China Visa

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Visit China

China By NASA (NASA Worldwind) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

[Public Domain]

Canadians need a visa to travel to China.




Chinese Climate

Precipitation in China By Original from Wikimedia Commons: Average_annual_precipitation_in_China(English).png by Alan Mak for Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Derivative work: Cybercobra (Average_annual_precipitation_in_China(English).png) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Annual precipitation in China by Alan Mak / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

China is the third largest country in the world, after Russia and Canada, and so it shouldn’t be shocking to find out that its climate is just as diverse as Canada, ranging from sub-arctic to tropical. Most of China has a “monsoon” climate but with huge variations in temperature and precipitation within that. China is usually divided into three climate areas:

  • The Hot Summer / Cold Winter Zone
  • The Hot Zone
  • The Cold Zone

The Hot Summer / Cold Winter Zone contains about half the population of China but only about 20% of the land. The summers usually feature days with highs in the high 20s or very low 30s (but occasionally into the 40s) and the winters feature daytime highs just above zero. There is rain in the summer and snow or sleet in the winter.

Much of the country can be considered “The Cold Zone.” The northeast of China is sub-arctic with really cold winters and warm summers. The west of China is also cold, though it is significantly drier than the northeast and gets much more sun.

The southeast of the country is the “Hot Zone.” The winters are warm and the summers are hot and overall the area gets the most rain of any part of China.

Eastern China
Month January February March April May June July August September October November December Year
Average High 8.1 10.1 13.8 19.5 24.8 27.8 32.2 31.5 27.9 22.9 17.3 11.1 20.58
Average Precipitation mm (inches) 74.4 59.1 93.8 74.2 84.5 181.8 145.7 213.7 87.1 55.6 52.3 43.9 1,166.1
Northeast China
Average High 1.8 5.0 11.6 20.3 26.0 30.2 30.9 29.7 25.8 19.1 10.1 3.7 17.9
Average Precipitation mm 2.7 4.9 8.3 21.2 34.2 78.1 185.2 159.7 45.5 21.8 7.4 2.8 571.8
South Central China
Average High 10.3 12.5 17.4 22.9 26.9 29.4 32.8 33.6 27.7 21.9 16.9 11.6 22.0
Average Precipitation mm 19.5 20.6 36.2 104.6 151.7 171.2 175.4 134.4 127.6 92.4 45.9 24.9 1,104.4
Southeast China
Average High 18.3 18.5 21.6 25.7 29.3 31.5 32.8 32.7 31.5 28.8 24.5 20.6 26.3
Average rainfall mm 40.9 69.4 84.7 201.2 283.7 276.2 232.5 227.0 166.2 87.3 35.4 31.6 1,736.1
Southeast China
Average High 19.8 20.2 22.7 26.3 29.5 31.1 32.3 32.3 31.3 29.2 25.4 21.5 26.6
Average rainfall mm 26.4 47.9 69.9 154.3 237.1 346.5 319.7 354.4 254.0 63.3 35.4 26.9 1,935.8


Chinese Culture

China is one of the oldest civilizations on the planet and Chinese culture is so old and broad that we cannot do it justice here. So here are just a few tidbits about China:

  • We in the west often think of the Chinese having one culture, one language and so forth, but that’s not true.
  • The Chinese language is actually many languages and dialetcs.
  • The Chinese people are actually many different ethnicities.
  • Though we often assume China has “no religion,” Chinese citizens have many different beliefs.


Languages in China

Map of Languages in China [Public Domain]

[Public Domain]

Mandarin is the official language of China; it is spoken by nearly 1 billion people worldwide (more than any other language and double that of Spanish, the second most spoken language). China also has a number of “recognized” regional languages.


Chinese Languages

Sinitic Language Map By Map_of_sinitic_languages-en.svg: Wu Yue (original); Gohu1er (SVG) derivative work: Kanguole (Map_of_sinitic_languages-en.svg) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

by Wu Yue / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Top 10 Chinese Languages
Chinese Language Percentage of Speakers
Mandarin (what we call Chinese) 70.9%
Wu (mostly spoken in eastern China) 6.5%
Min (spoken in Taiwan, southeast and southern China, and by Chinese ex-pats) 6.0%
Yue (what we call Cantonese, spoken insoutheastern China and Hong Kong and Macau) 5.0%
Jin (spoken in central China) 3.8%
Xiang (spoken in south central China) 3.0%
Hakka (spoken in southeast China, Taiwan and by Chinese ex-pats) 2.5%
Gan (spoken in south central China) 1.7%
Huizhou (spoken in eastern China) 0.4%
Pinghua (spoken in southern China) 0.2%


Other Languages

If you want to know more about other languages in China, let us know by completing the form at the bottom of this page.


Ethnicities in China

Ethnicities in China By Ethnolinguistic_map_of_China_1983.jpg: U.S. Central Intelligence Agency derivative work: Beao (Ethnolinguistic_map_of_China_1983.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

[Public Domain]

Over 90% of China is Han Chinese; there are 56 other “official” ethnic groups, as well as countless others. Below are all the “recognized” ethnic groups in China with at least 100,00 members:

