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An Expat Student Guide to Chinese Visas

As one of the most intriguing countries in the world, China has become one of the most popular places to pursue a degree abroad. Students from Europe, the USA and other parts of Asia are flocking to Chinese city to experience a rigorous but comprehensive education and they are guaranteed to improve career prospects. Apart from being exposed to excellent teaching, you will immerse in the Chinese culture which will certainly deepen your intellectual horizon.

What Chinese student visa do I need?

Any foreign student wishing to enrol and study on a course will need to apply for either an X1 or X2 visa. The Chinese student X1 visa is typically issued for long-term study (more than 180 days) and the X2 is typically for short-term study under 180 days.

Chinese student visa checklist

Before applying for your visa you will need to ensure you have the following ready:

  • Completed application form
  • Your passport that is valid for at least six months and has at least one blank page
  • The original and copy of your approved Foreign Student Visa application form
  • The original and copy of your admission notice
  • A recent passport photo

The application process

If you are successfully accepted onto a course of study in China you will receive an acceptance letter along with either a JW201 or JW202 form. You must provide a photocopy of both with the visa application when you submit it. Most students submit through:

  • The consular office of the Chinese Embassy
  • A travel or visa agency working on your behalf

Students should remember all paperwork will need to be delivered to the consular office by hand as they will refused mailed applications.

Chinese student visa processing time

The average processing time for a Chinese student visa is around four working days. However, add an extra week and half on to this for peace of mind before submitting. For last-minute submissions, a rush service is available for $20 (two to three working days) or $30 for an emergency one working day processing.

Student visa fees

Obtaining a Chinese student visa is not free. For American citizens it costs $130, whereas individuals from all other countries will pay just $30. Acceptable forms of payment include: Visa, MasterCard, money order, cashier’s check or company check made payable to the Chinese Embassy.

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