China How-to Tokyo Travel

Applying for a Chinese Visa From Tokyo

Update: as of 2016, tourists and foreign residents in Japan can now apply for a visa at the Chinese Visa Application Service Center so you no longer have to use a travel agency.


If you’re a foreigner living in Japan (not a tourist) you can no longer apply for a Chinese tourist visa (type L) direct from the Chinese embassy in Tokyo (although type F business visas are still available). Despite conflicting information on their website, you will be given the number of a travel agency that charge more than double the going rate than the embassy (10,000 ¥ vs 4,000 ¥).

Embassies in many countries seem to be doing this in recent years but it feels a lot like a money-making racketeering scam and the only thing you can do is shop around to find the cheapest travel agency (as opposed to the embassy recommended one).

After a bit of research online I found Weston (ウエストン) in Roppongi who can apply on your behalf and charge a more modest fee. While their website is only in Japanese, some of their staff speak basic English. There are many different lengths of visa you can apply for but here’s the most straightforward:

Single Entry 30-day Tourist Visa (L)

  • Non-Japanese/US citizens: 6,500 ¥ (4 days) / 9,500 ¥ (2 days)
  • US citizens: 18,000 ¥ (4 days) / 22,000 ¥ (2 days)

The high fees for Americans are reciprocal charges levied because of the high price for Chinese to get US visas.

Requirements

  • Passport with at least 6 months till expiry
  • Passport photo on light background
  • Copy of Japan resident card
  • Copy of return flight tickets
  • Copy of hotel reservation or invitation letter from a Chinese national (when staying at their home)

Office

株式会社 ウエストン (Weston Ltd.)

Address:
〒 106-0031
Tokyo, Minato-ku, Nishi-Azabu 3-1-18
Roppongi Newborn Building 4F

Phone: 03-3403-0661
Office hours: 9 am to 6 pm (Mon-Fri), 10 am to 2 pm (Sat)

You could go to their office directly or make an appointment by filling in their online form (Japanese only). Payment can be made by cash at their office with an additional fee if you want your passport to be delivered somewhere.

Hope this helps and leave a comment below if you have any other recommendations or questions.

Author

Originally from the UK, David is designer and wanderer currently based in Kamakura. Prior to this, he lived in China and still returns frequently to continue exploring this vast and varied land. He started Randomwire in 2003 to chronicle his travels and occasional musings. Feel free to drop him a line.

107 Comments Add New Comment

  1. Daniel says:

    “You cannot apply for a Chinese visa from Japan if you are not a resident here.” This isn’t true. I’m only in Japan on the 90-day allowance and I was able to get a tourist visa to China through Weston.

  2. Rosario says:

    David, is that specific to the travel agency you went to, or is it generally true that you can apply for a china tourist visa in Japan despite not living there? I need to apply through the Fukuoka consulate and hope that I can apply through a travel agency there.

  3. PX says:

    Thanks for the info. I literally just came back from Westone a few minutes ago. I called the guy, Ishizawa-san, who didn’t bother to pick up the phone or return my call. I found that odd if he wanted to do business. But since I have no bargaining power, and I need a visa soon for my year-end trip to China, I went there and dealt with them. It was pretty smooth, and they had a Chinese lady work with me. She knows no English, so I had to converse in Japanese. I probably should have used Chinese as I am a fluent Chinese speaker, but I just wanted to test them out. They seem legitimate, and I should have my visa in 4 days. I had all of my documents (invitation letter, application forms, friend’s visa/passport, my passport info, gaijin card copy) ready , printed out, copied, and just brought them over. It took less than 10 minutes.

  4. Bharat says:

    Sitting in their office, waiting for a friend to send me his visa details.

    Requirements are:
    1. Form
    2. Return Tickets
    3. Hotel booking (With your name on it)
    4. Bank certificate
    5. Copy of resident card and if you are a student, copy of Student ID
    6. Copy of Chinese visa and passport of your friend.
    7. Invitation letter.

    Don’t understand the point of 6 and 7. What if I don’t have a friend in China? Can someone explain. Thanks

    1. Bart Zed says:

      Thank you for all the info.

      Bharat, what do you mean by “bank certificate”?

