2013年5月13日，新罕布什尔大学的同事李林园还记得，大约上午10点，他刚刚下课，在办公室的走道上碰到张益唐。他拿着一封信，平静地告诉他一个好消息。世界顶级数学期刊Annals of Mathematics 通过了他的论文《素数间的有界距离》。这篇论文打破了该杂志创刊以来的最快接受速度，仅仅3周就获得了通过。如后来人们知道的那个故事——2012年7月在齐雅格家的后院里，张益唐没有等来梅花鹿，却跨过了那根头发丝的距离。后来，张益唐到普林斯顿访学，遇到当时的审稿人伊万列斯，他评价那份证明，「水晶般地透明」。
1. If I have a valid Chinese visa with multiple-entry and 10-year validity, can I use it to travel to China now?
No, you can’t. The arrangement during the COVID-19 pandemic on temporary suspending for foreign nationals holding valid Chinese visas or Residence Permits to enter the country is still in effect. Foreign Nationals holding valid Chinese visas, Residence Permits (Residence Permits for work, personal affairs, and family reunion are not included), and APEC Business Travel Cards are temporary suspended to enter the country. If you need to travel to China recently, please refer to the “Notice on Adjustment of Chinese Visa Application Instructions” posted on June 13, 2022 for visa application.
2. If I have valid Chinese Residence Permits for work, personal affairs, or family reunion, do I still need a Chinese Visa?
It depends. Foreign nationals holding valid Chinese Residence Permits for work, personal affairs, and family reunion are allowed to enter China with no need to apply for new visas if the purpose of going to China remains unchanged.
If the Residence Permit is expired, or it has been canceled due to receiving other type of visas, or your purpose of going to China has changed, you need to apply for a new visa. Holders of Z, S1, or Q1 Visas are required to apply for Residence Permits from the local Exit and Entry Administration within 30 days from the date of entry.
3. I have a Chinese Permanent Resident ID Card. Do I still need to apply for a Chinese Visa?
Holders of Chinese Permanent Resident ID Cards do NOT need to apply for visas to enter China within the validity of the ID cards.
4. Do I need to submit an original passport to apply for a visa? What are the requirements for the passport?
Yes, you do. It is required to submit the original passport with at least 6 months of validity and at least ONE blank visa page. Usually, the visa page of a passport is marked with the words VISAS.
5. Do I need to submit a photo to apply for my visa? What are the requirements for the photo?
Yes, you do. When you fill in the visa application form online at COVA system (https://cova.mfa.gov.cn/), please follow the instructions to upload a digital version of your photo. A physical photo is not required, if the digital version you submit online is qualified and meets the requirements listed on the following website:
If your digital photo is not qualified according to the feedback of COVA system (https://cova.mfa.gov.cn/), ONE qualified physical photo should be included when mailing the application documents to the Consulate.
6. Does the visa application form need to be printed and signed?
A must. After completing the visa application form online, please print out the confirmation page and the whole form and sign the confirmation page and item 9 of the form. Forms of minor applicants under the age of 18 need to be signed by their parents or lawful guardians.
7. I am not in the United States now, can I apply for a visa by mail?
No, you can’t. The Consulate will not accept your visa application while you are not in the United States. You may inquire the Chinese Embassy or Consulate-General in the country of domicile on your visa application. If the place of domicile is in the consular jurisdiction of the Consulate-General of China in San Francisco, you may submit the visa application to the Consulate-General.
8. If I mail my application documents directly to the Consulate instead of sending an email for application preview, will my application be expedited compared with the other applicants?
No, it will not. Neither your application will be accepted, nor be expedited. The application documents should be mailed to the Consulate AFTER being previewed by the staff and the unique mailing reference number through email being given. The whole set of application documents will be returned to the applicant by mail, if the preview is skipped, or the address on the self-addressed envelop is not explicitly written, or the required documents are not included. And your passport without a self-addressed envelop will not be mailed back to you unless you contact the Consulate and send the self-addressed envelop.
9. My family of three have all passed the preview and obtained 3 different mailing reference numbers. Can we put all our documents into ONE envelope and mail it to the Consulate as a whole set?
No, please don’t. The overweight or oversized envelope could lead to the unnecessary return to the applicants during shipping, please prepare a separate envelope for each applicant, that is “one applicant, one mail (with self-addressed envelope in each one)”.
10. If I want to visit my family members in China, is there a template or required format for the invitation letter from them?
