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My girlfriend (Russian citizen) lives in China under a business visa. I (American citizen) would like to go visit her for a few weeks, and it seems that the S2 visa is the appropriate one for me to get (if I should still get the tourist L visa instead, please let me know!). However, I have only seen references to people "working" or "studying" in China as being able to write the needed invitation letter for the S2. Does a business visa count as "working", and, if it does, can she write me the needed invitation letter?

  • Why do you think the S2 visa for family members is correct? Unless you are married to the person living in China ('girlfriend' seem to indicate that you are not), you are not entitled to an S2 visa. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Feb 11 '15 at 16:14
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo based on the description of the visa offered on the China Embassy website, as well as various other websites (example), you are incorrect. The S2 can now be used for "private affairs" that are short-term stays. The S1 visa is for visiting family and long-term stays. Please remember that a massive overhaul to the visa regime for the US/China came into effect this past November, 2014. – Matthew Herbst Feb 11 '15 at 16:51
  • I don't know why you think that I am incorrect. The pages you are linking to clearly state that the S2 visa is for people intending to visit family members (spouses, parents, sons, daughters, spouses of sons or daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandsons, granddaughters and parents-in-law), which are resident in China. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Feb 12 '15 at 12:06
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    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo From the Chinese Embassy website description of the S2 visa (emphasis mine): "Foreigners who intend to visit their family members* who are foreigners working or studying in China, or to those who intend to go to China for other private matters." From visarite: "China S2 visa is Issued to those who intend to visit their family members who are foreigners working or studying in China, or to those who intend to go to China for other private matters such as visiting friends, divorce, inheritance, adoption, marriage or medical services." – Matthew Herbst Feb 12 '15 at 17:54
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo the only difference major between S1 and S2 that I see is that S1 is long-term and S2 is short-term. Many websites also describe S1 as only being for family members, though some also say it can be used for "other private matters" as well. – Matthew Herbst Feb 12 '15 at 17:58
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The S2 is issued to family members of work Z and student X visa holders. The S2 is not issued to family members of business F/M visas. You should apply for a tourist L visa.

To be clear, business F/M visas are issued for people working in China but normally employed by a foreign firm and invited by a Chinese company to conduct business between the foreign and Chinese firm. The work Z visa is issued to people working in China for a Chinese company with an invitation from a government agency.

In any case, I have a Z visa but my brothers and parents visit me on L visas, as do every other foreign persons family I know. A tourist L visa is quite acceptable for short stays.

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