attending conferences or meetings) – this needs more clarification, which I’ll add as it emerges. Here’s a rough guide to the changes.

The most important change for first-time work visas is the need for a criminal background check. For most nationalities these are only available in your home country, so make sure to get it before you leave for Hong Kong.

November 2014 update

It’s now possible to get 10-year tourist visa but they still only have a maximum stay duration of 60 days. The best news is that they cost the same as the old 1-year visa.

May 2015 Update

Make sure your documentation is perfect as refusals are increasing, especially for those who are regularly renewing short term visas, as they are suspected of working illegally.





Since leaving London in 2006 I’ve travelled, worked, volunteered and lived in over 90 countries. Highlights so far would be driving along the Silk Road from Beijing to Istanbul, a complete circuit of South America and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in Costa Rica. I’m currently back in Beijing, as a base to visit more of Asia and attempt to learn Mandarin.


  • Brings back memories ;).. I’ll be back in Oct 2011 for a new one. Good excuse to have dinner/drinks w my HK friends, although the Visa experience is just massively stressful because seemingly no one knew if they had all the right papers until they got up to that counter. Thanks for this great resource.

    • Steve, thanks for this post, all the information was useful and very accurate.

      My experience, Chinese Visa In Hong Kong application denied,

      Reason: Apparently they thought I visited China for too long.

      I got a first Tourist visa L for 2 months, then got 2 renewals in Beijing, total time 4 months.

      I left China and came back after 3 months with a 2 months tourist visa L.

      Got an extension for 15 days.

      Went to HK, with an invitation letter and all the paperwork in order, still the consul explained to me in a very poor English that “I visited China for too long” ?????? no other logic explanation was given to me. I was advised to apply from my country of origin.

      There was another guy from Sweden, He lived in China for 4 months learning Mandarin, wanted to go back to practice it for 2 months. visa denied.

      I’m kinda glad I’m not going back, only reason I wanted to get a new Visa is because my BF works over there, Personally I can’t stand the pollution, food poisoning, and the lack of freedom among other things.

      Steve is right, no more Rush service, apparently the Travel agencies are able to get you any kinda a visa… if you want to pay the price.

  • Thanks for the article, but I’m still a bit uncertain. I’m a US citizen who is currently an exchange student in South Korea. I couldn’t get a Visa to China through South Korea because I am only studying here for one semester and my “Alien Registration Card” must be good for at least 6 more months.

    I wash hoping to travel to China and see Beijing while on this side of the world, but I’m afraid I can’t apply for the Visa in SK. I was considering going to Hong Kong to apply for the Visa, but I just have to be sure I can get the Visa before I go.

    I noticed that on the website, under qualifications for a tourism Visa, it says I must “provide the original and a copy of his or her permanent residence or work permit which should be valid for at least half a year.” I have a US Driver’s License? Would that work?

    I have tried and tried and tried to contact the embassy in Hong Kong through emails but to no avail. I have even tried calling them, but for whatever reason, I cannot get through with long distance calls on any payphone I try.

    If I have my application form, a basically “new” US passport that is good for 10 more years, my US driver’s license (and copy), and the money, do you think I could get a travel visa to China in a short amount of time — through Hong Kong?

    Sorry for the super details, but I’m really running out of options here and I can’t find much help.

    • The requirements for a US to China Tourist Visa it look much like the British version. If you’re only coming for a short tourism visit your passport and a couple of photos should be all you need.

      As in most countries, the Chinese embassy only allows people holding a local resident permit or similar status to apply for multiple entry visas. For a single entry visa you should be fine.

      If you’re still worried, the extra few dollars to use an agency may be advisable. Despite their remarkably bad website, Forever Bright have a good reputation.

      • Just want to thank you for all your help! This totally worked. I arrived on a Sunday evening, dropped my form off on Monday morning at the office, and picked up my Passport with my Chinese Visa on Tuesday morning.

        Thank you so much! This article really made a difference, and I had an awesome trip in Hong Kong AND Beijing because of it. 🙂

      • I am now in China and want to stay for as long of a duration as I can get. I am an American citizen currently on an F visa that is going to expire this month. I am unsure of the whole visa process and what visa can get so I would prefer to use an agent. But I looked at the forever bright website and there is no contact information. I dont want to just show up in Hong Kong and try to get this all sorted when I get there. Do you have their contact ? If not can you suggest another reliable agency that I can at least talk to about my options before I make the trip. Thank you so much in advance. Your information is invaluable.

    • Hey, I’m in exactly the same situation as you were back in 2011! Except I have a UK passport and not US, but only have 4 months on my alien registration card. How did you manage to get the visa? Was your passport enough to get the visa in hong kong? thanks in advance!

  • Hi there,
    Just a quick query.
    I’m visiting China for 6 weeks this summer and I’m off in less than a month. Just about to apply for my visa at the consulate in London, but i’ve just come to realise that it’s going to cost be about £90…thats about $150!!
    I’m flying into HK and was wondering whether I would be able to just apply for my Chinese visa there and whether it would be a lot cheaper (I’m on a tight budget). Any ideas how much a 3 month tourist visa is there in HK?
    If you could get back to me it would be greatly appreciated, thanks!!

    • Hi, it would be cheaper (about HK$400/£31 for an express 90 days single entry visa, or even less if you have more time).

      If you already have a few days planned in HK then great, but bear in mind that with all the queuing you may lose the best parts of a couple of those.

      If you’re not already staying, then the cost of accommodation may cancel out the savings.

    • I am now here in Shanghai, can I exit from Hongkong to get a new Chinese Visa? May stay in Shanghai is just for 1 month, I want to extend it because I need to be trained for a new business. I need to apply for a new business visa in Hongkong. Is it possible?

  • Can you recommend any Visa service compnaies in ong Kong who are trust worthy, I will be there for a short visit to renew my Z-visa for my job in China.

  • Hi, When I phoned up a hotel in HK today, they said that the passport photo needs to have a blue background but everything I have read says a white background.

    Could anyone clarify this?


    • The official line was a “plain, pale background”.

      My passports photos for the visa were all against a white background. Once in China all the photobooths seem to have pale blue backgrounds, and I’ve used these for other forms like the Resident Permit, Alien Employment Book and Medical checks.

  • Hey, thanks a lot for this detailed information. I will have my first (and hopefully only) visa run next week to apply for another month tourist visa (L Visa). I am not too worried about the requirements but the timeline. I will travel into Hong Kong on Wedensday Morning (Landing approximately 11AM). IS it enough to hand in the application by 2 PM and still get it ready for the next day So I can leave Thursday Night?
    I hope you can help and once again thanks a lot for all your detailed information.


  • I’m a US citizen and have been living in China for several years on a student visa. I want to take some time off and be on a tourist visa. Has anyone had any luck getting anything better than a double entry visa with 30 day entries in Hong Kong?

    • Not in Hong Kong. Friends have said they’ve been given 60 day visas in Chiang Mai, Thailand, without any bother.

      My first visa, obtained in the UK, was a 6-month, 90-day entry tourist visa which sounds more useful to your needs. Have a look at the websites for Kuala Lumpur and Singapore as well:

      • I have heard that there may be problems getting a China visa in HK during the Shenzhen University Games (August 12 – 30). Does anyone have any information on this?

  • Hi Steve, thanks for the very detailed info! As both a USA passport and HKID holder (HK resident) I’ve actually already been through the Chinese visa process, and it is exactly as described by you. However, recently I’ve heard that the “rush” services are no longer available. Four days is now the minimum wait time to obtain any Chinese visa regardless of how much you’re willing to pay. This was reportedly what happened to my friend (French national) who got his Chinese visa in June of 2011 in Hong Kong. Can you or anyone else confirm this? I’m heading to HK to renew my Chinese visa soon, and would really like to know if this is true. Having to stay 4 days would really suck…

    Thanks in advance and much appreciated!

    • Hey, just wanted to clear some misunderstandings here. Your post about rush-service’s availability worried me A LOT, because I only had 7 days in HK+China and I couldn’t afford to waste four days in Hong Kong waiting for visa. I applied for L visa (single-entry, 30 days) yesterday and the billboard at visa office indicated rush and express services are still available… Not sure about how stringent they are with other types of visa, as L visa is pretty hassle free. Hope this helps.

  • Dear Steve and fellow men,
    I was searching for some info and your blogs and notings were very helpful indeed.
    It is not easy to get correct & useful info on china rules.
    Thank you so very much !!!


  • Thank you for the great information, however one agency suggested visas can be processed 24/7, i took this to mean also on the weekends, do you know if this is true?
    After looking at some websites I have only read processing is on weekdays, in which case i need to come earlier than i would have liked, and HK is so expensive!

    Thanks 🙂

  • Hi Steve,
    I am going to HK this weekend to apply for chines Visa. I’m currently living in Shanghai and I’ll to stay here at least for 5~7 more months.
    Last time I got the business Visa (F) which is easy to extend for 3 months. I would like to ask you:
    1. Witch type of Visa do you think is the best from my case?
    2. For the (F) Visa could just bring a printed invitation letter (with the stamps of the companies in digital). I did like that in Chile last time and even bye-mail was enough? Do you think I need extra suppor documents??

    Many thanks Steve!!

    • China is a lot stricter than most places – you’ll need an original letter, stamped in red with the company ‘chop’. If you’ve got a job then the company should offer to help you get a z-visa which is the one that allows you to work. Otherwise get a simple tourist visa for 6 months.

  • Hi Steve,

    I’m trying to find information about whether it’s still possible to obtain a single-entry tourist visa to China as an overseas passport holder (Australian) in South Korea.

    There seems to be quite a bit of conflicting information and I am unsure as to whether the situation has changed this month.

    I will be arriving in South Korea two weeks prior to wanting to travel to China and therefore will not have a ‘Alien Registration Card’ in SK.

    Any information or suggestions would be wonderful – thankyou!

    • Hi Kate,
      Last I heard was that you do need an ‘Alien Registration Card’ with at least 6 months remaining validity, which you’ll only get after you’ve been working or living in South Korea for over 6 months.
      I’d suggest applying in Australia if you’re not already abroad, otherwise consider 2-3 nights in Hong Kong. Japan is a closer option, but I’ve no experience in getting a visa there.

      • Thanks very much for your information, Steve. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to organise my Chinese tourist visa in Australia due to time constraints and some miscommunication with the travel agency organising the application.
        I had my fingers crossed that it would still be possible in SK, but may have to change my travel plans this time around!

  • Today I went to the visa centre in manchester, (a bad experiance). I was turned away for what I consider a minor mistake on my application form. I managed to find another company called china visa bureau who fixed my problem, and gave me sameday service. I really rate this company and reccomend there service….. they are…. china visa bureau, devenshire house,, 36 george street, manchester. 01618709048 thankyou again for all your help.

    • Usually I delete all the spam comments, but this one is so bad I let it through…This is from the owner of If you really want to entrust your visa applications to someone that can’t spell their own address, let alone yours, go for it. Contact them at Good luck!

      If you’re in the UK I’d suggest filling the visa application form out online, or mailing it to the official London or Manchester China Visa centre yourself, avoiding all the exorbitant fees. Alternatively use a less spammy visa company like TravCour.

      • Hi Steve, The spelling mistake is a Facebook error……
        And all I will say is read my Testimonials…..
        I pride myself on giving an exellent service, and for someone to comment and give a negative view without even using my service is harsh… I use to work for the China Visa Service Centre in Manchester, I have a vast knowledge on Visas…..maybe my spelling is not up to scratch..but I can get someone a visa without fuss.

        • So now you’ve gone from a satisfied customer to the owner of the company?

          You used “to work for the China Visa Service in Manchester” and you can “get someone a visa without fuss” yet you still “went to the visa centre in manchester,” and had “(a bad experiance). I was turned away for what I consider a minor mistake on my application form”?
          Not exactly confidence inspiring…!

          Some advice:
          If you want to spam, at least do it under a pseudonym.
          If you want to buy an advertisement, go through the correct channels.
          Facebook can’t make spelling errors on a WordPress comment form.

          • Hi Steve, For some reason you have a grudge against me and my company….. I’d like to invite you to my place of work so you can give an honest review rather than an “opinion”
            Feel free to contact me on 0161870904x to arrange this.
            We are a professional visa agency and pride ourselves on our expertise.

            EDIT by steve: I can only allow 5 layers of comments, so will append this here.
            I’m not sure how you coming to my site and leaving such obvious spam comments implies that I have a grudge against your company?
            As a dedicated reader I’m sure you may have noticed I’m in China, so will be unable to take you up on your thoughtful offer of a day trip to Manchester.

  • Any idea if they apply any restrictions on some certain nationalities having a visa to China in Hong Kong? I am a Turkish citizen and a Turkish passport holder. I have lived in China for 2 months. First, I got my visa in Istanbul. It was an F visa by an agent and paying only 200$ without even filling a form, then got extended it in a PSB for 1 more month in China, but they gave me L visa in my first extention. Today, I am going to the visa office in Hong Kong. Worrying about not getting visa because of political problems between two countries. I also went to different visa agents such as CTS ( China Travel Service ) I was told Turkish citizens can’t apply. My girlfriend is living in China and we’re planning to marry soon so I have to go back there as soon as possible. I will appreciate you if you have ideas or suggestions?

    • I know that the requirements and costs are different for each nationality, but unfortunately the best people to let you know the latest restrictions will be the Visa Application Centre. If they turn you away, consider chatting to one of the visa agents in the same building as they may have a solution. Good luck and let us know how you get on.

    • Merhaba ve Hello,

      so did you got finally a visa in HK, i`m also turkish Citizen and also trying to get the tourist visa here in HK!

  • Hi

    I am an Indian national with resident permit of Dubai. Soon I will be entering Hong Kong for 5 days as a tourist. Is it possible to get China mainland single entry 1 month tourist visa in Hong Kong ? Are there some agents who can do job in a day or two ? What docs are required ? I do have two used chinese transit visas in my passport



  • Hey Steve,
    your posts are really helpful, thank you very much!

    I am a German citizen, currently staying in Singapore for exchange studies, and wanna live in Beijing for 8 weeks starting January.
    From what I have heard, it is not possible to get a Chinese visa in Singapore when you don’t have a flat yet.
    Is it possible to get a 60-90 day visa for China in HK without having a flat yet?’
    If not, do you have any other ideas how to manage that?

    I really hope you can help me out 🙂

    • For the visa application form you could just use the address of a well known hotel – try a brand like the Hilton or Sheraton.

      If you want proof of address, how about booking a single night in a cheap hotel. Use a printout of the booking as proof of address and you’ll be able to apply for a tourist visa anywhere.

      If you get a flat in the meantime, you can cancel and refund the hotel booking. If you do get a flat, don’t forget to register your address with the police at the Public Security Bureau.

  • I may need to get a Tourist (L) visa in HK. I have my airline tickets, Dec. 07, 2011 arrival. My trip is 77 days long.

    I am a USA citizen. I have never been to Asia before. I sent my form and passport to a Houston service. I am just waiting on results now. I am in day 3 or 4, depending on when the service dropped it off.

    Thanks for the above detailed and current information. I may be back for more detailed notes in case I don’t obtain my visa before I leave.

    Note: From my observation the cost for USA tourist visa is the same in HK, just we have to pay a service fee here, unless you happen to live in the embassy city. The service fee in USA can be from US$35 to well over US$100, depending on company or if expidited.

  • I’m a U.S. citizen preparing to go to GZ in 01/2012 for about a year (possibly longer). I have a multiple-entry, 60-day L visa that expires in 06/2012.

    Based on your experience, which of the following do you suggest: (1) applying for new 12-month visa (presumably same terms as what I currently have) prior to departure in January, (2) applying for a new L visa at the GZ PSB in June, (3) applying for a new L visa in HK in June, or (4) returning to the U.S. in June and reapplying here.

    Based on reading others’ comments, it seems a 12-month L visa is not an option (i.e., Options 2 and 3)? Is my understanding correct?

    Option 4 is probably the most expensive (airfare) so it’s the least attractive for me.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  • 1) is definitely the easiest and most secure.
    2) PSB extensions are usually only for 30 days at most, after which you’ll need a new visa anyway.
    3) is a possibility, but it’s most likely cheaper to do 1)
    4) I can’t see much benefit to 4) unless you want to visit home.

    I’d go for option 1 and not have to worry about reapplying.

  • Hi,
    I have a really important question.
    I am from Kazakhstan and i live in china. I currently have an F visa, and I just found a job that is willing to give me an Z visa (working), it is cheaper to go to HK than to go back to my country. I’ve been trying to call the chinese counsulate in Hong Kong for a week, but can’t get through.
    Does anyone here know if Kazakh citezens can make visas in HongKong?

  • You need to ask your school to have the country name on the visa notification form for Z visa from Kazakhstan to Hong Kong. As long as the country name Hong Kong appears on the form for application for the Z visa, the Hong Kong visa office should not have a problem issuing you the visa in Hong Kong. There is no point in calling the HK consulate if the name on the form is listed as Kazakhstan because they will not help you. Ask your employer to help you out.

  • Hi Steve,
    Seasons greetings
    I’m a UK passport holder currently on a 90 day tourist visa which will expire in mid January. I have recently married a Chinese girl and I will soon need to renew my visa as I want to stay here for the foreseeable future.
    Now, I’m not exactly sure what my options are. I would like to work here but at the moment I do not have a job so no Z visa yet. I have heard that it’s possible to get my wife to sponsor me but I’m not sure what that would entail. The other option would be to get another tourist visa.
    Hope you can help

    • Hi, I’m not sure enough about the sponsoring procedure to offer advice, but I believe you need to have been married for some time and that it’s quite an involved process so you’ll need to get another visa for the interim period. This will most likely be an L tourist/family visit visa. If you want a longer term visa you’ll need to find a job (teaching English is an easy one to get) then your employer should help you get a Z-visa.

      FWIW, also look at the process for getting a UK passport for your Chinese wife – it’s pretty draconian the other way around.

  • Hi, was wondering if you could help.There is a lot of information out there and hard to break it down. I’m currently in Shanghai on a L visa. Got a 6 month internship offer from a company in Shanghai and they have emailed me an invitation letter stating to intern for 180 days. I am a UK citizen. I’m going to Hong Kong in January as my L visas expires then and I also start the internship then. Can I apply directly for a 6month F visa or can I only get 3 months? If I get 3months single entry can I just extend in Shanghai or do I need to re-leave China? What documents exactly do I need?
    Thanks for any help.

  • Hey Steve,
    thank you for all the information!
    I just arrived in HK and went straight to one of the China Travel Agencies. I need a Chinese visa for approx. 40-50 days (I am staying in BJ as a tourist, I might do a language course in BJ) but the lady at the counter said the visa would be only for 30 days? Even after asking again she sticked to that.
    Can you help me out with that? I thought there were 90 day visas? I am really in a rush, I hope you can help me.

    Thanks so much and best regards,

  • Hi, I am in China and was wondering if I can send my passport to a friend in HK to change my visa type from a yearly family visa to a Z visa. Can anyone be an agent, if so I could fill out and post the forms, photo’s and passport to my friend.

  • Hello steve!
    my friend and i are planning to go to hongkong for a visit and also go to china for a tour. Is is ok to just get a tourist visa in HK to china? we are from the philippines.
    thanks so mucH!

  • What a great site with great information…here’s my problem with a proposed course of action for your comment..
    Mistakenly didn’t see the number of entries (2) in my visa issued in OZ and was forced to get another entry visa yesterday at Beijing airport..a month only, blowing my plans for a final leaving date.
    So that previous visa is blown and I now have to do something within 30 days to stay here in my own apartment with my Chinese wife!