There is no specific template or required format for the invitation letter. It is suggested to include the following information:
Date of letter
Inviter’s name, gender, date of birth (yyyy/mm/dd), Chinese ID number (or foreign passport number and Chinese Permanent Residence ID card number), address (in China), phone number, and email address.
Details of the planned visit: purpose (e.g. long-term family reunion, visiting family members etc.), arrival date, and estimated duration of stay in China.
Applicant’s (invitee’s) name, gender, date of birth, nationality, passport number, and the kinship with the inviter.
I promise that the above information is true. I will take all responsibility if there is any false information.
The invitation letter could be a faxed copy, a photocopy, or a printed copy with the inviter’s signature. The email text cannot be printed out and used as an invitation letter. The original invitation letter may be required by the Consul if necessary.
11. What documents are required for the U.S.-born applicants (under the age of 18) with Chinese descent to apply for a visa?
It depends on whether such applicants are applying for a Chinese visa for the first time.
If he/she applies for the first time, in addition to the regular application documents, the applicant’s birth certificate (the original or copy will be different according to the type of visa application), a copy of the passport information page of parents, and a document proving the status of the foreign permanent residency held by the parents at the time of the applicant’s birth (such as a “green card” in the United States, etc.). If the applicant has once obtained for a Chinese visa, he/she is required to provide regular application documents (including a copy of the previous visa).
12. I have obtained the Chinese Visa, but my travel plan has changed due to air tickets or other reasons, can I request to renew or extend my visa?
No, you can’t. Once a visa is issued, it cannot be changed or extended, nor can the fees be refunded. It is suggested that the applicants should purchase air tickets after obtaining the visa. Any possible relevant loss occurred will be borne by the applicants.
13. If I have a valid Chinese visa, can I definitely enter China?
Not necessarily. Obtaining a visa does not mean that you can necessarily enter China. The Chinese border inspection department will make a decision at the port on whether to allow you to enter China in accordance with Chinese laws and regulations.
14. Why is the type of visa I am issued different from the one I applied for?
The consular officer decides on a case-by-case basis whether or not to issue a visa, as well as the category, validity, duration of stay and number of entries.
15. How long does it take to process my visa application? What is the right time to submit my visa application?
It usually takes 4 working days for the consul to process and issue a visa after the qualified physical application documents are received. If the physical application documents fail to meet the requirements, it will take longer. The delivery time you find in the post office or courier company system is not necessarily the actual delivery time of the physical application documents parcels, and some parcels will be delayed by 1 to 2 working days.
It is advised to submit a visa application about one month before the planned entry into China.
16. If I mailed the physical application documents to the Consulate after my application was previewed, is there a guarantee that I will be issued a visa?
Passing the online preview does not necessarily result in obtaining a visa. After receiving the physical application documents, the consul will review the application and decide to issue a visa or not. If the visa is issued, the passport with the Chinese visa will be mailed back to the applicant. If the visa is not issued, the passport and visa fee (money order or cashier’s cheque) will be returned.
17. I don’t know much on how to apply for a visa, should I ask someone with experiences, or find an agency to help me with the application process?
Personal information is important and it should be cautious to entrust an agency to apply for a visa. Since the visa application procedure is not complicated for most of the applicants, entrusting someone else or an agency is not necessary. Getting help from an agent or agency to apply for a visa, in case there are illegal acts related with the agent or agency, it could not only affect the issuing of the visa, but also lead to possible unfavorable consequences or legal liabilities, which may be borne by the applicant.
18. I’m now in China, but my visa will expire soon. Can I mail my passport to my friend in the U.S. and apply for a new Chinese visa from the Consulate?
No, you can’t. You should leave China before the expiry of the visa or consult with the local Exit and Entry Administration on the possibility of extension of stay in China.
19. I don’t want to bother filling in the visa application form which seems too much to be answered. And I don’t want to provide some information or documents. Can I just fill out the form at random?
No, you can’t. According to the relevant provisions of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Exit-Entry Administration, if the visa application process is fraudulent, or if the applicant fails to submit the required documents, the visa will not be issued. If a visa application is denied, the reasons may not be given.
20. May I pay the visa fee in cash, by personal cheque or by credit card?
No, please don’t. At present, only money orders or cashier’s cheques are accepted. Please write “Chinese Consulate” in the blank of“Pay to……”on the money order or cashier’s cheque.