      As for hotel reservations, can that be a print out from a website like let’s say HOTELS DOT COM or does it have to be an official document?

      Thank you

  5. orh says:

    I can’t seem to figure out how to get past the return/onward ticket part. Can that be a train, or must it be a flight? And can I just print a final confirmation, rather than an actual booking of a flight and hotel? I prefer not to book anything prior to knowing if I can enter or not.

    I want to continue to travel to Vietnam and Thailand and I can’t think of a way to prove that.

    Thank you

    1. David says:

      Yes, it must be a flight departing from the same city you land at and you need to show some proof of it being booked. Since they may take note of flights/hotels if you then end up deviating from your original plan this it might raise alarm bells.

  6. Abs says:

    Thank you for the information – I just confirmed through my travel agency that this is all accurate. They want to charge me 30,000 yen for the tourist visa! This is crazy! My father is applying from the US and it only cost him 100 dollars. I’d check out Weston, but I’m a bit nervous because I leave in about 4 weeks – maybe cutting it a bit close…

  7. Andy says:

    I called Weston last week to arrange an appointment and they said tourists in Japan now apply directly to the Chinese embassy after recent changes to the procedure??!! Confused!

      1. Thomas says:

        Hello,

        Any update on this? I am French and going on a backpacking trip. Is it possible to get my chinese tourist visa while I am in Japan?
        Thanks!

  8. Sven says:

    This is super helpful, though I’m a bit confused myself after Andy’s recent post.

    When you say 4 days , is that 4 days after drop-off? Let’s say I go to Weston on Monday morning at 10. Will the visa be ready that Thursday or Friday? Are the time frames very reliable, as I am looking to time a flight to Sapporo with getting my passport back. Thanks!

    1. David says:

      Hey Sven – If you submitted your application Monday you’d be able to collect it on Friday I believe. You can pay extra for them to do it in 2 days also.

      Let me know how you get on – someone commented recently that you can now apply directly at the embassy which might be cheaper.

      1. Sven says:

        I just navigated my way through the Weston website a bit. On one of their English info sheets they state the following:

        Important Notice : From September 2013, short visitor in Japan (without foreigner I.D cards) Must apply Chinese visa directly to Chinese embassy by himself.

        We will try that when we are in Tokyo in another week. I will post an update on how we get on.

  9. Bart says:

    Once again thank you for all the info.

    I was wondering if anyone could answer the following question:

    According to one source I found on the net (an agency in Osaka) hotel booking certificate with the names of all guests is necessary.
    Could anyone confirm that?

    And if so, how is it possible to obtain such a certificate. I have made my reservations through booking dot com website and the only name on the confirmation is mine. The rooms have been booked for 3 people, but my family members’ names are not included.

    Bart

    1. David says:

      Hi Bart – I really doubt any form of official certificate is necessary. Usually just a print out of your booking confirmation should suffice.

  10. Brian says:

    My wife and I just applied and received tourist visas while in Tokyo about two weeks ago. We both submitted one copy each of our flight itinerary (including flights that went into Beijing from Tokyo and then out from Shanghai to Hong Kong), printed copies of our hotel bookings in each city we were visiting, photocopies of our passports and the entry stamps, and the required application form. We got our visas the next day with no problem. I just wanted to post this in case anyone else was wondering what was required and this is one of the first sites that comes up with a google search (FYI).

    1. tucker says:

      Hi Brian —– Glad things worked out for you, and thanks for the update. One or two clarifications:

      Did you go directly to the embassy (without using an agent?)

      Are you a US citizen, or from another country? (What was the price?)

      Thanks ——–

      1. Brian says:

        Sorry for the delay in responding, I hope the answer is still relevant. We went directly to the embassy and we are US citizens. The price was $160 for both of us, I believe.

  11. Greg says:

    @Brian:

    Thanks for this interesting update Brian. I guess you were in Japan as a tourist, then. One question if I may: did you obtain those visas through an agency or by yourself, directly at the embassy? How much were you charged per person and what is your nationality (as this dictates the consular fee)? Thank you.

