Shenzhen is located in mainland China and if you plan to visit the city, whether from Hong Kong, Macau, or flying into Shenzhen Airport, you are going to need a valid China Visa.
Before diving into the different visa’s that are available there are some things that everyone must have regardless
- valid passport with at least six months of remaining validity and blank visa pages
- passport photo – recently-taken color passport color photo (bare-head, full face) against a light background of the size of 48mm×33mm
One blank page will be taken up by the visa itself and another blank page is required for entry and exit stamps. Whilst 2 blank pages may be enough I suggest having several. Every time you exit and enter the customs officers seem to care little about the economical use of space and stamp wherever.
Whilst there are numerous types of visa categories for entry into China, and I’ll list all of those at the bottom of the page, the most common is the L visa or tourist visa, the M business visa, along with the G transit visa.
Getting an L visa (tourist visa) or M visa (business visa)
You should do this prior to leaving your own country via your nearest Chinese Embassy or the Chinese Consulate General, or the China Visa Application Centre. It’s generally cheaper, straightforward, and the most legitimate accepted method.
An L tourist visa is usually valid for 30 days and in rare cases up to 90 days. Most commonly they are 30 day single entry meaning you can enter China once and when you leave the visa expires regardless of any days remaining. You may be able to apply for a 60-day double entry visa.
The business visa or M visa can be 30 days, 60 days and even 6 month with single or multiple entry.
For business visa you will need documents on the commercial activity issued by a trade partner in China, or trade fair invitation or other invitation letters issued by a relevant entity or individual. The invitation letter should contain:
a) Information on the applicant: (full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)
b) Information on the planned visit: (the purpose of visit, arrival and departure dates, place(s) to be visited, relations between the applicant and the inviting entity or individual, financial source for expenditures)
c) Information on the inviting entity or individual: (name, contact telephone number, address, official stamp, the signature of the legal representative or the inviting individual (the business license of the inviting entity should be provided when required).
Extending an L or M visa
Generally speaking its stated that the L visa cannot be extended, although, there are circumstances whereby visiting the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau in Luohu you may be able to have the visa extended one time. M visa can be extended more easily.
Getting a China Visa in Hong Kong
L Tourist Visa or M Business Visa (30 day, 60 day, 6-12 month single and multiple)
You can visit one of the numerous travel agents in Hong Kong who will assist you and forward your application and visa to the Chinese government. You can apply for most any visa type through this method but again, it’s still advised to get your visa in your own country. Of course, the agent will also take a fee on top of the visa fee. In most cases, processing takes four days although you can pay extra for a rush service. In most cases with these visas, you will be required to cross the Shenzhen border at Luohu.
CTS (China Travel Service)
Has numerous branches in Hong Kong see: https://goo.gl/maps/VJafxgxjJjR2
They have an airport office which offers one day turn around to certain countries
CTS at HKIA – Near Arrivals Hall A, Arrivals Level (L5), Terminal 1
Forever Bright Agency
Rooms 916-917, New Mandarin Plaza Tower B
14 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Alternatively, you can visit the government office:
Chinese Visa Application Service Center (CVASC)
20/F, Capital Center, 151 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Fees vary between agencies so do check around. As an example from CVASC
- Single entry 550 HKD
- Double entry 60 day 710 HKD
- 6 Month M visa multiple entry 860 HKD
Group Tourist Visa
If you are in Hong Kong you can join a travel group with a registered company and visit China without the need for a visa. You must enter with the group tour and leave with the group tour. You are allowed a maximum of 6 days and can only visit these cities: Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, and Shantou. Tourist agencies in Hong Kong can provide specifics and pricing.
Shenzhen Visa on Arrival
At the Shenzhen Luohu Border, visitors can head to the visa office and apply for a Shenzhen 5-day VOA (Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Tourism Visa). With the 5-day Shenzhen visa, you permitted to travel throughout Shenzhen but not beyond.
Visa Cost: 168 yuan (citizens of some countries may need to more)
Processing Time: 15 minutes (depending on how busy)
Required documents: Visa with 6 months validity and at least two blank pages
Shenzhen 24 hr /72hr Transit Visa and 144-hour TWOV
Shenzhen does not yet offer the 72-hour or 144-hour transit without visa that other Chinese cities offer. This service is expected to be available soon.
It is expected that the 144 hours visa-free transit will apply Guangdong wide, meaning you will have free transit throughout the whole Guangdong province including Shenzhen. It will be available to citizens of 53 countries who meet certain criteria including
- Inform the airline when booking the ticket
- Passport/Travel Document valid for at least 3 months from the date of entry
- Confirmed onward ticket to a third country/region
- Visa for a third country/region (if one is rqd.)
- Must enter via Guangzhou Baiyun Airport, Shenzhen Bao’an Airport, or Jieyang Chaoshan Airport.
China Visa Categories
C: Issued to foreign crew members of means of international transportation, including aircraft, trains, and ships, or motor vehicle drivers engaged in cross-border transport activities, or to the accompanying family members of the crew members of the above-mentioned ships.
D: Issued to those who intend to reside in China permanently.
F: Issued to those who intend to go to China for exchanges, visits, study tours and other activities.
G: Issued to those who intend to transit through China.
J1: Issued to resident foreign journalists of foreign news organizations stationed in China. The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days.
J2: Issued to foreign journalists who intend to go to China for short-term news coverage. The intended duration of stay in China is no more than 180 days.
L: Issued to those who intend to go to China as a tourist.
M: Issued to those who intend to go to China for commercial and trade activities.
Q1: Issued to those who are family members of Chinese citizens or of foreigners with Chinese permanent residence and intend to go to China for family reunion, or to those who intend to go to China for the purpose of foster care. The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days.
(“Family members” refers to spouses, parents, sons, daughters, spouses of sons or daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandsons, granddaughters and parents-in-law.)
Q2: Issued to those who intend to visit their relatives who are Chinese citizens residing in China or foreigners with permanent residence in China. The intended duration of stay in China is no more than 180 days.
R: Issued to those who are high-level talents or whose skills are urgently needed in China.
S1: Issued to those who intend to go to China to visit the foreigners working or studying in China to whom they are spouses, parents, sons or daughters under the age of 18 or parents-in-law, or to those who intend to go to China for other private affairs. The intended duration of stay in China exceeds 180 days.
S2: 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. The intended duration of stay in China is no more than 180 days.
(“family members” refers to spouses, parents, sons, daughters, spouses of sons or daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandsons, granddaughters and parents-in-law.)
X1: Issued to those who intend to study in China for a period of more than 180 days.
X2: Issued to those who intend to study in China for a period of no more than 180 days.
Z: Issued to those who intend to work in China.
Shenzhen PSB: http://www.szga.gov.cn
China Visa Application Center: https://www.visaforchina.org
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: http://www.fmprc.gov.cn