A visa guide with information for Australians travelling to China.
Australian citizens require a visa to travel to China .
We recommend that you apply for your visa approximately one month prior to travel to ensure there is enough validity on your visa for your entire stay. You can apply in person or by mail through the Chinese Visa Application Service Centres located in located in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Brisbane. The Chinese Embassy and Consulates General in Australia do not accept visa applications. Your Travel Agent may be able to arrange a visa for you. If you have booked directly through Travel Indochina , we can arrange your visa and there will usually be a small fee to cover courier costs. Before you go, see our China travel tips and visa information .
Temple of Heaven, Beijing
Most tourists require a standard “L” visa, however if you plan to study or work, do a student exchange or study tour, visit family that are residents of China or are a foreign journalist you will need a different class of visa . All the information in this post relates to a standard tourist visa only.
Australian citizens don’t need a visa if they are holidaying in Hong Kong for less than 90 days and not visiting mainland China, or if they are transiting in mainland China for less than 24 hours and will not leave the airport. If you are transiting through Beijing Capital International Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao or Pudong International Airport, Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou or Shuangliu International Airport in Chengdu, and are going to be in China for less than 72 hours, you can apply for a visa exemption, however certain restrictions will apply to your visit.
However, if you are entering mainland China and require a visa, and also entering again as a transit passenger, you will require a double entry visa. If you leave mainland China for Hong Kong and then re-enter mainland China you will also need a double entry visa. If you are entering mainland China more than twice you will need a multiple entry visa.
Giant Panda, Chengdu
What you’ll need
- Passport with at least six months validity from your return date and at least one blank visa page.
- Photocopy of passport data page (the page with your name and photo).
- Travel itinerary showing return air travel and hotel reservations. If you are not staying in a hotel you will need an invitation letter .
- Visa Application Form .
- One colour passport-sized photo.
- Visa fee (Single entry tourist visa is $98.50 AUD).
- Reply paid envelope (if applying by mail).
- If you are an Australian citizen applying from outside Australia, you will also need to show proof of legal stay or residence status on the country you are applying in.
Fisherman on the Li River
Applying in person
You can apply in person or by mail through the Chinese Visa Application Service Centres located in located in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Brisbane. The Chinese Embassy and Consulates General in Australia do not accept visa applications. The centres are open from 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday and are closed on weekends and public holidays. Applications in should take around 4 business days to process. The centre accepts payment by cash, debit or credit card and company cheque.
Applying by mail
You can apply by mail by sending your application to your nearest Chinese Visa Application Service Centre . If applying by mail allow 10 working days for processing. Applications must be sent by either express post or registered post from Australia Post. Keep your tracking number as a reference. The fee for a mail application is $115 which should be paid by money order or credit card using the Payment Authorization Form . Also include fully-paid self-addressed return envelope.
In a hurry?
You may request express (3 business days) or rush service (next day) for an additional fee. Approval for such services may and may not be provided by the Chinese Embassy or Consulates General. Applications for the next working day rush pickup must be made in person and submitted before 12:00 noon. The fee for an express application for a single entry visa is $161.50 AUD and for a rush application is $203.50 AUD.
Note: All details above are correct at time of writing; however we cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information. You will need to check the most up to date information with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trading or the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Australia .