I know with the visas of certain countries you can enter right up to the last day stamped on the visa and still stay for the full duration permitted by the visa, say 30 or 90 days etc.

Is this the case with Chinese visas?

I applied for my Chinese visa before leaving home and visited Taiwan before China. I did not expect to stay 90 days in Taiwan but did. When I flew from Taiwan to mainland China I looked at the my visa and saw the date range is six months. I have been granted a dual-entry visa valid for six months. Its "final" date is now about 3 months away.

The two entries are valid for sixty days each. If the "final" date is an expiration date, I would have to rush my time between the end of my first entry and returning for my second entry, which then would not last the full 60 days.

However if the "final" date is just the last day I'm permitted to enter China and can still stay for the full 60 days, then I have more flexibility. I know the visas for some countries work this way.

Which way does it work for a Chinese visa?

(Apologies for the awkward wording, I don't know the proper terminology.)

  • 1
    @pnuts I'd say that counts as an A, it does not look the like but that's an official website.
    – mts
    Nov 13, 2016 at 19:19
  • 1
    Related: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/43657/…
    – JonathanReez
    Nov 13, 2016 at 20:56
  • I tried to re-arrange/reword the contents to make to problem clearer. Please revert if I've screwed it up.
    – mkennedy
    Nov 13, 2016 at 22:27
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    Voting to close as unclear until you specify whether your visa reads "valid until" or "enter before". Both cases exist and their meaning will likely be different.
    – mts
    Nov 13, 2016 at 23:03
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    @hippietrail can you add a photo of your visa then? That would clear out the confusion
    – JonathanReez
    Nov 14, 2016 at 0:07

3 Answers 3


Looking at pictures of Chinese visas available on the Internet (e.g. on Wikipedia), there only seems to be an "Enter Before" date, and no other "expiration date". "Enter Before" should make it pretty obvious that you just have to enter before that date.

  • 1
    I confirm the comment of @pnuts, my passport features a Chinese tourist visa with no "enter before" but "valid until". However that visa I received while already in China before I could apply for my residence permit.
    – mts
    Nov 13, 2016 at 23:02
  • I will look at my visa as soon as possible to check its wording. I could've misread "enter before" but I would've thought I wouldn't be worried if mine said that. Nov 13, 2016 at 23:53
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    I must've have been panicking a bit about getting transport from Taiwan to China before my Taiwan visa expired because my visa does indeed say enter before, which is indeed totally clear. I can see no other reason I was confused. Interestingly, I also have a visa extension from my previous trip and it instead has a valid until field. The that field is left blank and instead on the "remarks" line it says even more clearly Permitted to stay until <DATE>. Nov 14, 2016 at 6:07

I just looked at half a dozen Chinese visas in my passport, all say "Enter before". I do recall back in the old days with 90 day/single entry visas that we entered pretty close to the end of the time more than once but that passport is currently on the other side of the world.

I do specifically recall a planned trip that would have involved entering on the day printed on the visa, the only issue was whether it was still valid that day or not. We couldn't resolve that adequately so played it safe and got new visas. (And then ran into a mechanical delay that resulted in us reaching immigration a few minutes before midnight.)


Most countries the way visas work is the date on the visa is the date you have to enter by, and does not affect the length of time you can then spend in the country, which is then calculated from the entry date. You can enter on the last day your visa is dated, and get whatever duration stay from then.

Chinese visas work this way- the date on the visa is the last day you are permitted to enter China and you will get 60 days as long as you enter by that date. I have done this myself with a 60-day Chinese visa (which I subsequently extended in country for an additional 30 days).

Of all the countries I have been to, Vietnam was the one exception to this rule- the expiry date on a Vietnamese visa is actually the "leave by" date, so if you enter Vietnam "late" you reduce the length of time you get on your visa. I got to Vietnam two weeks later than I intended and as such only got two weeks on a 1 month visa.

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