If you already have a passport, please ensure that it is valid until at least 6 MONTHS AFTER your last day in China. If not, it must be renewed immediately. If you do not have a passport, please apply for one immediately! We must have your passport number no later than mid-November for the spring term and mid-April for the summer and/or fall terms. This is absolutely necessary for the processing of your visa forms.
For visa purposes, we need a valid passport number several weeks before you leave. You may also visit the U.S. Dept. of State for information about obtaining or renewing a passport.
Your address in Beijing will be as follows:
Associated Colleges in China (ACC)
College of International Education
Minzu University of China
27 Zhongguancun South Avenue
Haidian District, Beijing 100081
In addition to the passport application form, to apply for a passport you will need the original or a certified copy of the following:
Proof of Citizenship (one of the following):
- United States birth certificate
- Previously issued passport
- Proof of naturalization, if you are a naturalized citizen
Identification (one of the following):
- Driver’s license
- Government ID card
- Previously issued passport
Two photographs measuring 2" by 2"
The passport fee is $110 for a renewal and $110 for an original. New passports are usually valid for 10 years. Please visit U.S. Dept. of State for more passport information.
If you are a U.S. citizen, we suggest that you register your passport with the U.S. Embassy immediately upon your arrival in Beijing. This will make it easier to have a new passport issued in the event that yours is lost or stolen.
You will be obtaining an “X2” visa, which is valid for one entry into China within a period of up to six months. Usually it allows for one or two entries according to the embassy. We have no control over which one you may be issued. It is randomly issued, based on the embassy's decision. ACC cannot assist you in obtaining any type of visa other than this visa. Should you be remaining with ACC for longer than 6 months, the ACC staff in Beijing will assist you in having your visa renewed during your stay. The current price for renewal is approximately 1,056 RMB. You may also apply for a re-entry visa in Beijing if you need to leave China within your visa’s valid period. Since the regulations keep changing, please double-check the Chinese Consulate website for updates to this information.
The visa process is as follows:
- ACC will file for your preliminary visa papers (JW-202 and the Invitation to Study at Minzu), which are issued in Beijing. These papers, with each individual student’s visa information, will be sent to the ACC office at Hamilton College. YOU CANNOT APPLY FOR YOUR VISA WITHOUT THESE PAPERS.
- The ACC office will then forward you these papers and complete instructions as to how to go about applying for the visa. These papers are sent via certified mail. You must sign for the packet personally, either at your home upon delivery, or at the post office. If you are using a student post office box, you will receive a slip in the mail notifying you that you must pick up your packet at the window. Please do not delay in picking up the papers, or they will be returned to the ACC office.
- Please check the Chinese consulate website for the application forms (V.2011A&B) which must be typed. Several other agencies also have online applications; we recommend www.travisa.com. Once you have received the papers and filled out the necessary forms according to the instructions, you may proceed in one of two ways:
1) If you live close to a Chinese consulate or the Chinese embassy, you may go directly there and use the walk-in service to obtain your visa.
2) If you are not near a consulate or embassy, you will have to use a visa agent to obtain your visa. Several agencies have online applications; we recommend www.travisa.com. Applications must be typed, then printed and included in a packet you will need to mail to the visa agent; they will get your visa for you and then mail it back to you. Specific instructions pertaining to this process can be found on the Travisa website. Information on fees will also be contained in that packet. Chinese consulates in the U.S. no longer permit mail-in applications from individuals.
If you want to travel outside of mainland China during the semester or the break between semesters, please pay more attention to your visa. You will need to renew your visa or apply for a new one if your visa only allows for one entry. The ACC office in Beijing can help you with all these issues. Please remember, however, that the procedure will take about three to four weeks.
Please remember that if you get an L visa, we have absolutely no control over what visa students are actually issued. On our part, the invitation letter lists all students as just that, and ideally they should now be receiving an X2 visa. If that is not the case, as long as they have a valid entry visa for China, the details can be fixed after arrival in Beijing.
Changing from an L to an X visa usually only requires a fee (1100RMB). If you get an X2 visa and you would like to obtain more entries, you will be required to complete a mandatory immigration physical.
The physical consists of: chest x-ray, basic eye exam, EKG, blood draw, general physical inspection (over the clothes). The physical requires a fee (400RMB), and then a fee for changing the actual visa (500RMB). ACC takes care of obtaining the actual visa, so students just need to participate in the physical (if necessary), pay the fees, and give the office their passport, JW202 form and invitation letter from Minzu University. The whole process takes several weeks so those planning on travelling over break need to be sure they have everything taken care of in enough time.
You will be responsible for obtaining your own visa. ACC cannot assume any responsibility for providing visas to students, other than securing the preliminary paperwork.
Please go back and complete the visa section of your online application after receipt of your visa so that we may ensure that all students have the necessary documents in order to travel to Beijing.
Monitor Your Visa Status
Most of you hold a single “X2” visa with 180 days of permitted stay in the P. R. China. You have to leave the country before your visa expires. Your arriving date + 180 days = the visa expiring date. Monitor your visa status carefully. You will be fined 5000 RMB at customs with an expired visa. A worse scenario is that you might be put on “the black list” and can never set foot in China again!
During the semester at ACC, you must get a return visa before you return to China from places such as HK, Macau, and Taiwan. We recommend that you do this before you leave China.
Notify the ACC office of your travel plans at least 5 weeks before your departing date; Minzu will prepare a JW202 Form for you and get it approved by China’s Education Ministry (it takes up to 14 working days).
With the approved JW202 form in hand, fill out a visa application form at the ACC office and have it signed by Minzu. Go to the PSB with your passport, the approved JW202 form and the signed visa application form. You will need to pay approximately 1,056 RMB. It takes 5 to 7 working days to get the visa. Leave a copy of your new visa at the ACC office. If you are traveling abroad in the last month of ACC, then you may get an “L” visa directly from the local Chinese Embassy. A single “L” visa permits you to stay in China for 30 days. This “trick” only applies when there are less than 30 days between your return date to China and your leaving date for good.
Returning students MUST secure visa paperwork in China before coming back home!
New Visa Regulations
According to the Chinese government, if a student needs to apply or renew his/her visa, he/she should prepare the following application documents:
- JW202 form
- invitation letter from Minzu University
- one passport photo
- immigration physical report
This means the student must bring all of his/her application documents to China (especially the JW202 form); failure to do so will mean paying an additional 200 RMB for a JW202 copy.
The fee for a new residence permit is: health check, around 380RMB; JW202, 200RMB; permit, 500RMB. The total is 880RMB or 1080RMB. It is best for students to have their physical in China.