    1. maria says:

      Hi, I am also interested in Brian’s answer.
      I am travelling next week to Japan for 1 week and my intention is to get a tourist visa for China. I have a friend living there and I have her invitation letter and a copy of her passport and visa. But I have not buy yet a flight back to europe so I would not be able to show them a flight to get out from China, do you think this will be a problem?
      Thanks

  12. Lilly says:

    Hello,
    I JUST GET MY CHINESE VISA! I am Swiss, only in Japan as tourist, and I just get my visa for China in the Chinese consulate of Osaka; it was quite easy, we applied by ourselves (no need to apply through travel agency).
    This is what we gave them to apply:
    -itinerary (we made it ourself very quickly, with approximate dates and places and hotels names),
    -“fake” hotel reservations (we booked cancellable hotel by internet)
    – one-way air-ticket (because we hope to go to Tibet and then cross by bus to Nepal, but for sure we didn’t mention this; we make fake itinerary and said we want to exit China to go to Hong Kong, which is only few minutes by train and is understandable that we don’t buy this very cheap train ticket in advance. The girl in the embassy only asked us where we want to go next, we said “Macau” and it was OK.)
    Chinese consulate in Osaka has something to make AD-pictures and also to make copy (you will need a copy of the first page of your passport and of your past chinese visa if you already have been in China; nb: I went to china 10 years ago with my older passport, so I was worried because I didn’t have my old visa, but it wasn’t a problem).
    So it was quite easy; we made the fake itinerary and Bookings very quickly, with only 5 cities on it.

    1. JK says:

      It seems that the girl at the counter to take the visa applications was in bad mood because everyone got shit. I have to throw away my one way ticket, for non resident in japan they said can only do 30 days visa, need “return ticket” etc.

      Worst and rudest Chinese Embassy in the World….

      It all seems to depend on if they are having a good day or bad day, if they like you or not, I wanted to exit to HK, they “needed ticket”. I say, can’t buy in advance. She just pushed me out of the way.

    2. Fili says:

      Hello
      Your Oneway ticket was to which city so that you did the fake itinerary way out ?
      I got a one way to Beijing and wanna go back to Europe via sibirian train
      Thank you

  13. Stina says:

    I´m a swede living in Japan and applied for a tourist visa at the Chinese embassy, this was in January 2014, took four days, 4000 yen.

  14. Tamara says:

    Wondering if anyone can help, we are traveling to Japan on a cruise ship and need to apply for Chinese visa’s in Tokyo. Do you think they will be able to issue the visa in one day if we pay a little extra?
    I do have a Chinese visa from 2 years ago.
    We are different nationalities, South Africa, USA, Macedonia, Argentina
    Hope someone will be able to send me some information.
    Thanks a million.
    Tamara

  15. Melissa says:

    Thank you for this informative post.
    Does anyone know if the same applies for someone who plans to attend a conference?
    I plan to go to Hangzhou in mid-October for a 3 day conference. My nationality is Kenyan and my Japanese proficiency is quite low. Will I get the help I need at Weston or is a direct application to the embassy better?
    Thank you.

  16. nick says:

    Hello,
    I am a U.S. citizen staying temporarily in Japan. I applied for my Chinese visa at the Chinese Embassy/Consulate in Roppongi (3rd floor) and got it within 4 days for 15,000 yen (about $150). I am staying with a friend in Shanghai, so I needed a photocopy of her residence permit, photocopy of her passport and an invitation letter from her detailing her address and that I will be staying with her during my stay for the 30 day period. I got an L type visa. Hope this helps any U.S. citizen that wants to apply for a Chinese visa; recently I’ve seen a lot of forums online that say U.S. citizens need to go through a travel agency, I found that the Embassy/Consulate can do it relatively quick.

  17. aziz says:

    How I can apply for study visa in china and I am Egyptian and living in Japan
    I have Admission notice from Chinese university and mentioned in this document than physical examination record and blood test report required to apply visa, is it right …

  18. Brijmohan says:

    Hello
    I am an Indian living in Tochigi prefecture. I will be going to visit India this december and I will be having more than 15 hours of layover time at Shanghai Airport, as I have already searched on Chinese Embassy website about transit visa on arrival, Indian people cannot avail this service.

    So, I want to apply for tourist visa (30 days) through Weston. I have already gone through their website. Its written that we can send our documents to their office with all require documents and fees. I have some questions.

    1) Is applying through post safe, as I will be sending my passport?

