So here's my problem : once you obtain your chinese visa, you seemingly have 3 months of validity to enter the country. I will not be able to do this in my home country (Canada) since I am aiming to spend a few months in Europe before going to China. So my question is two-fold :

  • Is it true that the double entry visa is valid for 6 months (I've read this, but would enjoy a confirmation from someone with relevant experience)
  • Otherwise, how easy is it to obtain a tourist visa outside of your home country (say London or Berlin)?

3 Answers 3


I actually applied for a Chinese visa today at the consulate in San Francisco, which is not in my home country (based on nationality) with no issues at all.

Single entry visas are normally valid for only 90 days from the date of issue, however at least in the US they will give you an extra 90 days (180 total) on request and with suitable documentation. This is probably your best option presuming you can show travel plans in the 90-180 day region.

Multiple Entry visas are valid for 6 months, however at least for US citizens they apparently do not normally issue a multi-entry visa until after you have been issued with and used a single-entry visa. From what I've read, this does vary from country to country.

You can obtain a visa outside of your country of citizenship, although again this may vary from consulate to consulate. For application in the US by non-US citizens you are required to show proof of legal status in the US (eg, US Visa, I-94, etc).

Note that China does require documentation of your travel plans before they will issue a Visa - that includes a confirmed flight ticket, and confirmed accommodation plans and/or an invitation letter from whoever you will be staying with.

Most Chinese consulates have fairly complete web pages with details of the requirements and details of visas, so I would suggest checking the websites for the consulate nearest you, and the consulate in the country(s) you expect to be in during your travel in Europe to confirm which option will be best. I also found the San Francisco embassy to be very responsive to questions sent to them via email (even replying on a Sunday to answer my question!)

An interesting side effect of applying in a different country - if I'd applied in my own country, the visa would have cost US$90. Applying in the US, it only cost $30. That's a nice little saving :)

  • Thanks for the very relevant information. So if I've read that correctly, you've had to show proof of legal status in the US to get the visa over there?
    – Afrosimon
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 15:40
  • Correct. I had to supply the original and a photocopy of my US Visa (in my case the original was in the same passport I gave them), along with a copy of my I-94 (obtained via www.cbp.gov/I94).
    – Doc
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 18:25

I can confirm that multiple entry visa have a longer validity. I do not know specifically about double-entry visa, but multi-entry visa (unlimited) are valid for a year.

You can get a China visa when abroad, but it is much easier in countries where travel to China is frequent, such as Hong Kong or Singapore. This question is relevant for the details.


The accepted answer has been overtaken by events.

At this point US citizens get 10-year multi-entry visas. Unfortunately, they are $140 and you either apply in person or hire a visa agency to do so--there is no mail service. (Both of these restrictions are tit-for-tat, don't expect them to change other than possibly for the worse.)

I was issued a 60 days/entry visa but this is far from the first Chinese visa I have had. My wife was issued 90 days/entry but she is China-born and they're more liberal with visas for those of Chinese heritage.

  • The OP is Canadian. Do all Canadians (and people of any other country where this could apply) also get 10-year multi-entry visas? Commented May 5, 2016 at 23:41
  • @ZachLipton No. It's an agreement between the US and China. Commented May 5, 2016 at 23:52
  • This Canadian got a nine-year multiple entry one when I asked for a single entry 5 day one. I have never been there before. Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 21:27

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