How to Apply for a Chinese Visa in Hong Kong China

Travel Tips — By on 10/07/2012 1:14 pm

If you want to travel to China or if you are already in China and your visa is about to expire, you need a new Chinese visa. The easiest and cheapest way to get a Chinese visa is to travel to Hong Kong on the classic Hong Kong China Visa run.

Why Hong Kong

For just about every situation Hong Kong is the best place for you get a visa if you about to go to China or you are already in China because

-the food is fantastic
-Hong Kong is an ideal place to start your travels in China
-an excellent destination with loads to do and see while you wait for your visa to be processed
-very accessible from mainland China
-most people don’t need a visa to enter Hong Kong
-Hong Kong is the easiest place in the world to get a legitimate Chinese visa

Getting There

The best way to get to Hong Kong depends on how much time and money you have. The cheapest and slowest way is to catch a train to Shenzhen and walk across the border into Hong Kong at the Luohu border crossing.  Most people fly into Shenzhen then walk across the border because the flights directly to Hong Kong from China are normally a lot more expensive.

On my last Hong Kong China Visa Run I caught an evening plane to Shenzhen, stayed in Shenzhen overnight and crossed the border the next morning. Arrived bleary eyed at the visa office just after 8am.

China Visa Types Available in Hong Kong

These are the four main types of visas for people wanting to enter China.

Tourist (L) Visa – This is the only visa you can apply for without help from a business, government or school/university. Tourist visas are normally valid for three months.

Business (F) Visa – You need an invitation letter or confirmation of invitation letter from a legit Chinese based business. Business visas are normally valid for 3 or 6 months. 1 year business visas are possible but these are extremely rare.

Student (X) Visa – A 30 day visa that gives students enough time to reach their universities, get enrolled and registered. You need a completed JW201 or JW202 form and an admission letter so you are better off getting a tourism visa that does the same job.

Work (Z) Visa – This is the most difficult of the four visas to get and the one most sought after. You need an invitation letter from an organization that is authorized to employee foreigners AND you need to meet the requirements for a foreign experts certificate. Only useful to people planning to work in China for more than 6 months.

Where to Apply for a Visa in Hong Kong

You have two main choices on where to apply for your Chinese visa. You can apply at the China Visa Office OR one of the many China visa agencies that you find all over Hong Kong. Both choices have their good and bad points that I’ll outline below. Personally I prefer a good visa agency.

China Visa Office – Pros: Cheap  Cons: Time consuming, lots of queuing, annoying paperwork

A Good Visa Agency – Pros: Fast, efficient, trouble free Cons: Can be expensive

How to Apply at the China Visa Office

Consular Department Office of the Commissioner Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (what a mouthful) – Chinese Visa Office
7th Floor, Lower Block, China Resources Building
No.26, Harbor Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong SAR
Tel: 852-34132424 (available at 10:00-11:00am, 3:00-4:00pm on workdays)
Opening hours: 9am-12pm then 2-5pm Monday to Friday

Getting to the China Visa Office – Take the subway to Wanchai, leave using the A1 exit then head north through a jungle of towering office buildings until you reach Harbor Road. The China Resources Building will be on your right to the east.

Security & Queues – Queues form early and can be long but move fast. The reason for the queues is the tight airport like security in the lobby that every one must pass through. Food, drinks, cigarette lighters and anything remotely resembling a weapon are not allowed and will be confiscated.

Forms & Paperwork – The visa office is very strict about the forms and paperwork with many people getting turned away so make sure you get this part right. Check at their Visa For China website to make sure you have all the documents you need for the visa type you are applying for.

I suggest you download the visa application here China Visa Application Form, print it, fill it in and take it with you.  That way you’ll be ready to fill the visa form given to you on the 7th floor.

Make sure you have the following
-completed application form

-two passport photos with a white or pale background
-your original documents AND photocopies

Once you complete their visa application form, you’ll be given a number and told to wait

The Wait – There will be a digital display indicating how many people are ahead of you and the booth to go to once your number is called. The wait can vary from a quick half hour to over two hours so bring some entertainment.

Submitting Your Application – Once your number is up, you’ll take your paper work to your booth and submit your application.  The visa staff will give your application a quick check and if everything is in order, stamp it, hand you a receipt and tell you when to come back to pick up your passport and shiny new visa.

Collecting Your Visa – A standard visa takes 4 working days to process and be available. If you pay extra, you can have your passport and visa back in 2-3 days. The day of your application is counted so if you make your application early in the morning, you can collection your visa the next day. Hong Kong is an expensive place so if don’t want to see the sights, paying extra to leave earlier is much cheaper.

When you go to pick up your passport, show your receipt to the guards in the lobby and you’ll be able to skip the queue. Once you reach the 7th floor, pay for your visa at the cashier then move over to the collections queue which is normally long but moves fast. Once you receive your visa, double check that nothing is wrong. If there is a problem which is unlikely, they can fix it the same day if you have all the correct documentation.  If you find a problem after you leave the building, you have to go through the whole application procedure again.

Visa fees – The fee ranges from $200Hk for a single entry tourist (L) visa to $500 for a multiple entry visa.

Best to check fees on their website here Chinese Visa Fees

How to Apply at a Good Visa Agency

Before I went to Hong Kong on my first Hong Kong China visa run, I contacted a number of visa agencies and did a lot of research. Nearly all visa agencies are legitimate and can be trusted but most charge too much and take too long. A tourist visa typically takes 3 to 4 days to process for around 450-600rmb and you can get it in 2 days if you pay 800rmb or more.

The best visa agency I’ve found and the only one I use now is Forever Bright. Their website is shocking but they are efficient, reliable, cheap, fast and professional.

Room 916-917 Tower B New Mandarin Plaza
14 Science Museum Road
Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2369 3188
Opening hours: 8:30am to 6:30pm Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 1:30pm Saturday

Getting there – Forever Bright is just a short walk west of Hunghom, the final station on the KCR train from the Luohu border crossing to Hong Kong. Leave Hunghom station via the D exit and follow the foot bridge to the end at Science Museum road. The New Mandarin Plaza building will be just around the corner. On my last visa run I caught the KCR train at Luohu at 7:25am and arrived at Humghom at 8:10am.  I was at Forever Bright at around 8:20 submitting my application.

Forms and Paperwork – You only need your passport and one passport sized photo with a pale blue background. If you have a passport photo with a white or light background, they’ll photoshop it for you for $20HK. They’ll supply the visa application for you to fill in. Don’t worry about the application because if you make a mistake, they’ll correct it for you. If you are applying for an F visa, don’t worry about the application letter, they’ll supply one for you.

Their service is amazing and if you have a valid passport and can sign your application form, they’ll take care of everything else of you.

Submitting your application – If you arrive at Forever Bright and submit your application before 11am, you can come back later that afternoon between 1:30pm and 2:00pm to pick up your passport and visa. If you application is submitted after 11am, pick up your passport the next day by 2pm at the latest.  This is their basic service and does not cost any extra. NO one else is this fast for processing visas in Hong Kong or even China that I have heard off.

Collecting Your Visa –If you go to their office at 1:30pm you’ll find their lobby is full and people waiting outside in case the passports are ready early. They so reliable you can be booked on a plane out of Hong Kong that evening and not worry about missing your flight.  I had a plane leaving Hong Kong at 6:05pm the same day I submitted my application. I collected my passport at 1:50pm and was at the airport by 3pm.

Fees are subject to change so the fees listed below are a guide only

Tourist (L) Visa – $480HK
Business (F) Visa – single entry & 3 months $650HK – double entry & 3 months $850HK – multiple entry & 6 months $2000Hk
Work (Z) Visa – the fee is not set so best to call or email them about the fee


If you have a valid passport, are in Hong Kong for at least a day and have $500HK on you, getting a visa to China is easy.

Update – 1st July 2013 China Visa Changes
From the 1st of July 2013 a series of new Chinese visa laws take affect will change some types of visas, the application time for visas and the penalties for the breach or over stay of visas. I’ve listed below a rough outline of the changes.

There are a lot of uncertainties at the moment on these changes and I’ll keep this section updated as I receive new information.

Changes to Existing Visas
Business (F) visas that allowed a 3 or 6 month stay will no longer be issued and have been replaced by multiple entry 12 month visas that will allow a maximum stay of 60 or 90 days.

Tourist (L) visas can now only be extended once for a maximum of 30 days instead of twice for 30 days

Work (Z) visas are now Z1 visas for over 90 days and Z2 visas for less than 90 days. Z1 visas will probably also need a residency permit.

Residency Permit – You now need a residency permit to stay in China for more than 180 days

New Visa Types
R visas – Visas for highly skilled professionals. R1 visas for residency in China and R2 for short term stay in China (less than 180 days).

Q Visas – Q1 Family reunion visas for children or family of Chinese citizens or permanent residents. Q2 short visit visas for foreigners visiting Chinese citizens of permanent residents

M Visas – The replacement for F visas for visitors in China for business and trade

Changes to Penalties
If you overstay your visa, you will be charged 500RMB per day with a maximum fine of 10,000RMB instead of a maximum of 5,000RMB.

If you register late for a temporary residency permit, you can be charged a maximum of 2000RMB instead of 500RMB

Questions About Getting Your Chinese Visa While in Hong Kong

If you have any questions about applying for a Chinese visa in Hong Kong, please leave a comment below. I’ll get back to you ASAP

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  1. Yvan says:

    I heard that if you already had in your passport a Chinese Visa issued in your country of origin, then you can get a new Chinese Visa in Hong Kong, otherwise you have to apply the visa in your home country.  Is that true?

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Yvan, If you have a Chinese visa that was issued to you in your home country that is still valid, there is no need to get a new Chinese visa in Hong Kong. Hong Kong and China are two separate countries as far as visas are concerned and entering Hong Kong will not use a Chinese visa. Most nationalities can enter Hong Kong for at least a month without a visa which is one of the many points that makes Hong Kong such a great place to get a visa for China.

      • Yvan says:

        Hi Brendon, thank you for your prompt reply.  I think that I didn't express my question clearly.  What I mean is if I have never had a Chinese Visa before, or it is the first time that I apply a Chinese Visa, can I get the visa in Hong Kong or I have to apply in my home country? Thank you once again.

        • Brendon says:

          Hi Yvan, Sorry for the confusion. You can apply for a visa to China in Kong Kong if you do not have a Chinese visa already or if you have never applied for a Chinese visa before. You can arrive in Hong Kong with an empty passport and never have had a Chinese visa and you will still get a Chinese visa. What continues to amaze me is how easy getting a Chinese visa in Hong Kong is. Much easier than applying for a visa in your home country :)

          • Yvan says:

            Hi Brendon, Thank you very much! That's a good news for me.  I live in a small town in eastern part of Quebec, Canada.  The nearest Chinese embassy/consulate is in Ottawa.  They don't accept visa application by mail.  I really don't want to drive nearly 1,300 km back and forth to Ottawa just for applying for a visa!  Now I'm planning to visit Hong Kong first, and to get the Chinese Tourist Visa there.  Do you know if I need an invitation letter for getting the visa? Thanks.

          • Brendon says:

            Absolutely no need for an invitation letter for a tourist visa which is what you want or even a business visa. As a Canadian citizen you will automatically be granted a 90 day tourist visa for Hong Kong when you arrive. Once in Hong Kong, you simply apply for your Chinese visa which you will have no problem getting. Much easier than a 1,300km drive :)

  2. Yvan says:

    Thank you so much, Brendon.  Your reply always comes promptly.  On the Web Site of Chinese Embassy in Ottawa (, invitation, round-trip air ticket, hotel resevation, etc. are mentioned for the L Visa.  A lot of hassles, just like the Russian Regime does.  Hopefully, Hong Kong is the "paradise" for applying for a Chinese Visa.  Thanks a lot. 

  3. Bill says:

    Hey Brendon,
    I've heard that some people get a one-year, multiple-entry tourist visa in which you have to made a border run every 90 days. Is that type of visa available as well?

    • Brendon says:

      Hi BIll, Some nationalities such as US citizens can get multiple entry tourist (L) visas for 12 months and as far as I know, these visa holders can stay in China for the entire duration of their visa. If your nationality is not able to get the 12 month visa, then get two 6 month visas and to the visa run once during your stay.

      • dcertner says:

        On 18/07/2012 I read on ForeverBright's site  that 12 month, multi-entry visa to China from HK on a US passport is not possible (double-entry, 6 months is possible).  Is ForeverBright's website out of date? Or are you talking about applying for and getting a multi-entry 12 month visa to China from the USA?

        • Brendon says:

          Hi Dcerner, Which type of visa are you referring to? ie L, F or Z? As far as I know, US passport holders have the same visa conditions/requirements as most other countries such as the UK and Austrlia for all visa types. This link is to the Chinese Embassy in the US and clearly states the conditions of tourist visas and business visasfor US passport holders

          Foreverbright’s website is horrible but they can get you almost any type of visa. They are very good about answering emails so if you are not sure about what they can do for you, email them.

  4. Jessica says:

    Hi, I am trying to get a Chinese tourist visa. I now live in South Korea, but my residence card exprires in less than 6 months, so I cannot get a visa through the Chinese Embassy here. I was thinking about doing a run to Hong Kong first to get a tourist visa. From what you write it sounds like a better option, but when reading the Visa for China website, I found this
    7, Applicants without HK resident status are required to submit their applications through the Chinese Embassy or consulate office around your resident country.
    Did you have an issue with this? I would hate to go all the way to Hong Kong and not get a visa for China becuase I don't have an HK resident card.

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Jessica, for most nationalities who apply for a Chinese visa when in Hong Kong, there is absolutely no need for a HK resident card. A resident card is a requirement outlined on several official websites but only for work (z) visas not tourist visas. Unless your passport/application is very out of the ordinary, you will have no problems at all. If you are likely to have problems, go to Foreverbrigth here who are geniuses as solving visa problems.

  5. claudine says:

    hello, I want to be sure that we can get our visa in Hong Kong, being French citizens, having no time to apply in Paris and above all having no hotel reservation in mainland China
    can we really get the isa without showing all the documenst they ask for in Paris?

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Claudine, Yes you can. I’ve heard you need fingerprint verification, bank statements and more in France but no need in Hong Kong. To make sure there is no trouble, I suggest you to Foreverbright who will provide any necessary paper work for you not the China Visa Office who are stickler for rules and procedures.

