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This question is specifically about true multiple-entry visas, which for China are valid for six months and allow multiple entries.

This question is not about double-entry visas. In the case of China, these are distinct and I know where and how to get a double-entry visas, but not where and how to get a multiple-entry visa.

In Ho Chi Minh city a month or so ago I found out at the Chinese embassy that they only grant one-month single entry visas, at least to me, an Australian passport holder, though the form and the signs on the wall had fees and conditions for multiple-entry visas. The staff did not give me a clear answer other than that they don't issue multiple-entry visas.

I'm assuming they must issue them to Vietnamese citizens.

Today in Vientiane I found out at the Chinese embassy that they only grant single-entry and double entry visas, at least to me, an Australian passport holder, though the form had a box for a multiple entry visa, which I originally chose. Again the staff didn't give me a clear answer other than that I couldn't get a multiple-entry visa here in Laos.

They were not interested in the printouts scanned from my old passport with previous visa and entry and exit stamps that I'd been told would be needed for a multiple entry visa.

So, do we know for sure whether China only issues multiple-entry visas to citizens of the country where the embassy is, or people with residence status there. Has anybody here been granted such a visa when applying outside their home country? Is there a way we can find out whether it's only citizens from certain countries of embassies in certain countries, or is it just one of those official Chinese mysteries where nobody can really know the answers in advance?

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  • Similar older question before we knew that China distinguishes between double-entry and multiple-entry visas: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/19241 May 22, 2015 at 8:57
  • Do I correctly assume you are looking for a multiple-entry L-type visa (tourist visa) as an Australian citizen?!
    – mts
    Mar 23, 2016 at 13:30
  • @mts: Yes. If my next trip is to Asia I'll probably get a Chinese visa at home before I leave, but an answer would still be helpful. Mar 24, 2016 at 22:19
  • You can get a multiple entry visa if you can show that you have previously been issued one. Jul 19, 2016 at 1:15
  • 1
    I received a multiple-entry 10 year visa (US passport) while in London a year or two ago. I don't remember if I declared myself resident in the UK on the form though.
    – waiwai933
    Aug 1, 2017 at 13:16

3 Answers 3

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So, do we know for sure whether China only issues multiple-entry visas to citizens of the country where the embassy is, or people with residence status there.

Yes, this is true not only for China but for most other countries as well, with very few, very specific exceptions.

In fact, I only know of (personal experience) exceptions granted, but it was for a single entry/exit visa which was granted due to exigent circumstances (a medical emergency); and it required an appeal to the counselor.

As a visitor - you are very lucky to be granted a visit visa, for many nationalities they require you arrange this from your domicile.

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  • I think your answer is right in general but do you have any sources for this specific case? Also as the OP reports they do issue single-entry visa for people on the road, I guess the truth is that it depends on the wind of politics of the day, your passport and a good dose of luck and or connections.
    – mts
    Jul 20, 2016 at 14:19
  • I first edited the answer with specific examples (personal, and of colleagues); but then it was a growing list of embassies and I just deleted that part out. One was China. Jul 20, 2016 at 18:33
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I did get a multiple enty visa for China (1 year) while I worked in Malaysia. I have an Irish passport. The condition was that I had to prove that I was a resident while I applied. Without that proof I wouldn't get a multiple entry visa. Incidently, I have visited many Chinese embassies around Asia and have found this one in KL to be the friendliest for what it's worth. Bangkok recently seemed to be chaotic. I think they had new staff lacking in experience.

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  • I find the one in Vientiane to be the friendliest of the several I've used. I've heard the one in Luang Phrabang might be pretty nice too. Ho Chi Minh City was chaotic. Aug 2, 2017 at 12:01
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Modern, post-Covid, answer to this question. With first a comment: these visas are not necessarily 6 months. They can go all the way to 10 years.

Now, the generic answer is "probably not". In some places, like Singapore, they even refuse to issue multiple-entry visas to non-Singaporeans, even PR. Friends of mine have beeen dealing with that crap. They were told "you want multi, go home!" How... nice...

The only place (that I know of) that issues multiple-entry visas to non-residents is Hong Kong. Before Covid, they didn't (but did, a decade or so ago). But the new Visa Centre is now equipped and staffed to handle the workload. While applying for my visa last year, I heard tourists applying for a multiple-entry visa. So it is indeed possible.

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  • It's possible to apply yes. I applied, even from my own country. But I've never been granted one. And wasn't give a reason either. Each time I applied in any country I got double entry if I applied for multiple entry. Last time was six or seven years ago now. Jan 29 at 10:54
  • That's weird. Before Covid you had to get single-entry, then 2-entry before you could get multiple-entry, but that was automatic. Everybody I know with a Chinese visa has a multiple-entry. There's something weird with your case. And now in HK multi is automatic.
    – dda
    Jan 29 at 11:52
  • It never worked that way for me. First time I went to China was 9 or 10 years ago. I'm an Australian citizen and applied for my visa twice in Laos, once in Australia, and once in Mexico. I'm not sure that I've ever had a single-entry visa because I always want to cross borders and explore. But I've also never been given a visa with more than two entries. Perhaps everybody you know is from a different part of the world to me, or has applied in countries other than where I've applied. Jan 30 at 6:38
  • I know a Singaporean who got a one-year in Laos. Mexico and OZ, nope. I know people who got them, over the last 17 years, in France, HK, thr US, Macau, the UK. I really you were really unlucky. Next time try in HK, seems like the best option.
    – dda
    Jan 30 at 7:36
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    I got a 10 year multiple entry visa on my first application back in 2019, though that was in Washington DC as a US citizen resident in the US, and I was applying for a business visa with an invitation from a company.
    – artemist
    Jan 30 at 7:53

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