F - Business Visa
An F Visa is issued to individuals who visit China for the purposes of:
- giving lectures
- doing business
- carrying out scientific, technical and cultural exchanges
- pursuing short-term advanced studies
- doing short-term fieldwork all of which shall not exceed 6 months
In summary, an F visa is designated for individuals who are conducting various business or academic activities in China, and are not employed by a domestic Chinese company for these purposes. Common business activities include negotiations with suppliers, distributors, potential joint venture partners, or in furtherance of any other partnership relations.
Depending on the invitation and application forms, the applicant will be issued a 30-, 60-, 90- or 180-day visa, with single, double or multiple-entry. (If the foreign national applies in Hong Kong they can obtain up to one year, multiple entry F visa).
As a local enterprise / institution must invite the foreign visa holder for a specified purpose in order to obtain letter approval at the Commission of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation or Bureau of Commerce, the foreigner will often have a distinct itinerary for their visit.
However, other than the activity specified within the letter, the holder is free to conduct any other business / activity in China, with the exception of performing work for a domestic Chinese enterprise.
Although it is possible to enter China under a Tourist (L) visa for the purposes of business, it is not advisable, as it is a violation of laws, and an F visa allows for more flexibility / longer-term stays.
Application Process and Documents: The applicant must submit the following documents to the closest Chinese Consulate or Embassy with jurisdiction over the place of residence:
- Application form, with one additional passport photo (black and white, or color is acceptable)
- Valid passport. The passport must have at least six (6) months validity left before expiration and at least one blank page remaining
- An invitation letter from the host company or institution in China OR ANY ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
- An original and photocopy of the Chinese business license carrying the name of the applicant (for applicants who have made an investment in China)
- An application letter from the home company and an invitation letter from the Chinese subsidiary company (for applicants who are in a position of management in the home company that has a subsidiary in China)
- A copy of the visa and an invitation letter (for applicants who have visited China more than twice with an F visa within the past 12 months)
- Original and photocopy of the contract (for applicants who must visit China frequently in order to execute contracts with a Chinese company)
Applicants may then retrieve their passport after approximately 1 to 2 days (expedited times apply, however, vary with the embassy / consulate concerned).
An F visa may be extended visa while in China through application to the local public security with the following documents:
- Application form
- 1 Passport-Sized Photo
- Proof of Residency (Registration form of temporary residence issued by an eligible Hotel or local police station)
- Host units' official letter (if hosted by joint venture, foreign invested enterprise, state-owned, or joint stock company, must also provide original and photocopy of "Business License")
- Company chop