10-Year China Visa: Explained
I recently went to Hong Kong to renew my visa and what I received came as a surprise: a 10-year visa! I read a lot about it on the news and thought it’s a great idea for business people who need to travel back and forth between China and their home country little did I know that even I was able to get one.
And that even unknowingly!
What is a 10-year Visa?
The Chinese Consulate is now issuing 10 year multiple entry business and tourist visas to eligible US passport holders pursuant to a reciprocal visa agreement between the U.S. and China. As part of the process, business visa applications require invitation letters from the inviting party in China with an official company seal/chop. Accordingly, please contact the company you are visiting in China to obtain the required letter. At this time, copies of the invitation letters are accepted.
Non US passport holders are not eligible for 10 year visas. (Note: China and Canada reached the same agreement to grant 10-year visas) The maximum business visa they are eligible for is a 1 year multiple entry business visa.
Please allow additional time during the application process for requesting invitation letters from the inviting party in China. – United States of America-China Chamber of Commerce
The funny thing is, I didn’t even apply for a 10-year visa but got it anyway. What I applied for was a 60-day tourist visa in China. Apparently, you can get it – no questions asked – when applying for a simple tourist L visa.
How does it work?
10-year visas don’t mean you can stay in China for 10 years. You need to pay attention to the “duration for each stay” which can vary from 30-90 days. In my case, I got 60 days when I applied at the Chinese Commissioner’s office in Hong Kong. I’m not sure about the exact requirements for 30, 60 or 90 days. It can play a role, however, where you apply for the visa and if you were granted a Chinese visa before or not.
Let’s take a look at what a 10-year visa with 60 days of stay means exactly. Your visa is valid for 10 years but you can only stay in China for 60 days max at a time. This means, after 60 days you need to leave the country. You can, however, simply cross the border and come back again the same day.
What are the advantages?
In my opinion, the 10-year visa sounds more “fancy” than it actually is. However, there are definitely some advantages to it. Once you got the visa, you don’t need to worry about going to the Chinese Embassy or Consulate to get a new visa every time you plan to go to China. It therefore saves you time and hassle!
Additionally, without trips to the consulate or embassy, you also save money. Visas aren’t cheap and once you got a 10-year visa, you don’t need to spend anymore money on it for future vists. The best thing is, the 10-year visa costs the same like its ordinary tourist L or business visa counterparts!
Once your duration of 30, 60 or 90 days are over, you can simply cross the border into Hong Kong, Macau or go on a weekend trip someplace else and come right back into the country! It’s fast and convenient!
Note: Even if your passport expires before the 10-year visa expires, you can still use it together with your new passport to travel to China!