How to secure a student visa for China
A view of the central business district in Beijing, China. Source: Shutterstock

China’s education hub has boomed over recent years, largely due to the economic boom and rapid development.

Chinese universities are steadily growing in popularity and accreditation, climbing their way up world rankings.

Students from all over the world are drawn to China’s universities, drawn by the popularity of their technical courses and professional degrees, according to China Power.

Job prospects are also looking up, with a surge of 81 percent of job positions available in the country last year for graduates.

It was reported by The Pie News last year that approximately 26 million people are enrolled with higher education providers across the nation, 490,000 of whom are international students.

In fact, China is well on the way to meet its target of hosting 500,000 international students by 2020.

If you’re planning to take up a course or degree program in bustling China, here’s what you need to know about securing a student visa.

Types of student visas

The Chinese Student Visa (X Visa) is divided into X1 and X2 types.

Those who will be studying at a Chinese university for more than six months will be issued an X1 visa, while those who will be there for less than six months are issued an X2 visa.

Another difference between the two is that the X1 visa is usually issued for multiple entry and is valid for up to five years, according to The X2 visa is usually issued for one entry with validity up to six months.

The visas are valid for 30 days, but you can stay in China for the entire duration of your visa. However, during the 30 days, you’ll need to apply for a residence permit, basically a replacement of your visa, at a local Public Security Bureau (PSB) Exit and Entry Administration office.

The residence permit will be valid for the time period you were granted with the original visa.

Where to apply

Students from certain countries will have to apply in person at a Chinese Consulate. Click here for the countries on that list.

Citizens from countries like the UK, Australia, Canada and EU countries can apply through the CVASC (Chinese VISA Application Service Centre).

If there isn’t a CVASC near you, you can apply at a local Chinese embassy/consular office, either in person or through a visa agency.

Paperwork and documents

Handwritten application forms will not be accepted, so make sure you fill it out online. Source: Shutterstock

These are the documents you’ll need to submit for your student visa application:

  • Actual passport (with two blank visa pages), plus photocopy of the name page
  • Completed Visa Application Form V.2013 (handwritten forms are not acceptable)
  • One passport-type photograph 
  • JW201 or JW202 form issued by the State Education Ministry of China (original and one photocopy)
  • Admission Notice from the receiving school (original and one photocopy)
  • Proof of payment of the visa application fee (around $140)
  • Copy of airplane tickets and accommodation arrangements
  • A valid physical examination record

When to apply

It’s recommended that you apply for your student visa around one month before your intended arrival date in China.

However, the processing time for Chinese visas is fast – it usually takes about a week.

Working on a Chinese student visa

You’re allowed to take part-time jobs during your studies, as well as engage in paid internships on campus, as long as you obtain permission both from your host university and the Chinese immigration authorities.

You will receive a consent letter from your university or hiring company (for internships), and then you’ll need to go to the police station to mark your visa for ‘part-time work’.

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