Ever since I heard about during the pandemic, it has been my dream to visit CLI, a language school in Guìlín (桂林) for two weeks of learning Chinese. Now that the PRC borders opened, it seems to have become possible. I contacted the school and heard that it's now possible to obtain X2 visas, from which I inferred that this might be the visa type I should pursuit. I find it difficult to find concrete information about this type of visa though. Given that I'm not a university student anymore, is it actually the right type? Would it offer me any advantages/have extra requirements compared to the regular tourist visa?

  • This likely counts as studies, which is why they want to arrange X2 visas and not L ones, check your local consulate page for info Jan 20, 2023 at 21:10

2 Answers 2


X (Xuexi) studying visas should be used whenever your main purpose in China is to attend an accredited institution, not necessarily a university.

While studying does not require a specific authorization under Chinese entry regulations (unlike working), your purpose of stay must still be consistent with your visa category. If you are enrolled in a full time program more than a couple days, it is likely that your main purpose is considered study instead of tourism.

In any case, if they are registered with the local education department, (which they are legally required to be), their acceptation certificate can be used for X visas.

FWIW, the Chinese version of the school website looks like a machine translation (a very good one, but still many strange expressions that evoke English syntax). This may be just laziness if the website was developed by non-Chinese native speakers, but nonetheless it is good to ask about their accreditation from the local education bureau 教育局.

  • It does appear that the school's instructions for visa application (linked from their website) suggest towards the end of the document that they will forward prospective students a copy of the school license in addition to other documents for inclusion with the application. I'm not sure who is maintaining this website as a google doc, which seems hard to do from within China, but nonetheless I'd be surprised if they simply did not provide the documents they say they'll provide.
    – mlc
    Jan 20, 2023 at 23:38

Contrary to some countries, a Chinese tourist visa very likely doesn't allow you to study under it

The FAQ for the visa center reads

What is the major purpose of your visit to China and which is the most appropriate visa category for your application

Major Purpose of Visit Visa Categories Description of Visa
As a tourist L Issued to those who are going to travel to China for tourism.
As a student X2 Issued to those intending to study in China for a period of no more than 180 days

You are not going there for tourism, and you are studying Chinese

Since the information about what's allowed or not under a visa, is really sparse, as far as I can found, I'd suggest you follow the advice of the school and get a X2 visa

  • 1
    China doesn't issue tourist visas yet, so this might be another reason they want OP to apply for an X2 visa.
    – JonathanReez
    Jan 20, 2023 at 21:27
  • Thanks for the answer! You confirmed that the information is sparse. My confusion comes from the fact that I'd be "learning" Chinese, not "studying" it - I have a feeling that the brings some academic connotation to it. Or am I just overthinking this?
    – d33tah
    Jan 20, 2023 at 21:35
  • 3
    @d33tah You’re over thinking it. Learning Chinese is synonymous with studying it in this context
    – Traveller
    Jan 20, 2023 at 21:45

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