The old commercial visa (F visa), now called M visa
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Business Visa for China – Index
- What is required to obtain an M visa?
- Where can I apply for an M visa?
- How long is the M visa good for, and how many entries can I get?
- Can I renew my M visa in China?
- How much does an M visa cost?
- How can I read an M visa?
- How can one get an M visa on arrival at the Shanghai Airport?
- How can one get a 5 day visa on arrival at the border between Hong Kong and Shenzhen?
- Can I work in China with an M visa?
The business visa (or M visa) is issued to those coming to China for commercial activity.
If you’re interested in finding out more about tourist, student or work visas, click here to read our guide to Chinese visas. If instead you’re interested in a visa to visit relatives (your husband, son, etc) then click here. If you’re interested in obtaining a visa for Taiwan, click here.
What is required to obtain an M visa?
- An original passport valid for at least six months
- Two photos 4.5cm*3.5cm with a blue background
- An invitation letter from a trade fair such as Canton Fair or from a Chinese firm (in the event that you get your visa through a Chinese agency, it’s possible that they will be the ones to procure the letter for you)
- A copy of the Chinese firm’s business license
- A business card with your company’s name and contact information (telephone, email, etc)
The invitation letter should contain your information (name, date of birth, etc), details about your trip (purpose of your visit, dates of arrival and departure, where you will be visiting, etc) and information about the firm that granted you the invitation letter.
If you intend to apply for – in Hong Kong, – a visa that will permit you to stay in China for six months or more, you will also have to meet the following criteria:
- Your passport must contain at least two Chinese visas issued outside of Chinese territory (those visas have a green background instead of blue or gray)
- Among your last three Chinese visas, one of them must have been issued in your country
Where can I apply for an M visa?
If for some reason you don’t want to, or you can’t show up personally, you can use an agency to get your Chinese Visa. This will have a supplementary cost, but it may still be cheaper than the cost of the trip to the nearest CVASC or Chinese Consulate).
In this case you’ll have to send your passport (and other necessary documents) to the agency and they will handle everything. To apply for a visa service through an agency you can use the form above on the right.
The other option, which is frequently used by those who are already in Asia, is to apply for the visa in Hong Kong. Click here to read our guide about to how to apply for a Chinese visa in Hong Kong.
How long is an M visa good for, and how many entries can I get?
American citizens can also apply for a 10 years multi entry M visa (maximum 60 day for each stay).
Can I renew my M visa in China?
How much does an M visa cost?
For Europeans it’s usually cheaper, while Americans are often required to pay more than 100 USD.
How do I read an M visa?
- Category: M
- Entries: 1, 2 or M ( “M” multiple entries)
- Enter Before: XX-XX-XXXX (the visa’s expiration date)
- Duration of each stay: XX days after entry
- Issue date: XX-XX-XXXX (date the visa was issued)
How can one get an M visa on arrival at Shanghai Airport?
Even in this case you should have an invitation letter that serves to confirm the emergency situation that justifies your entry into China. In order to issue an invitation letter with the purpose of obtaining an M visa on arrival, the company doing the inviting must have at least a million Yuan in capital and be registered in one of the following provinces: Shanghai, Beijing, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui or Guangdong.
In addition, you can only obtain this type of visa if you land at either Shanghai Pudong or Shanghai Hongqiao airport. To conclude, if you hold a French or American passport you cannot apply for this type of visa.
How can one get a 5 day visa on arrival at the border between Hong Kong and Shenzhen?
This visa is only valid for the special economic zone of Shenzhen, namely the cities of Shenzhen, Shekou and the factories dispersed throughout the surrounding countryside.
The visa is called “Tourist visa to Shenzhen Special Economic Zone” so, technically, it’s a tourist visa. However it is also convenient for those who come to Shenzhen, the world capital of electronics, for business purposes.
If instead you’re in Macau you can apply for a similar visa for the Zhuhai area (in this case for a length of three days).
Can I work in China with an M visa?
But if you’re paid by a Chinese company or you’re paid by a foreign firm but will be working in China for over three months, then you will need a work visa (called a Z visa).
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[Photo Credits (Creative Commons License): www.flickr.com/photos/triciawang/]