    2) I have booked the hotel through internet and got confirmation mail, will this confirmation mail be treated as Hotel Booking certificate?
    Please Help guys.
    Thankyou in advance.

    1. David says:

      Hi Brijmohan, i expect applying by post is fine as long as you use registered delivery. A print out of your hotel reservetion and flight eticket should be fine.

  19. Brijmohan says:

    Thank you David.
    As I mentioned in my previous message that I will be staying in shanghai for only 15-16 hours.

    Which Visa type should I apply for (through Weston)?
    Type G (transit visa) or Type L (tourist visa with minimum of 30 days).

  20. Hannah says:

    Hello there,

    What if my trip is on the 26th and I plan to pass my requirements on the 13th?

    Is it too short-noticed? I have my complete requirements though. Have you heard of denied visa stories? Thanks!

  21. N says:

    Guys,
    You can directly apply for the Chinese Visa from Tokyo if you are living or working here, directly at their embassy.( 3−4−33 Motoazabu Minato, Tokyo).
    My friend (an Indian guy) working 7 months in Tokyo applied for it and got the Visa in 4 days (without agent). It was September, 2014 when he applied.
    The fee was around 4 or 6000 yen.

  22. Zindarf says:

    As foreign tourists in Japan, we applied (december 2014) for two tourist Chinese Visa at the Chinese Embassy in Roppongi. Pretty easy, 3 days and 4000 yens (european passport). You need flight (in and back) + hotel booking reservations.

    Good to know : it’s pretty easy also for Vietnamese visa. We applied at the Vietnamese embassy (only 3 days, for a tourist visa) but it’s more expansive : 8500 yens each for 30 days vietnamese tourist visa.

  23. Béa says:

    Hello,
    I’m a young french woman living in Tokyo and I have a working holiday visa right now. I would like to visit China during one month before back in France. I have readen all your comment and it’s reassuring to know that it could be possible to get a turist visa for China from Japan.
    But I still have two questions :
    How can I do if I buy round trip ticket and I finally don’t got the visa ? I’m afraid to spend money for nothing..

    If I got the visa and if I wanna go to Hong Kong before, is it possible as well ?
    The best would be to do : Tokyo-Hong-Kong-Beijing-Bucarest(Roumania)
    What do you think about that ?

    1. David says:

      Hi Béa, as long as you fill in the application form correctly you shouldn’t have any trouble getting the tourist visa. Hong Kong is considered a separate territory when it comes to immigration so you can visit there as many times as you like without using your China visa.

  24. Tereza Lopes says:

    Glad to know that also non residents of japan can also apply for Chinese visa. Thanks for sharing this informative post.

  25. mike.kuziw says:

    I have received conflicting information. Apologies in advance if this question has already been answered.
    I am currently living in Fukui, which is under the jurisdiction of the Nagoya Consulate. Does each consulate accept applications for visas, or do I have to send my application to the Tokyo embassy?
    Furthermore, I am Canadian and according to the http://www.rto.co.jp/visa.htm website, since March 2015, they are charging 16000yen for a multi–entry visa. Can anyone confirm that information? That seems very high to me. Do I have the option to apply for just a single-entry visa?
    Thanks very much!

  26. Nev says:

    My wife and I are U.S. citizens living in Japan. We have sofa status. We booked a trip to China but didn’t think anything of a visa. Now we’re pressed for time. Our flight leaves on 4/4. Can we go directly to the Chinese Embassy to get everything done for a visa or is the roppongi business a better idea?

  27. Mark says:

    I am a German passport-holder and a resident of Japan, hoping to apply for a Chinese visa at the Sapporo Consulate. From former posts, I concluded that a single entry Chinese visa is not troublesome to get without contacting any agency. How about a multiple entries visa (maximum stay 30 days, validity 6 months)? Would the consulate accept such an application?
    As I believe I have to book flights of multiple visits prior to my application, I’d like to know if this visa application is at all possible to undertake in Sapporo.

  28. Naangem says:

    Hi Guys,
    I got my China Tourist visa (L) just now. Residents as well as Tourists can apply for China Visa in thier embassey. For Non-usa/Non- Japanese Visa fee is
    Single entry- 4000 JPY
    Double entry- 6000 JPY
    1 year Multiple entry- 12000 JPY.

