A Chinese visa is a permit issued by the Chinese visa authorities to an alien for entry into, exit from or transit through China. The Chinese visa authorities may issue a Diplomatic, Courtesy, Service or Ordinary Visa to an alien according to his status, purpose of visit to China or passport type. The Ordinary Visa consists of eight sub-categories, which are respectively marked with Chinese phonetic letters C, D, F, G, J-1, J-2, L, X and Z.
C Visa: Issued to crew members performing duties on board an international train, airliner or other vessel, and their accompanying family members.
D Visa: Issued to an alien who comes to reside permanently in China.
F Visa: Issued to an alien who is invited to China for a visit, an investigation, a lecture, to do business, scientific-technological and culture exchanges, short-term advanced studies or intern practice for a period of no more than six months.
G Visa: Issued to an alien who is traveling through China.
J-1 Visa: Issued to foreign resident correspondents in China.
J-2 Visa: Issued to foreign correspondents who make short trips to China on reporting tasks.
L Visa: Issued to an alien who comes to China for sightseeing, family visiting or other private purposes.
X Visa : Issued to an alien who comes to China for study, advanced studies or intern practice for a period of more than six months.
Z Visa: Issued to an alien who comes to China for a post or employment, and his or her accompanying family members.
The overseas Chinese visa authorities are Chinese embassies, consulates, and other offices authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China. If a foreigner intends to enter into, exit from or transit through Chinese territory, he/she shall apply to the above-mentioned Chinese visa authorities for a Chinese visa.
Visas are not required of aliens (except citizens of the United States and the United Kingdom), who hold final destination tickets and have booked seats on international airliners flying directly through China, and will stay in a transit city for less than 24 hours without leaving the airport. Visas are not required of Citizens of the following countries, who transit through Pudong Airport or Hongqiao Airport of Shanghai, provided they hold valid passports, visas for the onward countries, final destination tickets and have booked seats, and stay in Shanghai for less than 48 hours :
Republic of Korea, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Austria, Greece.
No visa is required for ordinary passport holders from Singapore ,Brunei and Japan to visit China for up to 15 days for business, sightseeing, visiting relatives and friends or transit.