How to Get a Proper Visa to Study in China
The very first thing you need to do before leaving for studying in China is to get an X Visa (Student Visa). Here are the steps:
Step 1: Receive original Admission Letter and JW202 form from your Chinese university
Step 2: Do physical examination and get your Physical Examination Record
Step 3: Go to the nearest Chinese embassy or consulate to Apply for an X/F/L Visa
Receive Original Admission Letter and JW202 Form
Once your application is accepted by the university, your school will send you by courier (TNT, DHL, UPS and EMS etc) a document package containing: Original JW202 Form and Admission Letter. You will need to submit the original documents of these two documents along with other required documents to the nearest Chinese consulate or embassy to apply for your X visa.
SICAS Reminder: The JW202 form (Click here to see the Sample form) is an indispensable document required by Chinese embassy for applying X visa. Every JW202 form has its unique code which is issued by the Chinese Ministry of Education (MOE), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the Ministry of Public Security (MOP) and local governments. Thus there is no use if you download a JW202 form and fill it by yourself.
The Chinese embassy will only accept the JW202 form after the following procedure: 1. The JW202 form must be filled by your university in China in a formal and official way and also stamped and signed by the university chancellor. 2. The form must be submitted by the university to the local representative authorities of MOE and Chinese government for further approval. The above authorities will stamp the JW202 form in 1-2 weeks if it has passed the verification process.
SICAS Reminder: Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or your university if you still haven’t received the JW202 form when the starting date is approaching.
Do the Physical Examination
All students who will apply for an X Visa need to do a physical examination before applying for your visa. In most cases, you must submit the completed original physical examination record when you start to apply your X visa. You should better complete the physical examination in an official local hospital which is recognized by the Chinese embassy and it will make your visa application procedure more smoothly.
You can click to Download FOREIGNER-PHYSICAL-EXAMINATION-FORM.pdf (the foreigner’s physical examination form)
Check the website of your nearest Chinese Embassies or Chinese Consulates for details.
SICAS Reminder: You will also need the origin document of physical examination record to apply for a residence permit after your arrival in China. So be sure to take the physical record with you while coming to China.
Apply for an X/F/L Visa
Chinese visas are classified based on your purpose for being in China, such as tourism, education, or employment. For international students who intend to study in China for longer than 6 months, an X visa is the most secured choice.
X visa (student visa) are issued to those coming to China for study or an internship for longer than six months. The other two categories of Visa which are appropriate for international students are the F visa and the L visa.
F visa (usually known as a business visa) is issued to those who are invited to China for a visit, an investigation, a lecture, to do business, scientific-technological and culture exchanges, short-term advanced studies or internship for a period of no longer than six months. Please do not apply for this type of visa for long term education in China. Practically, Chinese Exit-Entry Administration Bureaus usually regard an F visa holder as a business visitor and they don’t offer Residence Permit foreigners holding an F visa.
L visa (tourist visa) is issued to those coming to China for sightseeing, visiting family or friends, or for other personal affairs.
It is better for you to apply for an X visa for studying in China because only by holding an X visa will a hundred percent ensure you to get a residence permit from local government which allows you to stay in China legally. If you cannot receive the original Admission Letter and JW202 Form before the starting date of your new semester, you can apply for an L visa instead.
SICAS Reminder: Please be sure to contact SICAS or your university in advance to make sure there will not be any problem for you to come to China to study with an L visa. According to current regulations and laws in China, the option of using an L visa to study in China is only available for students from North America, South America, Europe, East Asia and South East Asia etc. It will cause you some trouble to use L visa if you blindly apply for it. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of using an L visa or you may be expelled because of no Residence Permit.
For those who come to study in China with an L visa, SICAS and your university staffs may help you do a visa conversion at the local police station when you arrive at school.
Documents needed for visa application:
- A valid passport with at least six months remaining validity and at least one blank visa page in it;
- Chinese visa application form: accurately, completely, and clearly filled out and signed.
- Photo: one recent passport photo (2x2 inch)
- Original and photocopy of Admission Notice (issued by the university in your offer package)
- Original and photocopy of JW202 form (issued by the university in your admission package)
- Visa fees (Fees vary from country to country)
The exact materials needed for a visa application vary from country to country. Other relevant application materials requested by visa officials may include:
- Foreigner’s Physical Examination Record (Physical exam form.pdf)
- Proof of financial means, including proof of scholarship, bank statements, employment status and income of guarantor).
Method of application and time for processing
- Applicants can submit by themselves
- Applicants can entrust someone or a travel agency to submit on his or her behalf
- Applicants in some countries can apply visa by postal service as well.
SICAS Reminder: You may be required to go to the Chinese Consulate General for an interview if the Chinese Consulate General deems it necessary.
Visa processing time:
Regular pick-up time is on the fourth working day. For express service, visa will be ready for collection on the third working day. For rush service, application should be submitted before 12:00 noon and visa is ready for collection on the second working day. (It may vary according to countries)