Everything you need to know on how to get your Chinese visa in Hanoi, Vietnam.
UPDATE November 2017 – It looks like it is now possible again to get your Chinese visa in Hanoi. Please read the comments below for more information.
As our 7 months in Vietnam drew to a close, we were getting completely stoked on moving into China. But before we could cross the border, we needed to get a visa. We knew this wouldn’t be an easy process, and to make things harder there was very little information on the internet for getting a Chinese visa in Hanoi.
We assumed that getting a Chinese visa in Hanoi was going to be painful, and almost considered paying an agent to do it for us to save the headaches.
However the cheapest agent we could find wanted to charge $55 for a 15 day visa. Yep, a 15 day visa. We never could find out exactly why, but there are reports that the agents pocket the extra cash and only pay for the shorter visa.
We quickly decided that this was a complete rip-off, and that we would get our visa for China ourselves. It worked our perfect because we ended up getting a double entry visa – something that was not an option with an agent.
Don’t miss out on our guide to Travelling In Vietnam.
What Do I Need To Get My Chinese Visa In Hanoi?
After looking around on the internet and talking to a few friends, we realised we needed a hell of a lot of paperwork in order to be granted a Chinese visa.
- Photocopy of passport information page and Vietnamese visa
- One passport size photo (we took a 2×3 and a 4×6, but they took the smaller one)
- Completed application form
- Flights entering China
- Flights exiting China
- Accommodation for your first destination
- Copy of your travel insurance policy
We also took the following documents with us, however they did not ask for them:
- Bank statement with funds totalling at least $100 per person per day in China
- Letter of employment
- Copies of booked accommodation for entire duration of stay
It may seem like a lot, and truthfully, it is. To prepare all the documents definitely takes time and some planning. For us it took about 3 hours, including running down to a photocopy place in Hanoi. You are meant to have everything booked, confirmed and paid for.
However if you are a little bit crafty, you can find refundable tickets and accommodation and then cancel it once you pick up your visa. If you really want to be sneaky you can create fake documents of everything. This option will depend on how good you are with using word processors and maybe a little bit of Photoshop.
Note – We don’t condone lying to the officials. It can result in having your visa denied, and possibly blacklisted from entering the country in the future. That being said, we doubt they bother to check any of the flights or accommodation personally (they didn’t for us). If you end up taking the risk, we didn’t encourage you, right?
If you do not already have travel insurance, we strongly suggest that you get it. If you would like to read more about what travel insurance covers (not just medical and stolen items), read our “Do I Need Travel Insurance” page.
We recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance for travel through China.
The Chinese embassy is located at 44-46 Hoàng Diệu, Hanoi. Directly opposite Lenin’s Park.
Opening hours are in the morning from 0830-1100, Monday to Friday. The embassy is closed for all Vietnamese and Chinese holidays. There are a lot of them, so make sure you double check before you show up. We recommend getting to the embassy before it opens. We arrived at 0815 and there was only a few people in front of us.
Getting around Hanoi is easy, if a little congested. We recommend finding one the best places to stay in Hanoi and then grabbing local transport to get to the embassy.
Our process for getting a Chinese visa in Hanoi was pretty straight forward. We did have to go into the embassy three separate times, although we think you could cut this down to two if you ask.
Once you get to the embassy, a friendly security guard will give you the application form. This is 4 pages, all printed on one large sheet. Head over to one of the benches on the side of the room, pick up one of the supplied pens and start writing. It is all pretty standard information. Be sure to fill it out fully though, especially the section on detailed accommodation.
The visa choices you could pick were:
– Single Entry 30 Day: $30
– Double Entry 30 Day (means you get to entries at 30 days each): $45
– Multiple Entry 6 Months: Cost and rules unknown
– Multiple Entry 1 Year: Cost and rules unknown
We do not know what kind of paperwork or documents you would need for a multiple entry visa, but we didn’t want to push it. If you do get one, please let us know more about it. Also citizens of the United States have to pay a lot more for their visa – $140 for a single entry 30 day.
With your application form completed, show it to the security guard and he will check you have the right documents. Then he will glue your passport photo to your form for you. If you have a backpack, you will need to put it in a locker before he sends you through to the next room.
Go up to the counter that the guard tells you and hand in your form, passport and photocopy. The immigration lady will check everything and ask a few questions.
For us the first thing she asked was why we wanted a double entry visa. I replied that we wanted to go to Hong Kong, and this was good enough for her. After a while she started asking for our documents.
We handed them to her as she requested them. This whole part took less than 5 minutes.
She then told us she had to check with her manager, handed us a slip stating what date to pick up our passports (4 working days, including the application day) and how much (2x $30), and asked us return the next morning to find out if we were approved or not.
She wrote down our Vietnamese phone number, and we could have potentially asked her to just call us, but we were happy to just play along and keep her happy. When we did return, the guard sent us straight through and the lady took our slip back.
She informed us that for a double entry the cost was actually $45 and gave us a form to go to the bank and pay.
The address for the ICBC bank is: 360 Kim Ma Street,Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
I grabbed a xe om (motorbike taxi) and got a return trip for 60’000VND. You could probably walk or take a bus if you wanted to, and weren’t in a rush to be anywhere afterwards.
The bank staff knew exactly why I was there and had me in, paid, and out in less than 2 minutes. They give you a receipt when you pay. Do not lose this receipt!
We went back on the designated morning and had to wait until 9am before being let in to pick up our passports. When we were allowed to enter we passed the bank receipt back to the immigration lady, she scanned it and then fetched our passports for us.
Before we left the room we double checked the visa to make sure all the details were correct. They were, and we left the embassy as two very happy travellers, newly equipped with fresh Chinese visas!
117 thoughts on “Getting A Chinese Visa In Hanoi, Vietnam”
Hi, I am currently in Hanoi and trying to get my Chinese visa. I’ve read this page, probably like many others so thought I should update on the process. We have just been to the Chinese Embassy where there is a note outside saying the application processing is now done at a Visa centre at this address:
Truong Thinh Tower
Trang An Complex
No.1 Phung Chi Kien Street
Nghia Do Ward
Cau Giay District
Which is confirmed by visaforchina.org. There is also an online service for booking an appointment and time slot which you should do a few days before you plan on submitting the application. We cannot book for later today so now have to wait till Monday (today being Friday, we travel to Ninh Binh on Thursday for a week before coming back to Hanoi to Travel to China so hopefully it will be done in time, eek!)