    Proposing to visit the local PSB (same district as where we married 9 years ago) in the morning and ask for an extension to the existing one month visa.
    For how long that would be I don’t know.
    Then, ie after the extension) ask for a resident aliens certificate and…wait for it…ask if they’ll put the new visa in my totally clean UK passport. If they baulk at that, take the res alien certificate to HK and ask for a visa there (L 12mth).
    I don’t want to be forced to go back to OZ and apply there at this stage – as they’ll only enter a visa in my OZ passport anyway.
    I’m 70 and don’t really want to run around more than I have to!
    Any helpful hints or pitfalls to avoid?

    • I must add the following…I live in Nanning and after my last entry to China this week went to the local police station and registered. They were very helpful. All it needed before that registration was to visit the community centre of our housing complex (most efficient) and obtain a piece of paper showing/proving that we owned a unit and resided there. Showing that at the police station was simple and the registration of my alien presence was simple too. The PSB office is not far (No 72 takes you right there from Wal-Mart on Minzu Dadao)
      The female officer behind the desk in the visa section on floor two couldn’t have been more helpful – she also spoke excellent English.
      In discussion, we found the best option and cheapest was to request a six month extension with single entry then apply for a 12 month and/or a two year (as I’m over sixty)
      So two days of worry were all for nothing. And the politeness was palpable!

      • That’s excellent news! It’s good to hear that helpful customer service exists in China – it’s sadly rather rare in Beijing.

        Thank you for the update.

  • Hi Steve,
    This information is brilliant, but do you (or anyone else) know if someone (me) with an expiring F-Visa can renew it for another double entry 6-month F-Visa in Hong Kong, without a Proof of Residence Form from a police station?
    I may have never picked one up…


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  • Sorry if this has been answered. Can anyone confirm that a US passport holder can get an L visa in Hong Kong with a 90 day duration of stay now.

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  • Hi Steve,

    Great job thanks a lot.

    You said above “You can definitely get 6 month multiple entry tourist visas in HK but …………….” (on February 11, 2012).

    Is that on your own at the Chinese Resources building or you have to use an agency in HK to get it?

    Thanks again.

  • Hi Steve. I am italian, my study visa is about to expire and I need to stay 3 more months in beijing. Can I get a 3 months tourist visa in hong kong?
    It is better to go to an agent or to the chinese consul?
    Do I need some special documents to get the visa?

    I need to be 100% sure that they can give me a 90 days duration tourist visa without any problems. Can you help me?


  • Cheers Steve,

    Thanks so much for posting this, great job! Helped a lot and thanks to your detailed listing everything worked out really smoothly for me!!

    All the best to you!

  • Hi Steve,
    I’ve been invited for a job interview at a university in Shenzen next month and am unsure whether I would need an L or F visa. Any suggestions?

    Also, would it be possible to get either if i flew into Hong Kong a few days early first? I have a British passport but am currently on holiday in the US, where the embassy has told me i need to fly back to the UK and apply there?!

    • An L tourist visa is fine for travelling to the interview. If you get the job they’ll help you get a working visa (F/Z). You can get all of these in HK.

  • Thanks Steve. Great info! One other thing..I presently live in China on a tourist visa… I have heard that it is necessary to get an Invitation Letter from the “Ministry of Foreign Affairs” here addressed to the Hong Kong Visa office saying they are willing for me to work n China. Do you now anything about this?

  • Hi Steve, I’m so glad I’ve found your website! great job you’re doing here!
    I’m currently staying in China on F visa that expires in June. Then I was told to leave China and apply for a new F visa from HK.
    However I had to change my passport (due to lack of empty pages) last time I went home, so now I have 2 passports (old one with a current visa) and a brand new one.
    My question is – do I have to show them Temporary Residence Registration Permit while applying for an F visa? As mine will have expired anyway (i’m leaving China on the day my visa expires) and it’s also under my ‘old’ passport.
    I thought the invitation letter would be enough.
    thank you.

    • Not a problem. The Residence Permit expires when you change visa anyway, so you’ll need to go back to the PSB/police station and get a new one with your new visa number.

      • great, so it means I don’t have t show them anything while applying, I just have to register after I come back to China, right?
        many thanks for your answer

  • Hello Steve,

    I’m a US citizen currently studying in Hong Kong and I’m heading to Beijing on Thursday. I planned on going to the offices China Travel Services here tomorrow and putting in my application with rush service, but they said it would be HK$2600 for 1 day service! That has to be a rip off, especially when their normal fee is $1250, but I’m worried that I can’t go to the China Resources office you mentioned because it says on the official website that “Those without Hong Kong residency are required to apply in their country.” Is that out of date? I’m hoping it is considering other people posting on this page have had success getting theirs at the afformentioned office. If it is incorrect then i’ll just go to the building you mentioned; if it IS correct, do you have any advice (such as maybe using the Forever Bright agency you mentioned)? Let me know as soon as you can. Thanks!!

    • Recent commenters have successfully applied for visas without HK residency, so you should be fine. Give it a try, if it all goes wrong head next door to one of the agencies and they can take over (for a fee).

    • HK$2600 is about right. That’s what I pay (about) for a 1 day service, and I’m from The US as well. Try Shoestring Travel (or something like that) – It’s on Nathan Road down the street from Chungking Mansions, right across from the Pizza hut. You’ve got to go up a couple floors, and they’ve done my VISA tons of times.

      • I just went to the offices mentioned by Steve earlier today and I only had to pay HK$1400 for 2-day service. The $2600 I was quoted (and that you said you pay, Rod) may not be a “rip-off” nescissarily, but Steve is certainly right that the China Resources building seems to be the cheapest and most convenient. Only had to wait about 15 min. Thanks Steve!!

  • Hi There

    I am currently on a L visa and wanting to extend my visa for a further 2 months in Hong Kong do you know if this is possible and does anyone know the process for a new zealander

  • I am also in need of a new visa in Hong Kong. I have been staying in Beijing but my visa expires this month. The problem is that there seems to be no one who can get a visa for Americans, even agents, that is they have to leave every 30 days.

    I am going to try Forever bright but they also say they can only do 6 month visa but have to leave every 30 days! what a pain. Anyone know of somewhere in Hong Kong to get a longer visa? one where you don’t have to leave every 30 days.

    • I just applied through the official China Visa bureau and only had to leave every 90 days. Maybe an American can offer some suggestions.

  • Bangkok is not there, nether is Hongkong for that part. I was thinking of applying at the chinese embassy in Bangkok. You got me abit stressed out right now, already booked the flight an all. So i wont be able to get a new turist visa in Thailand?

  • Hello There,
    I’ve been researching and reading around, and I’m a bit confused. So as of now, is it possible for a U.S. citizen to obtain a Chinese visa in Hong Kong? I’m currently in Shanghai and my visa is going to expire in 2 weeks. I was going to extend my current visa (L – visiting relatives) here but they only give you 1 entry when I need at least 2. However, I’ve been trying to find out if a U.S. citizen can get a Chinese visa in Hong Kong because there are a lot of sites that contradict each other and I don’t want to go into HK and not be able to enter. Thanks for your time.

  • Hi Steve

    I’m in China on a single entry tourist visa. If I go to Hong Kong for a few days’ holiday does that count as leaving China? ie. will I use up my single entry? Or will I be able to get back into the mainland? Thanks.

  • A few questions:

    Any non-permanent resident of HK successfully get a non-tourist China visa from the China Visa office described in this month? I’ll be going in 2 weeks to apply for a F-business visa.

    Have you heard of anyone being able to get a K- business visa with a duration of stay of 60 or 90 days? I’ve seen on the PRC Embassy in US website that if someone has received two F-visas in the past, that they can apply for another F visa directly by submitting copies. I have: an invitation letter of duly authorized unit from the Commerce Bureau, a business contract with a Chinese enterprise, and 2 previously used F visas. The commerce bureau told the owner of the Chinese enterprise that they could only issue invitations with duration of stay of 30 days max.

    But I’m asking that since “the Visa officers are empowered to make final decisions” if I provide enough documentation verifying my need to stay for longer periods of time in the PRC,for business, might it be possible that the visa officer would make exceptions? Is there any other document that I should get?

    • A K visa is a fiancée visa which doesn’t allow you to work. Visa officers do have some leeway, but it very much depends on who you get – it may be worth using an agency that has an established relationship if you want some special requests, but they won’t guarantee anything.

      • I apologize, that K-visa was a typo! Please re-answer my question in terms of F-visa? Is it possible to get a 60-180 day F-visa?


  • Steve, have you seen this page on the Chinese consulate Website?

    Read down to #4.

    4, If you don’t reside or work in Hong Kong permanently, you are required to apply Chinese visa from the Embassy or Consulate-General of Peoples’ Republic of China in your resident country.

    I’m a Canadian and the last time I had to get a ‘Z’ visa was 2 years ago which I had extended.

    I’m changing jobs and need to get an ‘F’ visa as of June 2.

    So, what is the deal here? I see you’ve been advising people that ‘F’ visas are available to non-HK residents even though the consulate says ‘no’.

    I’m scared to death because I have been living and working legally in China for 10 years now (which means I am not exactly rich) and I may be told in HK that I have to go to Canada … where I have not lived for 10 years.

    Any suggestions … Considering Beijing has just announced a visa crackdown lasting 100 days?

      • If you read what they say closely, they are student residents of Hong Kong and as such are allowed because they have residency.

        What has prompted my question is this article in the NY Times:

        “The upshot has been a host of inconveniences for those with foreign passports. In recent weeks, scores of scholars and tourists have had their visa applications rejected by Chinese embassies around the world.”


        “Western culture has also taken something of a hit. A joint Chinese-American jazz training program scheduled for June was canceled over “visa issues.” Last weekend, the police cited a missing permit when they forced the sudden cancellation of the musical “Oklahoma!” — which was largely cast with non-Chinese and partly financed by the United States Embassy. Desperate organizers found a new location but at substantial cost. The Philadelphia Orchestra, which performs next week at the National Center for Performing Arts in Beijing, has been dismayed to find many of its Chinese corporate sponsors inexplicably backing out at the last minute. ”

        This has all started since the crackdown less than two weeks ago.

        • Apologies Steve,

          I have just had two visa outlets confirm they can get me visas for 6 months multiple entry/continuous stay 6 month visas (no need to leave every 30 days).

          • Hi Steve,

            we (1 German, 1 New Zealander) need to get a tourist visa (single entry, 30 days) in HK. As far as I understood it is possible via Forever Bright. They send me prices, they just want 480 HK Dollars for it. Can we trust this offer?



            • It’s 200HKD per person for a single entry, 30 days visa, so you’re paying a 20% service charge. Saves queuing if you want to look round HK.

            • Hey!
              I want to go to China the same way as you, and as I have not much time, I want to use FB. Did you try it? Can they be trusted? Their webside is kind of… “unofficial”.


  • Hola Steve,

    I’ve read, “Hello Steve” so much that i decided to change it up a bit!

    I’ve read most of everything on this website, I feel like i have my answer but i just need to make sure.

    I am currently living in Burundi, Africa but i’m not a resident here. Just have to renew my tourist visa every month. My husband and i plan on visiting China in August. We tried getting our visa from here Burundi, but as you probably know what i will say, we are not residents here so I can’t get it here.

    We will fly to Bangkok for 4 days, then HK for 7 and have an exit ticket out of Beijing for 7 days after that. Our ticket though is coming back to Burundi. We have American passports. Do you think it might be a problem to get our tourist visa into china from HK since we are flying back to Africa and not America?

    look forward to your reply

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  • If I got the the blue slip does it mean I’m definitely getting my visa? And what’s more important if my pick up time says 3pm is there a chance they’ll give me my passport back at 2pm?

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  • Bonjour Steve! I’m a 74 yr. old Frenchman living in Kunming (Yunnan, China) under a student visa since 1990. My current student visa will expire on 3 Sept. 2012. I’m also a mm2h (My Malaysia Second Home) holder enabling to live in Malaysia all my life – this visa is renewed automatically every 10 years each time I have a new passport. I’m currently living in Malaysia and contemplate giving up my Chinese student visa. Can I easily obtain a Chinese tourist visa in Hong Kong? The problem is the rule on a round-trip air ticket for French people. I visit Hong Kong once a year staying there for 3 months. I plan to go to Kunming yearly from H.K. Therefore I’d buy three one-way tickets yearly (Kuala Lumpur-H.K., H.K.-Kunming and then Kunming-Kuala Lumpur). After 21 years of living in Kunming, I speak, read and write Mandarin. What exactly are the requirements for French people obtaining a tourist visa for China whilst in H.K.? Given my special background (21 years spent in Kunming), would the H.K.-Chinese authorities be lenient with me? All the best, Jean-Noël

    • Bonjour! Sadly loyalty doesn’t seem to count for much. You can definitely get a tourist visa in Hong Kong, but not much more. Bonne chance.

    • Just thought you should know that I just got a 60 day tourist Visa for China in KL, I am a British citizen and I don’t have a resident visa for M’sia only the 90 day stamp from immigration. It might be a bit different but because you have mm2h I would have thought it would be easier for you.


  • Steve: Thanks for the VERY helpful website, and all your hard work.

    I’m an American who was granted a Z visa in mid-May 2012 through the Hong Kong Consulate. Here’s what I needed:

    #1 Invitation Letter or Z-Visa Notice from Provincial Foreign Expert’s Bureau (aka Ministry of Foreign Affairs) – It MUST be addressed to HK Consulate; Applicants may only apply at the consulate/embassy to which this letter is addressed.

    #2 Alien Employment License “JiuYeXuKeZhengShu” from Ministry of Labor and Social Security (aka Labor Bureau, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security)

    #3 Certificate of Health Examination (For me, a “Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine” Booklet from provincial-level Health Bureau)

    #4 Invitation Letter with official company chop

    #5 A copy of the Business Registration License from your company (QiYeFaRenYingYeZhiZhao) – although a friend applying in Singapore didn’t need this document.

    #6 I used Everbright, who completes the (#6) application form for customers – but bring photos (#7), passport (#8) and several copies of everything. Thankfully, Everbright also will review documents over e-mail before you visit their offices ( ph: 852-23693188). They finished my application by the next day, and charged HKD1600 total. They seem to know very well the various China visa situations for many different countries.

    I hope your readers who want a Z visa can get hired by a company that will handle the paperwork for them. Owning my own company has meant at least two years of seemingly constant paperwork in order to get to the Z visa. I’m very grateful for it, but if I could do it over again, I’d consider another route!

    • Hi Ross,

      Your information is very helpful thanks.

      I have a question about #3 (certificate of health examination), Can I get this done in Hong-Kong itself? And what exactly is the provincial level health bureau?



      • If you’re in China, each city has a health bureau – make an appointment and you’re subjected to a few simple tests (blood, x-ray etc) then a few days later sent a Certificate of Health Examination.

        Not sure what you can use outside of China, but you’ll eventually be required to get the CHE.

      • James:

        The big thing to do is to ask around, or have a friend/coworker in your destination province ask around. Ask at the institutions in #1 and #2 in my post and find out where they want you to go for your health check certificate. They won’t accept just any hospital’s paperwork. I went to our official “Provincial Overseas Travel Bureau.” Steve’s right that a trip to this CHE is unavoidable.

        I’ve heard of some foreigners having a hospital in another country do the exam, then having the results translated for the Z Visa application. But I have no idea if that is still a possibility, or what the Hong Kong consulate requires.

    • How to ask for the invitation letter to address to HK consulate (and not the consulate in the original country)?

      • YengYnChung: Steve’s right in that your employer or school will give you an invitation letter with their stamp. Also, the “Invitation Letter” or “Z-Visa Notice” (#1) from your target province’s Provincial Foreign Expert’s Bureau (aka Ministry of Foreign Affairs) also needs to be addressed to the HK consulate.

        But in your application with the Provincial Foreign Expert’s Bureau, there’s a space on the application form where you list your destination consulate or embassy. Submit that form, and they’ll write an appropriately-addressed letter and give it to you. Of course, if someone is submitting all the applications for you, be sure they know your travel plans in detail.

    • Thanks Ross. I am applying for my Z visa tomorrow. I am not sure if I could ask your visa agents’ help since I just read your post, but probably I will just go directly to wanchai visa office tomorrow. Good luck to me.

  • hello! i was studying for 2 years in China in Jinhua City in Zhejiang Province, the thing is that on july 31st my student residence will expired and i want to know how much cost to make the extension of the visa for two months because i want to travel around and which documents are required to do this extension and where I can do it cos go to Hong Kong is too far and expensive for me so which could be the best option.

    • For an extension I believe you can just go to your local PSB. Converting to a tourist visa won’t really require any extra documentation beyond a passport and a couple of photos. Do drop in some time before your visa expires and double-check though.

  • Hi,

    I’m in Hong Kong right now and just applied for a Visum.

    First of all, thanks for the great information on this website – it helped me a great deal to plan everything.
    Second, here is a little but probably important update for all germans trying to get a visum in Hong Kong: The procedure has just been changed and if you apply with a german passport, getting a visum within 24 hours is no longer possible. The fastest option is now 4 days, so plan accordingly. As far as I know, this affects germany only – but I don’t know for sure. For other nationalities, better check if there have been any changes before you are stuck in Hong Kong (as I am right now).

  • I am an American and applied for a Tourist (L) visa in person at the Chinese Embassy in HK just yesterday, July 26. I only need to get back to the mainland for 1 day in order to fly out of Guangzhou. Along with all the application materials, I also submitted my flight reservation just to prove I was going in and out of the country. The only exchange between myself and the immigration officer other than “hello” and “goodbye” was, “have you ever overstayed your previous (business) visas?” to which I replied “No, I have not” a true statement. She then stamped away and gave me the double-papered blue receipt.

    Here lies my question: how often does immigration receive passports and applications, only to deny the applicant their visa upon collection? Is this an often occurrence? Like many other people who have posted on this forum, there is lots riding on this, so I’m more than a bit curious.

    But I have the little blue receipt in my possession and will return in 4 working days (Tues, July 31). Will post an update with the end result next week. If anyone can shed some light on the above inquiry, it would be much appreciated!

    PS, four-day processing for an American seeking a 30-day, single entry Tourist visa = 1100HKD! I was expecting much less.

    • I’ve not heard of anyone being refused once they’ve got the blue slip. I guess they might if they’d lied on the form in some way and get flagged up on the system as there are certain blacklists (usually for Foreign Experts, or as you say those that have previously violated their visa conditions)

  • I’m planning a 4 an a half month trip backpacking from China to Thailand (via Vietnam and Cambodia) in September, originally I was going to book flights from London Heathrow to Shanghai and get my visas sorted out afterwards. It wasn’t until realising today that you must state your itnerary when applying for a Chinese visa. As I’m going to be spending about 2 months in China alone, this is somewhat impossible for me to determine as I have no intentions of planning my route exactly whilst in China.

    So after a very stressful afternoon, I found that you can acquire a visa for China in Hong Kong on the day and without this mandatory requirement. Plus, visa is free for UK passport holders so there’s no need to apply for a visa for Hong Kong either. So I can fly to Hong Kong instead of Shanghai for the beginning of my trip, spend a few days sight-seeing and acquire the Chinese visa in Hong Kong then afterwards fly from there to Shanghai and resume my original traveling intentions without the horrid red-tape precaution.

