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Navigating the latest regulations and possibilities for business visa applications in China

Navigating the latest regulations and possibilities for business visa applications in China.

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In 2023, acquiring visas for China saw a notable increase in accessibility. As globalisation continues to reshape the world, visiting China for business purposes remains important. Staying well-informed about the recent regulations and possibilities related to applying for visas to China is crucial.

This article provides the latest relevant policies and comprehensive insights into the application process. Additionally, we will delve into the requirements and process for extending a business visa in China.

Latest policies

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs made an announcement on 28 September 2023, that China has restored all of its entry policies to pre-pandemic levels. This includes the resumption of visa issuance, port visas, transit visa exemptions, and regional visa exemptions.

The key changes include:

  • Foreign nationals can now use virtual APEC Business Travel Cards to enter China, enjoying the same benefits as physical cardholders.
  • The new Chinese visa application form, launched on 20 September, has significantly reduced the amount of textual information required, making it easier to complete.
  • Chinese diplomatic missions abroad have implemented measures such as extended office hours, increased appointment availability, and simplified application requirements to expedite visa processing and provide efficient services.

Prior to these recent developments, in August, the Ministry of Public Security had already released “26 convenient measures” to encourage foreign tourists and business travellers to visit China.

According to these new measures, foreign individuals engaged in business negotiations, trade exchanges, installation and maintenance, exhibitions, and conferences, as well as those involved in investment and entrepreneurship who are unable to obtain a Chinese visa overseas in time, can apply for a port visa for entry by presenting the company’s invitation letter and supporting documents. Furthermore, individuals who require frequent travel to China for ongoing business needs can now obtain a multiple-entry visa valid for up to three years upon entry.

Business visa in China (M Visa)

The business visa, also known as the M visa, is designed for individuals visiting China for commercial and trade activities. It allows foreign nationals to explore business opportunities, attend conferences, negotiate contracts, or establish collaborations with Chinese companies. Receiving a local salary while in China is not permitted.

Application process

Applicants need to follow a specific process to apply for a business visa. Initially, it is advisable to consult the Chinese embassy or consulate in their home country for precise instructions and forms.

Typically, the process includes the following steps:

  1. Complete the application form: Ensure that all the required information is accurately filled in on the application form. Any discrepancies may lead to delays or denials.
  2. Gather supporting documents: Essential documents include a valid passport with at least six months of validity and two blank pages (one for the visa, one for the entry/exit stamp at the Chinese customs), copies of previously issued China visas, recent passport-sized photographs, an invitation letter from a Chinese business partner, a detailed itinerary, and a letter from the applicant’s employer (including business license and passport or ID-card copy of the inviting individual).
  3. Submit the application: After compiling the required documents, schedule an appointment at the Chinese embassy or consulate and apply in person, via postal services or a reliable visa service.
  4. Pay the visa fee: The visa fee varies depending on the applicant’s nationality and type of visa. Pay the fee according to the prescribed method and keep the payment receipt for future reference.
  5. Wait for processing: The processing time for visa applications may vary. It is advisable to apply in advance to avoid any last-minute complications.

Visa on arrival (G Visa)

China also offers visas on arrival for certain nationalities. However, this facility is limited to specific entry points and is primarily intended for urgent business trips or unforeseen circumstances. It is recommended to apply for a business visa before travelling to China to avoid any potential issues.

Required documents

The required documents  include:

  1. Passport: A valid passport with at least six months of remaining validity, two blank pages, and pictures of previous visas granted to enter China.
  2. Invitation letter: An invitation letter from a Chinese business partner or inviting organisation is essential. It should include details such as the purpose of the visit, duration of stay, and the inviting party’s information (including business license and passport or ID-card copy of inviting individual).
  3. Flight itinerary: A detailed itinerary of the planned trip, including arrival and departure dates, addresses, and contact information.
  4. Employment letter: A letter from the applicant’s employer stating the purpose of the visit, duration of stay, and guarantee of financial support.
  5. Proof of accommodation: Confirmation of hotel reservations or an invitation letter from the host company if staying at their premises.

Not all nationalities qualify for this visa option. Currently, citizens from specific countries can acquire a visa on arrival. However, entry may be denied, even with a complete set of documents, so careful verification before travelling to China is recommended.

Extending a business visa in China

To extend a stay in China for business purposes, individuals can apply for a visa extension through the local Public Security Bureau (PSB) Exit and Entry Administration.

The process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Early application: It is advisable to apply for an extension at least seven days before the current visa expires.
  2. Required documents: Prepare the necessary documents, including a completed visa extension application form, a valid passport, a recent passport-sized photograph, an invitation letter or employment letter, a photocopy of the original visa, and proof of accommodation.
  3. Submit the application: Visit the local PSB Exit and Entry Administration and submit the application in person. Ensure that all the required documents are in order.
  4. Pay the extension fee: The visa extension fee varies depending on the extension duration. Pay the fee as directed by the PSB and keep the receipt.
  5. Await approval: The processing time for visa extensions can range from a few working days to a couple of weeks. It is important to plan accordingly and avoid overstaying the visa.


Understanding the latest regulations and possibilities regarding visa applications to China is crucial for individuals seeking business opportunities in the country. This article has provided insights into the application process, required documents, and recent changes. Additionally, we have explored the requirements and process for extending a business visa in China. By staying informed and following the necessary procedures, everyone can navigate the Chinese visa system effectively and make the most of the opportunities it offers.

Feel free to contact us if you require additional information regarding the appropriate visa type for your application and the latest requirements.

Contact our teams for expert support and further information about China’s economy.

Russel Brown OBE, Vice Chairman, Partner,
Robin Tabbers, Partner,
Maxime Van ‘t Klooster, Partner,