I hope this is of help to people.
HOLA!! MUCHAS GRACIAS POR LA INFO!!, TENGO SOLO UNA DUDA, NOSOTROS ESTUVIMOS RECORRIENDO EL SUDESTE ASIATICO, TERMINANDO EN VIETNAM,. LO QUE NO SABEMOS ES QUE DEBEMOS PONER EN LA PREGUNTA ACERCA DE LOS PAISES VISITADOS CON ENFERMEDADES INFECCIOSAS EN LOS ULTIMOS 30 DIAS. EN NUESTRO CASO ESTUVIMOS EN MYANMAR, CAMBOYA Y VIETNAM EN ESTOS ULTIMOS 30 DIAS, PERO NO TENEMOS CLARO SI SOLO HAY QUE INDICAR LOS PAISES O ALGO MAS. CUALQUIER AYUDA NOS VENDRIA SUPER!!
Thank you for the post, it was very helpful. My partner and I just got our visas today, 4 days after our application. All up it was a very simple process. The only updates things I would add are:
– There’s no real need to line up early, as there must be a separate queue for people the administrator assumes are applying for tourist visas. We were in the queue at 7am, but other Westerners applying for tourist visas showed up at 8am and were seen immediately after us. We were out by 9am.
-If you haven’t printed the application form, you can ask the guard while you’re queueing up outside and fill it out while you are waiting. This way you won’t lose your place when your number gets called.
– There were 2 or 3 touts / visa agents working the queue both days we were there, and they were quite pushy. Ignore them.
– We only provided 2 days worth of hotel bookings, and no-one seemed to care. They were very staunch, however, on having an exit ticket — we had hoped to buy our train tickets to Kazakhstan from inside China to avoid the extortionate commissions charged online, but the officials weren’t interested. This was easily fixed, as there is a computer and printer in the lobby. After we’d bought and printed our tickets it was a battle to resubmit our documents — everyone else in the same position was jostling to get seen, and had no qualms about jumping the queue. In the end we just followed suit, otherwise we’d have been waiting forever.
– The office opens for visa pick ups opens after lunch at 2.30pm … we missed this somehow, and ended up pointlessly showing up at 8am. The pickup process was quick — we arrived just before the office opened, but were seen within 30 minutes. We handed over the fee ($30 USD each, in cash) and they handed back our passports. Easy!
Can you please share what documents foreigners need to submit… kindly, list by number.
Hi, Thanks for the info, just wondering how many days it took to receive the visa? And how many times you visited the consulate? May thanks
Firstly, thanks for the article and guidance, it was a huge help though it seems the process has changed a bit (and I have literally just left there 20 minutes ago.)
– I arrived at 8 a.m. on a Friday and there were already 20 people ahead of me in the queue.
– I say queue but it is more of a block of people and it forms about 20 metres from the actual entrance. Everyone sits on small stools that are set out in rows 4 wide. As far as I could see, most were locals wanting to travel on business with a few tourists.
– At about 8.15 a guard came and collected the ids of the first 2 rows. He took them off (I am guessing to be recorded). He returned a few minutes later, returned the documents to their owners who were then allowed to enter the visa centre.
– Everybody in the “block” then shuffles forward 2 rows and the process is repeated.
– Once inside you collect a printed ticket from another security guard. There seems to be different numbers depending on who you are or maybe your likely visa request (i.e. westerners are almost certainly after tourist visas. The tickets are 4 digits with the first being your designation and the last 3 being your place in that designation. When I went, the locals were numbers starting 2, 3 or 5. Westerners were given numbers starting at 4 (mine was 4003.) This was a huge advantage as I went from 20th in the queue to only having 2 westerners in front of me once inside. There were 4 windows open and they all process a different designation (200x, 300x, 400x & 500x).
– I did not need to show my insurance, but what I fell foul of is they wanted my accommodation documents to show my name. So be careful who you book hotels through. In this agoda is better than booking.com (which I used) in the end she accepted the printed email because it said “Hi Anthony” on it.
– My original accommodation printouts did not show this, but no problem because (and this is so hugely useful) they have a work station off to the side with full internet access and printing, copying etc! You could even book accommodation, flights etc. on the fly if you wanted. But there is only one work station and there were maybe 50 people in the room so it is popular and you may need to wait. I printed out the booking.com emails and, as I said the visa lady was satisfied.
– One last difference I was told to pay for my visa in cash ($30 USD for single entry) at the visa office when I collected my visa not at a bank.
– They are very efficient and the process goes smoothly and I was out by 9.
Hi, Thanks for the info, just wondering how many days it took to receive the visa? And how many times you visited the consulate? May thanks
Great and very useful article! Thanks! Where you able to pick up the visa on the 4th working day in the morning? Cheers
Hi Sam, yes we were able to with no problems. They have certain times and you have to collect during those times.
Can I ask what if I don’t have travel insurance ??? Is it still acceptable? If I declare that I do not have any (as I don’t have any proof of insurance policy attainable or with me ! )
Yes you do need to show them, you have proof of travel insurance. Our suggestion is try to hunt that down or get travel insurance.
Here is our article on travel insurance.
Need travel insurance, book with World Nomads.
All the best
Please send me agent details for Chinese visa in Hanoi
After reading this blog post I went for it myself and managed to get it but it was a whole different story compared to this guide!
Great thread, and really informative! Can anyone shed any light on whether I can apply for a Z visa in Hanoi as I will be working at a school in China later this year. I’m currently in Hanoi, and don’t really want to have to fly to Hong Kong if the embassy here will process the Z visa for me.
Hi, have you been granted your visa? Similar situation.
Hi all- I have been following this thread and recently got my Chinese visa in Hanoi and wanted to share my experience.
