I am a Canadian citizen with a Canadian passport, though I am currently doing a 4-month internship in the United States on a TN1 Visa. My internship ends at the end of August, and I am scheduled to visit China for 10 days right after, with my girlfriend (plane tickets already bought). However, I need to obtain a Chinese visa before I can go. What makes it difficult is that I am not in Canada while I will be applying.

Can I apply for a Chinese visa from the US even though I am a Canadian citizen? Also, I've been told that I will need to mail my passport in order to obtain the stamp on it (this is normally standard procedure from what I hear). I am, however, concerned, should my passport got lost in the mail, that I would not be able to return to Canada. Are there any alternatives, or should I not worry about this? Also, am I even allowed to be in the US without my passport?

I don't know what procedure I should follow in order to get this visa given my situation. Please advise.

2 Answers 2


Yes, you can absolutely get a Chinese visa from a Chinese Consulate in the US as a non-US citizen. I know, because I did it myself a few weeks ago.

The only additional information required with your application is that you will need to provide proof of legal status in the US - this means BOTH your original visa (which obviously they will return), a copy of your visa (which they will keep) AND either an original and copy of your I-94 card OR a printout from the CBP I-94 website if you don't have a physical I-94 card (www.cbp.gov/i94)

Otherwise the process is exactly the same as for a US citizen applying, so follow the instructions as per the consulate website.

Personally I applied in person at the San Francisco consulate and the process couldn't have been smoother or easier (or cheaper! Only $30 for a non-US citizen to get a Visa), however if you are far enough away that getting to your nearest consulate is a problem then you will have to get a visa agency/broker involved as the Chinese consulates in the US do NOT accept applications via mail.

  • What about cost? I noticed that there is pretty large difference (2-3x) in fees for visa in US vs Canada; would it actually be cheaper to get Chinese visa in US or do they charge the same?
    – AnthonyWC
    Jan 1, 2019 at 22:06

In your case, I would contact your nearest Chinese consulate that services your area, and ask whether you can get a visa through them. Some consulates offer visa services to both citizens and permanent residents of the country they are in, and a TN1, although officially temporary, might be permanent enough for them to help you. In my experience the Chinese generally go "by the book" but are willing to bend the rules if you can talk to somebody with enough authority. In fact, this might be fine according to the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles:

(3) Proof of legal stay or residence status (applicable to those not applying for the visa in their country of citizenship)

If you are not applying for the visa in the country of your citizenship, you must provide the original and photocopy of your valid certificates or visa of stay, residence, employment or student status, or other valid certificates of legal staying provided by the relevant authorities of the country where you are currently staying.

Technically, you should be in possession of your passport (or at least have it available at short notice) whenever you are in the US (an immigration officer once described it to me as "except when you're swimming"). However, in practice this is unlikely to be a problem for you if you need to send your passport anywhere. Just don't do anything that might bring yourself to the attention of the authorities (same as usual, really).

As a Canadian citizen, you always have the right to return to Canada, but the burden of proof that you are in fact a Canadian citizen is on you. A passport is obviously the easiest way to prove this, but a birth certificate may be sufficient.

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