    • Brendon says:

      Claudine I double checked the requirements for French passport holders and this is what I found for applying for a Chinese tourist visa in Hong Kong through a good visa agency like Foreverbright
      -can get a 30 days visa with single or double entry
      -need 4 working days to process the application
      -need proof of travel insurance, you can get this in Hong Kong if necessary
      -HK$450 for the single entry and HK$550 for the double entry
      The French are clearly not the Chinese government’s favorite tourist

  6. mel says:

    hey im in hongkong now planning to go to forever bright tomorrow. holder of canadian passport. will i encounterany problems? are they still in business?

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Mel, Foreverbright are still in business and I was in contact with them by email last week so if you’ll have no problems for basic visas such as a tourist or business visa.

      • mel says:

        yeah usually no problems and i have family here under permanent residence but first time doing the hongkong thing and i am not one for luck and i don’t want to stay here in hongkong i want this done super quick ! thanks for the site big help !

  7. Chloe says:

    Do you know if I can apply for a Student X Visa in Hong Kong without a HK Resident Card? Thanks!

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Chloe, Hard to say for sure without knowing your nationality/the passport you’ll hold. Why do you mention HK resident card? HK resident cards are not relevant to foreigners who are in Hong Kong applying for visas to China. Also why not just get a tourist visa? A lot of Chinese schools will recommend you get a tourist visa because it does the same job as a student visa and is much easier to get.

  8. Daphné says:

    Hello Brendon,
    I just wanted to thank you for those informations. I'm a french student now living in Korea, and wanted to go to China before going back home. It's so difficult to get a chinese visa or info on it. You cannot imagine how much outdated informations contradicts each other on internet, (even on official websites) really I'm SO grateful to have find your post. :)

    • Brendon says:

      Hello Daphne, happy to help. Feel free to ask any questions you have here or email me directly. You’ll have a great time here :)

  9. Shane Lieberman says:

    Hey Brendon,
    I am planning to travel to China in September. As a holder of dual citizenship (french and canadian) I tried applying for a visa in The Netherlands, where I live. This was a nightmare. They've made it incredibly difficult.
    Therefore I am now contemplating to travel to Hong Kong and apply for a tourist visa there. I will be travelling with my 17 year old sister. Also, I just got out of high school and am currently not employed, nor am I in university at the moment (taking a gap year). 
    Long story short: if I show up to the Chinese embassy in Hong Kong with
    1. My passport (either French or Canadian) 
    2. Insurance details (which I understand I could obtain in HK)
    3. passport size pics
    4. Inbound/outbound flight tickets
    5. Accomodation details
    Perhaps some of these documents wouldn't even be necessary, but nevertheless, would I be able to obtain a tourist visa with these documents?

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Shane, With Hong Kong being (kind of) a part of China, the term embassy is politically incorrect and the equivalent for visas is the China visa office. For standard visa applications, the China Visa Office is fine but for more complicated applications such as yours, I’d stick to a visa agency. I recommend Forever Bright because their service is excellent.

      To get a 30 day single or double entry tourist visa, you’ll need to be in Hong Kong for 4 days while your visa is being processed. The cost is $450 for singe entry and $550 for double entry. The only documents you’ll are your passport, one passport photo and your travel insurance. No need for tickets or accommodation details.

  10. Masha says:

    Hi Brendon,
    Thank you already for all the information on your website. 
    Is it possible to apply a Chinees visa at the China visa office not in person?
    I read something about an authorized letter do you know something about this? 
    Greetings, Masha

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Masha, I’m fairly sure that you can’t post a passport to the China Visa Office for a visa. I do know that you can do this with the better visa agencies. Forever Bright charges HK$1,550 for a tourist visa and can get it done and posted back to you in two days.

  11. Roger says:

    Hi there,   Thanks so much for all the info!  Very organized.  I am here in China now and my Visa expires September 20th.  I am close to HK in Kunming.  I have heard you have to show a flight into china and back out.  Is that true?  If so, can it be a train ticket instead?  
    Also, do I need anything else like a hotel reservation?   I heard that too.  
    Thanks again,

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Roger, No need to show anything like a flight back to China or hotel reservations. Just turn up at the China Visa Agency or visa agency with your passport and paperwork. For a good visa agency, all you need is your passport. They’ll provide all the necessary paperwork and even make sure you fill it in properly.

      My visa expires early October so I’ll be there a couple of weeks after you. I’ll be getting a six month multiple entry business visa from Forever Bright. No ticket, hotel reservations etc necessary. Not cheap but the best deal for my situation.

  12. nailer says:

    is it absolutely necessary to have a black page on your passport? or can they just paste over an old stamp??!?

    • Brendon says:

      HI Ian, A Chinese visa of any type takes up the whole page of a passport so if you want to enter China, you MUST have a free page in your passport.

      • nailer says:

        its for my friend. do anyone know if its possible to get extra pages added to a UK passport at the emabssy in hong kong?

        • Nick says:

          No, it is not possible to get extra pages added to a UK passport.
          The "Notes" printed near the front of every UK passport state clearly: 
          "A passport which … has no further space for visas must be replaced by a new one."

      • Marley says:

        Hi Brendon,
        Do you have an email address i can contact you on, i have alot of questions regarding my visa situation and im planning on going to HK tomorow night (25th) my visa expires the (26th). It's a very last-minute problem. This is my frist Hong Kong visa-run and im very confuse and worry. I have a work/performance visa issued in Hangzhou but due to the lack of time , Hangzhou is unable to help me. I want to get a tourist visa an i was told Hong Kong would be the place to do it. If you can help me with any information i'd apprecate it. 

  13. angela says:

    Me and my cousin are planning to visit Hong Kong and Macau Feb of next year, my concern is that my passport is just being processed yet, and it may take one more week before it can be rel, i read that they require passports to be atleast 6 mos valid prior to time of travel. Are they strict with this rule? Thansk in advance. :)

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Angela, I have never heard a rule that your passport needs to be at least 6 months old to get a Chinese visa and I am very confident this rule does not exist. Last year I got a 30 day visa for China in a new passport that was only 3 days old.

  14. Roger says:

    Help!   A company ripped me off in China, saying it would get me a visa.  They kept it tillI overstayed 6 days and no visa!  Now I am in Hong Kong trying to get a visa.  Does anyone know someone who can help me?  Agencies do not seem to be able to help.  Anyone have an inside track or should I go home and try from there in the US?  Tough trip……Thanks in advance!

  15. Elena says:

    I'm going to HK on the 17th of October. I'd like to know if it's still possible to obtain a 6 months multi-entry F Visa in one working day with an italian passport through a Visa agency like forever bright.
    Thank you for your help!!

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Elena, YOu can get the 6 month multiple entry F visa in one day if you drop it off at Forever Bright before 11am. The cost is HK$2000. I just got back from Hong Kong where I received the same visa.

  16. PABLO says:


  17. PABLO says:

    and where can i take the kcr? please this answer could save me! hehe

    • Brendon says:

      Pablo I really don’t know if a red seal instead of a blue seal will cause problems with your visa application. All depends on the type of visa you are applying for, your nationality, the administrative rules of the visa office and more.

      As for the KCR, you can catch it at the Hunghom station which is in Tsim Sha Tsui east and will take you all the way to the Luohu station and border crossing. I suggest you study a map of Hong Kong’s trains and familiarise your self with Hong Kong.

  18. PABLO says:

    thanks was lost but i already made it all, thanks a lot

  19. Stephanie says:

    hello. I've seen that you've been very helpful and especially updated abt how to get a visa in HK. I'm planning to come in the next weeks to HK for a working visa. I'm already in China for more than 7 years, but changed company recently. I'm now under a 6months business visa, and I'll change it to a working visa. I'm French, and last time i was in HK for visa application, they were quite tough and told me French couldn't beneficiate from the express service. Could you update me about the current situation in HK for French people? Thanks a lot in advance!!!

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Stephanie, Your situation is tricky because the regualations for French are much tougher than most other nationalities. As long as you have all the necessary paperwork, permits and so forth for your working visa and your new company is the right to employ forigners (this is the key point), you’ll be fine. Being French though, the China Visa office will make the process difficult for you. If you are in Hong Kong long enough, my suggestion is go through the China Visa office using their normal slow service and if any thing goes wrong, have a visa agency like Foreverbright as a back up. If there are problems such as your new company not being able to employ foreigners, you may have to keep using 6 month business visas.

  20. cornelius says:

    Dear Brendon,
    you're running a great site and the information about the HK Visa Run is great. I'm working in Russia and have kind of problems to schedule my visa application. That's how I found out about the HK Visa Run option.
    I've heard (and read on several sites) that there were some changes in Chinese visa (immigration) laws as of september/october 2012. Does that affect FBTs service for foreigners? Their (truly creepy) site does not seem to be updated frequently, so your platform seems a good place for asking and documenting on the matter.

    We're planning to get a chinese single entry tourist visa (L) for Russian and German passport holders.

    1) I'd like to confirm the general possibility for both nationalities (Russian and German) to apply for this type of Visa in Hong Kong as of January 2013.

    2) The time needed for processing such a visa application when withdrawn – halfday or two days? I didn't get their chart, it is rather confusing as the express variant is cheaper.

    Thanks in advance,

    BTW – thank you very much for answering to all of these questions!

    • Brendon says:

      HI Cornelius, I was in Hong Kong on the 5th of October and received a 6 month business visa in one day so as far as I know, FBT has not been affected. I also spoke to a sunburnt German woman, and several other people of different nationalities and they all received their visas. Generaly changes just affect getting visa’s through normal channels such as local Chinese security bureau/police stations and visa offices. German citizens can get a tourist visa in one day. I don’t know about Russian citizens. When it comes to visas, the Chinese government has a list of most favored nations with Canadian, New Zealanders and Australians on the top and African countries on the bottom. Russia is towards the bottom so visa conditions are much more strict. I suggest you email FTB and ask for Alex. He seems to the be man in charge and is very prompt with emails.

  21. Jessica says:

    Hi Brandon,
    I have just spoken to Forever Bright and I am still a bit confused. I have dual passports for the US and France and used my French passport  to travel to Shanghai 3 months ago. In France, I was issued a 90 day L visa which I was able to renew every month until I did it for the last permissable time last week.
    I contacted FBT to find out if I can get a six month multiple entry F visa with my US passport and they said yes but only for a duration of 30 days. I then asked if I could renew my  new visa every month in Shanghai like I did with my first one but they said I need to leave China every month. If this is the case, I don't know why I would need a 6-month multiple entry visa in the first place.
    To make matters worse, I am receiving conflicting answers from other sources, could you please clarify?
    Any advice would be most appreciated!
    Kind Regards,

    • Brendon says:

      Wow, confusing situation.

      I’m checking with a contact to see if I can get an answer for you. Should know in a day or two and will get back to you then.

    • Brendon says:

      Basically the information you have is correct. US passport holders can only stay in China for a maximum time of 30 days when using an F visa.

      I triple checked and the same information also comes up on China’s US embassy site that you can see here

      For some reason (politics) Australians have unlimited stay on a 6 month F visa so what works for me cannot unfortunately work for you.

  22. Brian says:

    Hi Brenon,
    Thank you for the information.  I am currently working in China with a residence permit.  My wife, however, is here on an L-visa that expires soon.  She was recently hired by my company and she received her invitiation letter, expert certificate, etc.  We've heard that getting a Z-visa from Hong Kong is no longer possible.  She holds a South African passport.
    Any suggestions or information would be great.

    • Brendon says:

      Brian a South African passport holder can get a Z visa going through a good visa agent. The application will take around two days and you’ll need to supply five sets of documents with the application. Not sure which documents those are, you’ll need to check.

  23. Lauren says:

    Hi Brendon,
    I am in Shanghai on a Single Entry L Visa. I am going to go to Hong Kong next Friday to do a visa run. I am a Canadian but got my current visa while I was in Australia. When I was in Australia getting my current visa I needed to show my sisters permenant residence, passport, invitation letter and flights in and out. I could only get a visa for 30 days. If I go to forever bright is there an option for a single entry L visa for 90 days? I thought I saw this but don't know if its referring to the 3 months its valid for or the actual time you can be in China. Also you are saying that I dont need to show a flight out of china if I go to forever bright?

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Lauren, Hope you enjoyed your time in Auss :)   All you’ll need to get your L visa is your passport and a passport photo with a blue background. Foreverbright will take care of everything else. As far as I know, L visas can be valid for 90 days or even 6 months but they will only allow you to be in China for a maximum of 30 days at a time. This can vary depending on your nationality and the latest trends at the visa office but unlikely. Be interested to know how you go.

  24. Sophia says:

    I got a 60 day L visa issued in Canada for China.
    Once I got to China I got a job and was given an F visa.
    I quit my job and the company cancelled my F visa and helped get me an L Visa (30 days)
    I want to stay in China until the beginning of February 2013. Will I be able to extend my visa longer in Shanghai or do I have to go to Hong Kong

    • Brendon says:

      Hello Sophia, The visa bureau in Shanghai can extend your visa for you IF they want to. Whether they will or not is very hard to say and depends on politics, bureau policy and how they feel on the day. I suggest you make your application far enough in advance that if you get rejected, you still have time to get to Hong Kong. Keep in mind that booking train or plane tickets around new year can be very difficult.

      • Sophia says:

        Hello Brendon,
        Thanks for your response. I am going to be going to Hong Kong on Wednesday and plan on going to Forever Bright. Do you think they will be able to provide me a 3 month L tourist visa given my situation? My visa expires on December 8, 2012. Thank you

  25. ANDREA says:


    • Brendon says:

      Hello Andrea, The rules on who gets what visas and the conditions/requirements for visa vary from coutnry to country and I don’t know what the rules are for Ecuador. I do know that people from your country have more difficulty than other nationalities such as Canadians, English and Australians. You really need to speak to an expert such as some one from the Ecuadorean embassy or a visa agency.

