As a leader in terms of economic growth, China has become an intriguing place to pursue a degree abroad for students coming from Europe, USA and other parts of Asia. Students will experience a rigorous but comprehensive education and they are guaranteed to improve career prospects. Apart from being exposed to excellent teaching, you will immerse in the Chinese culture which will certainly deepen your intellectual horizon.
Regardless of your nationality, after being admitted to a Chinese university, you will have to apply for a student visa for China so here is what you need to know about it.
Types of study visa for China
X1 for students who plan to study in China for more than six months
X2 for students who will stay in China to study for a period of less than six months
How to apply?
- Citizens from countries like the UK, Australia, Canada and EU countries can apply through the CVASC (Chinese VISA Application Service Centre).
- If there is no CVASC office in your home country, you can simply apply at the local Chinese embassy/consular office.
- Submit the application in person or with the help of a travel agency or a visa agency that can act on your behalf if you can't come personally.
- Mailed applications are not accepted, thus will be refused by most of Chinese embassies.
- You wont need an appointment for most embassies and consulates. You can visit the visa office anytime during business hours, but it is usually better if you come before 11:30 a.m.
- If you submit your application through CVASC, you may be required to make an online appointment on the website.
You should apply for a study visa for China around one month in advance of your intended date to come to China, but it is recommended not to apply earlier than three months. However, usually all Chinese embassies are very efficient and the processing time for a visa may only take one week or even less.
You are allowed to stay in China for the whole duration of your visa, but it is usually valid for 30 days once you enter China. During these 30 days you will have to apply for a residence permit that mainly is a replacement of your visa. The residence permit will be valid for the time period you were granted with the original visa.
Visa language requirements
There are no specific language requirements in order for international students to be eligible for a study visa for China. However, since most universities offer courses that are taught in English, they will require English language proficiency during the application process.
During your interview at the Chinese embassy or consulate you will also have to speak in one of the international languages, most likely the easiest and most convenient language would be English.
Required documents for the Chinese visa
- Original passport (valid up to at least six months with at least one blank page)
- Completed Application Form
- One passport type photograph
- Original and a copy of acceptance letter from the university
- A photocopy of previous Chinese passports (only applicable to foreign citizens who were once Chinese citizens and have obtained foreign citizenship)
- Proof of legal status in the country where youre applying for the visa, such as a resident permit (if youre applying for the VISA outside your country of citizenship)
- Copy of airplane tickets and accommodation arrangements
- Applicants who are over 18 years old and will study in China for more than 180 days need to provide a valid physical examination record
More detailed information for students coming from some countries outside the EU:
Foreign students allowed to work in China?
As of July 2013, international students are allowed to take part-time jobs during their studies, or to engage in paid internships on campus, under the following condition: they must obtain permission both from their host university and the Chinese immigration authorities as well.
The university issues a consent letter and the hiring company will also give out a certification. The next step is for the police station to mark your visa "Part-time-work ". However, you cannot apply for a different job in a different company in case you changed your mind.
As a foreigner in China, English is a highly valued skill. English tutoring and teaching jobs are in high demand, so you should try for these kind of opportunities.
Bring your family with the student visa
If you want to bring your family to China, they should apply for the L-visa. Your spouse and/or children can apply for this visa along with your application for the student visa and provide a series of documents, such as: marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc. If your family applies for the L-visa after your arrival to China, they must also provide the copy of your student X-visa as well as residence permit.
For any additional information regarding the study visa for China, go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Peoples Republic of China.