China has some very strict rules in place when it comes to visitors from other countries, and most tourists will require a visa to enter the country. But does an Australian citizen need a visa for China? Here at Crown Currency Exchange, we’ll look at this in more detail, along with a wealth of other important information you need to know to plan your trip to China, including a step-by-step guide to the visa application process.
Do Australian Citizens Need a Visa for China?
Yes, you’ll need a visa to enter China if you are an Australian citizen, and the type of visa you’ll need is a tourist visa, which is also commonly referred to as a “China L Visa”.
A tourist visa for China will permit you to enter the country and stay in China for up to 30 days, and it will expire within 90 days of issue. For this reason, you’ll need to plan carefully when it comes to applying for your visa to ensure there is enough processing time, but you haven’t applied so far in advance that the visa expires while you’re in China.
What Documents Are Needed to Apply for a Visa to China?
There’s no denying that applying for a visa to China from Australia is a fairly lengthy process with lots of forms and documents required. However, as with anything travel-orientated, getting organised is key to making the process as easy as possible.
To help you get your documents in place and ready for uploading alongside your visa application form, we’ve put together a list of what you’ll need to supply when applying for a tourist visa below:
- Passport (original and copy): You’ll need to supply a valid Australian passport that has at least six months left before the expiry date. You’ll need to renew your passport if it doesn’t. Alongside your original passport, you’ll also need to supply a clearly scanned copy that shows the signature page.
- Passport-style photograph: Alongside your passport and a copy, you’ll also need to submit a passport-style photograph measuring 48 mm x 33 mm. This should clearly show your face, include only your head and shoulders, and be set against a white background.
- Air booking ticket record: This needs to be a clear receipt of your departure and arrival airports, a passenger name record (PNR), and your booking reference code.
- Proof of hotel reservation: You’ll also need to provide proof of the hotel reservation you have made for your trip, and if you have booked multiple hotels as you’re planning to travel around mainland China, you’ll need a separate proof of reservation for each.
- An invitation letter: An invitation letter is only needed to support your visa application form if you are staying with friends or family members. This will replace both your air booking ticket record and proof of hotel reservation. You may also be given an invitation letter if you have booked your trip through a travel agency.
- Previous passport and previous visa: You’ll need to provide a copy of the previous passports you have held, along with a copy of any previous visas you have travelled with.
- Bank statement: China also requires visa applicants to provide a bank statement that clearly shows the country you are a citizen of, along with your name, your account balance, and the date of the statement. Statements printed online must also be authenticated and stamped by your bank.
- Current details: Finally, you must also provide information on your employment status, a letter from your employer stating that leave has been granted, how many working days you’ll be missing, and when you are expected to return to work. If you aren’t working, you must supply either an official letter from your school, or if you are retired, you must provide proof of your retirement fund.
How Do I Apply for a Visa to China?
The visa application process differs from country to country, so it’s important to check beforehand. Here’s what you need to do to apply for a visa to China from Australia:
- Gather your documents: We’ve outlined above all of the documents you’ll need to apply for your visa. Keep all of these in one place, and keep them close to hand when it comes to submitting your visa application form.
- Complete your application: Make sure you carefully check all of your details as you fill in each section, as mistakes will result in delays in your visa being granted.
- Schedule your appointment: Next, you’ll need to make an appointment with the China Embassy or Consulate. Here, you will submit your completed visa application form, along with your supporting documents.
- Pay the fee: At the time of submitting your form, you’ll need to pay the required processing fee. This will need to be done by credit card or debit card at the China Embassy or Consulate.
- Processing stage: Once payment has been made, immigration officers will review your application and either approve or deny your visa application, depending on the information provided.
- Receive visa: Provided nothing holds up your application and you are granted your visa, you will be notified and can head over to the China Embassy or Consulate to collect your visa and your passport.
What Happens if I Attempt to Travel to China Without a Visa?
You will be held by immigration officers if you attempt to enter mainland China without a valid Chinese visa. Here, you’ll be detained until a flight becomes available that will return you to your last departure port.
While applying for a Chinese visa is a complicated and lengthy process, it is imperative if you wish to visit any part of the country. Attempting to travel to China without a valid visa will result in detention at the airport, followed by a return journey to your last departure port. So, make sure you have all of your documents in place, take the time to complete your application, and book an appointment at the China Embassy or Consulate, and you’ll soon be one step closer to visiting this remarkable country.
Make sure you get your currency sorted before you leave for China as well by visiting Crown Currency Exchange at one of our 60 locations in Australia. We offer competitive rates when buying CNY with no hidden fees.