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Tourism Visa Requirements

Updated : 2018-03-29

Visitors from overseas countries need a visa before traveling to Suzhou. Here are some tips to ensure whether your documentation meets Chinese guidelines.

WHAT YOU NEED

There are 16 types of Chinese visas. The tourist visa, or “L” visa, is one of the most common. The items below pertain to those who plan to apply for the “L” visa.

• Valid passport that won’t expire for at least six months from the final date of travel and includes at least two blank pages for stamping.

• Photocopy of your passport with your picture in it.

• Completed application.

• One 2"x2" photo of yourself, similar to your passport photo.

• Proof of residence (if not applying in the country of citizenship).

• Photocopy of any previous Chinese passports or visas.

• Any additional documentation. For example, for “L” visas, you must provide proof of round-trip airfare and hotel reservations, or an invitation letter issued by a relevant entity or individual in China.

• Fee(s) paid by Visa, MasterCard or cashier’s check payable to “Chinese Embassy.” Be mindful that personal checks are not accepted.

WHEN TO APPLY

Timing is everything — we recommend you apply for your visa one month before travel. If you apply too late, you may not get it in time.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

Application fees for U.S. citizens start at $140, while Canadian application fees start at $50. Expect to pay more if you plan to visit anywhere outside of Mainland China in addition to your trip to Suzhou. US and Canadian fees are different, so be sure to check on their websites.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE

Even with accurate documentation, it normally takes four work days to hear back; processing the visa will take additional days. For an additional fee, applicants can request express service (two or three business days) or rush service (24 hours).

WHERE TO SEND YOUR APPLICATION

All applications must be hand-delivered — not mailed — to the Chinese Embassy or Consulate General in your country. If you do not live near your jurisdiction’s Consulate General or Chinese Embassy, you can hire a travel document courier service or have someone deliver your application.

In the United States, there are five Consulates General (New York, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco and Los Angeles) and one Chinese Embassy (Washington D.C.). Check the U.S. website  (http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/zmzlljs/t84229.htm) to see where to submit your application.

In Canada, there are four Consulates General (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal) and one Chinese Embassy (Ottawa). Check the Canadian website (http://ca.china-embassy.org/eng/lsyw/gzrz/) to see where to submit your application.

HELPFUL LINKS

More information can be found on these websites.

For U.S. Citizens:

Application and Forms (http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/visas/fd/)

Fees (http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/visas/fees/)

Find Your Consulate General (http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/zmzlljs/t84229.htm)

Visa Information — China National Tourist Office (http://www.cnto.org/plan/go/visa-info/#visa)

For Canadian Citizens:

Find Your Consulate General (http://ca.china-embassy.org/eng/lsyw/gzrz/)

Visa Centre (http://www.visaforchina.org/)

Visa Information — China National Tourist Office (http://www.cnto.org/plan/go/visa-info/#visa)

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