Travel and Visa for International Students in China - Part 1


International students in China need to be very careful about the travel and visa requirements. Chinese educational institutions follow all the rules and guidelines regarding these.

Overview

Travel and visa requirements are very clearly delineated for foreign students in China. International students can only apply for further studies if they have the required documentation. Once they are granted admission in Chinese universities and colleges, they have to opt for visas. Travelling in China is very easy because there are a host of different modes of public transportation which are cheap.

Forms and Documents

Documents required during application process

You are required to submit certificates and documents after scanning or photographing them while applying. You need to get grade transcripts or graduation certificates translated into English/Chinese if they are in any other language and get them notarized before submitting them. You are also required to submit copies of your passport while applying. When photographs are asked for, make sure that they are passport size (48 mm by 33 mm). If applicants for the degree programs are below 18 years of age, they have to get a notarized letter from the guarantor who is based in China.

Students who are above 18 years of age need a guardian’s letter of guarantee signed by the pupil’s parents. Students also have to get documents pertaining to economic guarantees while applying. You also need to attach your HSK test scores if degree programs are Chinese medium. For English medium courses, non-native speakers English or those who possess academic degrees in non-English medium degree programs must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores.

While applying for an X visa or a residence permit, you will be required to submit a physical examination certificate. However, in some cases a health certificate may be required during the application process. Some foreign students also need to submit a resume/personal statement describing your background, academic aspirations and other facts about yourself. Those applying for Master’s degree programs should also provide information about their field of research plus study plan.  

Letters of recommendation are required as a character reference by some universities as well for Master’s and doctoral programs.

Forms and documents required during the registration process

Once an international student has reached China, he or she needs to register with the local authorities and university. Students living on the campus are required to register with the local police via the university. Those living in off campus premises must accompany their landlord to the police station for registration.

Those who have applied for an X visa and are studying in China for more than 6 months need to apply for a residence permit before 30 days elapse after entering the country.

For registration at the university, CUCAS has indicated that the following documents need to be provided:
  • Passport
  • cash to pay for tuition and insurance/ receipt for those who wired money
  • Admission Notice
  • Passport-sized photos
  • Registration Form of Temporary Residence
  • Xerox of your passport photo page, visa and Registration Form of Temporary Residence
There are 2 separate residence related documents namely the Registration Form of Temporary Residence /临时住宿登记表 and the Residence Permit/居留许可.

A Registration Form of Temporary Residence confirms that the international students have registered their address with local police stations. Those who are residing in university accommodation or a hotel should get the Registration Form of Temporary Residence from a university or hotel. Those who are renting an apartment off campus need to personally register at the police station and report there with their passport and the landlord.

The Registration Form of Temporary Residence must be submitted to apply for a Residence Permit.  The Residence Permit is pasted on the passport in place of an X visa by the Public Security Bureau. The Residence Permit enables students to stay in China and re-enter the country from outside locations for the time it is valid.

The residence permit can be applied for with the aid of the university. Those who lack a medical certificate while applying for a visa can obtain a health certificate following physical examination in China. It takes 1 to 6 weeks to obtain a residence permit. You cannot travel during this time as your passport remains with the Public Security Bureau till the permit is issued.

Student Visa Interview

International students who want to study in China must apply for a visa. They must also hold a valid foreign passport. Foreign students must apply for a X1 visa if they are attending a course for more than 180 days. Students whose study period and stay in China does not exceed 180 days should apply for the X2 visa. Applicants should apply for the particular visa at the Chinese embassy/consulate closest to them.

Types of Chinese visa international students can opt for (depending upon their program)
The X1 visa is issued to students who will be completing courses of more than 180 days in China. According to CUCAS, the documentation required for this is as follows:
  • Photocopy of the passport's data page and the photo page if it is separate
  • Original passport
  • Completed Visa Application Form
  • Original photocopy of "Visa Application for Study in China" (Form JW201/Form JW202)
  • Proof of legal stay or residence
  • Original photocopy of the Admission Letter
Other documents may be required depending upon the particular university that has been applied to.

X2 visa is issued to those who are studying in China for not more than 180 days. As per the CUCAS estimate, documents required for this visa similar documentation as it is for the X1 visa along with specific documents that particular countries may require.

Visa interviews are held at the consulate. Those who are late applicants should follow the procedure for visa processing suggested by CUCAS.

 You should submit your visa application to the consular office of the Chinese consulate/embassy in person. You can also operate through a travel or visa agency. Mailed applications are not accepted by the Chinese authorities. It takes 4 working days to process the visa. Express and rush service are available for those who want their visa faster than usual but additional money is charged for it.  Specific visa fees are charged for X visas just like any other visas.

Conclusion

Travel and visa arrangements in China are very well delineated. Specific procedures are followed to grant visa to foreign students. Travel and transportation as well as accommodation in China is quite affordable.

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