    Anyway, back to the point my question is, is this actually true? I’ve been searching round and apparently doing it this way is much easier and cheaper. All you need to supply is a passport photo of yourself and a filled in form. Rather than an Air ticket booking record and hotel reservation.

    I’m hoping to book flights by Monday next week as now I’m pushing it for cheap flights and I wouldn’t mind if someone could confirm this for me. Otherwise I’m risking losing a lot of money on flights.



  • I can confirm it is now impossible to get a rush visa for EU citizens. Some agreement they made with China that makes rush visa’s from HK impossible. The woman at the counter was very clear: no rush, come back monday. (Yes, unlucky me, after the weekend. Costing me lots of money for staying the weekend. But made the best of it. But it was unplanned.
    Well, going to pick up tomorrow.

    • Hi Terence,
      I just heard that rumour yesterday and I am going to HK tomorrow early morning(if the weather allows me).

      Rumour says:

      It takes 4 working days to apply Z visa in HK (before was 24 hrs) for following countries: France, Austria, Belgium, Czekh, Danmark, Estonia, Finland, German, Greece, Iceland, Luxembourg, Nertherland, Norway, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland.

      In the website of the China Visa Office in HK they did not publish anything about that. I called but like always is a very busy line.

      Anyone here was able to get rush service?


    • Hi there,

      looks like I need to do the HK visa run as well. The Chinese Consulate in Germany won’t process my application due to time restrictions. Now my question: does anybody know, if the rush visa for tourist visa (L type) still work?

      Thanks in advance, Michael

  • Hi,

    Well, after two hours of searching for information, I’m glad I found this and that it is still active.

    I’m an American currently working in South Korea and was hoping to head to China when my contract ends in October. i do not fulfill the ARC. Tonight, I have noticed there are a lot of changes on travel agency websites. Basically, I’d like to know if anyone in the past week has obtained travel visa from HK. It seems like the backdoor I’m waiting for.


  • Congratulations for this great post!
    I am going to Hong Kong next Thursday and I have all the documents listed in your updated post(May 2012- Thanks) except invitation letter from the company.
    The girl from the agency said I dont need it….In case you think I should bring it anyway…Do you think is enough with signature and no stamp? My company has no chop since today for some days, is in an agency.
    To sum up, In the site of the HK official visa office there is no document in the part of Instructions to fill in the papers.
    So I have some doubts:

    1.13 Current occupation: What should I input: the company which is hiring me and wants me to get the employment permit?

    2.3 Date of your first entry: It refers to my 1st entry in China Mainland? I have been in China more times, should I input the date of entry with my last visa or it refers to HK?

    2.4 Longest intended stay among all entries of your intended visa: My passport expires next may so my Employment permit will be until May. What should I input?

    3.5 Current employer or school? Which employer?(some doubt as in point 1.13)


    A6. Name, address and phone number of your employer in china – Should be same as 1.13 and 3.5?

    D1. Duration of your stay in this country or territory: HK or China?
    D2 What kind of visaof this country or territory do you hold? HK or China? I dont need visa for HK..
    D3. Number of visa and expiration date: HK or China?
    D4. Do you have permissiion to return to this country with the visa above? HK or China?
    5&6: Mailing address and phone: HK or China?

    Sorry for all the list but no instructions in the site!

      • Hi Steve,

        This is to thank you a lot for this link and post. The link I was using was not working this one has the instructions!
        Thanks and I apologize for my long comment.

        Keep up the good work!

    • Hi,

      First of all I’d like to thanks this site where I got some infos about getting visa in HK.

      For Laura, If you are applying for a Z (working) visa, you definitely need the invitation letter unless the agency will be the one give you. But still the invitation letter should be from the company who will hire you.

      Here’s my experience last week applying for Z visa.

      My employer gave me all the documents I needed (work permit, invitation letter, z visa notice from MFA) except the health certificate (my colleague submitted the same documents last yr so they were confident that i dont need it)
      But the woman in the counter asked for it. To make it short, I gave a copy after (my employer scanned and emailed) 70 minutes. I finished at about 10:20, then she gave me a blue slip and told me to pick up at 3:00 the following day. I came back as early as 2:00.then…I didnt get it.
      They asked me additional requirements:
      1. my very old/ first Z visa -(2004).
      2. my degree certificate (in english.and luckily mine is authenticated by DFA back home)
      3. employer registration certificate.

      Back to zero I did again new form, new photo plus addtl requirements. Back the following day then finally got it. So tough experience!

      • Hi Jen,

        The university I have to work for haven’t sent me my health certificate, so I have to go to hong kong to apply for the visa with only a copy of it, not with the original, do you think it’s ok. I’ve read on your post that your company emailed it to you so I hope for me too should be ok, even if the copy I have it’s in lack and white, I used a photocopier to cpy it before sending it to the university, they needed it to obtain my invitation letter from the provincial office.


  • Can you advise whether this applies to UK citizens? On the embassy’s official website:
    it states, “If you don’t reside or work in Hong Kong permanently, you are required to apply Chinese visa from the Embassy or Consulate-General of Peoples’ Republic of China in your resident country.” ??? Thanks.

  • Hi,
    This post has been really helpful, thanks again.
    I just visited the official visa office in HK and was unable to get an F visa for the length of time I was hoping for. I’m an American and have a 6month internship in China. I had all of the paperwork, invitation letter, etc. but was told that the longest f visa I could get would be a 3 month (maybe 2, I can’t remember) with a 30 day duration of stay, which is less than my L visa! I was told that to get the visa I want (6 or 12 mo, multiple entry, with unlimited or 180 day length of stay), I would have to get it in my home country. I’ve contacted a few visa agencies, and none have said that they can get me longer than 30 days length of stay.

    I’m wondering what other’s experiences have been getting an F visa from HK with a long duration of stay. Also, is it possible that it was only the official that I talked to who wouldn’t grant me a longer period of stay? ie. is it worth it trying again tomorrow at the visa office, hoping that if I talk to another person, I would be able to get the visa I want?

    Any advice would be appreciated. If this doesn’t work out, I guess I’ll be visiting home sometime soon.

    • Hi Juan,

      I was on F visa for 6 months for internship and then another 3 months for business trip.
      Normally when you go to HK they give you only 30 days no entries, and then you should be able to extend that in the entry and exit office of the place you are located.

      I say normally cause lately things change a lot, for example for my last F visa they told me I could only get 1 month cause the capital of my company is not enough..

      Hope it helps(somehow)


  • Hello steve,
    Thanks for your informations, are very useful.
    I have a question, I have to work in china from september and I have to apply for the visa in hong kong. I’ve already done the physical examination check and I sent the physical examination record to the university in order to get the invitation letter. Then I discovered on your site and on the china embassy hong kong site that I need the phisycal examination record to apply for the visa.
    The university sent me the documents to oapply for the z visa but they haven’t sent me back the the Physical examination record. So now I have to go to hong kong without it, Luckily I copied it before sending it to the university, but I don’t know if the embassy needs strictly the original one.
    I tried to call them, but no one is answering the phone, I wrote an email, but nothing. I’ve written an email to my university hoping they know. I don’t know what else I can do to have few trustable informations. Can you help me?

    Thanks in advance,

      • Hi Steve,
        Really thank you.
        But I’ve just read a post by Jen. She got the health certificate via email and used it successfully. So I hope a copy should be the same. Hope it will work, because I’m in Rome now and I have to live on the 19th of August for hong kong and I think there’s no time for the university to send me the original document anymore. Hope the university will sort it out for me.

        Thank you again,

          • But better to have the original one. Sometimes that depends on the person-in-charge what she feels asking you.{maybe} Or if you cant get the original on time, try not to include your health cert. first. Then if she asks for it, ask her if the copy is ok. Hope it helps.

            • Hi Jen,

              Thanks for your Informations. I won’t have the original one, I asked the university for it, but they told me that the provincial office has kept it there, so no way. I will only have the copy, hope it will work!

              Will let you know.

  • Hey Steve! I’m a Bolivian citizen and had been living in Beijing for the past two years with a student visa, I got a job offer and the company has given me the invitation letter to now i just pretty much need to go to HK and get my Z visa, however I’m a little confused about the time it requires to get the visa for a Bolivian citizen and also the fee, any help will be much appreciated! Thanks 🙂

    • The price should be the same as anyone else, but I’m not sure about the time. Can you convince your new boss to give you four days in Hong Kong just to be safe?

      • Yeah time is no problem I just want to be sure how long I need to stay there and hopefully it is possible to rush it. Also I didn’t quite get how much the fee is, could you tell me please? Thanks!

  • Hi all,

    how wonderful to find some up-to-date posts on this site.

    I am a Dutch national, currently in China on a tourist visa (60 days, double-entry). I will go back to Netherlands early September and return mid September. By that time, I will then use my second entry and get another 60 days in China.

    However, I will fly to Hong Kong 1st of October (holiday) and stay untill October 5. I will then need a new visa to re-enter China.

    My questions:

    – will I be able to get a new (tourist) visa in Hong Kong?

    if yes, what documents (other than passport and photos) do I need to show? i.e. return flight out of China?

    – I suppose October 1 and 2 are national holidays also in Hong Kong… does this mean the visa office is closed and I can only apply on October 3?

    If so, I will in trouble if the 4 day rule still applies… as I will fly back to Shanghai (flights are already booked) on October 5.

    Can anyone advise me..?


  • Hi,

    I am planning on staying in China past the 90 days allowed by my multiple entry visa. If I take a train to Hong Kong, is there anywhere else that I would need to go outside of the train station to get my visa stamped saying that I left the country, so that I can return for another 90 days? I know at the airport you have to go through customs, and they stamp it there, but I’ve never taken a train in China. I just need to know if there’s anywhere else I would need to know to go within or outside of the train station.


    • The train from China to HK – before you get on the train in China you will go through China immigration, they will give you an exit stamp. After you get of the train in HK you will go through HK immigration, they give you an arrival stamp.

  • Hi Steve.

    First of all, hats of to the site – very helpful!

    Secondly, I am currently in SH on a dual entry F visa. Is it possible to extend this to a six month continuous stay F visa in HK.
    Forever Bright are telling me they can do this – however word around SH seems to be it’s neigh on impossible to get anything other than the same visa I already have nowadays…is this true?
    Also do you have any idea why everything seems to be gettting much harder recently? 好烦!!
    Thanks in advance!

  • Hi Steve,

    Great site, thanks for all the responses and comments.

    We are a couple from the UK heading first to Japan then onto Hong Kong where we plan to apply for our 30 day Tourist L visa for China. However, after reading the August update at the top of the page, we are now slightly worried that we will not be able to apply in HK for this visa anymore.

    Could you or anyone else confirm that the agencies/embassy are still issuing Tourist L type visa’s in HK to non HK residents?

    Could you also confirm that you don’t need to prove inbound/outbound air tickets, as we had planned to exit China overland by train into Vietnam?


    • You should be fine getting a tourist visa – the extended rules apply more to business visas. There’s no need for flight tickets, but you may be asked for your address in China – a hotel is fine.

  • Hey Steve, and everyone

    I’m hoping to get the Z-visa (working) next week. I should have all the documents by then,

    but Does anyone know if the next day service is still available for UK citizens??? I read in the comments 4 days for EU. But I’m really hoping UKers still get some kind of special privileges in HK.

    I don’t want to stay 4 days, but I also don’t want to miss my flight back if I can’t get a rush service. I’m hoping to book the flight today or tomorrow, so info would be much appreciated.


  • Hi Steve,

    I am Australian citizen and planning to fly over to hong kong and apply for Chinese visa (single entry tourist visa), my questions are:

    1. Would i be able to get it same day? (i been told by the travel agency that if i apply by 12:00, i will get it by 18:00 same day).

    2. Do i need return ticket to enter Hong Kong? In case i wont be given the visa same day, I am buying one way ticket to HK and as soon as i get my visa i will buy the rest of the tickets.

    3. Travel agency told me that i need to submit my application by 12:00 in order to get my visa same day at 18:00, but i will be arriving to HK at 9:40, is 2h 20 min enough to go through border control and get to downtown?

    Thank you!!

  • Hi Steve,

    thanks a lot for all the information provided!

    I am planning to fly to HK next tuesday leaving the next day to Beijing, just to get my visa. I am from Germany so I do not know wether I could have a rush service or have to wait 4 days, so I would like to use the fbt agency with their half day service and they just replied that it is possible to offer me the half day service, but I am a bit confused if FBT is really cable to avoid these regulations for german passport holders.

    Any experiences?

    Thanks a lot for your help!!

    Best, Johannes

  • Chinese Consul in Hong Kong is an ASSHOLE

    This guy denies many visa applicants with out reason and here i have a video to prove it.

    I am super piss with this guy because he just dislike some one he will deny this person simple as that even if this person got all the right and legal documents to get one.

      • Well I know that but this is what happen, I went there early morning once I got to the counter the person who attend me saw my passport and said well you can’t extend your visa because you travel to much, I was like what? seriously? she is like yea go back to your country. I was like no way I need to speak with some one in charge and there is when the consul came.
        he make me wait 8hrs before letting me explain my situation, I asked the reason saying this:
        May I know the reason why I can not get my visa extended since I have all the legal documents, then he simply looks at me up and down and says. Go back to your country.
        there is where I got upset and took my phone and started the recording as you can see I keep asking the question and he just says I am not qualify to know the rules.
        No matter which embassy of which country it is, they all have laws and rules which give you knowledge of qualification and example if you are getting deny by the US you get a notice letter explaining you the whys plus they also tell you when you are able to reapply for it. BUt what this guy have done? judge by your self.
        I just want people to know and see what kind of representative this guy is for his country I had to spent 2k usd to get back home and also lost my air ticket way back to China and hotel.
        All this came from my pocket, I had important meetings with the gaming company I work for but “because I travel to much” is what I get. I just ask where on earth have you see or read a law that denies you to travel because you are a traveler who visit many different countries? sorry but yea I am super piss and upset and the best thing is there is nothing i can. Everyone says “sorry this is China”

  • Hello,

    I’m trying to decide if I should get my visa here in Seoul (was at least before possible without an ARC if you had a stamp from a previous visit, I’m waiting for an answer about the current rules) or try to get it in Hong Kong. I’m just curious about what the actual price is nowadays. I’ve checked the recommended agency site, and e-mailed them since I don’t really get the info they’ve posted, but I’m unsure of the “official” price? I read somewhere that it was $620, but since there seem to have been a lot of changes recently. Think it’s about $780 in Seoul, and I’d love to save even that small amount.

    I have a Swedish passport. And I don’t mind spending a few days in Hong Kong waiting for the visa, as I plan to do some sightseeing anyway.

  • Hi Steve (and others reading the discussion below this post),

    thanks a lot for this article and living discussion underneath, it’s packed with info and first hand experience, very valuable.

    I am a Czech Republic citizen also interested to get a China visa in HK. From your article and posts in the discussion I understood it should not be a problem for me to apply for a China single entry tourist L visa in HK (despite not being HK resident).
    I also understood it is not possible anymore to get a rush visa service if I apply by myself? Anybody from EU countries have any recent experience with rush visa service application?


  • Hey Steve,
    Great page, and very helpful but I am still confused. I am flying to HK to meet my girlfriend and then we are going to go into China, but I am unsure if I need to have an official letter, as is mentioned in the updates at the end of the letter. I am an American, and I intend to continually renew my visa. I looked through the comments but didn’t see an answer to my question.What should I do? Thanks

      • Everything is arleady set in motion, and we are already planning to get the visa there. But she will be with me and so can she vouche that we will be staying together? It seems like the more I prepare the more information pops up and so then I don’t know what to do.

  • Forever Bright Trading? Get ready to waste money and ages of time …

    I needed China visa and I contacted Forever Bright Trading agency (in Hong Kong) by email in advance, explained all the details of my visa request over email. I was assured that FBT can provide the visa within one day and I just need my passport and a photo. First they made me come for an appointment to their office in the early morning, but there was nobody as they had a day off – first wasted day + paid the transportation from mainland China to Hong Kong in vain!
    Second day I came, filled the app. form and provided my passport and photo. I was that everything was ok and I should come after 2pm to get back the passport with visa. But when I came back, they told me my visa was rejected. It took a lot of questions to get some explanation from them, finally they said I needed to provide another document and also that because my previous visa still haven’t expired I cannot get a new one (strange..). They knew all this since we started to communicate by email, but didn’t inform me even as I handed my documents to them. Their attitude turned very unhelpful, said “they don’t have time to always check the info” and then tried to ignore me, refused to provide any contact to management for the sake of complaint. (I had to find it on web by myself but haven’t received any reply from them since…) Wasted another day and transportation cost.
    I also wonder what they have been doing with my passport over the day as they even didn’t return my photo I provided to them.

    So better be prepared for surprises and don’t expect professional service from this agency.

  • Hi Steve,

    I’m headed to Hong Kong to apply for a tourist visa tomorrow. I’m currently on a residence permit and am a little bit confused about what is needed to get a tourist visa. Tickets, bank account statements, or just a letter of invitation? I’m not clear about the requirements because, as mentioned above, the Consulate now requires a “letter of invitation,” but you mentioned above to a previous poster that if applying for a tourist visa, being without a letter shouldn’t present a problem.

    So I’m not sure if there are clear-cut requirements and everyone seems to tell me something different. I plan to go with my passport, the application, a passport photo, and a letter of invitation from a friend. Will that fulfill the requirements for a 30 day tourist visa (hopefully multiple entry)?

    Thanks so much.

  • Hi there,

    I am flying into hong kong in December and will be travelling to china, and like many other people have been confused with accessibility to a multiple entry visa for china to be gained from hong kong. Will I be able to do this ok on my own. I have had a quote from an agency that will cost me £212 but I understand the visa is cheaper than this and I’m on a bit of a shoestring so would prefer to get it myself. I have been told that things have changed since August but haven’t been able to find any updates on people getting a tourist visa since August.

    Thank you hugely for all your help on this matter.

    King regards


  • Hello Steve,
    I’m so relieved to find your blog. I’m Ukrainian studding in Qingdao, Shandong province. Back in my country I applied for visa with a help of agency so they made F visa (180 days) and claimed it happens occasionally and nobody could guess which visa they give. However, I need to continue my studdings in China and everyone I ask at university administration say I have to return back to my country. Nevertheless, only airplane ticket cost is equal to the cost of the one semester at the language courses. Is there a way, particularly in China or HongKong, to make a new X visa?
    Looking forward for your reply,
    Olga K.

    • Hi Olga, You should still be able to get a student visa in Hong Kong – it’s the Z-visas that are becoming more restricted. Make sure you take your original Admission Notice and a copy of a Foreign Student Visa Application Form (JW201 or JW202)

  • In February, I’ve planned a trip to HK to get my Z visa.

    I’m American, and have been living in China for 3.5 years. Previously, I was employed at a university with a Z visa. Then I married a Chinese and resigned from my job, and switched to a L visa – family visit. Now I will be employed again at another university, and need to get the Z visa.

    I provided my new employer with all of my previous credentials, so they could generate their letters. By the time I go, I will have all the official papers from my employer. They will provide:
    –Confirmation letter of invitation with HK consulate address,
    –Name list of invited,
    –and another so-called “Invitation”
    –Working permit
    I provide:
    –Certificate of health exam – letter and booklet (from official designated hospital)
    –ID photos (33mm x 48mm, white background)
    –The visa forms, A and B, downloaded from the HK consulate website
    –Photocopies of flight and hotel reservations (according to a previous poster’s suggestion)

    I’m planning to apply for 1 day rush service, and try to get a 1 year multi-entry visa.