  26. Santiago says:

    Hi Brendon,
    I'm Mexican citizen living in China. I got my current "F Visa 1 Year M Entry" in Mexico City, but they issued it with a limit of 30 days for each entry, which is a real headache for me because every month I must pay air fare to leave China and return.
    For almost 1 year I have been trying to change my visa without any luck, because they say I cannot apply for a new visa unless the current one is about to expire.
    I read you got in September a 6 Month F Visa with "Forever Bright".  Do you know if they can issue 6 Months and/or 12 Months Visas with NO limit of each stay?
    Thank you for your time.

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Santiago, F visas are tricky because with a 6 month F visa for example some nationalities such as Australians, Canadians and Japanese can stay for the whole period with out leaving. Other nationalities such as people with a US passport cannot get unlimited stay. I’d say that Mexicans can’t but you’d best ask Forever Bright and double check.

  27. ANDREA says:

    hi brendon,
    It's Andrea again, thanks for your replay. How about student visa? Can I apply for a student visa without leaving china? (one semester at university)
    Status: L visa, ecuadorian.

  28. Hannah says:

    Hi Brian, 
    I currently reside in Australia and hold an Australian passport; recently I have been having trouble getting a visa for china due to the new rules. My flights are from hong kong to fuzhou to shanghai to hong kong again. The reason for my trouble is becuase i am going to a foster home and the paperwork is quite detailed of which they cannot provide in time. When applying for a visa in hong kong will I need to provide any additional paperwork besides my passport and flight details? 
    thank you :D

    • Brendon says:

      Sorry for a very late reply to your question Hannah, I’ve been on the road for the last week and bit. As long as you are 18 or older and applying for a tourist or business visa with your Australian passport, you will not need any additional paperwork. Just turn up with your passport and a photo with a blue background.

  29. Ravi says:

    I have Indian passport can I apply visa for china from Hongkong


    • Brendon says:

      Hi Ravi, Yes you can. Many Indians do Hong Kong China visa runs because getting visa’s in China is hard for your nationality.

  30. Rafael says:

    Dear Brendon
    Is it really possible to get a 6 Months Multiple F Visa for China even I donßt really do business in China (I am a tourist) and also do not have an invitation letter?
    So many thanks for you help.
    I am residing in Seoul. Would it also be possible to send my passport to HK for the VISA? Is it save?

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Rafael, No problem at all if you go through Foreverbright. I never have an invitation letter or any other documents and they are like clock work with me. Submit passport and application in morning, pick up multiple F visa in the afternoon :)

  31. Rafael says:

    maybe to add: I am a Swiss citizen

  32. Lovely Castillejo says:

    hi i'm philippine passport holder im going to hongkong on december 29 and visiting a friend of mine in shenzhen on folowwing day decmber 30…i dont have china passport yet…can I apply china visa in 1 day?hope to hear from u flight is fast approaching…can i apply through online?thanks

    • Brendon says:

      You may be able to change your visa in Shenzhen but you cannot enter China with out a visa. Most nationalities ie Canadians, British and Australians can get a tourist or business visa in one day but I am not sure about Philippine passport holders. I suggest you check with with the visa agency. The 29th and 30th are on the weekend and most (if not all) visa offices are open half day Saturday and closed Sunday so timing will be a big problem for you.

  33. Lovely Castillejo says:

    as add to my question,coz they've been tellimg me that its hard to get visa in i need some help.thanks

  34. Pascal says:

    What do you mean by "-your original documents AND photocopies"

    You mean, my passport and passport photocopies ?


    • Brendon says:

      Basically the visa office will need to see the original documents to prove that the photocopies you have are genuine. They may insist on taking copies of your originals and charging you but being prepared with originals and copies can save you time and money.

  35. Jass says:

    My husband and me are planning to apply for Chinese business visa from Hong Kong. He holds Indian passport, and I hold Serbian (  country in Europe ). We have never been in China so far. I got the job offer from the China, and they guide us to come to HK and apply from there. Can you tell us will it be difficulte for both of us to get the business multy entry 6 months visa for China. From the school where I am going to work they say that they will provide invitation letter for both of us, and they are confident that we can get it even without it. Also they say that the price is 2000 HKD . I am not that much relaxed as I think what are the chances to get it. As per your experience can you throw some light, tell us is it ok to do it in HK, can both of us get it done.

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Jass, Going to China to work with your husband would be great and I wish you all the best. With getting a business visa in Hong Kong, this can be done easily if you go through a good visa agency. The problem you may have is your nationalities. The Chinese government is strict with granting visa’s to Indian passport holders and to eastern European nationalities such as Serbians so even visa agencies may have trouble issuing the two of you visa’s. I suggest you contact Alex who works for a very good visa agency and ask him, his email (shared) is

  36. Dixie says:

    Hi… son is visiting from the US. I live in Guangzhou and met him in Hong Kong to apply for China visa, like we have done several times before. We went to pick it up st the visa place in Wan Chai today and was told "no visa, you need a new passport"  his passport is a little worn but have never been told this before. Cannot get an appt at the US Embassy for a new one until Jan 7 and then it takes 10 days to get. By then he needs to return to the US. Is there anything we can do to get the China visa without getting a new passport? I haven't seen him for a year, and I can't even get him to my home in Guangzhou. I am devastated. 

    • Brendon says:

      A very tough situation Dixie. Staff at the visa office use their own discretion to determine whether a passport is too worn and you got unlucky. No point arguing with them or trying again in Wanchai so my suggestion is you go through a visa office, ideally Foreverbright. They will submit your son’s passport and visa application to the police department in Lo Wu who will hopefully be less strict. They are also more likely (I’d say definitely) to turn a blind eye to your son’s worn state as long as it has no serious conditions. Keep in mind that if the passport is too worn, no one will ccept it. I had the same problem after my passport was damaged/worn by sweat and had to replace it.

  37. Dixie says:

    Hi Brendan…….Thanks for your answer. Just to double check, Americans can get visas thru the Lo Wu site, via Foreverbright? And you can get it the same day? I wanted to verify because we have gone thru China Travel Service in the past, and the quickest we could get was next day and that cost like 2000 or 2500. Do you by chance have any idea how long it takes to replace a lost or stolen passport at the American Consulate n Hong Kong? Someone this weekend told me that was our best bet, and could get it replaced the same day, but cannot verify that on their website, it keeps referring to their appointment system.  Thanks for your help, you do a great job!

  38. Andrew says:

    I plan on backpacking China and am working on my visa stuff now. Requirements say I need round trip flight confirmation and hotel reservations. Do I really need to figure out the hostel I am going to stay at for all 30-60 days of my trip? That is insane! Can I just book a few nights and get approved?

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Andrew, the requirement for hotels and return flights is crazy and I never take it seriously. If you are applying for your visa from home, just fill in the correct details of some hotel in China you can find online that you may end up staying at.

  39. Dixie says:

    Hi Brendan……I wanted to let you know about the wonderful results we got with our all consuming problem. My son went to ForeverBright , they were wonderful, including filling out the forms, and assured him that there would be "no problem" in getting a visa, despite his so- called worn passport. As promised, he got his passport back with his shiny new China visa inside, and we are on our way to Gusngzhou. I will be singing the praises of this travel agency, and I will be happy to recommend them to anyone needing a China visa. Saying bye bye to China Travl, with their high prices and absolute lack of speed and efficiency.  Cannot believe I did not know about  visas being issued out of LoWu. 
        You have a terrific website, and all of the posts have very clear and specific replies. This is exactly the type of site I have been looking for , with some personalization, and not a government FAQ list, in which you never get a clear answer. If there is anything I can do to help promote you and the website, let e know, and I'm on it. Many thanks……..

  40. Aaron says:

    Hi Brendan, I was hoping you could give me some advice. I got my L tourist visa from honk kong through an agency, I hold a uk passport and th visa was issued at Shenzhen louhu. I am confused about how long I can stay on my single entry visa. On the visa itself it does not say how many days I have to stay and does now say on the arrival passport stamp either. I first assumed that I just had 30 days but there is information on some websites saying that the office in Shenzhen louhu can issue 90 stay L visas. Have you heard annoying about this? Thank you, Aaron

  41. Felix says:

    Hi Brendon, to your knowledge, is it possible to convert a L visa to a residence permit? I am suppose to get an X visa, but it requires me to get the residence permit within 30 days. Since I will travel in China (for exactly 31 days) before reporting to my university at ChengDu, I am thinking of getting a L visa for my travel, then convert to a residence permit after I get to my university. I am trying to avoid double "conversion", from L to X, then residence permit. I have to pay double fees that way. Thanks for reading!

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Fenix, The L visa would be the way to go. Many universities tell people to come over on L visas that they can easily change to student visas. From experience, other visas such as F visas cannot be changed to student or x visas.

  42. Michelle says:

    Hi Brandon
    Just thought you might like to know about our visit to ForeverBright today. I'd heard them recommended several times and had emailed them before coming to HK explaining we wished to apply for visas on a French and on a British passport and requested information on fees, processing time, documents required etc.
    They responded quickly saying that the British passport holder could get a 3 month visa but the French passport holder could only get 30 days. They quoted fees, processing times etc and said no paperwork was required – just the passports and a photo.
    Today when we went in, they advised us that they couldn't guarantee the French visa would be issued for 30 days, that we may only get 15  days, 7 days or nothing at all and that our fees would not be refundable. As they say on their website that you'll get a full refund if your visa application is rejected they obviously are having problems getting the French visas issued. I heard them say it to 3 other French applicants while we were there filling out the forms and it seems that USA passport holders are also having problems.
    Unfortunately I was really surprised by the rude and unhelpful attitude of the lady who I spoke to as I've only ever heard good things said of the agency.
    There was another lady there who my partner spoke to later and she was certainly more pleasant but the negative and rude attitude of the other lady made us decide that we might as well apply directly at the embassy as at least if we get rejected we'd only have paid a 1/3rd of the price rather than paying so much more at the ForeverBright agency for the same level of rudeness.
    So for anyone on a French or US passport, maybe consider applying for a visa somewhere else other than in Hong Kong as we didn't have any issue's when we applied in Thailand and our nationalities didn't seem to make any difference.

    • Brendon says:

      Wow, thankyou for the feedback Michelle. I normally deal with a man by the name of Alex who is great but they do have a number of staff. Could be that they are growing to successful so their service is slipping OR visas for French nationals are getting more difficult to obtain (I can believe that). Either way no excuse for poor service!!!

  43. Chris says:

    Hey Brendon,
    - at first: great page – Anyhow, I have one question I could not find an answer for in this thread. I am living in Shanghai right now, holding an F-Visa for an internship which will expire on Jan 31st 2013. I will leave China through Hong Kong and travel through South Asia for 1,5 months and then need to go back to China to pick up my luggage. I plan to stay for 2-3 weeks before I go back home. (I'm holding a German passport)
    I want to get an L-Visa with half day service from FBT for I will spend one day (Jan 31st) in HKG before I go on to Vietnam.
    I know that FBT gets these half day service visas not from Chinese consulate in HKG but from the LouHu Police Station in Shenzhen which is part of mainland China – they call it PSB system.
    My question which was not clearly answered by FBT via phonecall (was very short, must have picked the rude lady mentioned above ;) ) is:
    Do I have to enter China through Shenzhen then or can I also take a flight from any Asian country straight to Shanghai. I am not sure if the immigration authority at Shanghai Airport will accept a Visa which was issued in mainland China while I myself was in HKG.
    Thanks a lot in advance for your answer!

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Chris, It does not matter where your visa is issued, as long as it is valid and legit, you can enter China any where you want. They customs people know that Hong Kong visa agencies are running a legitmate semi underground visa business but they have to let you in because the visa is legit. On my last visa run I had my shiny new visa given a very thorough examination by a senior visa staff and a trainee who both knew it was a visa agency visa but had to let me in.

  44. hcg says:

    Good reading. Thank a lot for posting that. I’ll come to your site to see what’s new and tell my coworkers about this site.

  45. Lena says:

    Hi Brendon, i am holding us passport can i inter hong kong with out chiness visa?can i get L visa to china from Hong Kong? i am cofused even you get 1 year multiple visa do you still go out from china every 30 days? please let me know look forward to hear from you……

    • Brendon says:

      Hello Lena, mainland Chinese don’t like admitting it but in most respects, Hong Kong is not China. This includes visas and most nationalities such as Americans and Australians do not need a visa to enter Hong Kong. With multiple entry visas and leaving and returning to China, the whole thing is confusing and even makes my head spin.  There aer a number of different types of tourist and business visas that you can be issued depending on your nationality and how much you pay and each type of visa can have different conditions for time allowed in China in one go. Generally you can stay for one month and after that you may need to leave or ask for an extension at a visa processing police station.

  46. Marcus says:

    Hi Brandon,
    First, let me say your site is geat. I got more info here than on 2 dozen other sites. I want to get a bussiness F chinese visa for my daighter. I have a ligitimate US bussiness but no formal invitation letter to Chinsa. She is in Beijing now but her L visa and extensions are almost up. It is getting crazy expensive having her leave China for constant visa runs so we are hoping to get her a six month F visa. We tried here in the US and the best anyone could do still only allowed her to stay in China 30 days at a time ( plus need for reservations, ect).Can you get us a business invitation letter? If not what do you recomend? Thanks a million!

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Marcus, I’d like to give you a business invitation letter but I”m just a normal guy who’s slightly obsessed with enjoying travel in China and blogging about it. I don’t have a special source of handy documents such as business invitation letters.  When I go on my twice yearly visa runs I don’t even have an invitation letter for myself. I just use Foreverbright and all they need is my passport, a photo and a completed basic application form. They take care of everything else. For a fee :) The best advice I have for your daughter is to do what I do, use a very good visa agency (Foreverbright is still my choice) pay them their fee and let them take care of all the details.

  47. April says:

    Hi Mr.Brandon,
    I just want to ask if I can just fill everything up at the China visa office? I don't have a printer here in HK and I can't save the signed file. Also, I just want to ask how to attach the photo(glued or stapled)? 
    Thank you and God bless!

    • Brendon says:

      Hi April, Sure you can fill everything in at the visa office. I suggest you download the form in advance and make sure you have all the information you need to complete it so there will be no unexpected questons when you get there. Glued photos are the way to go.

  48. konte says:

    Hi Brendon, i am from mali with an L visa and currently in china. do you know if i can convert it to an X visa and where because i really want to study in china.

