Visa & Passports
To visit China, you’ll need a visa which is usually valid for 90 days from the date of issue, and for a maximum stay of 30. So, it’s important not to get your visa too early. The application process time can vary so make sure you leave enough time and make sure your passport has at least 6 months validity after your intended departure from China, with at least one blank page. You can apply direct to the CVASC in-person, by post, or through a specialist visa service, The Visa Machine.
Chinese visa details and requirements have been known to change with almost no notice given, so please refer to the Chinese Embassy in the UK for the most up to date details.
The Visa Machine
As an alternative, and in order to offer a useful service to our customers we have teamed up with The Visa Machine – a professional visa service who can guide you though the process and take care of lodging and collecting your passport with multiple embassies, taking the hassle out of the visa application process. For more information please see our dedicated page.
With a UK passport, you do not require a visa to visit Hong Kong, unless you stay longer than 3 months. If you plan to leave Hong Kong to enter China, you’ll need a Chinese Visa in advance. If you leave China to enter Hong Kong, and plan to return to mainland China afterwards, you’ll need a double entry Chinese visa.
Visa Cost & Application
A single entry Chinese visa costs £151 for standard service and £178 for the express service. This is made up of a visa fee and a processing fee from the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre (CVASC). These prices are the same for multiple entry visas. We aren’t always notified of changes in the visa process or the costs involved, so please always double check with the CVASC or Chinese Embassy for the latest info.
Chinese money is referred to as renminbi, ‘peoples money,’ but is better known as the Yuan, or ‘kuai.’ We suggest using Bank of China ATMs which are found in cities and large towns. All you need is a debit or credit card with a Visa, Maestro or Cirrus logo, but be aware that cards are not accepted everywhere. You can visit ATM’s in every airport and city but we recommend carrying spare cash just in case.
In Hong Kong the currency is the Hong Kong Dollar, and is available from ATM’s throughout the city.
Tipping is not customary in China, and almost no-one asks for or expects a tip. We would however recommend using your discretion towards any guides or drivers you may use as tipping is becoming more common place for good service.