    Wish me luck. Think I’ll have any potential problem?

      • My employer did not come through with the ‘all important’ Hong Kong embassy address on my Confirmation Letter of Invitation. Instead they put USA. HR told me they could not do it, and were required to list my home country address on it. (Originally, HR told they could do it)

        So, now I’m checking to see if it’s still possible for a Hong Kong agent to help me get it, even with the USA address. If not, then I would have to fly back to USA to get Z visa.

        • Now, the only way for me to get a Z visa in HK is for me to mail my passport to USA (after I arrive in HK) and have a US agent process it and mail it back to me in HK. Then I can enter China again.

          So, instead of flying to HK, I’ll fly to Seoul which is closer and a bit cheaper. I need to wait there 9 nights while my passport is mailed to the US.

          Flying to Seoul and waiting is about half the cost of flying to US. Either way, in Seoul or US, I’d still pay a US agent to handle it. I’ve used MDvisaplus out of Houston a few times, and would recommend him.

  • Hey Steve,
    I now read several times that it’s not possible anymore to get a Chinese visa in HK if you’re not a HK resident. Is that correct, I already booked my ticket to get a Visa and now I’m quite confused. Fast answer would help me a lot 🙂

        • Hi George,

          Did it work for you? I am German as well and will have the same problem by end of this months. Would be glad to know if it worked since I have the same concerns as you and can’t find any clear informations on this. On the homepage they state that only for Hongkong residents application is possible?

          Thanks and Regards

          PS: I intended to apply for multiple entry, 6 months business visa

      • Hi there Steve, I have a British passport but am currently in Jakarta and hoping to visit Shenzhen at the end of Feb with an eye to securing a TEFL job. As I’ll be unable to process a visa in the UK before then, I was banking on doing it in HK ….is the above statement still the case?? Thanks for your help, very valuable!

  • Guys, this blog is extremely helpful. Thanks Steve !!

    Re Z-VISA

    My question: In HK, do they return the Health Certificate together with the passport & Z-VISA or do they keep it?

    The issue is if they keep the original Health Certificate, how can we apply for the Residence permit? should we do the medical check again? As far as I understand the original document is needed in order to apply for the residence permit once back in China.

    Is this correct? Anyone had any experience on this?

    Many thanks in advance


  • For those getting a business visit visa…

    There seems to be a new ‘undocumented’ requirement: Chinese business license for the company that is hosting. In the online documentation it only required a letter, but now they require the letter and the license.

    Also, since I still haven’t made it into China yet I can’t apply for a year long entry, only for 2 entries at first. After those two entries I can apparently get a year long one.

    Finally, the rush service is technically two-day, but it includes the current day. Maybe it would be better called ‘next day’?

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  • Hi Steve

    I am a canadian. Can I apply “L’ visa for single entry rush( 24 hour service ) in Hong Kong. I am confuseed by the visa fee listed on the chinese embassy web site. On english version of theie wed page, single entry is listed HK$620 ( didn’t mention any rush service )and on the Chinese version is listed HK$200+ Rush service $300.

    Can you tell what is the fee for single entry with 24 hour rush serivce?
    Should I apply in Hong Kong or should I apply in Canada. I only have 2 days in HK but the fee to apply in Canada is Can$ 130 ( HK$ 1000 )


    • The Chinese page is updated far more often than the English version, but I’d generally count on having to pay the higher fee unfortunately. It’s probably better to apply in Canada at the moment.

  • Hello!

    I went to HK to apply for a Z – VIsa. I got all the documentation ready, namely:

    1. HR invitation letter – Original and copy
    2. Official Invitation letter – Original and copy
    3. Company’s business license – copy
    4. Health Certificate – Original and copy
    5. Alien Employment License – Original and copy
    6. Passport – Original and copy
    7. VISA application form
    8. 2 pictures

    surprise surprise….

    The lady (I really want to be polite here…) at the counter said: “You can not apply here, you have to go to your country, ’cause I can not accept this invitation letter”.

    I mean… these people really dont care about how much you spent or how far you travelled or all the hassle that implies coming to HK for 1 week just fot the VISA. Really, they do not give a damn sh…t….

    They denied my application because the official invitation letter (“invitation letter of Duly Authorized Unit”) was addressed to the consulate of China in my country and not to the Commissioner’s Office of the Foreign Ministry of the PRChina in Hong Kong SAR (they like long nomes…).

    I didnt pay attention to this detail, nor did my company, and I think in this blog sombody already mentioned this issue before. Anyway,

    I told them that the company’s invitation letter (the one that HR can prepare for you), was addressed to them in Hong Kong, but the lady said the ALSO the official letter needs to be addressed to them as well.

    I’m going to try again next week….

    Wish me luck…!! ;))

    • Yeah, the Official Letter from the government (mine was called Confirmation Letter of Invitation) needs to have Hong Kong filled in the blank. If it does, then it’s OK to go to consulate in HK to get your Z visa. If it doesn’t, then you must get your visa at whatever consulate they filled in, which is ‘your home country.’

      Some people are having better luck at getting Confirmation Letters with ‘Hong Kong’ listed. Some cities seem to have more flexible government officials that issue these letters to foreign experts. Some cities are more hard line. That official in my city, Dalian, has reputation of being hard line. When we called his office, the answer was “in principle the foreigner needs to go to home country.”

      So, my plans changed from doing it myself at Hong Kong consulate to going to Seoul to mail my passport home to an agent to handle for me at US consulate, and then waiting 9 days to receive it back with the Z visa. (I’m switching from L to Z)

      Let us know if you have any luck in getting your Official Letter from the government changed.

        • Here’s my updated result:

          I flew to Seoul and mailed my passport/paperwork to an agent in Houston, TX (mdvisaplus), and received my Z visa back in Seoul yesterday. The process took 10 days.

          We had a couple of problems during the process. First, after my package was sent, my agent discovered that his Houston Consulate was not accepting same day rush processing, so my agent needed to send my stuff to his associate in San Francisco, which still was accepting same day rush processing.

          Second, my visa was initially rejected in San Francisco. SF requested originals of my paperwork. From the start, my agent requested original paperwork only for my visa application w/photo, and my passport. All my other paperwork (confirmation letter of invitation, name list of invited, employer’s invitation letter, health exam letter, work permit) were to be sent only as photocopies, per my agent’s instruction. This method of photocopies had worked before in Houston.

          Luckily, I had brought my originals with me to Seoul, and I needed to scramble to FedEx them to SF, for a 2nd try at my visa. The entire process, without any problems, probably could have happened in 7 days. In advance, we booked 10 days just in case because TIC, and it turned out we needed every minute, and we almost missed our return flight as we waited for the FedEx return delivery on our final day.

          My original plan was to run to Hong Kong (as was initially discussed & planned with my employer). But in the end, my employer could not get a “Confirmation Letter of Invitation” from our local gov official for Hong Kong. Instead, my letter listed USA (my home country) as the consulate address, when it needed to have Hong Kong.

          Returning to your home country “in principle” for a Z visa is currently what the law states. Some cities, and some employers have an easier time of getting around this.

  • Hi Steve, really nice blog. I’m a Spanish citizen. Could I get a L-Visa (1entry) being in Hong Kong? I’ll be in HK just for 3 weeks flying to/from Hong Kong too.
    Thanx in advance.

  • do i need a visa for hongkong,as i entend to go to china a get job teaching later,i know i need visa for china,but its hongkong i worry about,i know i get a stamp at airport for 14 days but do i need a visa for hongkong urgent i leave shortly.i am philippino.


  • I understand that your “Confirmation Letter of Invitation” must be used in conjunction with the invitation letter (both requuired for z-visa).

    What if the address don’t match up?

    Invitation letter issued says American Embassy but, “Confirmation Letter of Invitation” is addressed to HONG KONG.

    Has anyone run into this issue?

    • The government’s Confirmation Letter is the most important, and hardest to get. From my understanding, you must go to consulate listed on Confirmation Letter.

      The employer invitation letter should be easier to get redone, if you wanted it to match the Confirmation letter.

      You’re lucky if you got a Confirmation letter saying HK.

  • I just want to update want to update you guys on what I went through as far as the Tourist Visa from Hong Kong.

    I have a friend here in Guangzhou China, she gave me her address and that was the application of the visa. I did not need a invitation letter.

    I would suggest that if you have health insurance to put you insurance number on the application. I also rushed the service.

    I also heard from a Chinese man that visited my hometown, “you could theoretically go to a Police station and request to get a extension on your visa by one or two days.” Because I entered mainland China at night and my visa registered that night which I believes counts as a day. I will try this and see if it works.

    I’m not trying to mislead anyone here about an invitation letter. This is just what I witnessed in person.

  • Hey Steve,

    great blog and some useful updates, I used it all on my first visa run a few months ago.

    A few points that people may find new or interesting/ annoying is that you can’t renew a tourist visa more than 3 times in a 6 month window. This was news to me and my employers (who have been struggling to get my foreign expert certificate completed also)

    I’m in Shanghai at the moment and there is a minor crackdown on renewals here it would seem thanks to some unwanted press the “foreigners” have been receiving here.

    I’m stuck between a rock and hard place currently as I need time to complete my expert certificate/ work permit with my employers but need an updated L visa to stay in the country, do you know of any limitations on how many entries is “too many” and if i could get a continuous 6 month L visa easily as a UK citizen and previous L visas in my passport (a common trick for teachers who dont want to get a work permit apparently)

    • I wanted to convert to a Z visa in Hong Kong after arriving in China before my contract begins to do some travel. I was told by my university in Guangdong that no employers in that province are allowed to put “Hong Kong” on the invitation letter (unless the applicant has a HK ID). Have other found this to be the case? No HK Z visa run if you’re working in Guangdong?

      • I don’t have any experience in Guangdong, but what’s most important is what your employer says they can do. Some employers and areas seem to have an easier time putting HK on the Confirmation letter.

        If they can’t, then you could go to HK, and mail your application to agent in home country for processing, and wait to receive it mailed back, then enter China again. I did that last February in Seoul, and it took 10 days because I had to resend some documents, but maybe could have happened in 7 days. The international delivery will take 2 days each way, and there’s usually a weekend in there. In US, I think only one Chinese consulate, San Francisco, will do same day processing now…but talk to your agent for latest info.

        • Thanks for the reply. I think I’ll just pass on the travel aspect and not risk it. It’s China…who knows what could go wrong. 😉

  • Hi,

    This is a really stupid question – but I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. I am currently living overseas but my visa for the country I’m in isn’t valid for another 6 months and I’d planned to do the Trans-Siberian, finishing in Beijing, but have been informed there is no way I can get a visa here, and I can’t go home in time either.

    To even consider getting a visa via Hong Kong, you have to physically go there, do I understand correctly? If that’s the case I think I may as well give up …


  • Hey Steve

    My employer seems to think I CANT apply for a Z visa for the MAINLAND from Hong Kong. She has never applied for changing from an F to Z visa before and neither have I, so shes a bit confused and so am I. But it seems from reading stuff on here, its possible. At the moment we are trying to apply for the Jiu Ye Zheng Shu and visa in the mainland. Im on a tight timeline as my F visa expires in a month. But I asked her if I could just take the Jiu Ye Zheng Shu (if I got it before my visa expired) and all the other documents to Hong Kong and apply myself from there. She said “no its not possible”. I found out this is because she had asked around some agencies in order to get the information needed, and as it turned out, they all gave her different answers. Have you got any advice?

    Also, Im being told I MAY need my bachelors original certificate. Its huge!~ of course. I was thinking of just showing my official transcript record which says: degree completed on it. Has anyone here had to use this? or even use their transcript records?

    I have one more 3 part question.
    a. If I have to go to Hong Kong in the end, I was told by her to get a travel visa and then come back. It sounds a bit odd to me. Does anyone know about switching from a travel visa to a work visa in the mainland?
    b. If I do apply for a travel visa, will I have to show leaving the mainland tickets? I havent got any of those, but would a train ticket back to Hong Kong do?
    c. My employer also advised me to get my new travel visa on my other passport- I am a citizen of two countries- which uses my new last name and that aligns with my bachelors degree. My other passport still uses my birth name in that country and I have been travelling on that until now. I have all the documentation to prove that I am the same person, but she thinks it wont work because of the agents she spoke to. Im hesistant about swapping passports on the other hand, becuase upon reentry, I will have to explain to the local cops for registration why Ive not only changed my country but also my name. So either way, Id have to go through this process with either jiu ye zheng shu & visa ppl or local police. Anyone have any avice?

      • I just yesterday sent my future employer a copy of my diploma as well as a notarized translation. Original diploma needs to be shown when getting the residence permit. I had to do this with both employers I’ve worked for. May be a Guangdong thing, however.

        • Hey Canrun,

          My question is: Did you have to get the notorized translation done by a translator with a certified translation stamp in China, or would any translator able to notorize from any country do, or did the notorization have to come from a lawyer/notary public (again any country or specifically China notorized)?


          • I simply used Google translate, and the notary asked me to write a little hand-written note on the translation that I did it myself and that it was not done by a certified translator. I don’t think it has to be a big deal…at least, it wasn’t in my case. I did all of this in America.

      • Regarding the original degree certificate diploma, I also needed mine. 1st time when I came to Shanghai in 2009 to teach (when it was still possible to arrive on L visa and change to Z inside China) that SH employer requested my original diploma.

        And in 2013 in Dalian when I switched from L back to Z again to teach again, my employer also requested the original diploma. In this case, HR just made a photocopy of it. They didn’t ask for a translation. They needed it early in the process, and I assumed they needed it to apply for my Work Permit.

        And regarding switching from L to Z inside mainland China, I think that’s only possible if someone does your HR a special favor. You alone can’t get that done. Beware of HR who’s doing things for the first time…. it’s so easy to make a simple mistake, because the rules are always changing.

        If your employer requests Hong Kong on your Confirmation Letter from the local government official, then you must go to Hong Kong to get your Z visa. If your employer requests your home country on your Confirmation letter, then you go home, or you travel to 3rd country and mail application to agent in home country, and wait for the new Z visa to be mailed back, and you can reenter China with it.

        • Hey

          This is my first time doing this, so Im a little confused, what is the Confirmation letter? My employer hasnt requested any confirmation letter. I know she has to proved me with a letter of employment request to pass on to the authorities, but I dont quite understand what you are referring to here. Sorry!


          • The “Confirmation Letter of Invitation” comes from the government’s Foriegn Affairs Office. So, your HR writes an Invitation letter, and on your behalf, HR will submit this invitation with probably other documents to Foreign Affairs Office. FAO then issues the official Confirmation Letter of Invitation.

            The Confirmation Letter is the key document that says where you MUST go to apply for Z visa. So, your HR must request that you go to HK, the FAO can approve it and issue letter with HK consulate address. The law or rule on the websites say “in principle” a person getting Z visa should return to home country. And, if you were to call the FAO, they would probably tell you the same. We called, and the office stated I must go to home country for Z visa.

            But, I’ve seen on the internet some recent exceptions in past 6 months or so, where people have gotten Z visa in HK, instead of their home country. In every case, they had HK consulate address written on their Confirmation Letter.

            My HR did not request HK on my Confirmation letter in Jan 2013. They requested my home country, and thus, I had to get my Z visa from USA. But later I was able to inquire about the process, and was told that in fact they could have requested HK, but that their own internal policy is to only put home countries… because a year ago they did HK for a guy and he changed his mind after receiving Confirmation letter and wanted to go home to UK and HR then tried to request a 2nd Confirmation letter…by this time FAO said no fway. Thus our internal policy.

            So, if your HR is willing to request HK, you should be able to get Confirmation letter with HK.

            • Thankyou so much! That was really helpful! That cleared up things for me!

              I have another question, for you or anyone….

              How many blank pages do you need left on your passport for applying for a Z visa? Currently I have 4 and half double sided pages left. one which will get used up for my next inbetween visa. so by the time i apply for a z visa, i will have 3 or 4 double sided pages left.

  • Hi Steve, this site is a god send for visa questions! Can you confirm if I would be able to currently obtain an L Visa in Hong Kong? (I am a UK resident). I will be outside of the UK for 6months before I will be looking to enter China, if i cannot get a visa in HK what are the other options open to me? The embassy site implies that I cannot apply from my more than 3 months in advance of entry. Thanks

  • Recent attempt to get a Chinese visa in Hong Kong with a UK passport:

    My fiance from the UK could only get a single entry 90 days L visa from the UK before we left for China but we were planning to stay a bit longer and find some part time work.

    So we get to China, he finds a job, and he needs to get a longer term visa. He gets the paperwork together for a 6 month Business “F” visa. We have a letter of invitation, the business registration, the photos, the application, and his passport with about 4-5 old Chinese visas in it (both L and F). This is what happened.

    The lady behind the desk in the consulate told him that it was impossible for them to issue long term visas (really?) and that all they could give him was one month since he had just stayed in China on a 3 month tourist visa, and if he didn’t like it he should go back to the UK and apply. Well, we could have just extended the tourist visa IN China for a month… Anyways….

    So as we are standing there sort of shocked and trying to reason with her, she says, “that’s all I can do. You can pick up your passport tomorrow with the visa. Think about it and come back later if you want. Now get out of line, I have someone waiting”.

    Ok, we leave and think about it. You don’t argue with these people, as tempting as it is. We decide the best thing to do is try to get the passport back and use a visa agency such as ForeverBright. We want to do this quickly, staying in Hong Kong is expensive. So we go back in the afternoon, wait for two hours at the Consul line while the Consul is absent (seriously, she didn’t bother coming in to work until about 4), and then get told that “your passport is being processed. All we can do is cancel the visa for you. You still have to pay the full amount. You can pick it up tomorrow morning.”


    So now we’re completing the hostage hand-over, money for empty passport, tomorrow morning. Then we’ll try to use an agency. Hopefully that will work out better. I’ve never had such a horrible visa experience, eesh. The people in that office… honestly.

      • Got the passport back the next morning. Went to forever bright, paid 2615 HKD, got a 6 month multi entry business visa with no limits on the duration of stay. Totally hassle free experience. Would highly recommend using them if you’re trying to get a business visa or something more long term than 1 month.

        Best of luck!

  • Hi Steve,

    I’m a US citizen currently traveling through Europe. I didn’t get a visa before I left the US and tried today in Berlin and was notified since I wasn’t a resident in Germany that I had to apply in the US. Is there ANY country in Europe where I will be able to apply for a visa?

    I saw that you said in January that now US citizens can’t receive a visa in Hong Kong either? Am I out of luck?

  • Great blog Steve! Great place to get up-to-date information. It is always tough to know these Chinese visa laws.. cause they always changing. I heard that rules might have changed as recently as Jan 2o13.. so wanted to ask this question related directly to my situation.
    I am currently on ‘L’ tourist visa. I know that I will have to leave the country to acquire my ‘Z’ visa. I am US citizen. Is it currently possible for me to go directly to Foreign Affairs Office to do this? I did this one year ago by myself no problem. I have heard now that I cannot go there on my own.. I must use an outside agency. They will of course charge their own fee.. plus visa fee. Can this be accomplished in two business days? For example.. I drop off my passport and visa application Fri afternoon and pick up on Mon. Cheers!