It seems that the Chinese party conference and APEC conference in Vietnam in October and early November caused the embassy to stop issuing visas temporarily. However this is no longer the case. It seems they are issuing visas as normal now. Even if you are just a tourist and not a VN resident.
That being said, this was a humiliating, unpleasant experience, and I had to hang out in Hanoi for nearly two weeks to accomplish it. If at all possible, apply in your home country. If you do apply in Hanoi, get there early (get in line before the embassy opens at 08:30), and be prepared to deal with rude and unhelpful embassy staff.
All the necessary documents listed on this blog are correct. I do not have travel insurance, but I photocopied my medical insurance policy and this was sufficient.
A word of advice to any Americans applying in Hanoi– they DO issue ten year multiple entry visas at this embassy. They are the same price as 30 day visas (140 USD) and require all the same documentation so I thought it made sense to get it. As of Nov 2017, I believe the ten year visa option is only available to US and Canadian citizens. If you are dealing with the hassle of the embassy, might as well make it last ten years!
Cheers and good luck to all.
Hi. So we were applying for a Chinese visa in HCMC. However, because we will fly to Beijing from Hanoi, they told us that we had to apply in Hanoi. Rather skeptical about this information, we went on a hunt for answers in Pham Ngu Lao. After some searching, we found an agency who could call someone from the embassy and tell us what we thought as well – until the Congress in China is over, the Chinese embassy will do everything they can to hinder people in entering China. They said that we have to wait until the beginning of November (and we even had Vietnamese work visas)
Hi. After some struggle we finally got our VISA. Seems like the hazzle in China is finally Peer. Go travelers!
We have been to the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi today and no luck. We are on British passports. The only question was “what are you doing in Vietnam” – when I said tourism she said her computer was frozen, try again next week. We told her that wasn’t possible as we had a Russian visa with specific dates, and we even turned on the waterworks. No good. Off to Hong Kong!
I tried to get a chinese visa in Hanoi on 9th Oct 2017. But I counldn’t as I font have a work petmit in Vietnam. I asked the lady who works there but she said she doesn’t know when tourist can apply visa there. Then I met western people there. They said we can try next week again (asked and heard from the lady who works there). but Im still not sure tourist can apply visa at next week. anybody applied visa rescently????
VERY IMPORTANT UPDATE ABOUT CHINESE VISA IN HANOI (25/09/2017)
Simply: go to Hong Kong, go to Forever Bright Visa Service and enjoy three days in Hong Kong while waiting for the Visa. They are cheap, safe and clever enough to provide you a chinese visa. Dont’ go to China Travel Service for the opposite reasons. Just impossible in Chinese Embassy of Hanoi one week ago. Trust us and dont’ lose 10 days as us. This post is great, all the comments are great, but things changed suddenly last week maybe due to the next Congress of the Communist Party, scheduled on 18th october, as our embassy tried to guess when we went there to complain. They are more strict right now (as any UE country when important meeting as G8 are schedulend, for example), and nobody knows how much it’s going to long. It’s simply not possible for anyone not having a vietnamese working visa to get a chinese visa in Hanoi right now. This happened to me, my girlfriend, an english and a bielorussian guy. We are all experienced long term travellers and failed completely in Hanoi, even with any paper requested and here rightly suggested. They neither checked a single one, just said us to get out from there in such a rude way, also.
Hey there, I was doing some research and saw that this agency that you mentioned does not require much documents, only the passport and a photo.
When getting the VISA with an agency, no flight ticket in and out of China is needed?
With Forever Bright you don’t need any paper, flight etc. It’s just about paying 450Y, your passport and write properly the form, but don’t worry: they will help you in all the steps! No matters about Turkey Stamp (I had) or about not having the old passport (I didn’t have). Write that you’re a student, put the name of any university and it will works if you’re lucky as us.
Hi! What kind of visa you got for 450Y? Thanks!
Yes China is more strict on Z visa. I tried to get a Z visa in Bangkok as papers took so long in China my old visa expired so I had to apply from there. I was told to come the next day and have a proof of receipt that all was ok. Then two hours later they telephoned me to say that I would have to wait two more months. They would not say why. My own research now shows that once they saw my passport with the old Turkish visa stamps it became a HUGE problem. Took so long I have to come to Vietnam to wait as visas for Thailand expired. So I thought to apply from here and my Vietnamese lawyer said any visa would be ok to apply on. But now I see that if I do not have a Vietnamese work visa I cant get the z visa here. I am in huge trouble. If I apply anywhere else they will take two months or more to process my Z visa due to the old Turkish visa stamps. HK is too expensive to be stuck in waiting
Where did you see this information that if you do not have a Vietnamese work visa, that you cannot obtain a visa for China? Please let me know, thank you. I had visited at the end of January and I applied in Hanoi on a tourist visa, it was no problem. I also know China changes their policies regularly. I have a friend who is in China now, doesn’t have a Vietnamese working visa and left to China about a month ago, there were no problems. Have you applied at the Chinese embassy in Hanoi. Thanks.
I tried to apply visa in Hanoi, but can’t apply visa without a workpermit in Vietnam, told by the embassy in Hanoi. But I met tourist there, and they were told that tourist can obtain visa from this week. But for me, the embassy said, they are not sure whether tourist can apply chinese visa in hanoi or not. so I decide to fly to Hong kong tomorrow TT
Hello you two, the article is great and very helpful. I will go to Vietnam next week and I want to apply as well for a chinese tourist visa of 30 Days. My question: What kind of vietnam visa did you have? Does the embassy grant a visa for foreigners who have only the 3 Month tourist visa for vietnam?
Thanks for your help!
Just wanted to report we were successful getting our 30 day single entry tourist visa in Hanoi, thanks to the info in this article and the comments section. We read a lot of contradictory info online about the visa process which made it all seem far more stressful than it really was, so at the risk of generating more fud, here’s what worked for us.
We’re an unmarried British couple and handed over the following documents each:
– A ticket to HK (no ticket directly into mainland China as such)
– A train ticket from Shenzhen to our first mainland destination
– A ticket home from Shanghai (just a held booking from yatra)
– Bank statements to show sufficient funds
– First five accommodation bookings – all with free cancellation from booking.com
– A photocopy of our passport details page and the Vietnamese visa page
– Insurance policy document with our names on.