    • Brendon says:

      Good morning Konte, Converting an L vis to an X visa is not a problem and most schools encourage their students to arrive on L visa. This does depend on your school though so you need to make sure your school is legitimate.

  49. michael says:

    Brendon, cheers for the write up. I'm about to join the millions of people that have done the visa run.
    I'm in a position where i must get an x-visa if i want to study since my university won't convert a tourist visa. I already have my letter of invitation and jw202 form. i heard i must bring a medical too, which i will do on monday.  i saw you didn't mention anything about the medical; do you know if it's a must?
    the agency you recommended said i can only obtain a tourist visa….but i'm assuming they would say that so i go with them.

    • Brendon says:

      Morning Michael, I am very surprised that your university will not convert an L visa to an X visa. From my personal experience and from the people I know, most universities ask students to arrive with an L visa that they will convert to an X visa. Which university are you studying at? I know that if you are in China on an L visa, you will need to have a medical exam to get your X visa or Z visa and most schools will get all their foreign teachers/students to go through the process together. I don’t know about your case though. Your situation sounds unusual so I would not be surprised if the visa agency honestly can’t get you an X visa. I suggest you speak to some one competent at the foreign office of your university. They should have systems in place for dealing with students like yourself and should know exactly what you need to do.

      • Michael says:

        Sorry, I meant without the agent, I can only get an L visa on my own but they can get me an x-visa, but I fail to see how I'm not able to get an x visa by myself. I've spoken to my school many times, they won't allow a tourist visa. I must get an x visa first before they change it into a residence permit. 

  50. Chloe says:

    I recently obtained a X-Visa from Hong Kong by myself, no problems. You definitely need a medical, and take photocopies of everything too. 

    • michael says:

      Thanks a lot Chloe. What was the final fee? The agent Brendon recommends wants to charge me 850HKD and 2 day processing. Also, what's your nationality?

      Brendon, do you have any idea what impact 春节 will have on the opening times? will it be closed for the whole week?


  51. Chloe says:

    I am British. It cost me 770 HKD – but that is only because I chose the fast-track option of next day pick up (turned out to be cheaper than paying for accomodation in Hong Kong).  I applied in the morning and picked it up the following morning. If you apply in the afternoon then you would pick it up the following afternoon.
    Last year the visa office was for 3 working days over New Year's so if it is the same, then it would be closed on the 11th, 12th and 13th, but that's just guesswork. It's also closed at the weekends.

    • michael says:

      Thanks again Chloe. One last thing, do you have any idea if it's possible to apply for a double entry x visa? 

  52. Chloe says:

    You can't apply for a double entry X-Visa. It just allows you one entry and then within 30 days you have to apply for the residence permit, which will allow you to come and go as you please.

  53. mgt says:

    First of all, this webpage is awesome, further information than other official webpages. I have a question because I'm a Spanish citizen and I will flight (arrive and depart) to HK in one week. I'll be there just for 3 weeks but I'd like get a L-Visa (1entry) to travel in China a couple of days.
    I've read on several pages only is possible to get it if you live in HK permanently. Also in the agency (FBT) you showed as example:
    Could you help me? thx

    • Brendon says:

      I’d be happy to help mgt, You can get your single entry L visa in Hong Kong from a visa agency like FBT without a problem. It will take half a day if you can get to their office before 9am and cost you$HK480. Not sure what you’ll do in China in three days. Shenzhen, Guangzhou and the nearby areas don’t have much travel appeal. Macau and Hong Kong are much better. You can head for Guilin and Yangshuo but 3 days is pushing it.

      • mgt says:

        Thanks for answering so fast. I just go to China to celebrate the Chinese New Year for 2 days in a city (I don't remember the name) 2 hours far from HK by coach with my friend's family. I know, pay 45€ + travel just for 2 days is quite expensive but I must do it, I have not choice. Probably I'll visit Guangzhou and Shenzhen just if I decide to buy some cheap gifts.
        I thought about travelling to Macau anyway and visit unknown places in Hong Kong. Have to work 3 days and 17 for vacation is a good deal there.
        Thx again!!

  54. Tom says:

    I've been working in China on an F visa for the last year, however that's expiring soon and I'm looking to go through a local school in order to get a Z visa, however they don't really seem to have a clue what they are doing. I was initially going to head to Hong Kong and get a tourist visa so the school would have time to process the z visa once I was back in China, however I've read that you can only apply for a tourist visa in your home country, which for me would be Britain. Obviously flying back to Britain from China is going to be a hell of a lot more expensive that going to HK for a few days. Not quite sure what to do! Any advice would be great!

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Tom, You have hordes of people lining up outside the China Visa office and the many visa agencies in Hong Kong (and many other countries) to get their tourist visas and there are countless government websites that give information, instructions etc for getting tourist visas just about everywhere. So don’t worry, you don’t need to go home to get your L visa. Out of curiosity, where did you read that?

      I’d be careful about your school though. Many schools that don’t deal with large numbers of foreigners are not authorised by the government to sponsor visas  and have to go through intermediaries. This kind of set up is often deals with kick backs and corruption and best avoided if you can.

  55. Santiago says:

    Hi Brendon, out of curiosity, do you know which days FBT will be closed for holiday? I already asked them twice by mail but until now I haven't received reply.  Thanks!

  56. mohammed bakeer says:

    hello sir 
    i have a qoustion please ,can arussian girl take visa to china in hong kong 

    • Brendon says:

      Yes a Russian passport holder can get a Chinese tourist visa in Hong Kong. Mohammed Bakeeer is an interesting name for a Russian girl :)

  57. JohnSmith says:

    Hi Brendon,
    I currently have a single entry F visa for China and I live in Shanghai. I would like to be able to leave the country free and to that end would like to get a multiple entry F visa. Does the fact that I already have a F visa (that will no longer be valid once I leave China for HK) in my Swiss passport mean I'll be having any trouble?
    A friend of mine showed me the visa she got though FBT and it is quite different from the one I recieved through the embassy. Anything to be worried about?
    Lastly, how do you know so much about all of this? It's great to have somwone like you answer all these questions.
    Many thanks for your help.

    • Brendon says:

      Hi John, I am continuously renewing F visas by replacing my old F visa with a new F visa every time I do a visa run so your old F visa will not give you a problem.

  58. Nelsi says:

    Hi Brendon,

    I'm so glad I found this website! I have questions, I have multiple entry tourist visa (1 year), each entry valid for 30 days, and I want to change my tourist visa to business visa because I will stay longer than 30 days for sure. Now I'm still in my home country but I already bought my one way ticket to Shanghai, my questions are, do the immigration in Shanghai airport ask you to show your return ticket? When I just arrive in Hong Kong, will the Hong Kong immigration also ask me for my return ticket? I'm very concerned about this since the airlines company told me that I should buy my return ticket because the immigration will ask for it. And after I read all those questions and comment, I also believe the FBT can change my tourist visa to business visa, right?

    Anyways, thank you so much for this forum, it helps a lot of people. Thank you Brendon!



    • Brendon says:

      Hi Nelsi, From my personal experience and from people I talk to, Chinese customs never ask for a return ticket. I am constantly going through Chinese customs and I have never once been asked. Chinese customs are harsh on particular nationalities but for most passport holders a return ticket is not necessary.

  59. Ym says:


    I want to know if i can get à tourist "L multiple entry? For a Dutch citizen.k

    my parents have à Chinese passport does That help??

    ive also got à reccomendation from My brother who works there. 

    • Brendon says:

      Hello YM, Dutch passport holders can get multiple entry L visas. From Chinese customs point of view, your parents nationality is irrelevant. Might be worth a few beers from the locals once you arrive here :)

  60. Rei MI says:

    Hi Brendon, great site! I've had so many questions and only a little time left since I still have to wait for the US Embassy to issue me a new passport and they said I'd have to wait 3 weeks due to Spring Festival. First off my daughter and I are currently in Tianjin China on a 'L' visa- but it's issued as a family visa as my husband is a Chinese National. I can extend my visa for a year (or more now) at a time as I've done that for the past 2 years. But I only got my L visa because my school paper work wasn't ready and my husband wanted us to come home before spring festival. SO I'm now really confused- I have all the paperwork (including medical check) with me now but not a mass amount of funds. I was wondering if it's possible to mail my passport and forms to the travel agent to convert my L to a Z? Then I could just go to Korea or somewhere closer than Hong Kong. Normally it wouldn't be so bad just going to Hong Kong but lugging my 4 year old around a strange city is not something that I'm looking forward to. I am just keeping my daughter on her family L visa.


    I've also read about getting a longer term visa for family members of Chinese Nationals but when I got my L visa in Los Angeles they didn't answer my questions at all.


    I've been in China since 2003 and this is the most work I've ever had to do for my visa before and I haven't left since prior to the Olympics so apparently everything's changed.

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Rei, I know that you can mail passports to some Visa agencies and they will organise visas and email your passport back to you. I don’t know the details though because I have never done this or spoken to any one first hand who has done it. I suggest you speak to the experts and email or call a visa agency. I use Foreverbright and always get a response to my emails. Lately some people have not received replies so you may need to email twice. Use this email address and address your email to Alex who is one of the bosses Things are a little chaotic now with Chinese New year but most businesses are open from next Monday.

  61. Ken says:

    Hi Brendon,

    I am US citizen, how much is the cost of a 6 months L visa to china cost? is it HKD1100.00 for the visa from Foreverbright?

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Ken, Sorry for the late reply, Chinese New Year holidays are have made life a little hectic. A double entry visa valid for 6 months should cost you HK$550. Where did you get the cost of HK$1100 from?

  62. Rei MI says:

    Hello once again Brendon,

     Unfortunately I was unable to do it through the mail but I've found a baby sitter for 2 days so I don't have to take my daughter at least. I'm trying to plan it out now but have never really travelled China in the 9 + years I've been here so I'm really at a loss. I'll be flying in to Shenzhen Sunday night and I'll probably need a really cheap place to crash for the night- and a hostle near FBT for the next day…any recommendations?

    • Rei MI says:

      Oh and I forgot to ask if you know how much the agency charges to do a next day visa? For some reason LUK TAK does not seem to want to answer that question. I've asked it like 4 times and it's not posted on their website.

  63. Rei MI says:

    >: {  NO good news!

    Alex FINALLY got back with me this evening only to tell me that I probably WON'T be able to do my visa in Hong Kong…

    Luk Tak never mentioned anything about anything except they could do the visa in 2 days. But tonight Alex emailed me with this information that I needed:

    For working visa you need to provide the following documents:


    1,Employment Lisence issued from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security ( 外國人就業許可證 )

    2.An invitation letter addressed to Hongkong visa office which should be issued from the Ministry of Foreighn Affairs.( 被授權單位邀請函 )

    3.Body check certificate from the authorized hospital or clinic.( 體檢報告 )

    4.Copy of the business registration from the employment company.( 公司營業執照副本 )

    5.A letter written by the employment company to certify that you will be working for them in the coming days ( 公司邀請函 )

    if you are not sure about the documents are the ones we need please scan all the papers and send to us by email we will happy to check for you before you are coming


    ***#2 is what my problem is now!  It's not issued for 'Hong Kong' and unless you read Chinese no one would know if it was!

  64. Rei MI says:

    WORST 'SERVICE' EVER! After 9 emails of telling "Yes you can we can do your visa here no problem" from Luk Tak- Alex FINALLY emails me.  With the above information with what I'll need to bring with me and the details…and basically telling me 'NO you cannot get your visa here'.

    Then today I get a short email from Luk again saying "sorry you cannot get your visa done here- GOOD LUCK!" WTF! Buying my tickets, arranging a hotel, and making all these problems for me and he's telling me GOOD LUCK?


    -_-'   So I'm now back in the same position I was 2 weeks ago only worse!- No visa and now no more time…

    • Brendon says:

      Very sorry to hear about your problems with FB. Your case of an L visa issued as a family visa that you want changed to a Z visa is one of the trickiest I’ve heard of BUT that is no excuse for the poor service and treatment you received from FB and the difficult position you are now left in. I really hope things work out for you.

  65. Gabby says:


    Can Americans get an L visa in half a day? If so from which office ?


    thanks for the info!

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Gabby, Timing is tricky but if you go through the visa agency Foreverbright or FB, you can get an L visa in just over half a day. Arrive in the morning a bit before 9am, submit your visa application and then come back in the afternoon around 1-2pm and pick it up.

      As you can see from peoples feedback in previous comments, service does look like it is dropping at FB and visas are getting harder to obtain but L visas are very basic so no problem there.


  66. Debbie says:

    Greetings Brendon,

    I am American,but on a visit visa in Doha Qatar and accoring to their website, in order to get any visa to China, I must produce a Qatar work visa and permit. Since I am on a visit visa, certainly I can not do that. I want a F visa which a company in China is asking me to get. I think I can fly from Qatar to Hong Kong, since Americans do not need a visa for Hong Kong,but my question is, can I get my F visa for China (hopefully a F visa valid for 6-12 months) in Hong Kong and if so, what is required? I have searched for about 2 weeks on the internet, the more I search, the more confused I get. Many sites are saying that wecan no longer process our visa for China in Hong Kong and that we must go back to our homeland to apply for a China visa. If this is true, it makes it very difficult for many people, the expense of traveling home for me is not an option. I would just like to know the real facts, so I do not waste time in money in Hong Kong in hopes of getting my F visa, if in fact it's not going to happen. Your site is the first site that makes any sense, thank you for that. Hope to hear from you soon as I need to decide the by the first week of March 2013.

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Debbie,I know in the past that US passport holders could get a 6 month multiple entry F visa in Hong Kong. There is a lot of talk about visas being harder to get but as far as I know, you can still get an F visa. To make sure, I’d contact a visa agency before leaving Qatar for Hong Kong.

    • Gabby says:

      Debbie, don't apply in HK I just did and was denied… I'm American. E-mail me:

  67. Kim says:

    Given that the latest reports are that FBs service are dropping, are there any other HK agencies you could recommend for fast visas? I'll be there getting my L for China next week.

