Jump to content
Learn Chinese in China

When do I apply for the visa?


Recommended Posts

  • New Members

Hi all, sorry in advance for a question you likely have gotten before, I've tried my best to read through the archives to find anything similar but couldn't. I have two relatively simple questions, however no Chinese embassy FAQ page has been able to give me an answer. (And interestingly the contact emails given on their websites never actually work....)


I'm going to be starting a language course (6 months) in China from the middle of August. My first question: I'd like to arrive at least a week in advance to get settled, apply for a residence permit, register at the police station, etc. Will the visa I get just be valid to enter China from a certain day on? Do I pick a day? 


My other question is the more important one. I will only be in my official country of residence in the middle of June, meaning I'd have to apply for the visa about 7 weeks or so before I'd end up entering the country. Is this even possible? Does it expire? What exactly is the recommended time before going to apply? 


Thanks so much for your help! 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.


Heh. Apply using your invitation letter from your school along with all your paperwork organised neatly and you need not worry. They issue the ENTER BEFORE date to be 3 months after the day of visa issue which will be within a few days of after you apply. You do not pick a day. The visa will be valid for entry to China for 3 months from the ISSUE DATE right up to and including the day before ENTER BEFORE date. That's how it works. So applying 7 weeks in advanced is no problem.

P.S.: If you enter China on a night flight on the very last day of your visa validity ie. the day before the ENTER BEFORE date, due to arrive at say 11.40PM, but your flight is delayed by say half an hour, they will (should) still grant you entry because everything goes by scheduled times and dates. Unexpected delays are allowed for.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I called the embassy in my country and they also suggested that I apply around 3 months before I arrive China. It takes about a week or 4 business days to process the application. Getting it in June would definitely not be a problem, giving you ample time to fix your visa once you get to China. I'm no expert here but I'm also trying to get an X1 visa for this year as well. :)


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sure. With the X1 visa I think as long as you are enrolling in a course at university that is at least over 180 days of course length, your university will handle the paperwork for you. Of course, you yourself do have to attend the PSB office that handles visas and residence permits in your city, because anything paperwork related in China usually requires yourself or maybe an authorized (by you) agent to attend in person, but someone will most likely go there with you and a couple/few/many other students (depending). In fact maybe they just put you straight onto a residence permit if you entered on a tourist visa, I'm not sure about that small detail. But any course at any school that is less than 180 days of course length, you will be issued with an X2 visa and not a residence permit.


The long and short of it is that you can sort out student visas from within the country. No exit and re-entry (or 'visa run') required. I welcome any corrections to anything I've said.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...