– Two passport photos were taken from us each. One seemed to go with the form and the other was stapled to the passport.
– We listed the locations we would be visiting in the further comments section and mentioned each other to make it clear we were travelling together.
I wasn’t asked for my old passport even though it’s less than 2 years old, counter to recent rumours about restrictions on European passport holders.
The form does ask for details of your family which I originally left empty assuming it was for people meeting family members in China but we still had to enter at least one family member in there anyway including their occupation.
An Irish couple we met in our hostel had no luck and were not given any reason why. They started to get questions about their marital status and asked for bank statements as well. They were also asked questions about how many passports they’d ever had. One man in front of us at the consulate was told his application couldn’t continue without showing a ticket leaving China, so even if it isn’t on the official list of documents as he complained, it seems you’re definitely going to need it.
Weirdly, on the way through passport control into China, my partner did get a few questions about a Turkey stamp in her passport from a 2 week stay more than 2 years ago.
I was wondering if anyone ever tried to apply for a Chinese student visa in Vietnam? I’m planning on going to China and study Chinese after traveling through VN, but I can’t seem to find any information about the student visa…
All the best,
Hello guys, I have to say thank you for all the informations from these site and the comments.
I got my Chinese double entry Visa today. 🙂
I had only a one-way train ticket to Nanning.
Copy of my Insurance in my native language (german).
A route for 60days with all the accommodations. (I booked everything with Agoda and cancelled all after they applied for the Visa)
Thanks a lot
Me and my girlfriend (both hungarian citizens) applied yesterday. Two infos I couldn’t find neither in the blog post nor in comments (or I just missed it). First of all our trip in China starts in Hong Kong, but the thing we were not aware of that this is a completely separate administrative area and since we started the planned list of route with that, we were asked to rewrite the whole route without Hong Kong. So if you plan to enter in Hong Kong, just skip it in the section 2.6 and start with the first destination in mainland of China. Furthermore at the bank one of the employees said that it’s not possible to pay in dong or other currencies, just in dollar. I guess if you’re a bit pushy and stick to pay in dong you could do that, but it’s easier to prepare and get some denominations at one of the money exchange places in the Hà Trung street at a great rate (at the time of writing it is 22800 VND to 1 USD)
Thank you very much for all the info about getting the visa in Hanoi!
I am a canadian citizen and just got my visa in Hanoi. I want to let you know that they asked me for my older passport (the one before my actual passport), which i had but only because i was thinking of applying in hong kong. I applied for the one year visa and it cost 80$US, and somehow they gave me one more year, so my visa is valid for two years. Thank you!
Dear fellow travellers,
Update about Hanoi tourist visa for european considering of applying in Hanoi.
Bad news for us, we got rejected and were not provided an information about the reason why.
– UK & FR citizens, applying for 30 days tourist visa 1st time.
– Provided all documents required (same as recent comments updates, bank statements included, hotel bookings for the whole trip…etc…).
– We did not have to pay anything for the visa then.
– Since not accepted here, we can’t apply anymore in Hanoi, but the lady said we can apply in other countries, and we do not need to mention on the form that we got reject elsewhere.
We applied on a Monday, they asked us to come back the next day. When we did, the lady said the manager did not check our applications yet and so to come back two days later (on thursday).
That is when we learnt we got rejected :/
We used Yatra reserved tickets as Fly IN / OUT which are on hold for 3 days only so were expiring on the last day (thursday). We think that might be the reason why we got rejected as the rest of our documents were pretty legit.
Hope this helps further applicants, good luck and happy travels.
First I have to say then never in our life we have found and see such bad ,agressive and impolite people working on an ambassey .Honestly we pay for have the visa so alright everyone can have a bad day but what we saw there it is been the same shitty mood every day .Let ‘s speak about the visa :
We asked a particular visa :double entry for 60 days we did but it’is been 5 day of running.Our plan is crossing the border form Hanoi – China and get in 30 days Beijing and crossing by land to get Mongolia after one month recrossed China by land and get Tibet.
I won’t tell you all the mess has created this visa ( we have vuluteer jobs start in each country )but I can tell you that they wanted to see everything :
2-chinise visa application form
3-2 invitation letter one form china and one form Mongolia
4-trains or flights or bus to go in/out form China over the 60 days visa ( so as well train ticket to get Tibet and the flight to the next destination and all booking to in/out form Mongolia the hard part))
5-Tibet documents crossing
7-booking each stop will do in China ( booking )
8- copy of passport details page
9-copy of page with the vietnamise visa
10-they wanted a vietnamise number
11-100 us$ per both visa URGENT
All the information on this page are perfect but they asked as each single documents ( as well the ones almost everyone never have showed ).
For us was a bit harder and we think because there is the Tibet journey .We try get a kind of reason at those bad humor people welcomed us .
Try to get all the document the guys write up here and get all the extra one just in case like this you can have the visa on time and avoid a very stressful situation.
Hey guys, so I have update from 25.5.2017
I’ve GOT visa to China in Hanoi!!
* filled out form. I made many mistakes (ahh these vice versa dates), but they don’t care
* 2 passport size photos, white background as usually
* IN/OUT fly ticket, reserved from Yatra
* Booking confirmation for few days from different hostels in different cities
* Passport copy and Vietnam visa copy
* Proof of insurance copy
NOTE, don’t bring there documents in language other than EN or Chinese, she will kick you off even when she don’t need these documents (my proof from bank was in my native and despite she didn’t needed, she kicked me off. second time I simply didn’t not showed up this paper and she didn’t asked for it..)