    • Gabby says:

      If you are European you won't have a problem with Forever Bright… if you're American you can contact me: I'll tell you what I did

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Kim, FB’s service does sound like it is getting a lot worse. My advice though is to still go with them because they still have the best system/contacts for getting visas. I’m doing a visa run later this month and will still go with them. I am not familiar with other visa agencies but I have heard a few good things about Shoe String Travel, you can check out their website here

  68. jude olisa says:

    Hi is there anyone who can tell me if there are any nationalities who CANNOT apply for a Chinese tourist visa in Hong Kong? Is there any up to date info about ths please, thanks

    • Gabby says:

      Hey, I just went to Forever Bright yesterday… European passports and Canadian, Australian have the best luck. Americans are being denied regularly there lately, it happened to me but I was approved in my own country.  For the best information you should e-mail forever bright

  69. Daniel says:

    Hi Brendon,

    First of all, thank you for your excellent information !

    I'm from Switzerland and actually traveling in Vietnam. I'd like to go to China, but it's really a pain, long and expensive doing the chinese visa in Vietnam. So I'm thinking about flying to Hong Kong and doing it there.

    But I've heard, there have been some changes recently about the lenght of stay of the single tourist visa (L) and that it's getting more difficult to get it for some nationalities.

    Could you tell me if currently, I can apply for sure for a 30 days tourist visa (L) in Hong Kong without working or/and reside permanently there ?

    And also if the agency you recommend (Forever Bright) is still reliable (because of some comments I've read…) ?

    I really need to be sure of that before I buy the plane ticket to Hong Kong.

    Thanks a lot !


    • Brendon says:

      Hi Daniel, A Swiss passport holder can still get a tourist visa at Foreverbright or any other good visa agency. 30 day tourist visas are the easiest to get and even when visa regulations change, L visas are rarely if ever affected.

  70. Deep says:

    Hi Gabby,

                       My name is Deep and I m an Indian citizen could you please let me know  if I can able to get visa from Hong Kong to china? And how long it will take much appreciated,

  71. Deep says:

    Hi is there anyone who can tell me  if there are any nationalities who CAN apply for a Chinese tourist visa in Hong Kong? without hong kong ID, As i m indian citizen and i m not in india right now but i would like to visit hong kong and vhina as well, Is there any up to date info about ths please, thanks

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Deep, Just about every nationality can get a tourist visa for China in Hong Kong. For some countries it does depend on politics and basic tourist visas may not be granted when there is tension but in general, not a problem

  72. Henry says:

    Hi Brendon. Been reading all the comments and it all sounds great. I am a UK citizen and plan on going to China around September and want to stay more than 30 days (preferrably 6 months, but even 3 months is ok). Would this be possible given I have no invitation letter or family there? If I can get a multiple entry visa, would I need to keep making visa runs every 30 days or can I stay in China for whole 3/6 months my visa is valid. Appreciate ur advice !

    • Brendon says:

      From what I have heard, you cannot get a tourist visa that will allow you to stay in China continuously for more than a month. Your best option is a multiple business (f) visa for six months that will cost you around HK$2600. Very pricy but cheaper than doing visa runs every 30 days. If you go through FB, you don’t need any documentations, just cash (money talks with them) and half a day

  73. Mostafa says:

    Hi brendon

    i opened the HK embassy website and i found this

    4, If you don't reside or work in Hong Kong permanently, you are required to apply Chinese visa from the Embassy or Consulate-General of Peoples' Republic of China in your resident country. 

    So does this mean i can't apply for the visa in hk , if not can i still get help for the visa agency , thanks


    • Brendon says:

      Hi Mostafa, That setence you copied is confusing because I don’t know the contact. Do you have a link to that site? Visa regulations are getting tougher but Hong Kong is still visa free for just about all nationalities and visas for China are still being issued in Hong Kong

      • Mostafa says:

        hey brendon

        thanks for the reply , this is the link

        and i also contacted forever bright and i told them that i am an egyptian national and i had 3 chinise visas before one of them is a multi entry six months f visa and currently i have anther f visa but double entry they told me that they can't get a visa for my egyptian passport in hongkong , do you have any suggestions ?

  74. Thomas says:

    Hello. Currently I am in china with a 90day L visa. I would like to stay for longer and would also like to visit Kyrgykzstan and then come back to china. Will I be able to get a multiple entry visa from forever right? And can you please tell me how the multiple entry visa for tourists work. How long can I stay outside of china before I have to re-enter?

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Thomas, The type of visa you can get depends on the passport you hold. Generally multiple entry tourist visas are not a problem but you may need to leave China every 30 days. Your visa will have a duration such as 3 or 6 months so you can stay outside China for as long as you like within that time and still be able to get back into China. You are planning on using Foreverbright so I suggest you contact them for details.

  75. Ary says:

    Hi Brendon,
    Its seems as if you are the Visa Guru so I hope you don't mind me seeking your advice.
    I am a british passport holder and my extended tourist visa will run out at the end of April, but I do not intend to leave China before end of July and was hoping I would easily be able to get a new one in HK valid for 3 months. A lot of controversy recently has been stating that it's not possible to do so in HK anymore since 2013.
    I am a sutdent and do not have alot of means for this process, so the cheapest is the best for me and returning to the UK is not an option. What am I to do?

    • You can go to Forever Bright English and apply for either a single entry or double entry tourist visa. It'll cost around 800RMB for either. I did this with my UK girlfriend a month ago. 

  76. Kwítko says:


    Im studying in HK and tw of my friends (from Slovakia and Sweden) will come to visit me in May, they will stay for 2weeks and we want to go to China together, however im still confused about whether they can apply for visa here, how long it would take and how much it would cost… I can find the fees but every page has different prices and im sure there are extra charges for express… Can you help me with that? Can they apply? Where it would be the cheapest/fastest? 

    • Brendon says:

      Hong Kong is pretty much the best place to apply for visas so no problem there for your friends or you. Most organizations don’t publish prices because prices change too often and their listed prices would go out of date too fast. For exact prices, you need to contact either the China Visa office or a visa agency. The China Visa office is always the cheapest and normally takes around 4 days. A good visa agency will take 1 day but it costs a lot more.

  77. BB says:

    hi friend, i flew from india to china on a single entry visa, for business(F type visa), i had some business meeting in hong kong for a day, i entered hong kong from shenzhen, but my chinese visa got over as it was single entry, now am stuck in hong kong and have valid passport/confirmed flight tickets to india from sanghai, can i get a visa to china from the HK visa office, back for china, my luggage and everything is in my shenzhen hotel, pls pls help with information

    • Brendon says:

      BB i am surprised you left your belongs in China when you went to Hong Kong while on a single entry visa. Looks like all you need is a very basic single entry tourist visa which should be no problem for you to get. Your situation is desparate so I suggest you contact Foreverbright who are the best visa agency I know of or go to their office directly. From memory, a new visa will cost around HK$400 and you can get it in 1 day.

  78. Sofia says:

    Hi there, I would like to ask you a question.

    Currently I live in Beijing and I have a 6 month visa issued in Hongkong, is it possible to ask for another 6 month visa or is there any problem?

    Many thanks.

    • Brendon says:

      Hi there Sofia, depends on your nationality. I went on a visa run to Hong Kong last week and got a new 6 month F visa with my Australian passport. For example Canadians and people from the UK should also have no problem. People from the US and France will probably have a problem.

      • Sofia says:

        Thanks for your reply Brendon. Im Portuguese. I will call them anyway to clarify this question. 






  79. Ciaran says:

    Has any Americans successfully recieved a Chinese Visa recently. I am in Bangkok right now, and I really trying to figure out my best option. Should I fly to Hong Kong and try Forever Bright, or should I just try the Embassy here in Bangkok. They want all kinds of info now. 

    Return Flights booked
    All Hotels Booked, 
    Letter of Invitation
    Letter and work permit from my country ( I am a backpacker, so I am unemployed)
    and a Bank Statement 

    Any success stories and help would be amazing! 


  80. Julien says:

    Hello Brendon,

    I couldn't find the email of foreverbright on their website. Could you give it to me? Thank you

  81. Julien says:

    Thanks a lot Brandon. Do you think it’s still possible to get a 12 months F-visa for some nationalities?

  82. Julien says:

    I can answer to my previous question: its possible to get a one year F-visa but it will cost 5500 HK$ and 2 days processing

  83. Julien says:

    Hi again Brendon, did you change your RMBs in HKDs in Shenzhen or in HK?

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Julien, I normally take RMB in cash and change at the bank which normally has a slightly better rate. When I did a visa run last month I was badly organized and did not bring enough cash so I ended up using a China Merchat Bank card and withdrawing HK cash from a Bank of China atm in Hong Kong.. A little expensive but the best choice given my poor planning.

  84. Julien says:

    you mean you changed your RMBs to HKDs in a Shenzhen or in a HK bank?

    • Brendon says:

      I was in Hong Kong and used a Bank of China bank to withdraw RMB from my Chinese bank account and change it to HK dollars.

  85. naomi says:

    hi, i'm Johan 
    i'm from indonesia. .i need to make china visa at Hongkong
    So. .i hope ucan help. .
    i would ask about what term n condition i must have ?
    If can. .maybe i will make 2 visa. .
    for me n for my girl friend. .
    i'm 21 years old 
    n my girl friend 23 years old
    we need china visa for tourist. .

    Thx for respond my e-mail. .

    • Brendon says:
      HI Johan, I tried to fnd out and asked my contact but they have not replied.
      I will try again and email you if I get a reply but at the moment, it
      looks like visa's for Indonesian's are not a priority. Probably not enough
  86. Julien says:

    Is it ok to change the RMBs in Shenzhen or the rate is better in HK?

    • Brendon says:

      From my experience you are better off changing in Hong Kong. Changing currencies in mainland banks is trouble some and the rates are better in Hong Kong. The bank rates are normally the best but check with the money changing booths, they can sometimes give you a good rate.

  87. anastacia says:

    hi brenddon, good day! i just want to ask im using philippine passport, im in thailand, and plan to go to hongkong next week. can i apply for china visa in hongkong? coz i want to go to beijing after. is forever bright can process china visa till now? how much it will cost and requirements? thank u.

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Anastacia, I Don’t know about Phiilipinnos. I suggest you contact for a standard tourist visa, Foreverbright, their email address I’m very confident you will have no problems. You may be limited to 15 days though.

  88. Selkie says:

    Is it still possible for an HK non-resident to get a Chinese visa through ForeverBright? Currently their website says that you need to be an HK resident (i.e. have an HK ID Card). Which… I am not. I booked my flights (Tokyo -> HK -> China -> Tokyo) before learning about the possible HK resident requirement, so I'm a bit worried.

    I'm a Canadian, currently living in Japan.

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Selkie, Ignore most of the information on their website which is shocking. Being members of the PRC (kind off) Hong Kong don’t need to apply for visas. So don’t be worried, if you are a foreigner you will be able to get at least a tourist visa through Forever Bright or any other decent visa agency.

  89. Paul says:

    Hey Brenddon,

    I am currently holding a residence permit. I used to be a student at shenzhen university. Halfway during last semester I renewed it for another 6 months, it will expire 30 april. I did not continue my study at shenzhen university this semester. I have contacted the chinese visa office in hong kong and also a travel agency here in shenzhen. I get conflicting info. The visa office finally replied to me and told me this "Sorry, because currently you hold a student visa, so as a visitor in HongKong , you can only get a 30 days tourist visa to go back China, it takes 4 working days, no rush service, no need bank statement." But the agency told me that I can get a 3 month visa but I can only apply for a visa on or after 30 April because of I have a residence permit. This is very confusing.

    I am now also in contact with Luk from fbt (emailed today) but no reply about this yet. I thought maybe you  have some insight in this. Thanks for your time.

    Oh and I'm Dutch holding a Dutch passport.

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Paul, Don’t worry about what the China Visa Office. They are bound by regulations, minimal customer service and an obstructionist attitude. You can get a tourist visa in one day. I’m not sure about needing to wait for your student visa to expire. I suggest you conact FBT again. I’ve had emailed ignored by Luk and I needed to sen a couple before he replied.

  90. John says:

    Hi Brendon!

    Great site!

    Question: can South African passport holder that has never been to China before, get a visa in HK? I went to the Visa Office in HK today , and was told I must apply in my home country? Any suggestions? I desperately need to be in Shenzen on Thursday

    • Brendon says:

      Hi John, I will try to find out for you. It is Wednesday night now and if you need to be in Shenzhen tomorrow afternoon or even night, your best option is to go to Foreverbright’s office tomorrow morning and hope they can get you a visa. They should be able to and if any one can, they can.

  91. Kalle says:

    Hi, I am a Swedish citizen married to Chinese. I have been holding 1 year multiple L-visa for 3 years and all issued in Sweden. 90 days stay all the time. I am working at sea, 8 weeks onboard followed by 8 weeks vacation so this has been ok with me. This time I dont want to go to Sweden to renew my visa. What kind L-visa can I get in HK? Duration of stay? Thanks in advance, Kalle

    • Brendon says:

      Sorry I cannot help you Kalle, I have no idea about L visa’s for people with Chinese spouses. I have a number of friends here in China married to Chinese nationals and none of them need tourist visa’s so I don’t understand why you would have a problem.

  92. darcydev says:

    Hi Brendon!

    I am an American holding a US passport with a renewed F visa that expires on April 30th. I need to make a HK run to get a single entry L visa valid for 90 days. To your knowledge would this be a problem? I plan on going through Forever Bright and hope I can get same day/ next day service. I want to fly into Shenzhen (cheaper) and then walk across the boarder and get to their offices by 8:30am. I have a passport sized photo (white background) and enough pages in my book. Will I need to provide my own application papers or will FB provide them? I really hope this works…any advice would be appreciated

    • Brendon says:

      As far as I know, it is not a problem. Visa regulations for US passport holders do change regularly depending on politics and you may not always be legible for 90 days so double check that point.  As long as you get to FB before 9:30am, they’ll do your visa in half a day and you can get it back around 2pm. They don’t like photos with a white background so to save yourself HK$30, get a photo with a blue background before hand. Crossing the border at Luohu is a breeze and there are never crowds at the counters for foreigners :)

      • darcydev says:

        thanks so much for your help! one lasyt question- did you change your rmb into hkd at a bank before hand? was it difficult. i plan on taking the necessary rmb in hand for the run and i dont want to run into trouble when it's time to pay for the visa. any good branches or money changers in the forever bright area?