  • Recent update
    Well the “guy behind the desk” where my employer went to see what I needed in Bj; said that ONLY because my F visa time left was too short that I had to go to HK. But he also said that I NEEDED to get a HOLIDAY or F visa through the HK authorities and not an agent. Which was kind of confusing, since my F visa was through an agent originally. Last time I checked obtaining an F visa in HK on my own, I may as well go straight for the Z visa. But my employer said I HAVE to apply for the Z visa in mainland regardless of whether I get a L or F visa in HK, so long as its through the local bureau down there.

    Ive read all the horror stories…. eek! Thanks for them everyone.

    QUESTION: Does anyone know, for Canadians, DO I NEED an INVITATION LETTER for a holiday visa? The website isnt so clear on that and I keep hearing different reports. Would it be better for me to get a friend to give me an invitation letter or the same person who plans to employ me? Last time I left from Canada, I simply wrote a friends address and phone number.

    QUESTION 2: How long can you get a holiday visa for for Canadians now? Is it 2 months or one? Does anyone know if its longer for Kiwis? (I have two passports, as well as two last names. Lucky me:P )

    • Another question. I was assuming all of you applying in Hong Kong were going to the place in Wan Chai, in the China resources building…. but I was just looking up the exact address and ‘the website says’: “If you don’t reside or work in Hong Kong permanently, you are required to apply Chinese visa from the Embassy or Consulate-General of Peoples’ Republic of China in your resident country. ” I know websites cant be relyed on, but i just want to make 100% sure ive got it all correct! Once again- thanks so much for this website!

  • I am an Indian Citien and have applied for Visa and got the same but the duration of stay is only for 15 days, normally it is 30 days every time,as I am a regular Visitor to China for my Business, from Last 6 Years, This time I think to see all the 3 phases of Canton Fair, My Journey dates are 13th. April for entering China and 5th. May for returning, Please advice me what to do as I need a extension of 8-10 days.

    • First, thanks for the great blog post. I went last Monday to apply for a multiple entry F business visa. The project was sudden, and I didn’t have time to get it in advance. Also, I American but live in Seoul, adding a layer of complication. I had all my documentation, but only received a two-entry visa valid for six months. That certainly helps, and gives me some time to resolve getting the multiple entry.

      I wanted to point out something which confused me regarding the visa office address there in Wan Chai. The address is No 26, in the “China Resources Building”. I went for an evening walk Sunday nigh, just to be familiar with the entrance. I couldn’t find it. I found the China Resources Building, but that is actually one building east of the actual visa processing office, and is a much larger building. The building which houses the visa office is the smaller building located westmost on the block, right against Fleming Road. As best I could tell, that building was some kind of cultural center, and some signage for a new exhibit suggested it was No 28, but I eventually found it was labeled No. 26. So, don’t let the incorrect building name confuse you.

      The line wasn’t too bad before opening, running about 3/4 of the block. Despite the line, I must say they were quite efficient at processing us. In fact, when I finally exited around 9:40, there was no line at all. When a walked by again about 10:15 after having a juice at a nearby coffee shop, again there was no line. BTW, It helps to think in 3-D when walking around that neighborhood, often the best route was on the second “street” level.

      They told me to return at 10am the next morning for pickup. It wasn’t entirely clear, but you had to wait in one very short line to pay, and the. A second, much longer, line to pick up your passport. Not sure why the lines were uneven like that, but the whole pickup process was over in about 10 minutes.

      Now I must figure out getting the actual multiple entry visa ( this project will be more than 2 trips ). Before I went, we checked the Seoul Chinese Consulate, and they told me it was impossible. I may have to mail it back to a Chinese Consulate in the Stares directly or via a visa processing service. On top of that, my passport expires in about 11 months, so it probably makes sense to do both at the same time, if possible. Not to me toon I’ll probably need to go back in a weeks or so!

      Finally, I had no complaints about staying at The Harbourview, a couple blocks east of the visa office. We would call this a “three star” business hotel here in Korea, it was about $120/night. Small room, but adequate, even considering I was doing a but of work from my room when not out dealing with the visa office. And it had a wonderful view, as the name would suggest. There were some higher priced hotels nearby, service the exhibition center, I gather.

      Thanks again for this source of information.

  • Hello! I’m a US citizen applying for a china tourist visa in hk. I am currently in Taiwan and will go to hk for a few days to apply for the visa prior to heading off to china. My question is does the china embassy in hk give out tourist visas for 60 days at a time? The travel agency that is helping me with the process is saying in HK they only give out 30 day visas, but I’ve seen places that 60 days visas are possible so I need to prove to the travel agency it is possible so they don’t just apply w/o really asking. Please let me know! I am so nervous about the whole process

    I am in a really crummy situation so any advice would be much appreciated. I am a US passport holder and my current F visa is only valid until 4/30 at that time I will be illegally in China- something I definitely do not want to happen. I have already had my visa renewed once before and now the local PSB is saying they can not renew it again. I would like to get a 60 or 90 L travel visa and I think I may need to Hong Kong to get it.
    Is it possible for me to get a single entry Chinese tourist visa in Hong Kong? Should I just deal with an agency instead of going to the office? As you notice, time is of the essence so any advice is really appreciated. Thanks!

  • So ive learnt a lot. Will post the whole story in one go, once i get thru the second part of my application. In the meantime, i have some questions…. i read that i have to book an appointment for my health check. im gonna call them tmrw, but is it likely to be booked out far in advance? is haidian the only clinic in bj?

    i got a blood test done in hk by the labs that are approved in bj, but the buggers missed checking some things that ive seen listed online as part of the check- blood type for one, and syphillis. yippie. has anyone on here been thru this health check? im an extremely tiny person and hoping that my blood test i just did will at least save me some vials, as i cant handle more than 4/5 vials been taken out of me. do you think it would work? is there some magic code and is it likely to make my test any cheaper? ive also seen all this posting about needing a white background photo, anything from 2-5 photos. would a light colour do?

    Im applying for a work visa, but im currently on my L visa. Apart from my passport and photos and registration with cops, ive seen nothign else that i need to take to the health check listed. Can someone confirm all i need is that?

    • Regarding physical exam, we didn’t book an appointment in Dalian. You must go to the officially designated hospital for it, and I think there was only one choice here. We arrived before they opened, and waited in line. Once my number was called, the process was very efficient and finished in 45 minutes.

      I wouldn’t try to pass on results from a HK hospital. There’s only one price for this test, as far as I know. I think the blood test was only 2 vials. Our hospital had a photographer there, and I brought my own photos with a white background, and needed at least 2.

      I brought my local police residence registration blue paper copy, passport, photos, and cash…and my wife who’s Chinese 😉

  • Hey Steve,

    ‘Alex’ has posted on Feb 3, 2010 about some proof of Residence Form from police station. I have a question regarding that.

    My husband works in SZ on ‘Z’ visa; I had applied for a dependent visa after 6 months of him starting his job but faced problems in getting some authorized letter from Chinese foreign affairs office. After few months of struggling, finally last year a travel agency got me an ‘F’ visa instead of dependent visa (without informing me about the change) saying it is almost similar. I was not informed that about any registration procedure as well.

    But I have been visiting with my husband since (going to HK/home country every 30 days) and now that my ‘F’ visa is about to expire, a company has offered me job as a business consultant with invitation letter for ‘F’ visa. I have the letter with stamp, their registration number, and my personal documents.

    However, I dont have any permit from Police station as you have mentioned. Can I still apply for the ‘F’ visa with all other documents?

    I am excited about my new work, but the last resort would be to give it up for an ‘L’ visa if that can work out easier (just stay with my husband – no work); but again I would like to stay for about a year and preferably on multiple entry.

    Kindly let me know my options. Thank you so much for the detailed info and esp for taking the time to answer each question. Appreciate a ton!!

  • I am currently in China on a student visa and will be travelling to HK to enable the change of my visa from student category to “z” category. Can you please confirm the following
    (a) can I use the completed medical form from my home country (which is 7 months old) . I had used this medical form when I applied for my student visa from my home country. or
    (b) should I get the empty form (Physical Examination Record for Foreigner) to be completed here in China by the duly authorized hospital before going to HK,
    (c) Can the form (in (b)) be accepted in HK despite the tests being undertaken in China mainland or
    (d) should I get my medical to be conducted in HK

    Will be grateful for your response

    • Hey I dont know if my information is helpful or not but………
      I got part of my medical – blood test, pressure, eyesight-done in HK, only they forgot a few things that needed checking in the blood test, so I still had to trapse out here in Bj. It was sooo much more expensive in HK. Every different thing you checked for in the blood test was a seperate cost. It did save me having several vials taken out of me in Bj on the day and saved me around 100 yuan, but I paid so much in HK it wasnt worth it. I only did it there cos i was paranoid about needles here. If you get a blood test done there, you can rock up to any doctor or hospital and the blood tests must go through a place called: Path Ways and that is accepted here in Beijing. But if you miss one of the things needed to be checked for, youll just be getting it redone here anyway. Plus you need the rest of your physical there too x ray, eye sight etc by an approved place— and idk what that is. BUT you dont need that statement from the doctor with that info- blood pressure etc, which costs extra money, cos they simply disregard that here unless its a government clinic in HK

  • Hi Steve

    I inadvertently left out this query. My student visa expires on 31st July 2013, do I need to request our University to cancel my student visa before I depart for HK for the change of visa? or is the student visa automatically terminated upon the issuance of the “z” visa?

    Many thanks indeed

    • Dear Steve
      As I found this site to be very useful, I’d like to let everyone know of how my trip went. I arrived into HK at night but I was up early and left my room at 8:45 to walk to the Visa office. I was just at nearby Causeway Bay which took me about 15 minutes to get to Harbour Drive. However, I was probably over enthusiastic so I started from 1 Harbour drive and had to walk backwards. I finally reached the building and was happily advised by the well-dressed man at the door that I needed to walk to the side of the building. I made sure not to have my lighter with me (I noticed however that there was a container just before the x-ray machine that had a few lighters). There was no line of people outside because I got to the visa office at about 9:25. I was given ticket no.68 and they were currently serving ticket holder 18. It was not at all a long wait and they went through the numbers fairly quickly. I had the following documents (with their photocopies) with me –

      (a) Work permit issued by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs
      (b) Invitation letter of Duly authorized Unit
      (c) Company registration certificate
      (d) Statement of confirmation from employer
      (e) Entry-exit inspection & quarantine (PR China) Certificate of Verification
      (f) Employment Contract
      (g) Passport size photo
      (h) Application form Q1 plus supplementary form
      (i) Passport
      (j) Hotel accommodation receipt/reservation
      (k) Round trip e-ticket
      (l) Certificate of completion of studies from (recently former) University
      (m) Letter from vice dean of the (recently former) University to the Chinese Visa Office requesting cancellation of my student visa

      Yes, as you can see I was overly prepared (thanks to everyone’s contribution on this blog). Out of all the documents above, which I gladly offered to the Visa officer, she told me that they did not need the following –
      (a) Executed Employment contract
      (b) Statement of confirmation from employer
      (c) Hotel accommodation receipt/reservation

      I was at the counter for about 3 minutes, thereafter she gave me a slip and asked me to come back the next morning at 10am. The next day I did not need a ticket and was told to go straight to the cashier to pay her $500. I paid the money and proceeded to the next teller, I was given my passport.

      So apart from the 30 minutes of getting lost on Harbour drive, the 20 minutes of waiting for my turn for the initial lodging, my contact with the visa officials took a total of about 5 minutes and $500. Thank you very much for this blog and for all the contributions that assisted me with this smooth visa transition. PS – I was in touch with the visa agent in HK who said that they could do it for $750. But I saved the extra $250 by doing it myself. It was a good experience and I had extra cash to go to the Peak, Ladies market & avenue for stars. I guess it also helped my situation having an employer who was only too happy to provide the Company registration certificate plus the extra statement of confirmation including paying for my accommodation, visa fees and my airfare . Thank you again Steve and other contributors.

      • Glad you got the visa, and thank you for the detailed update.

        This post is up to 400 comments, so I’m going to deleted a couple of hundred or so of the oldest comments so that people can find the latest information.

  • NOW i have a question

    Prooving my evil BA……………well its about A2 size, heavy card, would never get here in one piece anyway. My university doesnt easily issue out originals, without going thru a massive rigmarol to proove the other no longer exists and wont do a mailing A4 size anyway. Printing it off onto smooth card was my first thought but the seal wont come through on the scanner from back home. I do however, have my original Transcript record, which states I completed my degree and has more embossing and prettiness than the jolly certificate itself.

    Got any opinions if that would suffice? This is for a Work Visa/ Permit.

    Ive also discovered I have to get a mf extension on my L visa due to the time it takes to process all this cxxp and need to find 20big rmbs. does anyone know if im in the process of getting my jiuyezhengshu or process of work visa and can prove it, if i can have this waived etc? ive vaguely heard of this happening before so thought id ask here.

  • Our daughter and her friend are traveling at the moment. They left Australia and traveled through Shanghai and on to Hong Kong. They were in Shanghai in transit for 5 hours during which time the airlines told them they had to recheck in their bags. At no time did they leave the passengers in transit area yet during this process at some time someone activated their china visas. Yesterday they begin the China leg of their tour with a tour group. They were refused entry into China as their visas had been activated. They were treated like criminals and made to wait until police surveilance then sent back to Hong Kong on the ferry where they were then refused entry into Hong Kong until they explained their situation to Hong Kong officials and they extended their visa stays past 7 days. They have been told to apply for a new visa by the tour company and then catch up with the tour. What should they do now? Do you have any ideas. Do they go to the Australian embassy or run the route of the visa application centre or use an agency. They are on a reasonably tight budget. Daughter is an Australian citizen but not sure what passport her friend travels on as her mum is Phillipino and Dad is British but they live in Australia? Urgent help needed as the tour company has sent them back then left them to their own devices.
    Thanking you
    Barbara Dangaard

  • HELP! Does anyone know if the following situation is common……………

    So i trotted along with my boss to the office that issues the JIUYEZHENGSHU. the guy looked at my chinese resume and decided that i didnt have all the requirements for the position. I dont know what resume he was reading, it was as if he brushed over it, but he said it would be nearly impossible for me to obtain a work permit. And that was then end.

    That was when my boss decided to inform me that the other foreigner she had gotten a work visa from scratch for had the same problem and nearly all ‘first time applicants’ have this problem if they try to apply on their own. ‘on their own’ meant ………drum roll………without the help of an agent. this ‘agent’ is supposedly different from others in that basically their roll is to pay off some unknown at the top to get the legit visa. so its not a ‘issued in shenzhen’ visa like on the hong kong run, you still have to go through all the same rigamoral as if you were applyin on your own, just someone else pulls strings behind the scenes. the grand total would be 6000rmb, just for the jiuyezhenshu, and after you still have to apply for the visa. but apparently its guaranteed. its chepear than what i was quoted by other agents when i first came to beijing with no job, but i was still gutted. still am. and it made me wonder is there any way in china without money? then i remembered this site and thought, could my boss be screwing me over?
    So anyone who has succesfully gotten their work visa before, have any opinion?? PLEASE HELP!

  • Hello. Very helpful site! Forgive me for duplicating others’ questions if I’m doing so.
    I am currently living and working in Fuzhou, Fujian, with a year-long residence permit (my third). Come June 24th, that will expire, but my contract does not end until July 6th, and I plan to travel around China until July 31st, when I will return home to the United States. Therefore I am looking for a tourist (L) visa of more than one month (i.e. 60 days, if available, or longer). The website of “The Commissioner’s Office” (aka the Chinese Government) lists availability of “six month multiple entries” for HK$1100 as of August, 2011; I’m not sure how much that can be relied upon. Foreverbright Travel quoted me HK$1650 for the same. Obviously they can do, but I’d like to save the money if it’s possible to be done independently at the consulate. Any thoughts?

    (Does having expired residence permits hinder the process at all?)

    Thanks!! Responses very much appreciated.

  • Hi, Krakozhian refugee hoping to transfer F to Z visa…. ok, kidding. I’m an American who just processed my Z-visa in Hong Kong and wanted to provide a quick trip report, as I found this site to be helpful.

    I was in China two months prior on a tourist visa, and was able to switch to Z-visa in HK. My place of work in China is in a municipality which has a reputation for being difficult, yet everything went smoothly. Getting the invitation letter to read ‘Hong Kong SAR’ rather than your own country was only a matter of checking a box, so if your employer claims they cannot, I suggest you find another employer.

    The visa office can be reached by taking the MTR to Wan Chai (湾仔) and exiting at A5 toward Immigration tower. Walk across the bridge and go down the stairs on the immediate right of the entrance to Immigration tower. Continue straight (mostly straight…you will cross a couple small streets [Fleming Dr then Harbour Dr.] and go under a bridge), until you see a “China Visa Office” sign on your left and, if before 9am, probably a dozen miserable people sitting on the ground.

    The visa clerk threw the company registration and Company Invitation letter back at me, though you should still probably bring them just in case. She took only my Passport, Application Form, Jiuye Xuke Zhengshu (外国人就业许可证书), Invitation Letter of Duly Authorized Authority (被授权单位邀请函), and Certificate of Verification from the Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine office (境外人员体格检查记录验证证明).

    I picked everything up the next morning at 10am. Total cost for visa and next-day pickup was 1400HKD. Unless you have some extraordinary circumstance, using a visa service seems unnecessary. Total time spent waiting and processing was less than 45 minutes combined.

    Pro Tips:
    1. My water was confiscated at a scanner.

    2. Look for the framed, apparently exemplary, application form in the cashier line that discusses a past venereal disease.

    3. Avoid by any means necessary small talk with fledgling English teachers. Many other people standing in line are quite interesting though.

    Good Luck!

    • Glad you got it, and thanks for the detailed update. Best advice from those recently successful applicants is to take as much documentation as you can gather.

      Did you notice if there was a water cooler inside?

      • I didn’t notice–everything moved very quickly once inside. I arrived at about 8:45am, was inside the office by 9:10, and only spent a few minutes waiting for my number.

        They passed out the visa application forms while we were sitting outside the building. Bring a pen and make sure you complete it fully, as they check it before giving you a number.

    • Hi there

      I’m wondering why you had to pay HK$1400 while I paid HK$500. My visa change was from student (x) to employment (z) and I picked up my passport/visa the next day at 10am.

  • Hola Steve. Congratulations about this, it is very interesting for everybody.
    I am spanish, and i will go to Chine from Spain to study a chinese course in July, and i have a tourism visa. But next i will do a travel aroeund SOuthEast of Asia and in September i will start to study in Yunnan province (China), for three months. So i need a new visa. The chinese uni will provide me a document called JW202 and admission notice. So i would like to know if i can apply for visa in Bangkok better, or if not in Hong Kong, and what doccuments are required for that in each city if you know, price and how many days i need. And if it would be a problem apply on ending of July for this visa for september (maybe too soon?). Sorry about my english. and Thank you very much in advance.
    Kind regards

  • Hi! I’m going to HK tomorrow and will attempt to get my China visa on Wednesday. Did you need any documents such as proof of accommodation or flights? This is what’s most worrying me, as I want to be flexible and also use trains etc. Cheers in advance.

    • I didn’t show any proof of onward travel. If it’s worrying you, you could print out a fake itinerary, just in case. Put a flight into Expedia, press Buy and print out the confirmation screen before paying. Also make a note of the address of any hotel in your first destination.

