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Return to China: How Indian students can apply for a Chinese visa

Applying for a Chinese visa from India
Indian students can begin applying for their visas at the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in New Delhi. Source: Arun Sankar/AFP

The long, agonising wait for a return to on-campus study looks like it’s coming to an end for Indian students locked out of China. On Monday, the Chinese Embassy in India finally announced its plan to issue Chinese visas to those stranded offshore since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic over two years ago.

In a Twitter post, Ji Rong, a Counsellor in China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted a congratulatory message addressed to Indian students who’ve steadfastly waited for the auspicious development in their plight: “Warmest congratulations to Indian students! Your patience proves worthwhile. I can really share your excitement and happiness. Welcome back to China!”

The news was instantly met with relief and gratitude, with many students thanking the Counsellor’s efforts to keep those affected in the loop in recent weeks.

“The way you’ve helped us is very heartwarming. Thank you @JiRongMFA. We are more than happy to hear it after 2.7 years. Let’s hope we can study [at] our universities soon,” wrote Anuj Rajial, an Indian medical student.

Despite the progress, concerns were raised over flight availability and ticket prices. There have been no direct flights between the two countries so far, and Indian nationals who were allowed entry into China reported spending a much higher sum than regular ticket rates for non-direct flights, according to CNBC TV18.

Applying for a Chinese visa from India: A guide for students 

Counsellor Ji Rong’s update on Monday came with a detailed explanation from the Embassy on how Indian nationals can apply for a visa from their country. The updated instructions will take effect starting from Aug. 24, 2022.

If you’re an Indian student in need of a Chinese visa to return to your campus, here’s what you need to know:

Applying online and scheduling an appointment

Click on the website of the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre (CVASC) in New Delhi and fill in your complete details on the online form and on the confirmation page. You can then follow the system instructions and proceed with booking an appointment with your application form number.

Submitting your documents and fingerprints

You will need to submit your documents in person at the CVASC at the appointed date and time. You’re exempted from fingerprint collection at the New Delhi-based visa centre if:

  • You’re below the age of 14 or over 70.
  • You’ve provided fingerprints within the past five years at the Chinese Embassy in India or at the CVASC with the same passport.
  • You have permanent injuries which render all your fingerprints to be unreadable.
Applying for a Chinese visa from India

Most Indian students locked out of China are pursuing a degree in medicine. They have been battling uncertainties in the last two years over their degree recognition in India. Source: Arun Sankar/AFP

Documents needed for an X1 Chinese visa

According to the Embassy, the following are required by applicants from all categories submitting their documents from India:

  • Your visa application form.
  • The confirmation page of your online visa application.
  • An original passport with two or more blank pages, which must be valid for at least six months, and a photocopy of any relevant pages.
  • Passports that have expired within the last five years and a photocopy of relevant pages of the old passports.
  • Two recent passport photos measuring 48mm x 33mm. They must show your face entirely from a front view with a bare head.
  • A certificate of your COVID-19 vaccination with a verifiable QR code.
  • For non-Indian citizens applying from the country: A valid long-term residence visa or work permit.
  • Any other necessary materials requested by the Embassy or the CVASC in New Delhi.

Additional documents are needed for X1 visa applicants, who consist of incoming new students and returning ones enrolled in Chinese universities for long-term academic study:

  • For all students: A cover letter with your name, places you’ll visit upon arrival, your address, contact number, and the email of your university or admissions office.
  • For newly-enrolled students: An original visa application form to study in China (Form JW201 or Form JW202) and the original admission letter issued by your university.
  • For returning students: An official ‘Certificate of Returning to Campus’ issued by your Chinese university.

Applying from outside of New Delhi

For Indian students residing in Maharashtra or Karnataka, the Embassy advises applying through the CVASC in Mumbai instead of New Delhi. Those residing in or close to the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chattisgarh, and West Bengal are encouraged to get their Chinese visas at the application centre in Kolkata.