Do Americans Need a Visa to Visit China?

National Geographic Traveler editor at large Christopher Elliott is the magazine’s consumer advocate and ombudsman. Over the past 15 years he has helped countless readers fix their trips.

Here’s his latest advice:

Reader Question: I’m planning a trip to China and am confused about visas.

My Answer: Any U.S. citizen visiting China needs a visa. In 2014 President Obama announced new policies for Chinese students and long-term visitors, and China reciprocated with a multiple-entry visa for U.S. travelers that’s valid for ten years.

Visa applicants must visit the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., or one of the five consulates in the U.S. If you can’t go in person, hire a company such as VisaRite Service to apply on your behalf and help navigate the varying requirements. Set aside at least two weeks for the process.

Christopher Elliott is Traveler magazine’s consumer advocate and pens the “Problem Solved” column for the magazine (this exchange appeared in the April 2015 issue). Follow Christopher’s story on Twitter @elliottdotorg.

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