    Procedure is pretty simple. Go to 3F in Tokyo Embassey( Roppongi) with Flight ticket, Resident Card ( Or your National ID ) ,Hotel booking and Passport Copy. They issue a slip with the date details to collect the Visa/Passport ( Usually 3 days) . You need to pay the Fee when you go for collecting your passport. 🙂

      1. Sheala mercado says:

        Hi i Am a philippine passport holder and i am tourist here in japan is it possible for me to apply a tourist visa to china?

  29. Jonathan says:

    Would it be possible to obtain it within one or two days by paying a rush fee? I arrive in tokyo on the 23rd(thursday) and will leave on the 26th (sunday). I can maybe extend until monday if needed. How is the best way to do this?

    Thank you

    Jonathan

  30. Dennis says:

    Question for USA passport holders that got a Chinese L (visitor) visa: for recent Chines visas (since Nov 2014), did you get a 10 year multiple-entry visa? I’ve heard it’s possible to get these long-term visa as of Nov 2014.

    1. Alan says:

      I’ve heard about this 10 year multiple-entry visa thing as well. If anyone could provide some information about it, I’d very much appreciate it.

  31. Luigi says:

    Hey Guys, i’m an EU national who’s going to be in China this summer on a month long student/ tourist visa and then planning to go to Japan for two weeks. After that I plan on returning to China again for another 4 weeks, i assume i would just apply through a chinese embassy in japan as stated, but would the fact that i had recently held a visa in china affect my chances of receiving another visa so soon??
    Any help would be much appreciated,
    Thanks.

  32. Gregor says:

    Have succesfully applied end of June (EU Citizen). Smoothest way to get there is via Hybia Line walking thorugh Ropping Hillsand take the “West Gate”. You will exit exactly at the street where the embassy is. Application process is easy and efficient (2 days express). But you definitely need to provide your (plane) tickets in and out. I did not do that the 1st time and was refused.

  33. Kat says:

    Hi, I’m currently backpacking through Asia and going to apply for Chinese visa from Japan as a tourist. Any advise on what to put in the application form re Current Occupation? I’m a bit worried to put Unemployed in case they will refuse. Have anyone been in similar situation? Thanks!

  34. Dan says:

    Hey guys. I’m an American working in Japan and I just got a Chinese tourist visa. It’s pretty simple – go to the embassy in Roppongi with your printed flight itinerary, hotel booking, passport, Gaijin card, and a 2×3″ passport photo to affix to the application. I got my visa in 5 days and it cost 15,000 yen.

  35. Liz says:

    Hi
    I am applying for a china tourist visa whilst traveling in Japan, when you say you need hotel booking is this for the whole month stay or is just the first hotel ok? We never plan anything so havin evey hotel booked would be tricky, and don’t know where we will be leaving from so won’t have a out flight is this a real problem???

  36. Mal says:

    Hi, I’m going to apply for a Chinese work visa (Z) and would like to know if I can apply for this directly from the Chinese Embassy, similar to the tourist visa? Or must I use the services of a travel agency here in Tokyo? I am a foreign resident in Japan.

    If possible, please let me know of the costs involved and the estimated turnaround time? Many thanks.

    Mal

  37. Grumpy says:

    It looks like they’ve changed the rules again and tourist visas (for all? (short term visitors, residents and Japanese? Not that Japanese require them)) once again require an agency application. I just got caught out by this at the Nagoya consulate, through a combination of the websites being updated between when I did my research and when I submitted my application, having to use Google translate to understand the websites and their generally illogical and redundant design…

    Anyway, they had me wait in the embassy for a few minutes until one of the travel agents showed up and I passed my application documents to him. I have to go back and meet him in a few days and see if I’ve been successful… (Among the many downsides to this arrangements is that the fastest application has gone from being same day to 3 days while the agents faff about, meaning I have to take an extra trip from Ishikawa to Nagoya…)

    Not a fun experience in the least…

      1. miggi says:

        I am a swiss girl staying in Japan as a tourist and tried to apply for the visa directly at the embassy in Tokyo.. they have sent me to the travel agency which wanted me to pay 12000.- which i refused so i was wondering if there is a better option in Osaka?? OR in South Korea maybe?

