As a leader in terms of economic growth, China has become an intriguing place to pursue a degree abroad for students coming from Europe, USA and other parts of Asia. Students will experience a rigorous but comprehensive education and they are guaranteed to improve career prospects. Apart from being exposed to excellent teaching, you will immerse in the Chinese culture which will certainly deepen your intellectual horizon.
1. Decide on a university to apply to and get your acceptance letter
If you’re still not sure where you want to study in China, you will have to decide before you can start your student visa application process. After being accepted at a Chinese university, you’ll get an acceptance letter required for visa application.
Consider some of the best universities in China:
Find the right universities depending on the discipline you want to study:
- Master's degrees in Computer Science in China
- Master's degrees in General Engineering in China
- Master's degrees in International Business in China
- Master's degrees in Economics in China
- Master's degrees in Languages in China
2. Find out what type of visa you need to study in China
- X1 – for students who plan to study in China for more than six months
- X2 – for students who will stay in China to study for a period of less than six months
3. When and where to apply for the student visa?
Citizens from countries like the UK, Australia, Canada and EU countries can apply through the CVASC (Chinese VISA Application Service Centre).
- If there is no CVASC office in your home country, you can simply apply at the local Chinese embassy/consular office.
- Submit the application in person or with the help of a travel agency or a visa agency that can act on your behalf if you can't come personally.
- Mailed applications are not accepted, thus will be refused by most of Chinese embassies.
- You won’t need an appointment for most embassies and consulates. You can visit the visa office anytime during business hours, but it is usually better if you come before 11:30 a.m.
- If you submit your application through CVASC, you may be required to make an online appointment on the website.
4. Additional information
You should apply for a study visa for China around one month in advance of your intended date to come to China, but it is recommended not to apply earlier than three months. However, usually all Chinese embassies are very efficient and the processing time for a visa may only take one week or even less.
5. Language requirements for my study in China
There are no specific language requirements in order for international students to be eligible for a study visa for China. However, since most universities offer courses that are taught in English, they will require English language proficiency during the application process.
During your interview at the Chinese embassy or consulate you will also have to speak in one of the international languages, most likely the easiest and most convenient language would be English.
6. Required application documents
- Original passport (valid up to at least six months with at least one blank page)
- Completed Application Form
- One passport type photograph
- Original and a copy of acceptance letter from the university
- Proof of paying the visa application fee (around 66 USD)
- A photocopy of previous Chinese passports (only applicable to foreign citizens who were once Chinese citizens and have obtained foreign citizenship)
- Proof of legal status in the country where you’re applying for the visa, such as a resident permit (if you’re applying for the VISA outside your country of citizenship)
- Copy of airplane tickets and accommodation arrangements
- Applicants who are over 18 years old and will study in China for more than 180 days need to provide a valid physical examination record
More detailed information for students outside the EU
7. Residence permit in China
You are allowed to stay in China for the whole duration of your visa, but it is usually valid for 30 days once you enter China. During these 30 days you will have to apply for a residence permit that is mainly 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.
8. Working in China as an international student
International students are allowed to take part-time jobs during their studies, or to engage in paid internships on campus, under the following condition: they must obtain permission both from their host university and the Chinese immigration authorities as well.
The university issues a consent letter and the hiring company will also give out a certification. The next step is for the police station to mark your visa "Part-time-work ". However, you cannot apply for a different job in a different company in case you changed your mind.
As a foreigner in China, English is a highly valued skill. English tutoring and teaching jobs are in high demand, so you should try for this kind of opportunities.
For any additional information regarding the study visa for China, go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.