After I applyed, I’ve did some research on internet, founded this forum read comments and expected that they will refuse, so second day I was there just to ask my passport back and don’t waste time…
but they accepted …
There is also possibility that they did it because I already was in China and I also got once Russian visa, so all this can possibly make some difference, don’t know… just try 🙂
I had no problem getting a Chines visa in Hanoi. Last Friday 19th I went in to find out what was happening as I read the difficulties people were having on this post. The security guard gave me a list of the 7 required documents but with 5 ticked, which he said would be all I need. They were:
1. Copy of passport information page and valid Vietnam visa
2. Any kind of insurance
3. Confirmation of hotel reservation in China
4. Proof of sufficient finance for trip
5. Air ticket or other means of transport ticket
I turned up at 8:30 Monday, waited in line about 40 mins, was given a receipt and told to come back on Thursday. On Thursday I was told my visa application was accepted, to go to the bank and pay $30 and come back on Friday. So I picked up my visa yesterday (friday) and I am off to China today. I did request a 40 day double entry but was told only 30 days. I didn’t argue. I only had a one way ticket and I only booked one nights accommodation. No schedule, no invitation letter, and no questions. I might add that I have an Australian passport.
Hope this is helpful.
Thank you so much for your post. It helped me a lot.
I went to the embassy this morning and I got that pinkish pickup form too…but the woman told me I should pay only when I come to pick up the visa. By the way, it is written “please present this form and pay when pick up”. How is that possible?
I’m currently studying in Hanoi and got a one-year visa, and I’ve already studied in China during one year, so I think they don’t have any reason to reject my application…
Hi guys , thanks for the information. My today’s update ( April 28th, 2017) is that the Chinese embassy in Hanoi is not issuing visas ( at least for tourists ) for at least 2 weeks . Unfortunately , Several travelers were retrieving passports after 5/6 days of wait ahead of me . Out Paperwork was barely controlled, they required the Vietnam visa and passports copy , and they rejected our blue background photos , asking for a white background one . Not a lucky day for us , but we are still on time to change our planes and go somewhere else as we are moving on bikes . All the best and safe travels !
Update for 08.05.2017
Situation remains the same. Came today to the embassy in Hanoi, they refused to take documents from anybody who is not working or living in Vietnam. So, none of the the travellers couldn’t even apply for the visa this morning. They don’t know if visas can be issued for n SGN.
So, do some search about the current situation before you are heading there.
11.05.2017 – no changes
I’m heading there, give it a try next Monday, but is there a reason why they don’t. I couldn’t apply in Belgium. It would have been expired when I arrive in China
Does anyone have updates?
Im in laos at the moment and here they said they dont issue visas for the next ten days.
So i might go do it in hanoi.
Hi nick pls if u can giva an update on the situation there?
Sorry guys, have decided to skip China and fly straigth to Mongolia. China will be for some other time for me. Grts
Hey my name is Michelle and I went to the Hanoi embassy today and they didn’t gave a visa to anyone because they said the system is broken…
Did they say when would it be possible?
Can’t find any information on the internet and tried to call/mail the Chinese embassy but unfortunately this doesnt work. I would like to go to China mid August after I have traveled through Vietnam and would like to issue my visa for China in Hanoi. Is it temporary that they do not issue visas to travelers in Vietnam? Anybody an idea why this is? I heard stories of others trying to apply in KL and that didn’t work either. Thanks!
It seems that something is going on all over asia,didnt work for me in laos and seoul.
I ran into a similar problem in Bangkok last month, where I was turned away at the visa processing center. However, as of Monday, June 5 2017, they were issuing visas in Hanoi to non-residents. I went yesterday with absolutely every piece of paperwork they require (I’m a US citizen and I applied for a 10-year multiple-entry visa). They took my documents and told me to come back the same afternoon. When I showed back up at 4pm, I found that I had been approved and they gave me the pink slip to take to the bank for payment ($140 for all visas for US citizens). I’m planning on heading to the bank tomorrow, and I’m scheduled to pick up my completed visa on Thursday, June 8. I did see some people who were refused (both EU and US citizens), but they didn’t have all the proper paperwork.
Huge thanks to this post, and all the comments on it.
Here is our experience as two Americans getting a business (M) visa with multiple entries and with expedited processing in April 2017.
tl;dr: It’s really not that hard or confusing if you’re prepared. Bring *all* possible documents that you might need. We got our visa *the next day*. We applied on Monday morning and picked up on Tuesday afternoon.
* Arrived 8:30, 10-15 people ahead of us, was no problem at all. Door didn’t open until almost 8:40.
* The line grew wider instead of longer, like in lots of parts of Asia. Smile and hold your ground. Push happily and gently in front of the people that just cut in front of you. Stand widely, etc 🙂
* It’s a little place. 4-5 counters. One is clearly the English-speaking counter and one is the pay-and-pick-up counter. You never choose which counter to go to, the security guy will direct you.
* If you’re first in, there’s nobody in line at the security guy – we just asked him for a form. Later we noticed people coming inside would get in line at security guy and wait forever just to get a form. You can just walk up and ask him for the forms, no need to wait in line for that. People were even just peeking their heads in from outside and asking for the forms and he’d just hand em through the door. Next time I’d do that and fill out the form over coffee across the street!
* Documents required: All of them! Why risk it? We brought everything listed in this post as well as invitation letter from China business organization and “pocket letter” from our employers saying that we’re employed by them, statement of their support for the trip, and repeating a bunch of info (names, title, passport number, etc). Those latter two aren’t required for tourist visa.
* We filled out the form at the consulate. There are counters and pens at the back. Should bring pens anyway though, just in case.
* Multiple-entry pro-tip (maybe!): We have two trips planned in the next months, so there’s a section on the form where you list your planned travel, and we put both trips down. We only gave them documents (flight, hotel) for the first trip, and they didn’t ask anything about the second trip. I’d wager you can reserve a (cancel-able) hotel for a future later trip and do the same, which *might* be more weight for the multiple entry visa? Worth trying since you’re doing all this anyways.
* You gotta show the security guy all your paperwork every time for anything. He’ll tell you which counter to go to.
* When they say come back tomorrow, they mean it. We tried to pay the same day and they looked at us like we were crazy and sent us away. See below.
* They’re open in the morning and in the afternoon. Morning is for applying for visas. Afternoon is for paying and picking up visas. They don’t explicitly say this – they just say “come back tomorrow”. We found this out the hard way by coming back repeatedly until figuring this out 😉
* We paid $20USD each for expedited processing. We applied Monday and said we need to leave Wednesday, so they told us to come back on Tuesday. We gave them the payment coupon and picked up our visas then.
