China is known for producing the greatest number of international students in the US, Canada, etc. But did you know that the country is home to many foreign enrollees as well?

To date, there are more than 490,000 international students in China. They come from more than 190 countries all across the globe.

With its top-notch universities and affordable fees, China is a prime location for studying abroad. If you’re one of these hopefuls, you best read these tips on getting a student visa in China.

What documents do you need to apply for a student visa in China?

The Chinese student visa is also known as the X1 visa. It’s given to applicants who wish to study – or undergo an internship – for more than six months.

For an academic stay of fewer than six months, the X2 visa will be given.

To apply for any of these visas, you need to prepare the following documents:

Valid and original passport

This should have at least one blank page, though having two to three more is ideal. It should be good for more than six months from the date of application.

Approved visa application form (JW 201 and 202)

Fill up the entire form digitally (handwritten entries are not allowed.) Avoid printing your document in a back-to-back manner.

If you are a US passport holder, you need to submit two application forms.

An authorized Chinese body should approve this document before you submit it to the embassy.

Passport Photo

When you have your photo taken, you need to show both ears and eyebrows. It would help if you didn’t expose your teeth, however.

You shouldn’t be wearing glasses, head covering, or any other accessory as well.

Avoid wearing halter tops or light-covered tops when you have your photo taken.

More importantly, your photo should be:

  • Printed on photo paper with a light-colored background, such as white or light blue.
  • Devoid of stains, wrinkles, or borders

Don’t glue or staple your photo on the application form. Affix it with a paper clip instead.

Enrollment Letter

This should come from the university where you intend to study.

For the embassy to honor this letter for your student visa in China, it should bear the following details:

  • Your name and passport information
  • University’s official stamp

Additionally, it should be written in both English and Chinese.

Physical Exam Certificate for Foreign Students

All international students who need to study in China for more than a year should undergo this process.

As a general rule, China will not admit students who have been diagnosed with:

  • Mental illness
  • Venereal disease
  • Leprosy
  • Tuberculosis
  • AIDS
  • Other contagious diseases

How much money do you need for a Chinese Student Visa?

The visa fee varies according to nationality. The range is:

  • $140 for US Citizens
  • CAD 142 for Canadians
  • GBP 151 for British students
  • AUD 109 for Australians

If you want your Chinese student visa to be processed in a rush manner, you must pay another fee. You also have to pay additional fees if you’re going to avail of delivery/courier services.

You also need to get a residence permit upon arrival. To do so, you will have to undergo another health exam. This will cost you RMB 500, plus another RMB 70 to 400 verification.

You also need to pay for the residence permit itself. This costs about RMB 400 to 800, depending on the location and/or your nationality.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Steps on Applying for a Student Visa in Chinese

Once you have completed the documents stated above, you can proceed with the application process. Here’s how to go about it:

1. Submit the application documents to the Chinese Embassy.

Nowadays, the application forms may be sent online. The embassy at your place of residence may set an appointment for an interview as needed.

Once the pandemic precautions have been set aside, students may have to revert to the conventional process. That is to hand-deliver the complete application package to the Chinese Embassy in which you reside. The embassy will not accept applications sent in via mail.

If you cannot do so personally, you may authorize another person or a travel agent to submit your application.

Do note that the embassy should return the JW 202 form page 3 (yellow) and admission notice back to you. You will need these documents to have your Chinese student visa converted into a residence permit.

2. Wait for your visa.

The Chinese Embassy will take approximately four to seven days to process your application. You have the option to pick up the visa or have it delivered to your place.

If you need your visa done on a rush basis, you will only need to wait one day for it to be processed. On the other hand, Express Service will incur a waiting time of two to three days.

You may enter China using the visa once within three months after it was released.

3. Apply for a residence permit.

Once in China, you have 30 days to apply for a residence permit. You may do this at your university’s international student office.

Before doing this, however, you will need to get a report from the local Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau.

Here are the other documents you will need to submit to get a permit:

  • Valid passport
  • One passport size photo
  • Application notice
  • Introduction letter for visa, to be given by your university after you register

You will also need to submit a health exam record to get a residence visa. Before you undergo one, you will need to submit the following:

  • Valid passport
  • Four passport size photos
  • Admission notice
  • Physical exam report (the one taken in your home country)

Should you have any changes in your legal documents, the Chinese embassy in your home country should forward the corrections within 24 hours.

The residence permit processing will take approximately eight to 15 days.

Once you get this document, you may enter and exit China throughout the visa duration (no longer than five years.)


I hope that this article on how to apply for a China student visa was helpful. Make sure to check out the Available Programs for International Students!

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