  38. Holly says:

    Hi Everyone! My husband and I are Americans living in Japan for two years and want to visit China. If I am understanding this correctly the only way for my husband and I to get an L visa is through a travel agent as we can no longer go directly to the embassy. Is that correct? We live in Utsunomiya so it is easy for us to travel to Tokyo to apply. Please advise.

  39. ndumacs says:

    Hi all, I want to apply for China visa but my current passport expires in less than 3 months. Do I qualify to apply for visa since my passport expures in less than 6 month. Any idea on what I may do?

  40. Kevin Olsson says:

    Hello everyone,

    I’m a swedish Citizen who will travel to Japan and stay there for around 120 days without any visa, and that means that i have to leave the country within 90 and considering I have a friend living in China that would be the perfect place.
    Now i will leave Sweden in 5 days, which means that i don’t have the time to get a Chinese Visa from sweden, so, will i be able to get it from Japan? And from where?

    I will live in Tokyo during my whole stay, so if anyone with experience knows a place/embaassy in tokyo that i can turn to, please tell, would really like some help with this.

    // Kevin

  41. Hanna says:

    Curious if anyone has applied for a tourist visa to China with their non-US passport while having their JP visa in their US passport? My husband and son are in this boat (both have an EU passport as well) and I´d love to avoid paying the extra fee for Americans if we can…

  42. Jessie says:

    To anyone wondering, I successfully applied for a 10 year multiple entry L visa in Tokyo. I went to the Chinese Embassy and it only cost me 10,000 ¥. I am a Canadian citizen, visiting Tokyo (November 2015) for 8 days. Visa was done within 3 business days.

  43. Ake Bono says:

    I went to Chinese embassy yesterday with EU passport and perfectly-filled out forms with all evidence. The Chinese embassy lady was the rudest &#%t I have ever encountered, after 30 seconds she was yelling at me that I had to use a travel agency which conveniently is located right next door but costs twice as much. I then asked all the Western people I could find within the embassy and they all told me the same…, anybody have a similar experience?

    1. Stan says:

      Hi,

      I have just returned from the Chinese embassy in Tokyo. I am a Slovakian citizen (EU membership) with student long-term visa over here in Japan. I prepared all the documents (the filled in application form, passport-size photo, printouts of my hotel booking and flight tickets and the copies of my passport, passport page with my Japanese visa and the copy of my residential card), I went straight to the embassy (Hiro-O station), went inside, directly to the third floor.

      The procedure was quick, there were not that many people at 9:15AM, it got worse a bit later, but it did not affect me. I went to the “information” window, which is just opposite the entry, showed the lady my papers, passport and residential card, she quickly checked if everything is OK and she gave me a waiting number.

      After approximately 10 minutes I went to the counter, I asked for the express service (I need the visa next day), all my papers were OK, I received the receipt for my passport pickup and I can do that tomorrow at 9AM.

      So just to cut the long story short – noone sent me to some kind of a third-party agency, I applied directly at the embassy, with no problems whatsoever. I speak a little Japanese, so I guess since I did not need English-speaking staff, it went quickly.

  44. Eva from tokyo japan says:

    Goodevening,

    I would like to ask I’m a Filipino citizen married to Japanesse and have a permanent visa in japan i want to go and stay to my chinnese friend house in Quindao china on september 24 to october 4 2016 do i need to take a china visa and what the requirements do i take

  45. Jasper says:

    Thanks for this page! Two weeks ago I used Weston to apply for a single entry tourist visa on Monday before 9:00, picked it up on Thursday after 14:00. 7500 yen, new Belgian passport, visiting Japan (ie. non-resident). Noticed the price went up to 8500 yen on September 1st though.

  46. Billy says:

    Hello, this seems to be the best place to ask.
    I’m in need of a tourist visa for a 3 day stay in Shanghai.
    I can’t get to Tokyo to submit my visa application in person, but my daughter will be in Tokyo and has offered to do it for me.
    I ask, can applications be done by a 3rd person?
    If it is possible, would they be able to enter easily with minimal identification?
    I don’t think my daughter would be happy to carry her passport around unnecessarily.
    I’d be asking for same day service, as I’ll be travelling soon.
    Thanks in advance to those who respond.

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