* On the afternoon visit on pick-up day, we got there right at 15:00 when they opened and they said “come back in an hour”. We got a coffee and came back and everything was ready. Who knows what happened in that hour?! Magic! Mystery!
Other relevant information:
* There’s a row of ATMs and a coffee shop across the street from Lenin Park.
* The bank where you pay for the visa does not exchange currency. However, they pointed us to a currency exchange about a 10 minute walk away which gave a decent rate.
Im an American. I did everything and when I went to pick up my passport and visa they told me to come back at 3pm. Is this normal? I tried to ask but didnt get much help.
Hey, just wanted to share my recent experience of getting a Chinese visa in Hanoi on here in case it’s useful to anybody. There were a couple things I had a hard time finding info about online.
First one was I’m traveling without travel insurance (I know, I know…) and thought that might be a deal breaker. It’s not – all you need is proof of any kind of insurance, home insurance, car insurance, whatever… The lady at the visa counter told me that herself.
Second problem was not wanting to buy tickets as we’re crossing overland. It turns out they are fine with bookings just like for the hotels – tickets don’t need to be paid for, just reserved (I also asked the lady at the visa counter). A website called yatra allows you to hold seats for free for 3 days and does the job perfectly.
Finally, we got issued a single entry visa that’s valid for 50 days and cost us just 30 USD We were told it’s 30 days only for a single entry, but when we went for it and said we intended to stay for 47 days (which is what we wrote on our fake itinerary), she said that should be fine and the application would be reviewed by her manager. I guess you could probably be even greedier… We have been to China before though, so there’s a chance that might have played in. And our passports are Danish. Hope this is useful to somebody! 🙂
Hi Barbara, Thank you for sharing. It really does depend on the officer. Some have been very strict and others not so. We would recommend still have all your information as if you are turned away you may have to come back the next day or later which may delay your trip. Happy travels guys.
Thanks for sharing your information.
We applying for the visa tomorrow in Hanoi. We have all the documents, however not a flight into China but out of China. We want to take the bus from Hanoi to China, do we have to have a flight entering China?
Thanks so much
Give it a go. But like I said above, it all depends on the office and how he or she are feeling on the day. If they turn you away you maybe delayed by a couple of days or if could be no problems. We got our visa in Hanoi in 2015 they wanted to see an exit ticket.
Hi there, first of all, brilliant original post and follow-up comments by all, so helpful. We will be heading to Hanoi tomorrow so will try and get the process started as soon as we arrive.
A few questions:
1) will a flight home from Hong Kong be sufficiant proof of leaving China? (As technically it isn’t mainland China)
2) on that note is a flight into Hong Kong sufficient proof of entry? We are worried about buying flights from within PRC incase we don’t get in! We can’t afford to spend that money and lose it!
3) do you have to show proof of internal flights/trains/buses to explain how you will move around?
Thank you in advance for whatever help you can provide.
Thank you SO much for this post. Was immensely helpful in getting our visas while in Hanoi (Feb 2017). We had a very similar experience. Dropped off Monday right when they opened. They asked for our hotel # and said they would call *if* there was an issue. We didn’t receive a call so returned on the 4th business day (Thursday) with bank receipt and and picked up our passports right away, no waiting. We’re American and received the 10 year visa no problem (checked “other” and wrote in “requesting 10 year multi-entry visa for US citizens”) which is valid beginning the day they processed it with each entry up to 60 days. $140 USD/person.
-We brought all the same paperwork you listed above but they DID require a bank statement for our application.
-The ICBC bank does NOT accept Vietnamese Dong for the payment, you must pay in USD so visit a currency exchange in advance if needed.
-Black/white photocopies are fine, color not needed.
I am currently staying in hanoi and planning to go to china next week. I would like to ask, if it’s better to have an inviter, where I can stay the entire duration of time. Or should I rather have a hotel accommodation to be sure that everything will go fine. What do you think?
Hi James, We never had an inviter, we just booked all our accommodation for the time we were there. When we got our visa, we canceled it all. We are not too sure whether an invite letter would make the process easier. We had no trouble with hotel accommodation just make sure it is free cancelation. Hope this helps. All the best.
Hi James! Just went through this process in Hanoi and while outside the embassy they have a long list of “required” paperwork for visas which includes an “invitation letter” – we didn’t have one either and simply showed our own flight/hotel bookings. Then same story, we went back and canceled it all.
Oops! I made an error in my comment above. I thought the woman at the Embassy said my visa had a 10 year validity. But looking at it now, I see it says “Enter before May xx 2017.” So that means it’s just good for one year. (Or actually 14 months, if I enter in May 2017. ) The 60-day limit on each stay still applies.
So it’s no-go on the 10 year visa in Hanoi.
(Moderator: if you want to delete my comment above, I can resubmit it correctly.)
Here’s my recent experience. Your post was super-helpful, and essentially not much has changed. Except for one thing: American citizens can now get a 10-year, multiple entry visa, at the same cost as a shorter term visa ($140 USD). I followed the exact procedure in Hanoi that you described above, last week, and requested the 10-year visa. With my application I included proof of lodging and an airline ticket back to the US after a 3 weeks stay. I wrote on the application that “I respectfully request a ten-year, multiple entry visa, as I intend to return to China within the next 6 months and stay for a longer time.” I did include two bank statements that show I have substantial funds, to strengthen my case. Also, it may have helped that I’m a senior citizen. (I don’t know.) I didn’t bother going back for confirmation that I was approved. I waited till the fourth business day, (which was a week later due to a 4-day holiday weekend when the Embassay was closed), and returned to the Embassy. There was my visa waiting for me! Here’s the catch: Each time I enter China I can only stay for 60 days, and then will have to leave and re-enter. BTW, when I went to China Bank to pay the fee the day before, I took Bus #9 from the north end of the small lake in the Old Quarter, and it dropped me very close. I just asked the ticket-seller to advise me when we arrived at Daewoo Center, and also watched on my phone’s GPS. (Actually, the Bank is in the Daewoo Center, which is across the street from the Lotte Tower, where there’s an observatory on the 65th floor that you might want to visit while you’re there. You have to pay about 220000 dong per person or $10 USD, but seniors over age 65 get in for half price. There’s a great view of Hanoi from up there, including, unfortunately, a view of the pollution. The Lotte Center also has an upscale shopping mall and a terrific supermarket at B1 basement.)
