Chinese Business Visas: Short Term vs. Long Term and What Documents you Need

Over the past decade, China has become a major center for global trade and commerce, with many businesses now looking to the country for business and investment opportunities. As the Chinese economy continues to expand, so do the number of foreign nationals heading to China in search of employment and to engage in short-term business or study. 


Though welcoming to foreign visitors, China requires that you have some form of visa or work permit if you are planning to spend any time in the country. Several Chinese visas are suitable for short-term and extended work and study purposes. Whether you are looking to explore new job opportunities, take a short business trip, or take up studies at one of the many renowned universities, these visas can provide access to all China offers. 


We are going to discuss the difference between short and long-term business and study visas, as well as what documentation is typically required for Chinese visas. Let’s dive in.



Short Term Business Visas Vs Long Term Work Permits: What’s the Difference

Sending employees abroad is inevitable for companies or individuals looking to expand their reach and connections globally. Whether it’s for attending conferences, fostering new skill sets with training programs, or even working on international projects. Employers have several options available regarding business visas and work permits that ensure legal access into foreign countries, though they typically have distinct purposes.


Those who only plan to stay briefly typically rely on short-term business or study visas, which are often simpler to apply for than longer-term permits and visas. A short-term work visa usually doesn’t require as much documentation and will typically be specific to the parameters of the job the applicant will be undertaking while in the foreign location. This can save quite a bit of hassle and time compared to obtaining a longer-term visa and work permit, which require more documentation and a more complicated application process.


China’s short and long-term work and study operate under a letter system and include:


  • Z visa: A multi-entry visa allows individuals to work in China for longer than six months.

  • M visa: This visa grants short-term business or study trips and can include commercial and trade activities and competitions.

  • J1 or J2 visa: This visa is primarily for foreign journalists, and grants leave for the specific period they need to work.

  • F Visa: This short-term student visa covers conferences, exchanges, and study tours with a maximum stay of thirty days.

  • Student X1/ X2: A student visa covering stays under and over 180 days. 


It’s important to choose the correct visa option depending on the work being carried out. If in doubt, it’s best to consult a Chinese immigration professional to navigate the visa application process effectively and select the best option for your situation.


What documents are typically needed for a Chinese work or study visa

When you apply for a Chinese visa, you will need some basic documents such as a valid passport and completed visa application form. However, you will also likely need to provide additional documentation procured from various agencies that will need to be authenticated and certified. This process can take some time and need to be handled properly, as mistakes can slow the application process or even result in visa rejection. 


​​When applying for a Chinese work visa, there are several important supporting documents you will likely need to provide.

  • A background check report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States or other similar federal agency from your home country to pass your police records requirements.

  • A medical test certificate, typically acquired from an authorized health center that understands all of China’s specific permit regulations.

  • Educational documentation, including your diploma, school or university transcripts, potential letters of recommendation or support from former professors, etc.

  • Family information documentation, such as marriage and birth certificates, if applicable to your family, that may need to be officially procured from local government offices where you were married, where your children were born, etc.

  • Financial records, if needed, about your personal finances, the finances of your business, or other potentially required information by the Chinese government to ensure you will have the means to support yourself, you won’t be a visa overstay risk, and so forth.


One of the most important aspects of procuring and preparing this underlying evidence and documentation is ensuring that the documents are officially translated, certified and in some cases legalized or apostilled.


Making sure this aspect isn’t missed is key to the success of Chinese business and study permits and visas, and instead of figuring out document translation and legalization on your own, working with an expert who understands the Chinese work visa application process and all the underlying document procurement, legalization, and translation, is a must.


That’s where LEX Documents comes in.



Lex Documents can help with documentation for Chinese work visa and permits

At LEX Documents, we are the experts in navigating all the document procurement and legalization required for Chinese work and study visa applications.


Our customized services offer a single point of contact to quickly and efficiently strategize what documents you need and procure, translate, legalize, and certify your paperwork and make sure it’s ready for submission. 


We can help make the complicated Chinese bureaucratic systems easier with our globally connected service — we know what agencies to call in your home country to make sure you have the right documents and will send them to the counterpart in China to be reviewed and have your invitation issued.


Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you with your Chinese visa applications and international document requirements.

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