China Private Visit Visa (S)
As of September 2013, relatives of foreign residents in China have more opportunities to visit their loved ones. The S visa is a new visa type issued to family members of foreign professionals and students in China. Spouses, children, brothers, sisters, parents and parents-in-law of foreigners residing in China all qualify for this S visa. It’s generous in comparison with the international standard which is generally limited to only spouses and children. The policy change is with a view to helping China attract and retain international expertise and boost tourism.
The S visa has two categories: S1 and S2. S1 is issued to immediate family members of foreigners residing in China for work or study. In these instances ‘immediate’ family members refers to spouses, parents, parents-in-law and children under the age of 18. S2 is issued to other family members of work Z and student X visa holders. This can extend to, spouses of sons or daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandchildren and parents-in-law. The other main difference between S1 and S2 is that S1 allows a stay of more than six months, while S2 is intended for shorter visits. A holder of an S1 visa must apply for a Temporary Residence Permit within 30 days of entry. The residence permit can be granted with a minimum of 90 days and a maximum of five years. S2 holders must stay in China for the duration of the visa.
1. Passport valid for six months with at least one blank page.
2. Fully completed Application Form with recent passport photo. Full face, no hat, and against a plain, light background.
3. An invitation letter issued by the relative who works or studies in China, which must contain:
a. Information of the applicant (full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)
b. Information on the visit (purpose of visit, arrival and departure dates, place of intended residence, relations between the applicant and the inviting individual, financial source of living expenditures, etc.)
c. Information on the inviting individual (name, contact number, address, signature, etc.)
4. A photocopy of the inviting individual's passport and residence permit.
5. Original and photocopy of evidence certification such as a marriage certificate, birth certificate, certification of kinship issued by the Public Security Bureau (or notarized certification of kinship) showing their immediate family relationship.
How to Apply
Applicants can submit applications to Chinese embassies or consulates by themselves or another party. A personal appearance is only necessary if consular officials require an interview. Mail and mail-back services are not available at most embassies and consulates, however, for applications through the Chinese Visa Application Service Center (CVASC), applying by post is an option and applicants can also complete the application form online. An online appointment is required for all applications in person.
Regular processing currently takes four working days. However, there may be some changes under the new regulations depending on the country. At the Chinese embassy in India, the normal processing may take one to two weeks and they advise the applicant to plan ahead. Excuses such as air ticket booked and confirmed will not be accepted. So please refer to the websites of the relevant consular missions before application.
The fees including application fee and service fee remain unchanged. It may differ according to nationality, duration, number of entries and processing time required.