  93. jodie says:

    Hi ,

    i and my sons are australian passport holders…i have a multi entry F visa expiring in august , my 2 sons(16 and 18 yrs old) have # month L visas issued on our last HK visa run…we have been told by an agency ,that we cannot get 6 month L 2 entry (or multi) because my F visa expires before 6 months…and I was told I cannot renew mine before the last day of the F visa….is this true…we are leaving for HK tomorrow night , and were only told this at the last minute by the visa company…HELP…..Jodie

    • Brendon says:

      Jody I am also an Australian passport holder and I always renew my 6 month F visa at around 3-4 days before expires without a problem. Which agency do you use? I use Foreverbright.

  94. niz says:

    hi there! thanks for all the useful information. im trying to find an answer for my question all over the web, but the info is not so clear. i am currently living in china with a multiple entry business visa. i have to leave every 30 days, and my visa will expire at august. my husband just got his z visa recently and now has a residence permit. as i understand, becuase we are married, i can also get a residence permit. is there any way i can get that without going back to my home town? can i get the residence permit in HK?

    • Brendon says:

      My understanding of visas comes from my own experience and from other travellers I speak to. This means I have no idea about residency visa’s and marriage so I’m afraid I don’t have any useful advice to offer you. In your position I would call your embsay, a good visa agency and the China Visa office. Between the three of them, you should get a useful answer.

  95. Franco says:

    Hi Brendon your forum is great and you have good answer and good knowledge for all.

    I didn't quite understand one of your first topic regarding Chinese visa. So I'd like to ask you again.
    You said that somebody who has already a Chinese visa on a passport issued in another country (the visa is of course already been used and expired) cannot apply for an entry visa in Hong Kong. 
    Fact is this: my family and I will go to Guangzhou this June and we'll pass to HK for 4 days. Because getting a Visa in Italy (my country) is extremely expensive we were thinking to save some money and time and get visa in HK. My passport doesn’t hold any visa (I’ve been to china before but we are talking 10 years ago) but my wife and daughters have two Chinese visas, one from 2007 and one from 2011. Do you think that we may have some trouble?

    Thanks in advance for time and answer.

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Franco, You should have no problem at all getting visas in Hong Kong. My passport is full of old visas and I always get a new one and I’ve never heard of anyone having issues due to old passports. An existing passport can be a problem that that is not your case. From memory, a 30 day visa cost around HK$500-600 which is hopefully cheape than getting them in Italy.

  96. Brian says:

    My wife had to do a Hong Kong run after our marriage certificate wasn't accepted for a spousal residence permit.  We were nervous to send her but it all worked out perfectly.

    She holds a South African passport.  We had all the documents for the Z-visa before she left for Hong Kong.  The documents all said that she should apply in Hong Kong.

    She told me that there were lots of people leaving the consulate disappointed but I think it's due to documents not being in order.  She said the guy in front of her didn't even have his documents printed out.  He handed a USB to the lady and asked if she could print them!

    Have your homework done before you go and make sure everything is in order before you get there.

    Hope this helps!

  97. Clare B says:


    I am currently livin in Beijing working for my education company on an F Visa. I am about to have my last three month renewal in Beijing. I will then have been here a year, and from what i understand, will hve to do the dreaded visa run. I am going to visit friends in Vietnam   just prior to my visa expiring. I wondered if you know if it is possible to renew my F visa in Vietnam at the Chinese Embassy (My company supplies me with all the relevnt stamped invitaion letters etc) or if it is safer to swing via Hong Kong on the way back (as I am terrified of getting stuck in Vietnam!)

    Any advice would help!

    Kind Regards,

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Clare, I have no idea about renewing Chinese visas in Vietname. I heard that there are often complications, problems and delays getting visas outside China so my recommendation would be to do your visa in Hong Kong where it is much safer.

  98. hyule says:

    Hi Brendon!

    I am a Philippine citizen and currently holding an F visa in China. My F visa will be expired soon and am planning to get an L visa in Hongkong to come back to China in a short period of time. It is possible that my L visa application wil be approved? Or have you know any agency in Hongkong who can help me processing my L visa?


    • Brendon says:

      Hi Hyule, You will have no problem at all getting a short term L visa through an agency. I recommend you go through Foreverbright. I have renewed my F visa there three times with the last renewal in March and they are always fast and efficient.

  99. jay says:

    hello,i have an agency here in phils. they issue me a tourist visa going to hk and i will have 2 stay hk for 14 days because they tell me that my employer will get me a working visa going to it possible that my employer will get me a working visa going to china as domestic helper from  tourist visa in hk?please i need help..tnx..

    • Brendon says:

      Hello Jay, I really don’t know about work visas for domestic helpers so I cannot give you a useful answer. Needing to stay in Hong Kong for 14 days though sounds unusual. I suggest you confirm all the details with the employment agency in your country then double check those details with a visa agency in Hong Kong. I would not place my trust in a potential employment agency and possible employer in China without being VERY careful.

  100. Ahmed says:

    Hello , I'm in Hong Kong for vacation with my wife and we wanted to go to guangzhou for ssome shopping . I have already 2 or 3 Chinese visa on my passport from my country . So I wanted to apply for one even a single entry it's just for shopping can I apply and have it the same day? I'm egyptian of nationality 


    thanks in advance 

    • Brendon says:

      I am just a guy who’s into travel and I am not a visa expert so I cannot say for sure. From my understanding, you should have no problem getting a basic tourist visa if you go through a visa agency. Double check to make sure.

  101. Terrance says:

    Hello, I had a question. I Overstayed my visa in China for many years, and have hired an agent to fix the problem. This happened because of a lost passport, and some paperwork snaffus. Anyhow, my passport is completely empty, except for my new visa, and there was no blacklisting of any kind done, nor any red stamp in my passport. Basically it is clean, and it should be, as I paid enough to get it fixed. My question is, will I have a problem getting a new visa in Hong Kong? My agent in China who fixed the problem tells me know, but he also says I will likely only be able to get a 1 or 2 eeek visa, and that I cannot apply for a longer term visa, meaning 6 months to a year, until I have gotten 2 of these shorter term visas. Is this true? It seems to make little sense to me, can someone explain if they know more?

    • Brendon says:

      To me as a non visa expert, this sounds strange. Either your visa is clean with no black marks so you can get a normal visa like any one else OR it has issues so you are limited to a very strange condition of needing two shorter term visas which sounds wrong. Speak to a visa agent in Hong Kong. I have more faith (and success) with them than China visa agents to tend to be incompetant and rely on connections which come and go quickly.

  102. Terrance says:

    I think I need to be more clear. I got an overstay fixed, have a new L visa, and need to get a longer term visa in Hong Kong. MY visa is clean, and I have not been blakclisted. Will I have any problems?

  103. bambi says:

    Hey Brendon, Great forum, lots of good information. I am heading to Shanghai next month and staying in HK on the way to get a china visa. This is because the visa office in Australia, were I am from, will not issue visa's for more than 30 days.I would like to stay longer and not have to leave and come back into China all the time. I see that you have been able to get a F visa for 6 months without an invitation letter, from a visa agency in HK. Im just wondering if its ok that I have 2 old china visa's from the past in my passport that were issued in Australia? Do you think this will be an issue if I want a 6 month F visa.

    Thanks :)

    • Brendon says:

      G’dday Bambi. Getting visa’s in Auss is a waste of time and you have to run a gauntlet of Falun Gong members in Melbourne. You’ll have no problem getting a 6 month F visa with old visas on your passport. My passport is full of them.

  104. SAMI says:


    So I checked the horrible website of FB :P and it says 480 for 90day (half day service) and 650 for a 30day visa but 2 day service… this doesn't make sense or am I missing something?? I will be in Hong Kong for a week or two so there's time but I'm making my way out to one of the islands (was thinking Sunday). Is it okay for me not to have my passport to take the ferry and all?


    Thanks for answering!

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Sami, Their website is a mess and they must loose a lot of business due to it. Makes you wander why they don’t fix it. Personally I never go anywhere without my passport but for ferry trips within Hong Kong, you should be right. I was not checked last time. To be safe, go for the one day service so you are just without your passport for 4-5 hours.

  105. Hi there, 

    I have an Indian passport and have been to China several times. Since I am travelling this weekend to Jakarta and will be in Hong Kong the following week, I will not have the time to apply for a Chinese visa in India. I have 2 full days in Hong Kong. I would like to know if it is possible to get a visit visa as I have a meeting in Dongguan on the 4th June. 



    • Brendon says:

      Hello Badrinath, I am not sure about Indian passport holders but most nationalities can get a visa in one day so you should have no problems. The current improvement in politics between China and India only makes things easier for you :)

  106. jman says:

    Brendon, Based on past posts I'm trying to figure out the best/easiest way to do this. I am an  American in china on a X visa for study. I've decided to try to get the Z visa, found a company to get all of the paperwork I need and send my application to Hong Kong. In your opinion is it better to use an agency like FB, another agency, or should I do it myself (going to the visa office for PRC)? Is an agency possible for an American to get the Z visa? How to get price, etc? Thanks in advance, Jman

    • Brendon says:

      I’m very dubious about China based companies that will send your passport to Hong Kong. I’ve heard from people who have used them successfully but too many things can go wrong once you hand over your passport and the Chinese government is cracking down on this kind of thing. My recommendation would be to go to Hong Kong in person and do it yourself. More expensive but much safer and reliable.

  107. jman says:

    Sorry, also … I really like the option of doing it all in one day – is this possible as far as you know with Z visa? jman

  108. wangaba says:

    I am from Uganda, living now in China on L visa. Now I want to continue my studies, but the university told me that I have to go back to my country to change L visa to X visa. So, is it possible to change L visa to X visa in Hong Kong? If possible how much does it cost?
    Thank you.

    • Brendon says:

      H Wangaba, You have two problems facing you. The first is that X visas are difficult to get without going through the proper channels and having the official consent of a school and the correct paperwork from that school. The second is that the Chinese government has much harser visa conditions for most African nationalities nearly all other nationalities. Your best and possibly only chance of getting an X visa is to work closely with your school and go through official channels. That nomrally means entering China on a tourist visa and transferring to a X visa at the local PSB/visa office in the city where your school is.

  109. wangaba says:

    Thank you Brendon. Normally I have an admission letter from the school and JW201 form for Visa application for study in china. After getting these documents I went to the school to request them to convert my L visa to X visa but they told me that I have to go back to my country to do it. And to go back in my country is time consuming and high Airplane ticket cost. I read on Beijing Municipal public security bureau and saying that they do it for those who study at Beijing whereas my school is in Heilongjiang province. is the reason I want to know exactly where they can help me.
    Thank .

  110. StuD says:

    Thank you brendon for your awesome work in helping others.

    So, just to clarify with whatever is said on the website.

    Even if you do not have any record of having visited China or proof of residency in HK,

    can you (as an American) still obtain a simple tourist Chinese visa in HK?


    • Brendon says:

      Records of proof of visits to China or residency in Hong Kong are irrelevant and make no difference to your application for a visa. For something simple like a tourist visa, you’ll get it automatically and if you are not in a hurry, I would recommend applying at the China Visa Office. Just take something to read while you wait.

  111. mohammed qazi says:

    Hi Brendon,
    After alot of search for China visa i find you.
    I was a student in China and i have been China seven year after graduate i came my country India in 2011.but now i try Chinese visa from India i didn’t get it.
    You said from Hong Kong get Chinese visa is easy.
    So how can i do for get Chinese?

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Mohammed, Indian passport holders have more trouble getting visas that most other nationalities so going through the China Visa Office in Hong Kong will probably not work for you. The only suggestion I have is to use a visa agent and expect to pay a decent amount of money.

  112. Lily says:

    Hi Brendon, first thank you for being so dedicated to provide info on this topic! I am a French citizen working and living in HK since Dec 2011 and I have an issue applying for a 6 month multiple entry tourist visa. I've contacted the Grossman Agency and the only requirement I cannot fulfil to get that visa is 3 flight and hotel confirmations (which the rude lady insisted on). I can only provide the requested confirmation for my trip to Sanya planned for the end of the month (3 days) and will only plan my upcoming trips if/when I can get time off and the visa, My question if there's a way around that?

    Thanks in advance!


    • Brendon says:

      When it comes to visas, the Chinese government is strict with French passport holders but a single enty tourist visa should be no problem at all. I suggest you try Forever Bright (details in the post above) and you should have no problem. A great time of year to visit Sanya :)

  113. Mark says:

    Hi Brendon, it looks like you are the expert here and I hope you don't mind another question hehe. I'm a Dutch national currently in China studying with an X visa that expires next month. I found a job here, and ideally I would like to get a Z visa, which I will be talking to my boss about.

    However, next month I would like to return to Beijing to travel for as long as possible. With the new visa regulations, is it still possible to get an L visa in Hong Kong? And which agent would you recommend? (I've read a lot of posts saying Forever Bright is getting shabby). I'll be there for a week in July, after my X visa expires. Thanks for the help!

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Mark, I am far from a visa expert but I know a few people, do a visa run twice a year and not afaid to ask questions. You can still get L visas with out any difficulty in Hong Kong. Forever Bright to seem to be getting sloppy with customer service and communications. They still provide visas with their normal efficiency so I still go with them. I was contacted by Touch Law Firm who said they were good but are not replying to emails so I would not go with them.

  114. Jakob says:

    Hi Brendon
    I am a danish citizen which have been working in China for about a year, as my visa is about to expire I plan on doing one ot the famous “Visa runs”. However, as I have been chencking out the official information on “The Office of the Commisioner of Foreign Affairs of the PRC in Hong Kong SAR” it says that foreigners with no HK residence permit were required to apply for visas at their native countries?

    Is it still possible to get a 3 month (or even more) visa, either F or L, in HK for Mainland China?

    I am sorry if you have already answered this in a post above, but after a quick skim of the posts I did not find what I was looking for.

    Hope you can help

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Jakob, Sorry for such a late reply to your question. I just got back home from a trip to Xinjiang. Don’t worry about not having a Hong Kong residence permit. Virtually all nationalities can enter Hong Kong with out a visa and once in Hong Kong, you do your visa run like normal. There has been a lot of talk and confusion about foreigners, hong kong residency and difficulties getting Chinese visas but from what I have epxerienced and heard from other people, none of that has any effect on visa runs.

