I've been to China a few times, and the last time I applied for a visa (two years ago), there was no option for duration. You just give them (the Chinese visa service in London) your credit card details and hope for the best. I ended up getting a multiple-entry, two-year visa, which was great but really expensive. Travelling to China is already expensive, such that it's unlikely that I'll go more than once in a two year period (I wasn't able with this last visa, for example).

Has the process changed in the meantime, or is there some other way to get a short duration, single entry visa? For example, last time I did it all online and by post; would going to the application centre in person make a difference? I realise Shanghai, Beijing and some other cities have 3-4 day transit options, but that’s not really long enough.

EDIT If it makes a difference, I have Chinese in-laws.


I've never applied for a Chinese visa in the UK, but all places where I have, you have the option to apply for a single-entry or double-entry visa, which is much cheaper. The form to fill out lists the options. You should enquire in person about that.

  • 1
    That used to be the case in the UK, as well. However, the last time I applied for a Chinese visa, they had changed it such that the option of single/double/multiple-entry was no longer available and the process seemed to be more like "you'll be given the most expensive one you're allowed". Hence my question. – Xophmeister Mar 7 '18 at 9:37
  • In a way I wish it were like that in Hong Kong... I just applied for a visa and all they could give me was 2 entries – TheGrouch HK Mar 9 '18 at 1:37

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