  • Hi! I am a German and Spanish national, resident of Germany, and I want to go to China on an exchange semester in Beijing.
    My problem is that I will stay in Shanghai before for a month, visiting HK inbetween for a few days. This means that I cannot apply for the Temporary Residence Permit (TRP) in Beijing within the 30-day-limit. I am now thinking about two options:
    (1) Get a two-entry L-Visa in Germany and somehow change that into a TRP in Beijing, although I do not know, which entry (first or second) will count for the 30-day-limit. (seems very risky to me)
    (2) Get a single-entry L-Visa in Germany and apply for an X-Visa in HK, which would allow me to apply for the TRP within the limit. (seems fairly risky to me)
    Anybody has any experience with either of those options, especially applying for an X-Visa in HK?
    Much appreciated!

    • (1) Both – each time you enter now you need to register

      (2) That’s what I did – Got a short term visa to go to Beijing (SH in your case), picked up all my paperwork, then flew down to HK and applied for a z-visa. Back to BJ and get the TRP.

      • Thanks so much for your answer. It really gives me a lot of reassureance. I will try the visa run in HK then, seems like the only option. I’ll post here, how it went (that will be in august).

  • Hi Steve , just a quick question . I have Z residence visa (family visa) from my husband’s work . Now, I’m in the process of applying working visa for myself . Do I still need health check up?

    Another question is, I left my Bachelor certificate back in Australia but was able to find online verification about my education background .Do you think it’s ok? My potential employer is very supportive of my application and happy to help me with invitation letter .

    Btw your website is really helpful . Thanks.

  • Hi Steve, I have a German passport. Currently I am traveling around and I am thinking to apply for a Chinese L visa in Hong Kong. I heard from my friend that it is not possible to apply for a Chinese visa in Hong Kong anymore. Is that true? If it is not true, how long will it take to receive the visa? And how much will it cost?

  • I wanted to respond as soon as I returned to China but things were REALLY hectic and I didn’t get a chance. I went to Hong Kong June 19, after reading many of the comments here I decided to try Everbright agency. First, they were very rude and all I did was hand them my passport. If it had been at the end of the day and they were tired of dealing with folks I could understand it, but it was 9 am. All they said they could do for me was a one entry L tourist visa – maybe. I went to the Visa Office on two days and spoke to two different people with the same result. They took my passport, flipped through it and said I have been in China too long, get an Z-visa or go home. The best they could do for me was to give me a 14 day L-visa to go home (in China) and pack my bags. She actually gave me an L-visa on the F-visa paperwork I handed her. Well, I can’t get an Z-visa because I’m too old to work according to the Chinese as I am over 60. I guess it’s a good thing my students don’t know that.

    My girlfriend got upset at the thought of me leaving so we got married and I got a multiple entry L-visa good for one year. Got it right here at the local PSB and very easily too. The local school says they are expecting the cops (the PSB I think) to come around and check on the teachers visas. I read a couple of months ago that the China government was going to crack down on “illegal” working, which is anything but an Z-visa. What I really like is that I can stay with my Chinese wife, I just can’t work to support her. lol

  • Hi Steve,

    Thankyou so much for this site, so helpfull 🙂

    I have a question- I am going to China (Liaoning) to do some advanced clinical training for 3 months.
    I am Flying to HK allowing a week to get VISA (F type)
    May be a silly question but i really dont know-
    If I get a visa for the 3 months (Duration of my program) can I arrive in china a couple days earlier to my start date?and stay a couple days later after complete? or should i try apply for a longer VIsa?

    Again Thankyou 🙂

    • The dates are very specific, so if you want to stay longer than 90 days you’ll either need a longer visa, to apply for a new visa or to get an extension at the local PSB (they may give you a few extra days, but it’s not guaranteed)

    • I am an Australian,travelling in Europe, I was hoping to travel to Hong Kong on route (to apply for a chinese VISA) to do some training in Liaoning- I have an Official invitation,And was hoping to obtain a F type visa for the duration of my program.Finally got a response from China travel service today- stating they now only issue 30 day visas (as chinese policies have changed), so it appears forign nationals need to apply in their own country.. still not sure if one can extend this 30day visa from within China? 🙂

  • I am an Australian,travelling in Europe, I was hoping to travel to Hong Kong on route (to apply for a chinese VISA) to do some training in Liaoning- I have an Official invitation,And was hoping to obtain a F type visa for the duration of my program.Finally got a response from China travel service today- stating they now only issue 30 day visas (as chinese policies have changed), so it appears forign nationals need to apply in their own country.. still not sure if one can extend this 30day visa from within China?

    • Yes, the Chinese government is cracking down on visas and making changes to their policies. They have changed their rules for obtaining a visa out of one’s own country. If it is the first time appying, e.g. in Hong Kong, you might get one, probably shorter duration though. If you have applied before they will probably tell you to apply in your home country. Extensions can be gotten locally at the PSB but there is no guarantee. But if you have a sob story they might give you one, especially if you need the time to get out of China without going to jail. lol
      Personally, I don’t think the agencies can help much at this point. Maybe after the dust settles they might be back in business but I would count on it.

  • Hi!
    I am an American studying on an F visa (90 days single entry). I would like to visit a friend in HK, but because of the new regulations I will have to apply for a tourist visa inHK so that I can return to China for 7 days before my flight back to the states. I’ve heard of people being rejected, but I really would like to see my friend in HK for the weekend. Do you think that applying for the L visa is risky? Note that this is my first time in China, and I am on a 90 day F visa.

  • Teaching in China
    I’m an American citizen who currently has a multiple entry L-VISA for China, which I’ve used to come in and out multiple times over the past few months. I now have offers from Chinese companies, as well as educational institutions to work in China. In order to work in China, I understand I need a Z-VISA. How does the transition from an L VISA to a Z VISA work?

    Now, I plan to start work 3 months later… am I correct to assume I should not get the Z VISA until that time? I would like to travel to China on the L VISA next month, as well as to other international locations… Can I travel until prior to my job starting date and then get my Z VISA in Hong Kong? Any assistance is much appreciated. Thanks.

  • Hi Steve,

    Thanks for all the info!
    My company just got the invitation letter and I have to go to Hong Kong to do my working visa.
    Do you know how long it will take them to proceed it since the new law? And if it is possible to do it in Express?

  • Hi,

    Im Australian, and currently studying in Taiwan and I’m planning on going to China to continue my studies for 3 months. I don’t want to fly back to Australia to get my Chinese Visa as I’d like to save money from flying around. So I’m was planning to head to Hong Kong and get either a single entry 90 day L Visa or see if I can get a 90 day F Visa with documents from the school I’m attending. With all the changes happening how likely do you think i’ll be able to obtain a visa in Hong Kong?

    This is also my first time applying for a Chinese visa.

  • Steve – first of all, this site is a lifesaver!! I have spent (wasted?) so much time trying to figure all of this stuff out before I came across this post! You are the man!

    All – I am in the process of getting a Z1 visa (I’m a US Passport holder living in China) in Hong Kong, and an wondering if anyone has any details on how to go about getting the Criminal Background Check from the US. Is this absolutely necessary now? I’m trying to get a hold of it just in case so I don’t get rejected in HK and have to end up going back to the US to take care of this. I called my local police department back home, and they were not helpful or cooperative. I’m not sure where else to look for advice.

    Any help or advice is appreciated!

  • Hello!

    This blog is really helpful, thanks Steve!

    I am a citizen of Finland, and about to apply for a single entry tourist L visa in HK. I tried emailing a couple of visa agencies, namely Forever bright, japan travel etc.
    The response I received from them is that “1 or 2 day services are not available, only the standard 4 day procedure”. I even called them to verify this. My situation is really tricky, and I would definitely need to get a visa quicker than in 4 days. I tried searching thru the “official” websites (consulate, cts), and didn’t come up with anything 100% sure.

    I’m wondering, if there is ANY quick visa service available in HK for any price, i’m willing to pay anything up to 2000hkd for the visa. Any advice???

    Thank you so much in advance!


    • It changes all the time, but if the agencies can’t offer an express order right now it’s unlikely you’ll get one in 2 days. Good luck and let us know if you do find a speedy service.

  • Hi Steve,

    I’m sure you get questions like this all the time but…

    I’m currently living in Shenzhen so it’s easy for me to go to HK. I’m on a Residence Permit and Z type Visa from my previous employer in Guangzhou that will expire August 30. My new employer in Shenzhen said they can’t have my documents ready for a new Z Visa until September/October and they recommended me going to HK to get a L Tourist Visa for the mean time.

    I read the parts of this article and it seems pretty standard, have the two forms filled out, have a picture, and have my passport. Do you know if the rush delivery is available?

    • If you’ve got all the paperwork it’s fine. Express is only available through agencies at the moment

      As an aside, if you go to work on an L visa, there’s no incentive for your employer to ever bother with a Z visa.

  • Hi, I am a student trying to get my tourist visa changed into a student visa in Hong Kong. I have all the necessary paperwork, but am wondering if this will be a problem with the new Chinese visa laws. Also, could someone clarify whether express services are currently being offered?


  • Complying with ‘No Criminal Record’ requirement for Americans:

    I’ve heard of people applying for a Z visa now needing a proof that they have no criminal record in their home country.

    The best source of information on this is the provincial government in the province where you’re applying. If a company is hiring you, have them ask what other people from your same home country have needed. Or ask a same-country expat yourself.

    For Americans in some provinces, they need either a statement from their home police department, or a statement of no prior record from the FBI. (Or both. Or something else! You’ll have to ask.)

    These sites discuss the FBI process:

    This may be more than a two-month process, so start early!

    Remember that the FBI document needs to be authenticated by the US Department of State, then authenticated by the Chinese Embassy in DC. And you have to walk it in to the Embassy yourself or have a friend take it. Or a service like “washington express visas” can do it for you.

    Also, if you need your home police department’s statement to be authenticated by the Chinese Embassy, then first your home state’s secretary of state authenticates it, then the American secretary of state authenticates it, then you send it to the DC Chinese embassy.

    • I’ve just successfully finished submitting the background check paperwork as part of my Work Permit (jiuyezheng) renewal in my province. (Note: This information below is about how I received my Criminal History document from the USA government and how I used it IN MY PROVINCE, NOT in Hong Kong. Hopefully it helps friends from other countries know how they should proceed)

      In my province, I submitted a Sworn Statement that was made before a US consulate that I had no criminal history. Also, I submitted with it a background check print-out from my home state’s State Police website. It only cost a few dollars and took 5 minutes. I had to then get a Chinese agency to translate both documents. But when I submitted everything, I didn’t have a problem renewing my Work Permit.

      Another friend in my province successfully submitted the same documents for their FIRST Work Permit (jiuyezheng) application, but they used their state’s FBI branch’s criminal history on-line statement. Again, for both of us, we handed in the Sworn Statement made before our Consulate, along with a print-out from our home state’s Law Enforcement agency website. They didn’t have any problems.

      (One final note: Just for security, I also did the process described in the Aug12,2013 post above for the US FBI background check. I didn’t need to submit it for my Work Permit renewal, but I held on to it in case I had problems using my State Police documents described in the first two paragraphs of this May09,2014 post. Getting the FBI background check is pretty easy, but it takes a long time for everything to be finished. It took 8 weeks for the FBI background check based on my fingerprints, then another 2 weeks to get the document processed by the US Secretary of State and the Chinese Embassy in DC. And it’s pretty common for the fingerprints to be rejected by the FBI as illegible, so start early, or make multiple submissions.)

  • Hi Steve,

    I’m a Serbian who is planning on going to Hong Kong for the student visa. In September I’m starting my Master program and I have all the necesarry paperwork from my university. Currently I’m holding F visa which I got through an agency (which means that the place of issue was Shenzhen Luohu) and which will expire in 40 days. I already have several Chinese visas in my passport. Do you think I will have problems with getting my student visa in Hong Kong?

    Thanks much in advance for your response!


  • hello,
    i am in HK on dependant visa and need to apply for china work permit.
    for china work permit, they have one requirement that i need to sumbit medical report at the time of visa stamping.. from where can i get my medical done in hong kong. it needs to be done from government hospital in HK.. please help guys.. its very urgent for me.

  • Hi,
    This is a lifesaver! Thankyou! In need of an express visa, just wondering what the the best option is. How does one get in contact with an agency / where are these services located?

  • First of all thanks Steve for this wonderful blog. I have been trying to find this information from people/HRs etc etc but no one had the clear and concrete information. I will be applying for F Visa in HK, I have all the main documents mentioned above (letter adrsd to HK Consulate, Health Cert, Business Licenses, Criminal Record check etc.) but I have a few queries:

    -What is the usual time it takes for processing? I believe Rush processing is same day, so is normal processing next business day? (I am an Indian passport holder btw, not sure if that would affect)

    -I read express is only available through agency. Can anyone apply through agency or only if my company is registered to a specific agency or any other rules?

    Would be very very grateful for your comments and feedback! Thanks in advance.

  • hey;

    I am a Turkish citizen. I am on a F visa now and just finished all the documentation for my Z visa. The Foreign Expert bureau asked me where I want to get my Z visa from. Surely HK is my first choise but as Turkey is on the list of the countries that can’t apply for Chinese visa in HK , I would like to know if it would make difference when applying Z visa with all the documents from mainland china authorties?

    Any information will be appreciated
    thanks in advance

  • Hi Sir! I got a job from China and I am just waiting for the documents to arrive here in th Philippines so I can process my working visa. This is my first time on getting/processing a working visa and my first time working overseas as well. I am a philippine passport holder. My employer advised me to process my working visa in Hong Kong which a Filipina who they hired recently (2013) processed her visa in HK as well but the thing is the filipina already have a previous working visa. Is it hard or the process is also the same for the first timer and with the previous working visa? And also about hte temporary residence permit, I can get it on the hotel where I will stay right? Do I need to present and/or submitt that and also the crimincal clearance certificate? Because the filipina said that she didn’t pass ant of those documents, all she submitted was the documents which the company provided her and the next day she alraeady got her working visa. Also, she mentioned that they have a hous in HK which I don’t if it’s her family’s or relative’s. So is there any more steps required or additioanl requirements for first timers like me? Hoping for your response regarding this sir and I hope you could recommend a near hotel to the Chinese Visa office and which is also quite cheap. Hehe. Thank You very much!

  • Hi Steve, got some help from you before on this site, thanks for that!

    Now I have another question, I recently got engaged, and are planning to get married in spring next year. We are both foreigners working and living in China. But my fiancee has a problem, that her work permit and Z1 visa expires shortly before the planned wedding date, and we would like to get it renewed before travelling home for the wedding. Now, as the visa processing time has become 3 weeks instead of 1 week, her visa application process would be in the middle of the wedding, which means she would not be able to travel. So we are looking for an alternative solution.

    We wanted to check with the Chinese embassy in our home country (Norway) whether it would be possible to do the renewal process there, but as you know they are not so easy to get through to neither by email nor by phone.

    So my question for you is, do you know whether it makes any difference for the renewal of a Z1 visa (long term work visa) whether it is renewed in China (local entry-exit office) or whether the Chinese embassy in our country of residence is also able to issue a new Z1 work visa as long as she has renewed her employment permit and has all the necessary documents with her?

  • So grateful I found this site!

    I need a Z visa very soon(currently on my F visa on a project in China), and I need to plan for it.

    – Can I apply for it in HK or do I have to go back to my home country (Serbia) to apply for it?
    – Is Rush service really out, since the site still lists it?


    I’m a British citizen in the process of applying for a work/Z visa for China. I’m in Beijing at the moment and will have to leave the country to process my visa application. I had planned to go to Hong Kong, but found this information on the HK visa office website:
    5. Applicants who do not enjoy HK resident status should apply for visas with the Chinese Embassies or Consulates General in their countries of citizenship or residence.

    This update was posted on 30/08/2013 and suggests unless you are a resident of HK, you have to return to your home country to apply for visas. Which is a great shame (to put it mildly) for me and I’m sure many others.

    Can anyone shed any more light on this from their recent experiences since 30/08? I’m hoping there is a way round this somehow!

      • Hi Steve, thanks for your reply and it’s good news about still being able to go to HK. As an update from my side, I have been in touch with some agencies in HK who also suggest it’s still possible to process the visa in HK.

        Re: your comment about the likelihood of receiving a shorter visa in HK than at home, does this also apply to the Z visa (for which I’m applying) or just tourist visas? I was under the impression the work permit was a for a full year?


        • It mostly affects tourists who are hoping to stay longer than 30 days. Your z-visa will only be valid for 30 days, during which you need to convert it to a Residence permit at the PSB

          • Dear, Steve,

            Thanks for all the info, very helpful!
            I actually still have to questions:
            I also need to apply for a Z-visa: now does anybody know if I need any extra documents *other my Z-visa, to get the residence permit? (I assume I have to apply for this in the city I will stay in China, which is Wuhan in this case)
            And will this one be valid for one year then? *I heard it is not so easy to get one…

            Next one: Off course I wanted to check everything with the authorities myself, but it seems the phone number of the HK office doesn’t work (so don’t the other numbers listed on the fmprc website… )
            Any tips for that?

            Best regards,

            • Sven,
              Try calling the travel agencies. The HK consulate number is NEVER picked up both live person and 24h hotline. I literally tried for a whole afternoon and no one picked up.

              I called China Travel Services in HK. Try any of their branches and just tell them what kind of Visa you are applying for. I’m not sure if they do other Visas besides the “L” tourist Visa, but it never hurts to try!

              Hope I could help.

          • Hi,

            I just came back from Hong Kong and I can also confirm it is still possible to apply for the Z visa in HK (I also received 30 days, which needs conversion to residence permit at a local PSB in mainland China, *now figuring out if any additional documents are required)

            I applied at the official visa office in Wanchai and payed 200 HK$ (which should be cheaper than applying it at one of the travel agencies)
            *be aware that 1 or 2-day services are no longer offered, only the 4 day service is offered.

            I brought a whole bunch of paperwork with me, but all they needed in HK was (1) my working permit *for foreign expert. and (2) an invitation letter written by foreign affairs office (this one should preferably be directed to the HK office, though).

            P.S. likely the local PSB office/foreign affairs office will scare you off in advance by asking whether you’re sure you want the invitation letter addressed to the HK office (because of the new policy), but just be persistent 😉

            • Good update – glad you got it. It’s always better to have too much paperwork than not enough!

              The conversion from z-visa to permit is very simple – just go to the PSB and no extra documents are needed once you’ve got the visa

            • HI Sven,

              I need to switch my tourist visa to a work visa (I’m also living in Wuhan!!!), and I am debating between making a trip home to the United States to apply for a new visa and simply taking a train down to Hong Kong to make the switch. Obviously the latter choice is more convenient, but I’m scared of risking the HK trip for a few reasons. First, I already have a few China visas on my passport, and I’ve heard that this can be a strike against you. Second, my future employer told me to go back to the United States to get the visa because the local foreign affairs bureau told them that the HK visa run was no longer possible. Based on your experience, it’s clearly possible, it’s just nervewracking (but not surprising) that there seems to be a lack of clarity about the policy within the system.

              Last question: You didn’t mention a criminal background check as one of the documents you needed. (I don’t have one.) I suppose it’s not necesary?

              Thank you so much for your comments on the blog, they were very helpful.


              • Hi Joey,

                Yes, the whole visa application process from within China is nervewracking! Similar experience here.
                So unfortunately I cannot give you any guarantees, but this is my experience:
                – Like I mentioned the Foreign affairs bureau in Wuhan will tell you the HK visa run is not longer possible. They also told me/my colleage but in the end we managed to persuade them to address the invitation letter to the HK office.
                – And yes you’re right, in HK I did NOT need a criminal background check.
                The lady at the desk only required my ‘working permit for foreign experts’ and ‘invitation letter’ *which is even less than is mentioned at the official channel. But off course better take all the documents that are listed as required on this website.
                – Finally about the previous visa’s you’re holding *which doesn’t neccesarily has anything to do with the fact you apply the visa in HK or USA 😉
                I held one tourist visa (dating from August) which I extended in Wuhan (dating from October).

