What to Include in Your Visa Invitation Letter for China

visa for china
••• The visa application for the People's Republic of China. blueclue / Getty Images

Determining if You Need a Visa Invitation Letter

Figuring out if you need a visa invitation letter is a little tricky. Sometimes you do and sometimes you don't. The rules regarding the application for visas of the People's Republic of China are not always clear but at the time of writing, people applying for a tourist visas (L class) or commercial visas (M class) need certain documents - or - an invitation letter.

So do you need one? In my opinion, it is better to have all the documents mentioned by the visa application procedures so as to increase your success of gaining your visa.

Can I, the Author of This Article, Write You an Invitation Letter?

No. This is the most common question I get asked by readers. I can not provide you with an invitation letter. I can only provide you with an understanding of what you need to do to get one and what needs to be included in the letter.

Documents Required for the L-Class Tourist Visa for China

Documents required by the People's Republic of China when applying for a visa vary by nationality. The following is what Americans holding American passports are required to present as part of their visa application. All visa applicants should confirm the requirements per the Visa section of the People's Republic of China in the country in which they reside.

Per the PRC's Visa Application section on their Washington DC Embassy website, here are the details around what is required relative to the invitation letter:

From the site:

Documents showing the itinerary including air ticket booking record (round trip) and proof of a hotel reservation, etc. or an invitation letter issued by a relevant entity or individual in China. The invitation letter should contain:

  • Information on the applicant (full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)
  • Information on the planned visit (arrival and departure dates, place(s) to be visited, etc.)
  • Information on the inviting entity or individual (name, contact telephone number, address, official stamp, signature of the legal representative or the inviting individual)

Here is a sample invitation letter that I have personally used successfully to help family and friends visit China.

Documents Required for the M-Class Commercial Visa for China

The requirements for a commercial visa are slightly different than that of a tourist visa for obvious reasons. If you are coming to China to do some business or attend some trade fair, then you should have a contact in China with a Chinese company who can help you get the required letter.

The below information is from the Visa Application section of the Washington DC Embassy website:

Applicants for the M Visa Documents on the commercial activity issued by a trade partner in China, or trade fair invitation or other invitation letters issued by relevant entity or individual. The invitation letter should contain:

  • Information on the applicant (full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)
  • Information on the planned visit (purpose of visit, arrival and departure dates, place(s) to be visited, relations between the applicant and the inviting entity or individual, financial source for expenditures)
  • Information on the inviting entity or individual (name, contact telephone number, address, official stamp, signature of the legal representative or the inviting individual)

What the Letter Should Look Like

There is no set format for the letter. As stated above, you can use my tested sample invitation letter to help write your invitation letter. Basically, the information needs to be quite clear with the information stated by the requirements above. The letter does not need to be on any fancy stationary (though for M class visas, company letterhead might be a good idea).

What to Do with the Letter After You Have It

The letter goes into your application packet as part of the documents you will submit to obtain your visa (along with your passport, visa application, etc.) You should make copies of everything so that if something gets lost or the Chinese embassy requires more information from you, you have a back up and record of what you've already submitted.