  115. jane says:

    I need to be in Shanghai on Tuesday 2nd July. I am a New Zealand resident with a UK passport. The last China visa in my passport has expired. If I get to Hong Kong for Monday morning and get to FB can I be guaranteed to get a visa by the end of the day?

    • Brendon says:

      Sorry for the late reply to your question Jane, I just got back from a trip to Xinjiang. A bit late but with FB, as long as you drop of your passport in the morning by 9am, you can pick it up by around 2pm and be in China before the sun sets. Hope your renewal worked out well for you.

  116. Letan says:

    Hey Brendon,


    I'm an American citizen who has been living in China on a L visa and previously had extended it TWICE to see some relatives/family. Now, they mention that I must go to HK in order to get a new L visa.


    Now is it true that the consulate will not issue me a new visa – if I had already extended the previous visa twice inside of China?


    I hope it doesn't require me to actually make a trip to the US for this.


    Thanks for your opinions!

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Letan, My understanding of renewing L visas in China which is limited is that extensions are granted at the descretion of the local authorities and if they don’t want to extend it, they don’t. Nothing you can do about it. You’ve already had yours extended twice which is better than most people so you have done well. Normally in your situation, the solution would be to left China, grab a new visa and come back in again. Expensive and time consuming but no choice.

  117. Franco says:

    Hi everybody, I just had an experience in Hong Kong regarding Visa to China and I’d like to share with you.

    We are a family of 4, Italians. A little particular fact: my wife is a former Chinese citizen. Visa was needed because after HK we had to go to GuangZhou to our Chinese relatives.

    We decide to do the Visa in HK because we didn’t have enough time to do it in Milan and because the guy at Milan travel agency was a little trouble maker, asking us wedding certificate and family status to prove that my wife was actually my wife….Considering that was already the third time that my wife was going to China after the Italian citizenship, we regarded the question of documents as a waste of time and just walk out from the travel agency sending to hell the guy …

    We arrived at HK the 12/06 and hand the passport to Hotel service the 13/06. We all did get the passport back the following day… except my wife and here our “odyssey” began.

    Reason even if absurd, was easy. My wife was holding a brand new passport without any preceding Chinese Visa and because she was born in China (so not an “original” Italian, so-to-speak), Visa cannot be issued from a different country than the citizenship one on a blank passport. We have to prove that my wife had been to China before. The fact was that the old passport, where the old two Visas were stamped had been given back to Italian Police Office when issued the new one… so my idea was “we are done, old passport is in the recycle bin, we can go back home…”.

    I did bite my tongue and kick my but!!! We HAD to issue the visa in MILAN.

    You can imagine the despair and the tears of everybody: wife, daughters, parents….

    So we were actually stuck in HK for different days to literally ping-ponging from Wanchai, to Lowu, to MongKok, to anywhere were possible to get an information on how to get that Visa.

    Until, I tried to call the Italian Police Office where passport was issued and ask them if they still had the old passport and could send me a mail of pages from it. Well, I couldn’t believe it, but:

    1 – they do have the old passport;

    2 – they could do the scanning and the mail if we did get ready a bunch of paperworks (such as “autocertifications” and “prove that is you who wants this”) and bureaucracy….

    Well, I kick myself for the second time!!!! I could have done that from beginning, if I knew that the Police Office in my country was so efficient.

    End of long story: we show up the next day at Mong Kok CTS office with a bunch of paperworks.

    The lady at office said that she need only form filled up, photo and old passport and Visas copy and of course 1600 HK$ because we wanted the Visa same day….

    At 18 o’clock we went to CTS office at TsimShaTsui to get my wife Visa. FINALLY!!!

    Next day we jump at 8 o’clock on train to Guangzhou and enter China without any trouble.

    Hope this bad experience will be a good lesson for everybody.


  118. Blair says:

    Hi Brendon,thank you for the great post first, I am wondering if you can recommend some hotels near FOEVER BRIGHT??? million thanks!

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Blair, FB is in east Tsim Sha Tsui so hotels on Nathan road such as Mirador Mansion and Chunking Mansion are ok but pretty seedy. My recommendation is to stay some where on the island that is near an MTR station then just take the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui, and take the easern most exit which is J from memory. FB will then be a 10 minute walk. My recommendation for the island is Wang Fat hostel which is in Causeway Bay. Check  see what is available and suits you.

  119. JW says:

    Hey Brendon, Thanks for the great post! I'm about to go to HK to get my Z visa. I have a L visa for China currently with an US passport. When I go there I'll have to leave the passport with them for a day at least right? What kind of ID do I need to stay in a hotel there? Will it be okay without the passport? Also with the application form B for the Z visa, section D questions 2-4 asking about visa or residence permit for HK. Do I just answer question 2 none, 3 leave blank, and 4 no? I'm kind of confused because we don't need a visa to go to HK…

    Thanks for your help! 

    • Brendon says:

      Hi JW, Normally you would book into your hotel/hostel as soon as you arrive in Hong Kong. Once you’ve done that, you are free to leave your passport with the visa office or agency for a couple of days. As a precaution take a scan and a copy of your passort which is normally enough for the cheaper (dodgier) hotels in Hong Kong.

      I can’t give you the exact details for competing the form because I am not familiar with it and have never applied for a Z visa. I’ve listed below the documenation you need to supply with your application.
      Employment License
      Invitation letter addressed to Hongkong visa office
      Health check certificate
      Letter from the company employing you to certify that you will be working for them
      A copy of your company’s business registration

      There is no real advantage I can see of applying through a visa agency for this visa.

  120. Robin says:


    I'm reading very conflicting stories on various websites, so hopefuly you can clear a few things up for me. I have a UK passport and currently have a F visa, which will run out shortly. I have all the paperwork to apply for a Z visa, and my questions are regarding this process.

    1. On my invitation letter and work permit it says Hong Kong, I'm assuming I MUST apply there?

    2. On the invitation letter it says date of first entry 2013.08.03. Do I need to apply for the visa before this date, or can I apply after this date?

    3. How much is the Z visa? I checked on this website but it only states the length of time, not the type of visa (intially for a Z visa they only give you single entry 000 stay visa). I.e. will it be 360HK or 2170HK.

    4. I've just looked at ForeverBrights (I used them before) website, it says they are no longer doing many types of visas, will I have to apply at the China visa office?

    Sorry for my stupdity, any help would be great!


    • Brendon says:

      Hi Robin, Visas for China are complicated and there have been massive changes this month so your questions are very reasonable. I cannot give you precise answers. From my understanding, you will need to leave China to switch from an F visa to a Z visa (doable in China but VERY troublesome) and that date is the final date that your invitation is valid for. As long as all the paperwork you have for your application is legitimate, I suggest that you are better of applying at the China Visa Office. FB are great when you are “missing” paper work or need help with “grey” areas of visa law/applications.

  121. Louise says:

    Hi, do you know how the new rules (from 1st July) have changed the way you get a visa? I have a f visa with only one entry so when I go to Hong Kong I need a new tourist visa to get back in. Am planning on going to the fb agency, will there be any problems?
    Thanks :) .

    • Brendon says:

      Hello Louise, The new changes to visa rules that came into affect the 1st of July have caught me by surprise and are still not clear. F visas through Forever Bright are now much more expensive and with limited duration. I’ve listed the details I have below.

      1 year multiple entry with a duration of 60 days HK$65000
      6 month multiple entry with a duration of 60 days HK$3800

      It taks 3 business days now to process instead of one AND you need to old China visas in your passport.

      Hope to have more information later.

  122. Dave says:

    Hi, I currently have an F visa from studying, which expires on 31 July. I would like to know if it would still be possible to travel to Hong Kong before the 31st to get a new L visa for 30 days. I have a Maltese (EU) passport. Please let me know what you think. Also - would it be better to apply at one of the agencies (Forever Bright, CTS, etc) or from the China visa office? Thanks.

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Dave, Normally I’d say the China Visa Office would be fine BUT since July 1 things have been crazy for visas and transferring from an F visa to an L visa may cause a problem. To be safe, I’d go to a visa agency.

  123. Andres says:

    Hi Brendon, I'm a student in China and my residence permit was going to expire on July 31st, so I heard that I could extend it for one more month if I wanted to travel in here before leaving China, so I did that and got an 1 month extension on my residence permit.

    But now I decided to apply to study for one more year at my university, but they told me I can't renew my residence permit for a 2nd time and that I should go back to my country to get a new student X visa. My question is if I can go to HK instead, and get a new student X visa there? Thanks a lot

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Andres, I really have no idea about residence permits so sorry I can’t help you. There is company in Shanghai called VisaInChina that does a lot of residency and visa work for expats. You can email them ask them. They should be able to give you a good idea. Their email address is

      • Andres says:

        Hi Brendon, thanks for the fast reply, my concern is not about the residence permit but is about the possibility to get a new student x visa in hong kong instead of going back to my country. Thanks again

  124. Ruha says:

    Hi Brendon! Im from Tajikistan. Now I have student visa, my student visa going to expire on July 31st, can I apply for business visa in Hongkong? thanks!!

    • Brendon says:

      Hello Ruha, Starting the 1st of July F visas will no longer be given. My suggestion would be to apply for one of the new M visas but these visas have more restrictions. You’ll need to check that an M visa would suit you.

  125. Bree says:

    Hi ,

    I had a question. I am thinking about going to study in Hong Kong, and I was wondering: Are you able to apply for a working visa in mainland China while being in Hong Kong with a student visa? (once you find a job in China, of course).  Because as a student, you can't work in Hong Kong, even if it is part time from what I've read. Is that correct? Thanks!

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Bree, I’m not the best person to ask about ths but my understanding is that you will need to apply for a Chinese working visa while you are in Hong Kong. A Hong Kong student visa is irrelevant to a Chinese visa.

  126. Martin says:

    Hello Brendon!!,

    Thank you very much for your useful post.

    I am currently working in HK until December and during my stay there I would really like to be able to go to mainland China once or twice a month. Is it still possible to get and tourist visa with multiple entries ? How long would last such a visa ? Where should I try to get it and how much do you think it will cost me ? I am from France by the way.

    Thank you very much for your help.

    • Brendon says:

      Hello Martin, you can get a double entry tourist visa that is valid for 6 months and will allow you to stay in China for up 30 days each trip. These visas are not cheap though and will cost you around HK$500 and take 4 days to process

  127. neonet says:

    Hi! I have heard tht Polish citizens can obtain free Chinese visa there but my friend who just went there today had to pay HK$570 for this. And there is no official price on their website.

    Are you able to help me find this info?


    • Brendon says:

      Ni Neonet, There are no free lunches and no free visas for China :) For a single enry tourist visa, you are looking at around $350 and that will take 4 days to process.

  128. Andrea says:


    Great article! Thank you for the information! I'm currently doing an internship in an architecture office in Beijing. Originally I got a 30 day F visa in Mexico, from where I am, and I extended it here once for another 30 days. Now I have to go to HK to renew it but I'm struggling a lot with money and I dont think I can exit the country every 60 days. My flight back is december 22. I wanted to ask you what visa type do you recommend me to apply for, maybe the new R or M visa, or just the tourist or the F to try to reduce traveling costs as much as possible! Thank you so much! 

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Andrea, Since the 1st of July and F visas being scrapped, there is no cheap or easy way to stay in China for more than a month. I’ve heard of multiple entry one year tourist visas that will allow you to stay for 90 days which I’m doubtful about and even then, you still have to pay a lot of the visa and leave every 90 days. The purpose of the visa changes was to make short term stays in China easier and long term stays very difficult. One option is to enrol in a local university and study Chinese. You could skp your classes and stay in China for a year as long as you follow the visa restrictions such as not working. I don’t know if an internship would count as work. This method though would cost you between 10,000 and 20,000rmb a year so not cheap either.

  129. Miranda says:

    Hi Brendon,

    Thanks for your article – it's given be hope that I might be able to solve the little dilemna I have! 

    I'm going to be studying in Shanghai for a year from September. I am a UK national and when I went to apply for my X visa yesterday they said I would be issued a single entry visa which I would convert into a resident's permit when I got there. The problem is I am planning to fly to Shanghai on August 24th then to Hong Kong on August 27th until September 2nd when I will return to China. 

    Would the best thing be to apply for another X visa once I'm in Hong Kong in order to enter China for the 2nd time? Or, perhaps, would it be better to get a regular single-entry tourist visa in the UK for my first entry into China?  

    Thank you for any advice you can give!

    • Brendon says:

      Hello Miranda, Definitely entering China on a tourist visa the first time would be your best option. Normally a school will get you to enter China in a tourist visa and they then change your visa to an X visa at the local PSB office. I’m surprised that you need to get your x visa in Hong Kong. This is a little strange so I suggest you speak to your school to avoid any unexpected surprises.

  130. Donnie says:

    Hi Brendan,

    What a great article and service! I had a quick question.  I am visiting Hong Kong for 2 days but am currently in Shanghai on an L visa.  I had my passport stolen yesterday, however, and will likely need to have it replaced by the US consulate.  From what I know, that service can be done same or next-day, however I'm more concerned about the visa.  Is it fairly easy to get an L-visa replaced or reissued in a new passport?  Would it be best to go through a service like ForeverBright? I'm quite stressed and for any help you can provide I would be extremely grateful.  

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Devon,Having your passport stolen sucks. At least your embassy can replace it the next day which is brilliant.

      From my understanding, you do not need any record of past visis or travel in China for a basic tourist visa.I suggest you double check to make sure. I’ve been getting help from Shoestring in Hong Kong who are pretty good and you can email them for confirmation at

  131. James says:

    Hi Brendon, i want to apply Chinese Visa in Hongkong for 1 year and multiple entry, and need to be done 2 days because i have some work to do in china. Do you know how much will it cost? And is it Z or F Visa?

    • Brendon says:

      Hello James, As of the 1st July F visas no longer exist and have been replaced by R and M visas that normally have a 60 day limit to stay in China. Z visas have also been changed with the maximum duration you are likley to get being 90 days and even that is unlikely. At the moment the only way I know to stay in China for 6 months is with Z1 visa which are very difficult to get without a legitimate employer.