                Good luck with the application and hope to see you (back) in Wuhan!


            • Hi Sven,

              Thanks so much for your last reply. Today I went to the Foreign Affairs Bureau, but failed to persuade the woman there to write the HK address on the letter. She told me that Hubei province no longer allowed this practice.

              How were you able to persuade her to write down that address? The other option the woman gave me was to not process my visa, because I told her I didn’t want to fly all the way home (probably not a good line of argument)?
              Any suggestions for how to deal with this?

              Secondly, do you know if it’s possible to still get a work visa in HK even if the invitation letter is not addressed to the office in Hong Kong?

              Thanks again for your help!!!


              • Hi Joey, Sorry I did not reply any faster,
                But unfortunately I do not have any answer to your questions.

                My employer has a good relation with the foreign affairs office, I guess this was very helpful. And Maybe It makes a difference what kind of work permit you apply for…
                *I applied for the “Permit for Foreign Experts Working in China” issued by the State Bureau of Foreign Experts.

                Maybe if you get the “Alien Employment License of the People’s Republic of China” issued by the Chinese government authority for Human Resources and Social Security, there are different people to process your application, to my experience this can make a great difference…

  • Hi Steve,
    First of all, awesome blog and very informative. Better than any travel agency info section by far.

    I just have a few quick question and I do apologize if this has already been asked.

    I am a US citizen/passport holder. My L visa (1 year multiple entry of 90 days) is going to expire and will travel down to HK from Shenzhen to re-apply. I was wondering if my flight booking has to be from my US to China or does it not matter, they just want to see a round trip ticket?

    From what readers have said and what you’ve informed us, more than 30 day multiple entry Visas can not be attained in HK? But this is my third L visa application, do you think that plays a factor if I want to apply for a more than 30 day Visa?

    • I just finished my Visa run in HK for my China L Visa and some things have changed!

      There is a new 2013 application form, last I checked, the one on the website is not updated! I had to re-fill my application when I got to the consulate!

      If you are not an HK resident, make sure you have a photocopy of your entrance slip!

      Make sure you make copies of your passport as well as any past Chinese Visa’s you may have there is always a very long line for the copier. If you do not have change, check the unmarked window and have him give you change!

      Luckily, there is a photo booth for passport pictures next to the copier.

      If you are traveling from HK to Shenzhen on a “L” visa, no need to provide transportation documentation! Just the hotel booking.

      • Hi RK,

        I’m located on the mainland, and am also planning a visa run to Hong Kong. I already have a few visas on my passport, however, including a work visa and two tourist visas. The job that I expect to start at is working on getting me a Z visa, and in the meantime my tourist visa will expire before I start working. Therefore I need another tourist visa to allow me to stay in China while the office finishes up the paper work for the Z visa. Do you think that I will stand a chance of getting a new tourist visa in Hong Kong?


      • Hi, i’m applying for an L visa in Hong Kong too but this will be my 3rd L visa in China, do you think it’s possible to get it or things have changed this much? And this “entrance slip” that you talk is the one that you get when you enter HK, or it’s the one of my first entrance in China”?

        thank you very much for all the tips

  • Hi,
    An update to the Z visa application.
    I went to the China resourse Building Visa department today and had all necessary documents. However, I was told by the visa agent that the express service is not available for European passports! I was counting on one day turnover, but have to wait 3 more days. (drop off Tuesday, pick up Friday)

  • Hi Steve – is the visa fee for L visa applicaton if done thru agency non- refundable if unsuccessful? What normally are the grounds for refusal? I used agency for an express service, and for whatever reason, my application was refused and they refunded me the payment. Which made me doubt if they even put in the application. They asked me if I overstayed more than 30 days for my previous visits, which I did but I had the proper visa to extend. I went to local immigration office in Qingdao, China to extend stay. Also, what is the maximum days per visit if holding an F visa multiple entry with 6 months validity? I had one and nothing in the visa sticker says only allowed 30 days each visit. Thanks for any feedback. Cheers to your website.

  • hi great website,good information.
    I went to apply for Z-visa one year today.
    -no need for criminal background record
    – no fast service available for many countries. so wait 3 workdays after application eg Friday application, pick up Tuesday morning .
    -a link to the new application form is here:
    but you can’t save this file you have to print it so make sure you fill it out on a computer with access to printing.
    – if you bring the form already filled out you get a number directly.

  • I just got off the phone with the Consular Department of the Commissioner’s Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC in the Hong Kong SAR (852-34132300) and was told that as a US passport holder applying for a Z visa, if I apply by Monday noon, I can receive it by Tuesday at 3 PM for rush service. So … I hope that’s true. Will update after my trip.

    • Z visa application, all they needed was:
      1. employment license (which they will return)
      2. front and back copies of employment license
      3. invitation letter from bureau specifying Hong Kong SAR
      4. passport
      5. copy of passport photo page
      6. copy of passport visa page with the Hong Kong entry
      7. application form
      8. photo (33 x 48 mm, approx 1.5 x 2 in)

      26 Harbor Road, 3rd Floor

      Turned in my application around 10 AM, opted for rush service and picked it up the next morning around 10 AM. For Americans, cost was 1100 HKD plus 300 for the next-day service.

      It almost felt too easy. Dropping off my application I only spent about an hour, and a good 10 minutes of that was waiting in line at the copy machine. For the pick-up I was in and out in less than 15!

    • Chinese Visa In Hong Kong application denied,

      Reason: Apparently they thought I visited China for too long.

      I got a first Tourist visa L for 2 months, then got 2 renewals in Beijing, total time 4 months.

      I left China and came back after 3 months with a 2 months tourist visa L.

      Got an extension for 15 days.

      Went to HK, with an invitation letter and all the paperwork in order, still the consul explained to me with a very poor English that “I visited China for too long” ?????? no other logic explanation was given to me. I was adviced to apply from my country of origin.

      There was another guy from Sweden, He lived in China for 4 months learning Mandarin, wanted to go back to practice it for 2 months. visa denied.

      I’m kinda glad I’m not going back, only reason I wanted to go back is because my BF works over there, Personally I can’t stand the pollution and the lack of freedom.

  • Hello everybody,
    very helpful blog! Does anybody know if it is still possible to apply for a F or new M visa in HK? I’m an italian girl. The company I’m working for gave me the invitation letter, together with the business license copy and I also have my resident status paper. Do you think that if I go to the Chinese Visa Office (Consular Department) in Harbour Road I will have a change to get it? Or it’s better to ask an agency? Thanks for your attention! Cheers!

  • Hey everyone,

    I did a visa run TODAY 12-23-2013

    As of today, everything is still doable. I switched from an F visa to a Z visa.

    The company’s business License tripped me up. My HR manager didn’t know it was needed. I had to have her email it to me so I could print it out.

    Also, I didn’t need an alien license thing, unless the people on this forum are calling it something different

  • I am a Thai passport holder and have to go to Hong Kong for business.

    However, I made a mistake and applied for a single entry Visa which I used today to enter China when I landed in Guangzhou.

    I will be going to Hong Kong tomorrow until the 2nd of Jan but my flight home is from Guangzhou on the 3rd of Jan.

    What would be the best solution for me?

  • Hi Steve,

    Im wondering if i can apply my Intenship Visa in Hk with Invitation letter from Authorized unit from Shanghai. Before i have invitation letter 180 days 1 entry from Shanghai and I apply it in HK but they only give me 1 month 1 entry business visa. Im now here in Guangzhou, China but my visa will end again soon. So i need to apply my internship visa before the spring festival. Im from the Philippines. Hope i can get your reply soon..


    • Hi, I am in the the same situation except that I am from Czech Republic. I have invitation letter for 90 days, but I got visa only for 30 days and I will need to re-new or extend it. Did you get your visa in Hong Kong? Were there any issues?
      I also am little bit confused with the invitation letters. I have only IL from the Company but the chinese embassy in my country required also Invitation Letter of Duly Authorized Unit which I was not provided. Is this ILDAU also required in Hong Kong?

      Thanks a lot!


  • Hi there!

    I was just wondering, I’m coming into China on a tourist visa to complete some training since I don’t have 2 years of work experience (I’m a recent grad) and then I hope to go to Hong Kong to get my Z visa. I have enough savings to go back to my home country to get it, but I was hoping to just go to Hong Kong as it will be cheaper (I was hoping to use my savings for travel around China during the holidays). Do you think it’ll be ok? I’m not getting any compensation for my training and I’m paying for my own hotel and everything. I will be doing touristy things in the evening, just, during the day I’ll be learning about the company I’m going to be working for. They say it’s ok, and they have quite a good reputation, so I don’t think they’d do anything to jeopardize my credibility to the government, but I wanted to double check.


  • Hi was wandering how quickly the visa will be processed. When i last went in 2011 i could get it done in 24 hrs and was under the impression that that was still possible so have booked my flight out the next day but i have jut read that that is no longer possible does anyone know?

  • Hi everyone,

    I found this page very useful when I was researching what documentation I needed to make my Hong Kong run, and thought I would contribute my experience for people who plan on doing this run in the future.

    About me, I am a Chinese American and I hold a US passport. I had a 1 year tourist visa that expires in May 2014. I went to HK to switch to a Z work visa.

    The documentation that I needed was as follows:
    – Completed Visa Application (the guy that gives you a number at the front is pretty anal about this, make sure you fill it out completely)
    – Passport
    – Copy of passport information page
    – Copy of the HK visa you get at customs. I copied the visa on the same page as the copy of my passport information page, and the embassy was OK with that
    – Official work permit
    – Copies of the front and back of the work permit
    – Official invitation letter from the city government where you plan on working. Also, make sure on the invitation letter it specifies that you will apply for the visa in Hong Kong.
    – Invitation letter from the company who is sponsoring you
    – (May need Business license 营业执照, but read below for details)

    For all the official documents, (invitation letters, work permit) they should all have a red stamp certifying they are official.

    For me, I ran into some problems with the invitation letter from my company. The name of the company on the invitation letter was different from the name of the company on the red stamp / seal used to certify the letter. So in addition, I needed a copy of the business license of the company or else they wouldn’t process my application. I called the HR at my company and he sent me a photo of the business license taken from his phone over Wechat. I printed out the picture and the embassy accepted that.

    I submitted my application around 4:30PM on Wednesday and applied for express service. Total was $1400 HKD. I picked up my passport Thursday afternoon around 3PM. Finally, I don’t know if it was just this week, but on Wednesday afternoon there was a TON of people. The place was completely packed, and if you go in the afternoon, you might have to wait 50 or 60 people before it gets to your turn. Thursday afternoon however, the place was completely empty. No more than 10 people there. It was pretty strange walking in there and seeing it so empty…

    Anyway, I hope this can help whoever plans on making this run in the future. Good Luck!

  • My wife, who holds a US passport, is currently in China on an L Visa, which she will renew one time for an extra month. Afterward, my research institution is willing to issue an invitation for her to apply for an F visa as a visiting scholar. I have a few questions:

    1) Can we head to HK before her L expires and apply from HK? We would have photos, Visa application, invitation letter, as well as travel booking for going back into the Mainland. We would also have a hotel booking for our stay in HK and our entry form that we get as we cross into HK.

    2) If we can do this, for her invitation letter, does it need to have an HK address written on it? For my own visa (done in the US), the invitation letter did not have my address on it. If it needs an address, can our US or Mainland China address work (where we have our temporary residence registration)?

    3) For the visa application itself, is it suitable to use our US address? Or should it be our China address?

    4) Reading comments, there seems that we have to be sure that the documents are addressed to the HK office (rather than one from our home country). The official letter I’m reading about here, those are for Z visas, correct… something she will not use for an F visa.. right?

  • I also have found this website helpful and thought I’d share my story.

    Just completed a successful Hong Kong visa run (Z visa). I’m an American citizen and was on a Q2 visa (short term visa for visiting family – my wife is Chinese) because I recently finished studying Chinese but hadn’t gotten back to teaching English yet. Went to the embassy on a Tuesday morning at 7:45 and saw that not a soul was in line yet, so I went to grab a bite to eat. Came back a little after 8am and there were 15-20 people lined up. By 8:30 I’d say there were 60 in line and by 9am probably at least 90. Didn’t bring anything with me except my papers and an umbrella since it heavy rainshowers were on and off. Umbrellas must be left outside in a bin. You can pick it up when you’re done. Around 8:45 or so one of the visa officers came by to check visa forms. I downloaded and filled out the form at the embassy’s official website ( and got an “ok” from the visa officer. Doors opened at 9am. Went through security, up the elevator to the 3rd floor where two officers were checking papers and documents; got the “ok” from them and a number (number 10 – several people in front of me had to go make photocopies). I sat down and waited 3-5 minutes and my number was called. Gave the officer the following documents:

    – old passport (had my Q2 visa)
    – new passport along with Hong Kong visa*
    – copy of old passport and Q2 visa (together)
    – copy of China exit page and Hong Kong visa in new passport*
    – Work permit (工作许可证)and copy**
    – Invitation letter (单位邀请函)and copy**

    *When you enter Hong Kong, they give you a tiny little piece of paper as your visa instead of stamping your passport. Do not lose this piece of paper! You need to give it to the embassy.
    **Both the work permit and invitation letter specify Hong Kong as the embassy where I was to apply for the visa

    I gave the officer my papers, she checked them over, gave me a blue slip of paper and told me I could come back the next day sometime after 10am for pick up. I exited the building at 9:20am.

    Went around 11am the next day and paid my $1400 HK dollars at counter 1 and picked up my passport the next window over. Took about 7 minutes from the time I entered the building to the time I exited. Around 20 people were sitting down waiting to apply for visas.

    As an aside, I stayed at the Check Inn hostel on Stewart and Henessey. It’s about a 7-10 minute walk from the embassy. I didn’t reserve a bed and got the last one when I walked in around 9pm the first night. Wifi was fast and the place was clean. A little noisy but it’s Hong Kong; there’s not much you can do about that.

  • In two weeks I will go to Hong Kong to apply for X Student visa. I’m from an European country. Does anyone knows if it is possible for me to apply for express service if I go to the embassy myself? On the site of Foreverbright visa agency, it states “no express service for European country’s”.

  • Hi all,

    I just got my visa Z successfully processed in Hong Kong today. I am Chinese Canadian holding a Canadian passport and I was in China on a double entry Q2 visa (family visit).

    I went yesterday (right after the long Easter weekend) at around 8:45AM and there was a pretty long line outside on the first floor. There was about 80 or so people in front of me (guessing from my queue number).

    The documents that I needed:
    – Canadian Passport and a copy of the data page
    – Old Chinese passport (as I was previously a Chinese citizen)
    – 1x passport photo
    – Visa application form completed
    – HK entry slip (original + copy)
    – Working permit 外国专家来华工作许可证 (original + copy)
    – Confirmation letter of the Duly Authorized Unit 邀请确认函 (original + copy)
    – Name List of the Invited 被邀请人员名单 (orginal + copy)
    – Invitation letter from the employer/company (original + copy)
    – The company’s business license (copy)

    **The official documents that your employer gives you must specify HK as where you will apply for the visa**

    I applied for express service (next day pick-up) and was asked to pick up my visa at 10AM. I think you can go earlier since when I got there around 9:45AM, there were already people in line before me. The pick-up line is counter 3, but you have to go to counter 1 or 2 to pay first. I paid 500 HKD cash (200 HKD application fee + 300 HKD express service). I am surprised how Canadian and American passport holders have such a huge fee difference.

    Some useful information if you have luggage with you:
    You can either leave it outside the entrance on the first floor unattended or you can pay 20 HKD for luggage storage service a good few steps beside the unattended zone.
    Also, you can’t bring food or water into the visa office building.

  • Hey All —–

    I applaud the collective effort to make this process clear!

    One critical question….

    I am coming to HK from the mainland to get a new L visa because my 12 month F visa will expire. At present, I do not have “a departure air flight ticket” because I will probably go overland to Vietnam, or might get an invitation to JPN. IE, I wouldn’t want to book one now….

    The posts by people who have recently gotten visas don’t mention submitting such tickets —- to be clear ARE THEY NOT NEEDED?

    Bonus Q: has anyone gotten a longer L visa….like with 60 or 90 day stays for 6 or 12 months?

    Thanks so much for your answers ——-


    • Hi TZ,

      I am in the same situation as you were in April, did you get your 30 days L visa?

      The tickets and hotel bookings are not a problem because the agencies supply them, but I have heard that they are giving only 7-14 days or even rejecting them if u have a lived in China on F visas on yout passport.

  • Hi all,oi

    UK citizen with a request for help. I am on an M-Visa that runs out on the 16th May. I have a new job and plan to apply for my Z Visa when back in the UK at the end of May. Between the 16th and the end of May I need a Visa to cover me in China and I want to go to HK this week to apply for an L-Visa.

    I have a few questions:

    Is it still possible for UK citizens to apply for L-Visas in HK?
    If so, is the next day option still available?
    What do I need to provide the visa office for an L Visa application?

    I’ve been in China over 3 years and just had a Z-visa that ran out, when I then got an M-visa. Any help on this urgent matter is really appreciated!

    Thank you 🙂

  • HI!

    Im Don Johnson from the Philippines. I am wondering if is it possible for a Philippine national to extend or let us say change an F visa to Z visa in Hong Kong? or am I really obliged to fly back to my country to apply for my Z visa?


    I look forward on your response.

  • For those who come from countries that are exempted from applying for visas, has anyone tried entering and exiting China via Hong Kong every 15 days? Will there be any problem? That will save the hassle of applying for visa

  • I am visiting my son in Ho Chi Min City. I flew from Mainland China to Hong Kong to HCM being told that an fast visa took up to 9 days. I arrived to find out that the visa would take 12 days (normal time) 9 days was the quick visa. I have had to adjust my travel times and decided to obtain my visa in Hong Kong so I can get back to China on time. This is costing me more than my first plans because now I need to stay in a Hong Kong Hotel for 2 nights and pay to have my airline ticket changed. I believe the recent problems between China and Vietnam are the cause for this inconvenience. So if you are in a similar situation be aware.

  • Hi all,
    Just a quick question – I’m an Australian looking to travel to Hong Kong for a holiday. While in Hong Kong I’m hoping to pick up a visa from the office in Wanchai. I’ve noticed on the official website it says ” If you don’t reside or work in Hong Kong permanently, you are required to apply Chinese visa from the Embassy or Consulate-General of Peoples’ Republic of China in your resident country. ” Does anyone know if they’re strict on this?
    I’ve gotten visa when I turned up at Shenzen by train before from HK so I’m hoping that they won’t have an issue with me getting a holiday visa while in HK.
    Any advice or shared experiences welcomed.

    • Hi Ryan !

      I am almost in the same situation. I am currently traveling in China with L visa and it expires soon, so I want to have a new one in Hong Kong.

      According to friends, they are not strict on this and you can apply for a Chinese Visa in Hong Kong even if you are not resident of Hong Kong. Friends of mine already did this several times.

      Do you have any new information ?

    • Hi Ryan,
      If you search further back through the correspondence, I think the advice is that yes – in contradiction to the govt website, they do indeed issue visas to the mainland from HK. In particular, there were plenty of European (and US?) passport holders getting through. Not too sure about Australian passport holders, but would have thought it’d be no problem, provided all the docs are in order.

