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Document Requirements

These requirements are applicable for US Citizens applying for a China Tourist visa in Washington DC

Applicants must refer to the "Important Tips for online COVA visa form filling", to ensure the COVA forms are true, accurate, and complete. Once the COVA form is submitted, no information can be changed. If any adjustment needs to be made, the whole COVA form must be filled out again.
After completing the COVA forms as required, please make sure to print the full set of COVA forms (8-9 pages) and sign on the Confirmation Page and the 8th page. If the COVA forms are not prepared as guided, the application will not be accepted.
A Chinese Tourist Visa is a stamp placed by the Chinese embassy in your passport that allows you to visit China for a period of time normally up to 60 days.

Most visas are valid for 10 years and allow for multiple entries into China during the validity period.

A tourist visa is typically defined as those coming to China for vacation, sightseeing, leisure, holiday and by cruise ship.

If you are planning to stay with family or friends while in China you should apply for a Family and Friends visa.

Please send TDS your current valid and signed passport. It must not expire within 6 months and must have at least two blank visa pages. Foreign Embassies cannot issue a visa on a page not labeled as a Visa page. Amendment and Endorsement pages in the back of the passport cannot be used for issuance of a visa.
A visa cannot be stamped on a page even if only one Small Stamp is on the visa page. If you do not have any blank visa pages in your passport, TDS can assist you in applying for additional pages. If your passport expires within 6 months, you must renew your passport and then we will secure your visa with the new passport.

If your passport expires between 6-12 months at date of submission for your Chinese visa, you are only eligible to apply for a single or double entry visa; you are not eligible for the 1-2 or 10-year multiple entry visa.
Please complete and sign the Acknowledgment Statement required by the Chinese Embassy if your passport has limited validity remaining.

The Chinese Embassy would like for you to consider applying for a Passport Renewal before applying for your visa if you have limited validity.


Please send 1 recent professional passport-type photograph.
No eyeglasses or jewelry are to be worn.

Chinese Embassy Passport Photo Guidelines Effective 05/12/2017 - Click Here

Common Problems to Avoid:

No smiling, photos should have a neutral expression
No jewelry of any kind
No eyeglasses
No light colored shirt, please wear a dark color
Hair not pulled back away from the face
No background light or shadows

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New Chinese Embassy Visa Requirement Effective October 24th, 2018.

Proof of residential address in the United States; clear copy of applicant drivers license or state issued photo ID. Address on the Drivers License must match the address on the visa application form.

A clear enlarged photocopy or scanned copy of your driver's license or ID is recommended by the Chinese Embassy to apply for a visa.

An Invitation Letter is required if you are staying with friends or family.

1. Media and Religious ministers or anyone who works for a religious organization traveling as a tourist must write a letter on the organization's letterhead declaring:

Their name as it appears in their passport,
Their passport number,
When they plan to travel to China, Date of entry and exit
What cities they plan to visit while in China,
What they will be doing in China and state that they will NOT perform any religious or media related activities while visiting China.
Letter must be signed by the applicant.

2. Applicants will only be issued a one month single entry visa, valid for a stay of between 10-20 business days in most cases.



Additional documentation required for minors aged under 18.

Applicants under the age of 18 must provide a copy of their birth certificate, plus a copy of the parent's passports if the parents are not applying for visas at the same time as the minor.

If a parent does not have a passport they must provide a copy of an ID and a signed copy of a letter of parental consent, if only one parent is applying for a visa then there must be a copy of the parent's passport or a notarized ID, plus a letter of parental consent. 

Minors application must be signed by a parent.

For minors that have one or both parents that are NOT U.S. citizens, the non-U.S. parent(s) must provide their green card or proof of U.S. residency.

For minors where one parent or both parents are Chinese citizens and the minor was born before the parent(s) received a green card, then the minor must apply in person for a Travel Document.
Applicant's MUST submit a copy of their last visa to China and a copy of their entry stamp to China, if visa is still valid you must submit the old passport with the old visa in it, or if not available then you MUST write a letter of explanation.
The Chinese Embassy may require certain former foreign nationals to appear in person at the embassy to apply for a Chinese visa.
If your current U.S passport shows your place of birth as one of the countries listed below the embassy could request that you make a personal appearance to be fingerprinted and interviewed as part of the visa application process.

