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Family Member Visa for China

A family member visa (Q visa / S visa) is applied for to visit relatives in China, if the stay is supposed to last longer than 60 days. (For shorter stays a visitor visa (L visa) is applied for.) The relatives to be visited can be Chinese citizens or foreigners who work or study in China.

The Q-visa should be applied for by former Chinese citizens and their German family members who wish to visit the part of the family that remained in China and receive an invitation from a Chinese relative to do so.

The S visa is to be applied for by Germans whose family member in China has begun or will begin regular studies (X1 visa) or a regular occupation (Z1 visa).

China differentiates between a “small” family member visa (Q/S 2 up to a maximum stay of 180 days) and a “large” family member visa (Q/S1 up to a maximum stay of 365 days). The “small” family member visa (Q2 or S2) can be issued for a single, double, or multiple entries within 180/365 days. Per entry the length of stay is either 180 days at once, or 30 or 60 days per entry.

Holders of a “large” family member visa (Q1 or S1) have to register with the police within 30 days of their arrival in China and apply for a residence permit. As a rule in addition to the visa entry in your passport, a notarized birth and/or marriage certificate, as well as a health certificate must be presented for this. With a residence permit it is possible to leave China at any time and re-enter again. It is usually issued for a year and can be extended without a problem.

To apply for a family member visa, a properly formulated private invitation has to be presented and in addition it must be demonstrated that the applicant is closely related to the person inviting him (parents, children, siblings and their spouses are accepted). The proof of relationship is shown in the form of marriage and/or birth certificates. Photocopies of the relevant documents are accepted with the visa application. For a residence permit application however the authorities in China require notarized copies of these documents whose correctness has been confirmed by the Chinese consulate in Germany.

A proper private invitation must contain the address and phone number of the host, and the full name of the guest has to be included. His passport number and birthdate must also be provided. The invitation must be expressed for a specific period of time (from … to …). The invitation is then signed by hand, scanned and sent to Germany as an attachment. It can be issued in the languages German, English or Chinese.

The private invitation will only be accepted by the visa office when a copy of the host’s identification is included.

If the host has Chinese citizenship the invitation must include a copy of his ID card (front and back sides). If the host is a foreigner living in China the invitation must include a copy of his passport (first page with photo) and the China visa (or residence permit) it contains. An example of a private invitation can be requested from the company China Visum Express (no charge info hotline 030-2000 5990). They are also happy to help with the notarizing of documents.

Relatives of embassy employees who can present a corresponding invitation from the Foreign Office of the PRC are charged a reduced fee when applying for a visa. In such cases the visa office handling fee (€ 35.70 incl. tax) is dispensed with.

Applying for a family member visa for China

The completed application including the attachments must be presented in person at the China Visa Application Service Center (CVASC). If you wish to apply for the visa by mail, visa agencies are available to assist. The company China Visum Express, for example, can help you get a China visa within 72 hours (no charge info hotline 030 – 96 51 31 20). An application by mail directly to the CVASC is not recommended because a flat rate of 71.40 is charged and the processing time takes at least two weeks.

China family member visa Q visa / S visa – Your questions and further options

For additional questions or a personal consultation on the topic of a “Chinese family member visa, Q visa or S visa” the following visa agency, among others, is gladly at your service: China Visum Express 

1a Visum Service oHG
Sprengelstraße 22
13353 Berlin