Chinese visas fall into four types: diplomatic visa, courtesy visa, service visa and ordinary visa. Ordinary visa is further divided into the following eight categories each marked with a phonetic letter:
(1) Tourist and family visit visa (L-visa) is issued to a foreign citizen who comes to China for tourist purpose, family visit or other personal affairs.
(2) Business Visa (F-visa) is issued to a foreign citizen who is invited to China for visit, research, lecture, business, exchanges in the fields of science, technology, education, culture and sports, or attending various kinds of trade fairs or exhibitions, or short-term study, intern practice for a period of no more than six months.
(3) Student Visa (X-visa) is issued to a foreign citizen who comes to China for the purpose of study、advanced study or intern practice for a period of more than six months.
(4) Work Visa (Z-visa) is issued to a foreign citizen who comes to China to work, to give commercial performances, or to engage in academic exchanges in China, and also to their accompanying family members.
(5) Transit Visa (G-visa) is issued to a foreign citizen who is to transit through China on his or her way to a third country (or region) and stay for more than 24 hours or leave the airport.
(6) Crew Visa(C-visa) is issued to foreign crew member performing his/her duties on board of international train, or on an international airliner, to a sailor on board of international ocean-liner or freighter.
(7) Journalist Visa (J-visa) is issued to foreign journalists. J-visa has two categories: J-1 visa and J-2 visa. J-1 visa is issued to resident foreign journalists in China and their accompanying spouses and under-age children； J-2 visa to foreign journalists who visit China for temporary news coverage.
(8) Permanent Residence Visa（D-visa）is issued to a foreign citizen who has been approved by Chinese public security authority to reside in China permanently.