1

I read on http://www.chinaconsulatesf.org/eng/lszj/zgqz/t751633.htm (mirror), which explains the supported documents needed to apply for Chinese visas:

L Visa: Documents showing the itinerary including air ticket booking record (round trip) and proof of a hotel reservation, etc. or an invitation letter issued by a relevant entity or individual in China.

I'm not sure how to parse the sentence. Is the correct parsing:

  • Documents showing the itinerary including air ticket booking record (round trip) and proof of a hotel reservation, etc.
  • or: an invitation letter issued by a relevant entity or individual in China.

or:

  1. Documents showing the itinerary including air ticket booking record (round trip)
  2. and: proof of a hotel reservation, or an invitation letter issued by a relevant entity or individual in China.

?

In other words, does one have to show documents containing itinerary even if one has an invitation letter to apply for a Chinese L (tourist) visa?

I am a French citizen if that matters.

2

Summary: The Chinese version of your quoted text suggests the first parsing. Though it all hinges on the Consulate/Embassy handling your application (not the opinion of random strangers on the internet), and they reserve the right to see other supporting documents; hence it is in one's best interest to submit all supporting documents available to them.


The Chinese version of the text you quoted, available via the Chinese Counsular Affairs website, reads:

往返机票订单和酒店订单等行程材料,或中国境内单位或者个人出具的邀请函件。

... which suggests the first parsing, i.e. Your itinerary and supporting documents (flight bookings, hotel bookings, etc.), comma, or an invitation letter from a Chinese entity.

Now there are two catches, which we refer back to the article posted by the Chinese Consulate-General in San Francisco (I have crossed-checked with the Chinese version to verify its accuracy). This first one outlines the requirement on what the invitation letter for an L visa should contain:

(1) Information on the applicant (full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)

(2) Information on the planned visit (arrival and departure dates, place(s) to be visited, etc.)

(3) Information on the inviting entity or individual (name, contact telephone number, address, official stamp, signature of the legal representative or the inviting individual)

... which if you think about it, they are quite vague and open for interpretation from both the applying and receiving end, which leads to the second catch listed under Section 3:

3. Special Reminder

[...]

(2) If necessary, the consular officer may require the applicant to provide other documents or supplementary materials, or require an interview with the applicant.

[...]

... which means the consulate/embassy may ask for your flight bookings (or other supporting documents) nonetheless. Going back and forth obviously risk delaying your plan.

In this case, it is perhaps in one's best interest to submit all supporting documents available to have the best chance of having a visa.

1

The latter. It's not perfect English.

They want to know where you're staying. If you stay with a friend, include that information, and if you stay at a hotel, include that information.

In addition, include your flight itinerary.

  • Interestingly, the Chinese version of the same text supports the first interpretation. Having that said, I agree with your general observation in the second paragraph (which may be reflected in what the invitation letter should contain), and that the more documents you provide the merrier. – B.Liu Nov 8 '18 at 8:20

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