Once you have completed the interview process and supplied any required additional documentation requested the visa processing time can extend to up to 3 months in some cases.
Nationalities that may be required to appear in person are:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Chad, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, France, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Kenya, Libya, Lebanon, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, South Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen.
This list and or information is subject to change without prior notice.

If you are a former Chinese citizen you must also supply.

Photocopy of previous Chinese passports or previous Chinese visas (applicable to foreign citizens, those who were Chinese citizens and have obtained foreign citizenship).
If you are applying for a Chinese visa for the first time, you should provide your previous Chinese passport held and a photocopy of its data page.

If you have obtained Chinese visas before and want to apply for a Chinese visa with a renewed foreign passport that does not contain any Chinese visas you should present a photocopy of the previous passport's data page and the photo page if it is separate, as well as the previous Chinese visa page.

If your name on the current passport differs from that on the previous one, you must provide an official document of the name change.

Documentation for a child of Chinese descent born in the U.S.
A child of Chinese descent born in the U.S. applying visa for the first time should provide the original and a photocopy of either parent's foreign passport or green card and Certificate of Birth besides other regular materials.

A child with Chinese descent born in the U.S. applying for a visa who has had a Chinese visa before could provide a photocopy of the former visa instead of either parent's foreign passport or green card or Certificate of Birth.

Complete and sign one Affidavit Letter giving the exact dates and purpose(s) of every trip made to Turkey, Kazakhstan or Pakistan after January 1st 2015. Dates MUST match all entry and exit stamps in the traveler's passport and all trips mentioned on the visa application form.

Please include a signed Letter of Explanation explaining the purpose of the journey to Turkey, Kazakhstan or Pakistan.

Please complete a copy of the Location Form.

Please complete the above Travel History Form.

Your passport must be signed to apply for a Chinese Visa, please be sure to sign the signature section on your passport before sending to Travel Document Systems.

Please Send One Completed and Signed Online Application Form along with the other necessary documents above to Travel Document Systems.

Application form MUST NOT be printed double sided your application will be rejected if it is not printed single sided.

Please send one completed and signed confirmation form that you are currently in the United States Click Here

The Completed Chinese Online Application Form (COVA) will be in pdf format, which will require Acrobat Reader to view.

Residents of Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin please select Chicago as your processing center when you open the Chinese application form.

Questions marked with a (*) are MANDATORY, if some of these questions do not apply to you , please tick "NOT APPLICABLE" to proceed.

Please be sure that all information is complete and accurate before you click the "Submit" button. Once the application is submitted you cannot make any changes. You can click the Save button which will save your application for 30 days, to return to your application click the "Retrieve an Application" button, you will need the application ID number and your Passport/Travel Document Number.

Travel Documents will make the appointment at the Embassy/Consulate once we have received all your documents, you do NOT need to go to the Embassy/Consulate.

Note: All applicants must sign the application form even if the form is completed by another person, except that a parent or legal guardian may sign on behalf of an applicant under the age of 18.

The validity of a Chinese visa is usually valid for 10 years from date of issue, for a length of stay not to exceed 60 days. The Chinese Embassy is not required to issue a 10 year visa, some applicants will receive visas with a lesser validity at the Chinese Government's discretion.

Date Format: Please Note Chinese visas use the  yy/mm/dd date format.

If your application requires urgent Express 2-3 business day processing please send your documents to TDS using only FedEx Priority Overnight Service.


Shipping Instructions

Please forward a printed copy of your order confirmation for a China Tourist visa for US Citizens and all required documents to:

Travel Document Systems, Inc.
1010 Wisconsin Ave NW
STE #845
Washington, DC 20007

Local Phone Number: 202-638-3800

Urgent applications for a China Tourist visa should be shipped to TDS using only the FedEx Company.

Please use FedEx Priority Overnight. Do NOT ship "First Overnight." This will delay the delivery of your package.

Once your order is complete, your Passport with the visa sticker/stamp will be returned to you via FedEx Overnight.

FedEx Return ShippingFedEx Logo
Continental USA Only Price
Next Business Day - up to 3 passports $36.00
Next Business Day - 4 or more passports $39.00
Saturday Delivery $41.00
Alaska, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, USVI Price
Next Day Letter (No Saturday Delivery) $39.00
International Price
Call for a quote. Call.

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