  132. Claire says:

    Hi Brendan, I am currently living in Beijing with my boyfriend who is working on a Z visa. I only hold a tourist visa which runs out at the end of this month (August). I am hoping that I will find work here but until then I need a new tourist visa. My current tourist visa is a 90 day double entry one and I'm hoping that I could get the same again in Hong Kong but with all the changes and different advice I'm hearing I'm not sure if this is possible? Help!!

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Claire, sorry for taking so long to reply. I’ve been on the road and got back home this afternoon. At the moment from what I’ve heard you can easily get 30 day tourist visas with single or double entry but no 60 day visas.

  133. Marcio says:

    Hi Brendan,

    My last visa was an "F" 6 month, multiple entry visa in HK through Forever Bright. I orginally wanted 12 months but at the time I applied (April 2013) only 6 month business visas were available (according to FB). I'm in L.A. this time and want to again apply for a 12 month business visa. I saw your updates statin that they're no longer issuing 3 and 6 months, but 12 months multi-entry… Is this info accurate? Also, do you recommend applying for this type of visa via the Chinese consulate in L.A. or using a local service? I'm interested in utilizing whicever gets me the better chance of getting the visa I want.

    Thanks in advance.


    • Brendon says:

      Hi Marcio, Hope this reply is not reaching you too late. I’ve been on the road and away from home recently. The most recent information I have on the visa changes is that you can get the 6 and 12 month visas that allow a maximum stay of 90 days with some people saying only 60 days. In the past you had a lot more flexibility in getting visas in Hong Kong and in your home country and I think that is still the case so I’d say you have a better chance in Hong Kong

  134. Kenneth says:

    Hey Brendon, thanks so much for the technical advice you offer, keep it up.

    I'm a Ugandan passport holder and currently  having an F visa which was extended in Beijing for 3 months before the new law July 1st. But this was exteded basing from the one I had got from my Counrty 2 months with 2 exits. Hope you follow.

    Now my agent says I can only extend for one month in Beijing which is costly to me and can't coupe up with the work and business I'm doing.

    My visa expires on 17 th September, I'm planning to go to HK and apply for a 6 months F with 60 days each there any green light for it? If yes advice me technically sir.

    I salute you.

    Thanks Regards Kenneth

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Kenneth, I’ve spoken to a couple of people who deal with visas and from what they tell me, you can still get the 6 month visas with a maximum stay of 60 days. That was for Australian passport holders though so I’d check and see if that is the case for Ugandan passport holders

      • Kenneth says:

        Brendon thank you so much, but as you know different passport holders have different treatments though they're same human beings …So, I'm waiting for the info regarding my case in particular and bare in mind that my visa expires on 17th September.

        Once again thanks so much.

        Regards Kenneth

  135. Christopher says:

    Hi there i am a canadian my three months visa L tourism will expire on september 11(bad date) haha well i am in shanghai i would like to know if it is hard for canadians citizens to get a extension visa because i want to stay there without goung back to canada and apply again too much expensive … Can you answer me on my hotmail please

  136. Saniah says:

    Hi Brendon,

    I'm Indonesian passport holder who has a permanent resident in Italy. By October, I'm going to visit Hongkong, Shanghai and Beijing. I have received a confirmation from Forever Bright Trading HKG that they could arrange 'a tourist visa' on my behalf. However, do you know if I could do directly instead?

    Thank you a bunch.




    • Brendon says:

      You need a visa to enter China so you can not go directly to China without a visa. You either get one in Italy or somewhere like Hong Kong that is on the border of China and has efficient visa services.

  137. Paul says:

    Hi Brendon,

    I'm polish on L visa that will expire on 27 Sep ,planning to go for my visa run to Hongkong there is so many conflicted info that I'm confused so Embassy is giving only 30 days visas they are some agency that can manage to get 60 days double entry with 30 days each each entry both L and R one also told me that they could get 6 months F visa  if I have two previous F visas (wich I don't have) .Coming to the point I will need to stay in China another 6 months what  will be the best visa I can get in Hongkong are where to get it ?

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Paul, F visas no longer exist and have been replaced by M visas which have different conditions. You can still get double entry L visas valid for 6 months but you need to leave china after 30 days and come back again to use the second set of 30 days.

  138. Eric says:

    Hi Brendon,

    Thanks for all the great information on your wesbite and your service with helping answer questions.  I just read on another website that "in the past year Hong Kong has changed their Chinese visa application policy. If you do not have HK resident status, you can no longer apply in Hong Kong and you must apply in your country of residence. So don’t plan on applying for your visa during your stay here before heading off to China". 

    I amd an American who worked in China for five years as an English teacher but now I am in South Korea looking for work.  I need to get back to China though one last time to pick up the rest of my things and to travel a bit more, so I was planning to make a run to Hong Kong to get a 30-day tourist visa.  I am planning on doing this in early October.  I have heard that it has worked for others but now I am afraid about these new rules and whether or not Americans can get these visas in HK these days. I really don't want to have to go back to the USA just to get a tourist visa. Can you clarify this for me?  Much appreciated. 

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Eric, Sorry for such a late reply. For a standard 30 day one entry L tourist visa, you’ll have no problem getting one in Hong Kong. I had a chat with a guy from one of HK’s visa agency’s a couple of weeks ago and there a lot of issues with the new visas (R,Q,M) but basic tourist visa’s are still the same. If you want to double check, email or call For FB, Shoestring or Shanghai’s VisaInChina. Any one of these agencies will be able to give you an accurate upto date answer.

  139. Ladiny says:

    I wanna to ask.whta kind of document shoul be necessary nedd when we get VISA-X(student from hong kong to china)
    and we need to wait from how a long time when they soin our document.

    • Brendon says:

      Ladiny the documentation needed to apply for a student visa is normally
      -admission notice from your university
      -a JW202 visa application to study in China form
      -results of a medical checkup
      -a completed, signed and stamped accommodation registration form

      You may also need to have a copy of your academic transcipt and certificate of your high school/tertiary education

      The school you are enrolling in should help you with all this. If you are going through a visa agency, you will need to provide them with most if not all of this

  140. Volodymyr says:

    Hello, I m Ukrainian. I m holding student visa x,expired October 30. I would like to extend it as soon as possible. What documents and how much money do I need to get 1 year business visa S or working L? Thanks for Your answer. 

    • Brendon says:

      As far as I know, there is no way to get a one year visa with out A) a legitimate job with a company that can employ foreigners or B) a course of full time study

      F visas no longer exist and other visas such as R and M are not available for 1 year. The recent changes in visa laws are designed to make 1 year visas only available for legitimate purposes and they unfortunatley work very well.

  141. fc tatlonghari says:

    im filipino, i want to visit my chinese lady friend in Jiangmen, Guangdong, China for 5 days, what kind of visa i will apply in hongkong-china boarder? it is easy to get a permit to travel?


    • Brendon says:

      A basic tourist (L) visa is all you need and these are very easy to get. You cannot apply at the border though, you need to either apply in advance at the China Visa Office in Hong Kong or at a respectable visa agency.

  142. Simon says:

    Hi Brendan, is it still possible to get a 30 day tourist visa through Forever Bright on the same day? That is arrive 8.30am and get the Visa that afternoon?

    Many thanks Brendan, 



    • Brendon says:

      Hi Simon, Still possible with out any problems. I suggest you double check by emailing FB as a precaution to make sure there have been no recent changes. Extremely unlikely though.

  143. Abodon says:

    Hi Brendan. This is great site man. I hold a zimbabwean passport.I have this problem. I’ve been in China for 6yrs studying on student visa. This month my visa expired before l renew it and my school kicked me out of school. I went to get the 10 day exit visa. I tried to go to hongkong to get an L visa but got refused twice entry to Hongkong in Shenzhen at louhu boarder. The first refusal l told them that l want to get an L visa in hongkong then they told me l can’t go to hongkong for immigration purposes. The second time I told them that l’m going back to my country and want to vist Hongkong before going back and even showed them the flight ticket to my country and a hotel booking in Hongkong but still they refused me and said they don’t think that l’m going to hongkong for tourism. My questions is l don’t want to go back to my country to get the visa, what should l do to pass the Hongkong immigration ,my exit visa on has 3 days remaining. What should l do

    • Brendon says:

      Hello Abodon, Your situation is a very difficult one I’m just a normal guy who likes to travel so I can’t offer you much/any useful advice. Being refused entry to is unusual but considering you are on an expired visa, I’d say immigration want you out of China which unfortunately for you includes Hong Kong. My only suggestion would be to fly to to a nearby country such as Thailand then back to Hong Kong.

  144. Eric says:


    Super site!
    I’m a Canadian. I just finished an employment contract here, and my employer left me to get my own visa when my work visa expired. Unfortunately, in the interim, my passport went missing and I had to get another one. I got my new passport from the Canadian Consulate in Shanghai on September 17, and applied for a new visa on September 26 (four days before the work visa in my lost passport was to expire). On October 11, I picked up my new Chinese visa, which expires on October 26. I’m not sure what *type* it is, except that near the bottom in (parentheses) it says “humanitarian”. I’ve been to the Public Security Bureau here in Shanghai, and they say that I must leave China–I cannot get another visa here, or have my current visa extended.

    I need to remain in China at least another month to collect my last month’s salary and recover the security deposit on my apartment.

    I’m thinking of taking your advice, and heading out to Hong Kong. Besides my passport, what other documentation will I need to get a new (30-day?) Tourist visa in Hong Kong? Some folks have told me I can apply for and pick up my new visa “on the same day” at the airport, while others tell me it takes 3-7 days. If I can do everything in one day at your recommended agency, I would be very happy. What’s the word, then?

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Eric, Sorry to hear about your visa/passport issues that that you are not able to enjoy your last few days in China. Generally getting a basic 30 day visa in Hong Kong is not a problem. To make sure you don’t waste time and money, I suggest you email one of the reliable Hong Kong visa agencies with a scan of your current visa and confirm that you can get a tourist visa.

      Try  and

  145. Santiago says:

    Hi Brendon, how've you been?
    Out of curiosity, do you know "Beijing ESC"?

    They said they've been in business for about 3 years but I never heard of them before. I'm just trying to find out if they are reliable, because if so, they would be a great option for my visa extension with no need to travelling to HK.

    Please let me know if you've heard something about them.

    Thank you and regards.

  146. Paul says:


    I am an Israeli citizen , curently holdin M Visa(Visa was issued in my home country ) . My Visa will finished in a 10 days .

    Could i get any solution in HK  like 3 or 6 months Visa ?

    As i know China declare Israel as a war state and is very hard to get any kind of Visa.

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Paul, I’d say you are out of luck.Your best chance is to contact one of the visa agencies in Hong Kong and see if you can get a tourist visa. All depends on how long you need to be in China

  147. Ellis says:

    Hi there mate I need to apply for a 6 month M visa in Hong Kong,  I am a British passport holder do you think this will be possible. As I o ly have a single entry if I leave and it flops then I'm stuck, foreverbright don't seem to do M visas only travel ones really. Would be great do get some advice as it runs out very si 

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Ellis, Normally if Forever Bright can’t help you, no one can. That could be changing though and I’ve recently had complaints against them. A good alternative is Shoe String travel on

  148. rob says:

    Hi Brendan,


    Just been refused bussiness visa for Hangzhou and friend suggested your site for getting visa in Hong Kong,
    is all the above still working?

    do I just arrive at the Visa agent?


    • Brendon says:

      You should be fine visiting a visa agent. I suggest you first email/phone them and give them your details to make sure you can get a visa. There is currently a lot of grey area with visas and constant change so take nothing for granted.

  149. Bongky says:

    you can applic…China visa in Hong Kong but not for everry Nationality,better ask before.

  150. Sandy says:

    Hi Brendon!

    Thank you for being so helpful to desperate feeling people that want to visit China, lol!

    I realized I might need a visa this early morning to China to visit my uncle and cousins in Guangzhou.

    I am a canadian from Alberta on vacation to Hong Kong.  We are staying in Kowloon and was planning to go to Guangzhou on Sunday to visit family for three days Sunday, November 16-19, going back to HK for the night before heading home to Edmonton Alberta Canada 12:00 p.m. Thursday, November 20, 2014.

    So, from my understanding I need a L type or Q1 visa to go to Guangzhou to visit my family for three day.  Is this correct? And then I need to go to the agency you are suggesting in TST this morning Friday, November 14 so I can get it back in the afternoon right?  Do they open on weekends or do I need to pick up before end of business day today?

    Hi Brendon!


    i just realized I need either an L or Q1 visa to visit my family in Guangzhou.


    i am a Canadian resident.  We came to HK for family vacation Nov 11-20.  I plan on going to Guangzhou Nov 16-19.  Never had a Chinese visa before and have our passports.


    so if I am correct, go to FB to get visa before 9:00am today, Friday, November 14 so I can get it back this afternoon for travel on Sunday!  That's all I need right?  I don't need a letter from my relatives or bring any picture right?  FB will handle everything as long as I have my passport and HK$500 right?  Can I submit application on my family's behalf or do they also need to sign and get pictures taken?

    Please advise!!

    Thank you!


    Sent from my iPad

    • Brendon says:

      Hi Sandy, sorry, I am a little late to reply to your email. I hope your trip to Guangzhou went well and you did not have any visa problems.

      If you can, please let me know how you went with your visas.

  151. Kay says:

    Hi Brendon,

    Congrates for the great help you are giving to people. Please I need your insight:

    I am a Ghanaian and was a student (on a student visa)but have currently been giving a foreign expert position (work). My institute has suggested that I exit and re-enter on a different viza type. Do you have an idea if it is possible for me to do the change of visa type here in China without having to exit? If that is not possible, can I go to Hong Kong to do this without any consequences?


    • Brendon says:

      Hi Kay, Changing from a student visa to a work visa is often very difficult which is probably why your institute suggests you exit and reenter on a tourist visa. Very unlikely that you can change visas in China. You “should” be able to go to Hong Kong without any consequences BUT there have been a number of changes lately. I suggest you contact Shoe String travel on or Forever Bright on d to double check.

  152. Micheal says:

    Hi Brendon,

    I what to find out it is possible for someone living in china on student visa to have thier spouse join them.


    • Brendon says:

      Hi Michael, It is possible and common for international students in China to have spouses and even children with them. For details, I suggest you contact the university you are interested in and ask them.

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