Thank you so much for all the detailed explanation on how to get our visas for China! It helped us extremely and all is exactly how it is. For us it went all very smooth as well. Good to know is that currently there is listed outside at the embassy that you need an invitation letter, don’t worry about it. You won’t need it for a tourist visa. We spoke to more backpackers and no one had one and we all got our visas 🙂
Thank you so much for this guide. Is it standard that the visa only takes 4 days to process? Or does it depend on what kind of visa you are applying for and your nationality?
Hi Terra, Hope your visa went well. We think it is 4 days but in different locations it can change. In Mongolia, it was a day for us. Happy travels
Such a useful website! I have also been land traveling for the last year and a half and would like to go through China to get back to Europe. Can you somehow hint at which airline might sell fully refundable tickets? Thanks guys, so much respect for thinking of other travelers and putting all this stuff online. Good karma for you.
Thanks for writing this up guys! It made my application quite simple. I can add that the fee is $140 for U.S. Passport holders (as of October 2015) however due to the reciprocal agreement we are eligible for a 10 year multiple entry visa (60 days per entry) for this amount. It’s the same price as a single entry 30 day visa so why not get it?
Simply fill out Item 2.2 by checking “Other” and filling in “10 year multiple entry for U.S. Citizens”
Also I completed the process at the consulate in Ho Chi Minh City and it was identical to what you wrote, actually you don’t need to get their number if you have a local vietnamese one they’ll call you if there’s a problem with the application. No call = you’ll get the visa in 5 days 🙂
Hope this helps and thanks for helping make my hitchhiking trip from Ho Chi Minh City to a small village in the Czech Republic possible. (Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUVXU5dLZoI )
Two more things that makes me confused:
First I was issued this pinkish slip of paper with a date to pick up visa but without address of the bank to pay.Does that mean I am not necessarily approved yet?
Do I have to make extra trip to the embassy as you did before picking up visa or passport in between or that happens on a same day when picking up visa?
I applied yesterday and havent received any call from the embassy?Is no news good news?
sorry,I am confused.This is the image of the form I was given when handed my application:
Sorry, can’t help you I’m afraid. Always best to ask at the embassy 🙁
Thank you for valuable info.
I am in Hanoi,holding Croatian passport ,will try my luck tomorrow.
You’re welcome. Good luck 🙂
Bad luck 🙁
Dash…They only approved 15 days visa for me today in Hanoi…
Somehow I wish if they turned me down completely it would hurt less.
Damn, that sucks. You could always extend it in China?
The extension period can not exceed original period given ,so 15 days only+ 15 days,30 days total.
How much did it cost for the15days? And when do you pay? Is it when you initally give in your forms at the embassay? Also is there an extra fee at the airport on arriva in china? I am getting mine done on monday hopefully if all goes to plan and need a 15 day visa?:/
Thank you for sharing your experience which helped us quite a lot to get our visa. 🙂
At the embassy we told the officer that we want to travel by train to Nanning and later on to Ulan Bator and got our visa without any tickets. (They sell you the train ticket only if you have a valid visa for China.)
When you apply don’t forget to bring the telephone number of the guest house in Hà Nội along.
You can catch the bus No 9 from the China Embassy (or the hospital) to the ICBC bank. Get off at Daewoo Hotel or one stop before at the Lotte Building. One way fee is 7.000 dong. To get there and return to the Embassy takes around an hour.
To pick up the passport they open in the afternoon at 3 pm.
Greetings from Vietnam
Hi guys! I followed the instructions you gave,every step of the way. I got the Chinese visa yesterday the 26th and today I’m in Guangzhou… Great article here.. Thanks a lot …
Thanks very much Chinedu. Glad we could help 🙂
Thanks for the update Sven and Miriam. Enjoy China 🙂
I’m planning to go to Nanning, China via bus from Hanoi instead of taking the flight. Will this be a problem when applying the visa? I’ll only be buying the bus ticket when I land in Hanoi. Question is how far in advance should I apply for the visa (in Hanoi) cos I plan to stay in Hanoi for only about 2 weeks.
Looking forward to your reply.
When you apply for the visa have a “booked” flight, not the bus ticket. There are plenty of ways you can make one of these up 😉
If you are in Hanoi for two weeks you will have plenty of time to get your visa for China. Happy travels Aly!
Hey, could you by any chance give me more information about those ways by mail thanks? Kinda in the need of these methods now as I need to go back but only to get in and further apply for a student visa. Plan is to make a tourist visa and then do the rest in China. But I dont have the money for both tickets now so it would help.
Thanks in beforehand.
An interesting post to read, you’re right there’s not much information about Chinese visas online at all! Do you know if it is potentially possible to get a visa from any Chinese embassy in the surrounding countries? If all goes to plan I’ll probably be needing to apply for one in South Korea on my travels!
I’m new to your blog, but I’m excited to catch up with your China and Mongolia posts 🙂
Definitely possible in Thailand and Laos. Haven’t heard about getting on in Cambodia, but probably possible as well 🙂
I was wondering how you went about the travel insurance. Is it quiet necessary to provide one?
Yes it is necessary to provide proof of insurance. We are with World Nomads and highly recommend them.
I have found information somewhere saying the processing time could be shorter ,i mean to about 1-2 days. Were you guys given this option?
We never asked because we had some days to kill in Hanoi. Quite possible though if you ask. Might just be an extra fee to pay.
Thank you for the super-helpful and detailed documentation of all aspects of getting a visa! I used it as my preparatory guide, as well as to understand what was the next step was supposed to be since the staff there don’t seem to keen on explaining anything. Two additional pieces to add:
1. If you are paying in dong instead of USD, there is a 110,000 Dong ($5) service charge at the bank. The conversion rate from dollars to dong was fair though. Funny that you have to pay extra to use the currency of the country you are in, right?