  • Hi all, thought I’d share my crazy morning yesterday in case it helps anyone. I had visited China, and then went to Hong Kong (via Shenzhen) to do some work for a few days. The mistake I made was that my Chinese visa was single entry (and I assumed incorrectly that Hong Kong was a part of China!) … when I was leaving Hong Kong they informed me that the single entry was already used up and that I needed a new visa. The taxi took me back to the HK visa center, with all my bags, and I had to check them in at the luggage locker next door to get through the security scanners. Upstairs, I queued to get a visa form to fill in and queued to get a new photo and photocopy of my passport (you can get change from the counter nearby). At this point I realised I didn’t have an ‘immigration tag’ card in my passport (possibly because I drove into Hong Kong rather than arrived by plane). They directed me to an Immigration building next door (over the road) and I had to queue on the 5th floor to request this tag to be inserted into my passport (it took about 20 minutes waiting for my number to be called, but I imagine it could take a lot longer). I also needed to print out some other forms of ID (like an invitation letter) – there’s a few hotels nearby and you can pop into one and use their business center to print things out from the internet though its very costly at about a dollar a sheet of b&w – note that there are no printers or computers at the visa center. Once all my forms and photos were complete, I headed back to the visa center – only to find that they had closed between 11.55 and 2.00pm. There was a starbucks nearby to kill time in, though the wifi was free for only 20 mins. At 2pm, I went back and they had re-opened the doors, but there was a large queue formed (took about 15 mins to get inside and it was very hot out there). I was finally able to get a number at the visa center and wait for it to be called (took about 10 mins). I chose the express service and they tell me I’ll be able to pick it up this afternoon. Hopefully will be a smooth process as I’ve got another flight booked for this evening!!

    • Hi Jacob,

      What is your nationality ? I hold a French passport and I am wondering if it will be alright since I am not a Hong Kong resident…

      Anyway, thanks for sharing your experience. So you were able to have a L visa within 24 hours in Hong Kong ? How much was the fee ?

  • Hello,

    I realize the rules/laws are different for different countries when applying for visas from Hong Kong. I am an American who has been working in China for the past 3 years. This is my first time to leave China to apply for a new visa, mostly due to the change in school/company I work for now. Anyhow, for those of those Americans who wonder if it’s possible to apply in HK, it’s no problem. Just like others stated, the following documents must be in order:

    Visa application – can download from internet filled out ready to go. If not, bring a pen. Affix a passport size photo with white background to application front page.

    Medical Report – I completed mine in Shanghai at the Shanghai International Travel Healthcare Center.

    Invitation Letter of Duly Authorized Unit – it’s true that HK must be stated on the letter as the place of visa application in order to process.

    Photocopies of Passport – must have more than 6 months of validity on passport. I had a problem in this dept, because mine had just 6 months on it. Therefore, I applied for new passport and received it 2 days before my residence permit was to expire. Wheww, I was lucky that I received in just in time. Just for your information, you can renew your passport within 1 year or expiration. I was told only a month back in San Francisco Consulate, but Shanghai confirmed that anytime within the year of expiration, especially if you’re overseas.

    Company’s business license/registration certificate – bring a photocopy ( I brought original, but the Embassy don’t keep it). There should be a Chinese side and an English side of the certificate. Make copies of both sides.

    HK entry slip (original + copy)

    Invitation letter from the employer/company (original + copy)

    Don’t worry if you forgot to make photocopies or need a photo for the application. The store nearby will help you out with all your needs. For your own convenience, try to make copies back home. I do put EMPHASIS on MAKING PHOTOCOPIES OF ALL DOCUMENTS BEFORE SUBMITTING TO CHINA EMBASSY for future references, as some of the documents will be submitted and not returned to your hands. I had this problem with my previous employer with the business license. It was a nightmare trying to get a copy of it.

    Just in case any of you missed the posting about the name of the building, it’s not called China Embassy. It’s called China Resource Building (just Google it).

    Hope this clarifies things.

    Cheers for another year,


  • My wife and I are americans, and just returned from a HK visa run. We entered China in August 2013 under L visas… with the expectation that my employer would handle a change to z-visa soon after arrival. For a number of reasons, it just didn’t happen as we thought, and our L’s were changed to F’s. After some time, we left China, bound for Korea. Reapplied for Chinese L visa there, and then had that changed back to an F by my employer when the expiration drew near.

    My F visa was to expire July 5. We showed up in HK on June 28 with L visa paperwork. Initially, denied… stating I had lived in China too long. After some argument, they provided 14 day L visa for us to return and get our stuff and get out.

    The problem is… my intention was to return to HK end of July with Z-Visa paperwork… and only came to HK for the L visa because the Z-Visa documents would not be available in time.

    Now I’m trying to decide if I should try HK again for our Z Visas… or just go back to the states. I’d much rather spend less time and money, but it’s a HK$4000 gamble… because if they deny it, I’ll have to go to the US anyway.

    Any comments from anyone about this would be appreciated…


  • Hi,

    My son’s x visa runs out in about a week and he has an offer of an unpaid internship for the purposes of business language practice. The internship is 60 days in duration. What visa is required. The local office in charge of visas in Beijing says that his current visa can’t be extended for this purpose. Would it be possible to get the required visa if he goes to Hong Kong or Korea? What documentation would he need and would scanned emailed documents that are printed out be fine? I can’t think how he and the original documents could all end up in Hong Kong in less than a week.

    Many Thanks


  • My experience on getting a Z visa in HK.

    I’m a citizen of Eastern Europe country (not EU). I’ve been living in China more than 3 years on L, F and recent X visa. Came to HK to switch to Z visa now. As all you guys said the documents are needed for successful submission are

    – Passport and a copy of the data page
    – 1x passport photo
    – Visa application form completed
    – HK entry slip (original + copy)
    – Working permit 外国专家来华工作许可证 (original + copy)
    – Confirmation letter of the Duly Authorized Unit 邀请确认函 (original + copy) addressed to HK embassy
    – Name List of the Invited 被邀请人员名单 (orginal + copy)
    – Invitation letter from the employer/company (original + copy)
    – The company’s business license (copy)

    My HR didn’t want to give me an invitation letter anb a copy of business license stating that these documents are not needed for application. Finally, they gave me an invitation letter and a copy of business license. At this point make sure a company name and company seal are exactly the same in all your documents.

    Despite the fact i had all documents and copies they didnt want to process my application because copy of company business license was of poor quality (dates were not clear enough) and license could be possibly expired (as they said). HR sent me a clear copy by wechat and they they told me that business license already expired in 2013 and they need new one valid for this year. Actually, it was issued in 2011 and valid untill 2012, then it was extended until 2013 and no further extention. My HR told me that under new regulations no extention is needed. I ask them to talk with my HR and they refused. Then I approached a supervisor on counter no.15 and she told me the same, that license is expired and they need a new one. My HR sent me new regulation from government website which stated that extention isn’t compulsory and I forced them to read it from my phone. Then they ask their manager and manager suggested to present company tax registration license as an alternative.

    I went to Renaissance Hotel Business Center and printed out new regulation regarding business registration license and tax registration license. When I presented tax registration license they found out that the only date on it was the issue date which was in 2012. The girl grab all company licenses with new regulation and went somewhere for a consultation. Finally, they agreed to take my documents and gave me a blue slip.

    Guys, make sure all copies are of good quality and your HR is on the phone during your application.

    About queuing. I showed up there on Wednesday at 2:30pm, around 30-40 people where already there standing on the line, but it took only 10 minutes to get inside (and yes it’s quite hot outside). Lighters, food and drinks will be confiscated. After getting a ticket it took me about 10 minutes to approach a counter.

    Express service was available (before i book tickets i sent an email to them to confirm whether express service is available for me and they answered quite fast).

    When I came to pick up my passport on Friday 9:15 am there were around 10-15 people in front of me and it took couple of minutes to get inside, and couple of minutes to pay and get the passport.

    I want to thank all of you guys contributing and sharing information on this extremely useful thread.

    • Hello! I’m going to apply for a Z visa in the end of the month. A bit worry. Which country are you? have similar visa story… I am from Ukraine. Very usefull information!

  • Hi all

    I am going to China to study for a year at Sichuan University on a scholarship, with semester starting in September. Earlier this year, I decided I would book tickets to come to Beijing on 27 July (this Sunday), fly to London on 15 Aug for travel, then return to China through Shanghai on 6 September.

    I have recently been informed that this will not be possible on the visa I have been issued in Wellington, despite applying for a multiple entry visa, and I will need to head to Chengdu to register for a temporary residence permit in order to get a multiple entry and re-enter the country in Sept. CUCAS have informed me that the Sichuan University visa office will be closed for the holidays during this period between 27 July and 15 Aug and have advised me to go to Chengdu. Is there anyway for me to get a multi entry student visa in Hong Kong??


  • This seems like the new chinese visa headquarters, so I hope someone can help me out.

    I am a US citizen traveling in Peru. I plan on flying straight to HK and moving mainland to Shenzen for language studies.

    I need an X visa for this plan, but apparently I am not allowed to apply for this visa at the Chinese embassy in Peru.

    Now, I am not sure if I should rush deliver documents rush between home and Peru or try to apply when I land in Hong Kong. From the article it seems like there is a caveat with special visas. I lost my drivers license and am not sure if that would make it riskier as well.

    Thanks in advance!

  • I am a canadian citizen living in china for 4 years and married. I have had 4 1 year permanent spousal visas … Moved to Dali Yunnan and when I went to renew my Chinese visa I was told I could not because they had been issued in Beijing. I could no longer get a resident visa in beijing now because I no longer had a residence registration there. Answer was to go to Hong Kong and get a Q1 visa. I have read the list of existing documents etc … How long does it take to get the Q1 and how hard is it to get? As well, does anyone know the maximum length of a Q1 visa I can apply for?

  • My experience in applying and acquiring a Chinese visa in Hong Kong from September 18-19, 2014:

    I am an American and applied for a Z visa; my wife is French and applied for a S1 Spouse visa.

    On the day you apply for your visa, you should count on spending up to an hour from entering the building until leaving. I consider this quite efficient considering the number of people that go in and out during the course of a day. On the day that you pick up your passport with visa inside, you may be in and out of the building in 5 minutes – I was!

    The procedure and documentation needed was exactly as described in the more thorough posts above, so I won’t repeat those details, but I do want to reiterate that if the documentation is in (perfect) order you won’t have any problems with the visa agents processing your visa. That being said, you may encounter some unexpected or unpublished demands.

    The one problem we had was with my wife applying for her S1 visa as a French national. Based upon our research and the advice my employer gave us so that we could apply for the visa, we thought we had everything together. When we went to the window to hand it all over, the visa agent said that my wife also needed to have proof of international insurance and bus/train/plane ticket into China. We were totally caught off guard by this, and when we asked why, the reply was “because that’s what they do to us.” When we asked how we could have found this information in advance, we were told, “you can’t” and something along the lines of “but you know now.” So while my application was processed without a hitch, we still left the office pissed off. But on the other hand, the treatment wasn’t too surprising if the policy is “an eye for an eye”…. That also explains why Americans have to pay so much for a visa (1100HKD) while the French only pay 200HKD; we Americans probably charge them something similar. Anyway, I wanted to share this on the blog, in case it may be of benefit to any French nationals.

    Some tips:
    Go as early as possible, preferably in the morning, and that way you’ll be able to pick it up in the morning.
    Take any extra documentation with you in case your nationality is for some reason ‘targeted’ as needing a little something more for the application process, i.e., travel tickets/invoices, proof of insurance, contract, etc. (though I didn’t need any of that…)
    Stay patient and polite.

    Good luck!

  • Success story October 2014

    Went to the HK China visa office to apply for my first Q2 visa, single-entry with 6 month duration. Didn’t see many stories about family visas in these comments so was a bit nervous, but after speaking to an agency who could do it but charge a lot (over HK$3000) i decided to brave it myself.

    Went Monday morning, arrived 08:55 and the queue was about 2 rows, got in in about 20 mins. Up to the 3rd floor and immediately to the right, got change (1 dollars) for photocopier which is right at the end of the long hall. Back at the beginning of the hall i queued briefly to be given a number. I was 69th of the day but only 29 waiting ahead of me at that point. Wait was about 20 mins then i was at the counter less than 1 minute where the staff briefly looked over the application and docs. She returned my marriage certificate and just kept the passport.

    On Thursday about 09:30 there was no queue to bypass outside. Up to 3rd floor, first to counter 1 or 2 to pay fee, then there was a small queue at counter 3 for pick-up. Got my passport and everything was perfect, as expected. Out in 7 mins.

    Being British the fee was meant to be slightly higher, but the staff on Monday had written the standard HK$360 on my receipt, so that’s what i paid!

    If you can time your trip to apply later in the week and pick up earlier in the week it would save some queuing time but it’s not a big deal. Office is not affected by HK’s recent protests/road closures.

  • Hi I hold a Mauritian passport ” Republic of Mauritius” but I can’t seem to find any information for mauritian citizen about applying for a tourist visa in I’m flying from Bahrain to HK next wife and my daughter are British Citizen I’m clear on that…
    I would love to know how long does it take for me and how much it cost..

    cheers Peace

  • I am trying to apply for a Z visa in HK next week. I am being told the school I’m employed with school that I need a HK ID card, which an agency will supply me with for the low price of 3000 HKD. Does anyone know if this is necessary? Its strange since I know another American who applied several weeks ago and he said nothing about having a HK ID.

  • Anything on South Africans…?


    I have skimmed through all the replies over the years and do not see any comments written by South Africans… I’m South African and I was just wondering if anybody knows if South African nationals are prohibited from applying for a working visa for China in HK, or not? (I’m really hoping not..)

    Any information would be highly appreciated!

    Thanks so much!

  • I am currently in Hong Kong trying to get my China Z visa. I am from the US. My work forget to send me with an important document, so I was denied yesterday. I went back to the China resource office today and she took my documents then handed me a blue paper and told me to pick up my visa next Tuesday. Does this mean that I will definitely get my work visa? Or, is there a chance that I will go there next Tuesday to pick it up, only to be told that it was denied.

    • They would have checked all your documents are correct, so that’s a good start. Unless their checks bring up something you’ve not been accurate/honest about you should be fine.

  • I am french and want to take a gap semester and join my chinese girlfriend in China (and live with her). I already went to China the two last summer, for 2 months each time. (L visa) This time, I would like to stay for 6-8 months.

    How should I do it this time :
    – ask for a two months visa in France and go to hongkong for a renewal
    – ask for a two months visa in France and ask for extensions in China
    – go to hongkong and get a longer visa

    (It seems you can’t have more than two months visas in France)

  • Hi, I am actually holding a Business Visa to do my internship in Beijing, I will go study to Tianjin for one year, so I need to swich from my business visa to a student visa. So I need to go to Hong Kong to make that change,

    I am wondering about the Health certificate, where should I get that? And about the multiple entries, I thought it was automatically multiple when you get the student visa.

    After reading these comments, I am getting scared that I will never get my visa, I am Canadian but in fact I was adopted so I am originally Chinese. But this is not my first time to get a Chinese Visa.

    Someone can help me please…

  • I looking to renew my grandsons S2 visa. We are US citizens living and working in China. Can I do this in HK at this time or do we need to plan on a trip to the States? I seem to be reading mixed messages both here and elsewhere on the internet. Thanks!

    • Maj, that depends on your nationality. Some countries (Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Portugal, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Estonia, Czech, Austria) cannot use the express service. If you’re from another country you should be fine.

  • My employer is about to send me to Hong Kong for a “Z” visa. Can someone give me a ‘heads up’ as for getting such a visa there in May 2015?

    • hi martin,

      Did you get your Z visa in the end ? my employer is also sending me next week however i am concerned that it might not work as on the HK website it states that you can only apply if you are a HK resident.


  • l am a Zimbabwean passport holder and l came to China on a business visa.Now l need to study can l go to hongkong to change to a studentvisa if l have all the papers or l should go home to apply there.Please help

    • Hi Anna,

      I know this a very late reply, so idk if you still have a question about this.
      When I changed from a tourist to a student visa in 2013 I didn’t have to go to Hong Kong, the school was able to take care of everything in town. I am not sure how things would be different going from a Business to a student visa and I am US passport holder, and sometimes the process is different for different countries as well.
      I recently had to switch from a student visa to a tourist visa for processing paperwork to get a work visa, and I used this website to find out information on the paperwork and fees. I also used the agency to apply for the visa and they were very helpful.

  • Hi,
    I am going to be applying for a work visa in Hong Kong next week and there are a couple things that were not perfectly clear to me on the website.
    1) How much extra is it for a one day rush?
    2) Is the work visa the same price for the “One Year and above multiple entries” (HK$1860)?
    3) To I need to submit the background check information in HK too, or was that just for within China to get the paperwork?
    If anyone has any answers it would be very helpful.

  • I am an Australian passport holder and resident of Australia.

    I applied for and was granted a Q2 Visa, 1 year multiple entry with 180 days from the PRC Consulate in Hong Kong. Including 24 hour service cost was HKD1,100.00.

    A Canadian friend also applied and was granted a seven year (remaining validity of his passport) muliple entry with 60 days. He used a service and was charge HKD2,250.00

  • Hi there, I wonder is someone could help me asap, as I’ll be in HK very shortly to make the application.
    I’m a British passport holder who has worked on a Z visa in China for the past 5 years.
    My Z visa is coming to an end and I want to apply for an L visa from HK, intending to leave in about 3 months.
    I’ll be staying with my Chinese girlfriend, who I can provide documents for in lieu of hotel accommodation.
    Some questions:
    1) Is the default duration per entry still 60 days? Is the maximum duration request still 90 days (if written on the application form and at the discretion of the bureau)? Or has this all been superceded by a standard 30 day duration (and if so, can longer durations still be applied for?)?.
    2) Is it absolutely essential to provide onward flight details? We’re unsure about our exact departure date and don’t want to book a flight out yet.

    • Hi

      Sorry to turn up late to the party, was the change from Z to L visa successful in the end? I’m in pretty much the same situation (UK passport, work visa coming to an end, all the same except the girlfriend) and would appreciate any feedback on how the renewing process went… Thanks

  • Hi, sorry, I’ll add a third question:
    3) I know another British passport holder who applied for a 1 month L visa in 2014 and was able to extend this by 1 month at the embassy/visa authority in Beijing. Is this still possible? Would it be possible to extend one entry of a 2 entry visa to make a combined 3 months?

  • Does anyone know the requirements of the Health Certificate needed for a Z-visa? My official Chinese one is from May this year, and I left China in summer for one month. I am currently in China and will need to apply for a Z-visa in HK this month. Can I apply with my ‘old’ health certificate?

  • Does anyone know the requirements for the health certificate needed for a Z-visa. My official Chinese one is from May this year and I left China for one month this summer. I will need to apply for a Z-visa this month in HK. Will my ‘old’ health certificate still be OK?

  • I am an Indian currently staying in Shenzhen , China on Dependent Visa. Recently I got a job in China and now I need to apply for Z Visa first in order to apply for a Work Permit.
    My question is, can I apply for Z Visa in Shenzhen/ Hong Kong/ India ?
    Can Indian holding China Visa apply in HK or will have to go back to India to apply for the Z visa ?
    Once I get the Z Visa , where do I apply for Work Permit ??
    any answers ??

  • any one who recently got a tourist chinese visa in hongkong or bangkok? can you please inform me if possible ?


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