2. Yes, the $140 fee for Americans sucks, but the bright side is that it is the same cost no matter which length of visa you are applying for, so you might as well go big! As of Nov. 2014, Americans can get a 10-year multi-entry visa with a 60-day length of stay each time. On the visa application, I checked the “other” box and simply wrote in “10-year multi-entry as American citizen.” I received this visa without any questioning from the staff, nor did I ask any questions about it to the staff when submitting the application. It is also worth noting that all of my documents regarding flight/hotels/etc. were authentic and I had an expired one-year multi-entry visa for China already, which may have influenced my approval to an unknown degree. Or maybe not, such is the mysterious world of visas…
Glad you found the post helpful Casey, and thanks for the update on prices. Awesome about the 10 year visa now! Happy travels.
Oh yes, I also forgot to mention earlier that we met your friends Rob and Kari Stiles while we were in Thailand (right before they left for Nepal and the earthquake hit!). They recommended your blog, so we began following you thanks to them. Cheers!
That’s awesome! Rob and Kari are great people 🙂
We’re a couple who’ve been travelling since January and are currently in Vietnam – we’re hoping to get a train from Hanoi to Beijing and travel around China and then into Mongolia. We’re going to follow your advice and go through the embassy – with the trains, however, we can’t book without a Chinese visa but it seems the embassy need travel documents for both entering and exiting the country. Do you think we might get away with just having confirmation of exit travel?
Hope you’re having fun in Mongolia – also, what transport did you use to get to Mongolia from China?
They were pretty strict with us on the documents, but we managed to ‘come up’ with some flights to hand in to them. Perhaps you can work something out 😉
We took the sleeper bus from Beijing to Erlian, crossed by jeep and then took the train to UB. We’ll be putting together a post about this soon. Happy travels 🙂
Cheers for all the helpful info. Hadn’t originally planned to get to China but plans have changed and really want to check out Hong Kong for a few days.
http://www.china-embassy.info has a two forms (2011A & 2011B) while the http://www.china-embassy.org website has a V.2013 form which looks to be exactly the same as the one you’ve shown. I’m also Australian so I’m guessing this is the right form to be filling out? Have posted the link below?
Update: Got our 30 day tourist visa’s today with a 90 day validity period! Apparently this is not the norm as the lady at the embassy who took our application said they normally give 30 day visa’s with one month to enter China. As we had flights and bookings showing we aren’t entering China until August, she said she would ask her supervisor to make an allowance (whether this was the case or not I have no idea).
Thanks for your tips Lesh and Jazza. We took a copy of all the documents you advised above and didn’t have any trouble.
We are now also planning to backpack China and use your guides to help us get around. Thanks so much and safe travels!
Thanks so much for the update Lauren. Stoked to head you got a 90 day validity period! Too good! If you ever have any questions about China, feel free to ask us. Not everywhere we visited has made it onto the blog, so we have a lot more information 🙂
Did they actively ask for a document proofing the health insurance or you just handed it over with your package of documents?
Yes they asked for proof of travel insurance. We handed them our policy certificate.
What kind of proof of insurance do they require?
By the way, thanks for this site it’s very helpful.
Thanks for the tips guys! Can you confirm if the 30 day visa is valid for 3 months from date of application? Was this the case with you – had to enter China within 90 days of application?
Exactly Lauren! Three months to enter, valid for 30 days 🙂
Hi guys! Great article, we used it to prepare for our visa application. They asked for the documents as you describe above, only one comment about the passport size, we had a 2×3 cm photo, they accepted it but would have preferred a bigger version. For the rest the process was super easy! A visa service would have cost us 60$ for a 30 days visa but doing it yourself (30$) is absolutely easy!
Glad the article helped, Jonas. Good to know they accepted the 2×3 photo as well. Enjoy China! Might see you there 😉
Hi, what a useful report. We are touring SE Asia and will go to China from Hanoi as well. one quick question. When they say 30 day visa does it mean stay of 30 days withing 3 months, or is it 30 days from the date of issue. Many thanks!!!!
Hey Dima, it means you get 30 days from the date of entry, not date of issue. However if the visa is ‘valid for three months’, I believe that means you have to enter in two months if you want the full 30 days. Hope this helps!
Such a useful article guys, thanks! We are planning an awesome overland trip all the way from Indonesia back to the UK next year, so these tips will be really helpful. Look forward to hearing how you get on in China!
Glad we could help out. Your trip sounds incredible! Which route are you going through after China?
Not sure yet, I think we’ll just work it out on the road. A lot depends on the time of year we get there and the weather etc. Do you have any suggestions?
Well we’ve only travelled through Yunnan at the moment, but so far it is incredible! Our own personal route is a bit of a zig zag around the country, and we have done very little research (our typical style). But from China we’ll be heading through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turmenistan, Iran, Turkey, then either further into Europe or head straight South towards Africa.
well jell, as the kids would say! sounds ace and a lot like the plans for our trip! enjoy!
Haha, well jell. Haven’t heard that one before!
Just reading about your planned trip. Me and my girlfriend planning to travel from Hanoi to China in July on train. We are wondering how we can get the visa for China… We are located in Malayia. Any suggestions?
Congrats you guys. I’m so excited to read about your adventures in China and see how you find it. I hope it’s better than our experience (not that I would trade it for anything in the world, but it was such a relief to arrive in Vietnam.)
One thing we didn’t realize about Chinese visas until we applied for ours was that if you want to go to Hong Kong, that counts as leaving China, so you can’t return to China unless you have a double-entry visa.
All the best, J
Thanks Jane! Even in our short time here in China, we are developing a love/hate relationship with the place. Will be interesting to see how we feel about it towards the end.
I have to also say a very BIG thank you guys for the China Visa info, I will need this in two weeks time when I’m in Hanoi – I’ve been visiting Hanoi for the last six years, like most places, you do have a bit of love hate due to some incidents, but as a whole, its fantastic and an amazingly beautiful country. Ohh in London it will cost you £201 to get a single China entry Visa, outrageous…..