English Name Percent of Population 2010 Population
Han 91.6474% 1,220,844,520
Zhuang 1.2700% 16,926,381
Hui 0.7943% 10,586,087
Manchu 0.7794% 10,387,958
Uyghur 0.7555% 10,069,346
Miao 0.7072% 9,426,007
Yi 0.6538% 8,714,393
Tujia 0.6268% 8,353,912
Tibetan 0.4713% 6,282,187
Mongol 0.4488% 5,981,840
Dong 0.2161% 2,879,974
Bouyei 0.2153% 2,870,034
Yao 0.2098% 2,796,003
Bai 0.1451% 1,933,510
Korean 0.1374% 1,830,929
Hani 0.1246% 1,660,932
Li 0.1098% 1,463,064
Kazakh 0.1097% 1,462,588
Dai 0.0946% 1,261,311
She 0.0532% 708,651
Lisu 0.0527% 702,839
Dongxiang 0.0466% 621,500
Gelao 0.0413% 550,746
Lahu 0.0365% 485,966
Va 0.0322% 429,709
Sui 0.0309% 411,847
Nakhi 0.0245% 326,295
Qiang 0.0232% 309,576
Tu 0.0217% 289,565
Mulao 0.0162% 216,257
Xibe 0.0143% 190,481
Kyrgyz 0.0140% 186,708
Jingpo 0.0111% 147,828
Daur 0.0099% 131,992
Salar 0.0098% 130,607
Blang 0.0090% 119,639
Maonan 0.0076% 101,192


Religion in China

Religions in China By User "Khny". [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

[Public Domain]


  • Dark Red: traditional Chinese paganisms, Confuscianism, and/or Taoism
  • Yellow: Buddhism
  • Sea Green: Islam
  • Plum Pink: “Non Han” traditional Chinese paganisms or local variant of Taoism
  • Aquamarine: Tengerism
  • Green Yellow: Tungus


Visas to China

Please note that Hong Kong has a different visa policy than the one described below.

Visa Policy of China By Twofortnights (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

by Twofortnights / WIkimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Only 9 countries can travel to China visa-exempt. A further 20 countries can travel without a visa if a “For Public Affairs” endorsement is obtained. Nationals of the rest of the 200 or so countries in the world need a visa to visit China.


Tourist Visa to China (L Visa)

Most people who need a visa to China can get one at any Chinese Embassy or Consulate outside of China. Citizens of Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Turkey can only apply in their home country. So if you are a Canadian Permanent Resident from one of these countries, you cannot apply for a visa at a Chinese Consulate in Canada.

Applications must be made in person by you or by a third party agency, such as CIBT (see top right corner of this page). Visas can also be purchased on arrival, if you have previously arranged for “visa on arrival” and only if you are landing at one of these airports.

L Visas are good for between 14 and 90 days and may be extended for 30 days up to two times. Canadian citizens are entitled to apply for a 10-year multiple entry visa.


Business Visa to China (F Visa)

Application for an F Visa is the same as an L Visa. Validity for F visas ranges between and 1 and 6 months.


Chinese Consulates and Embassy in Canada

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Ottawa
515 St. Patrick Street, Ottawa,
Ontario, K1N 5H3
Consulate General of China in Calgary Calgary
1011 6th Avenue S.W.
Suite 100, Calgary,
Alberta T2P 0W1
Consulate General of China Toronto
240 St. George Street, Toronto,
Ontario, M5R 2P4
Consulate General of China Vancouver
3380 Granville Street, Vancouver,
British Columbia, V6H 3K3


Vaccines and Health Information

Vaccination or Disease

Recommendations or Requirements for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Routine Required if you are not up-to-date with routine shots, such as measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, poliovirus vaccine, etc.
Hepatitis A Highly recommended for all unvaccinated travellers, as you can get Hep A from contaminated food or water throughout the country
Hepatitis B Recommended for all unvaccinated travellers who will have sex, get a tattoo or receive medical care while in China
Malaria Highly recommended as you can be exposed to Malaria through mosquitos in south eastern China
Polio Recommended if you are traveling to Xinjiang, especially if you are doing humanitarian work.
Typhoid Highly recommended for all unvaccinated travellers
Yellow Fever Proof of vaccination is required only for travellers from Africa and Central and South America
Rabies Recommended if

  • you will be camping or doing other adventure travel outdoors;
  • you will be working with animals;
  • you are stay in Angola a long time;
  • you are a child.


How to Call China

How you call China depends on whether you are calling a landline or a cell phone. For both types of phones you must dial the exit code from Canada plus the country code for China:

  • 011-86-[8 to 12 digits, depending on area code]

Chinese local numbers can be anything from eight to twelve digits. Cell phones are always eleven digits and always begin with a 1.


Calling Landlines in China

Because there are a billion people in China, there are a lot of area codes. Here is a brief list of the area codes of the major cities. To find an area code for a smaller community, see this page. As with many countries around the world, area code lengths are not standardized.

City Area Code City Area Code City Area Code
Beijing 10 Hohhot 471 Qingdao 532
Chengdu 28 Huangshan 559 Shanghai 21
Chongqing 23 Jinan 531 Shenzhen 755
Dunhuang 937 Kunming 871 Suzhou 512
Guangzhou 20 Lanzhou 931 Urumqi 991
Guilin 773 Lhasa 891 Xian 29
Guiyang 851 Lijiang 888
Haikou 898 Luoyang 379
Hangzhou 571 Nanjing 25

So, to call a landline in China, dial

  • 011-86-xx(x)-local number


Calling Cell Phones in China

To call a cell phone in China, dial

  • 011-86-1x-local number

The first cell prefix is always 1, the second can be 3, 4, 5 or 8.


Chinese Renminbi

China uses the Renminbi. Use the converter below to see how it compares to our dollar:


Chinese Electrical Information

If your appliance cannot handle 200 volts, you should not plug it in and buy a converter. However, many appliances are now rated to handle this voltage level. Always check your appliance before plugging in.

If your appliance can handle 200 volts, you will only need an adapter for your plugs some of the time. If your appliance has only two prongs, some outlets in China will accept it, depending on where you are. Sockets in China will not handle three-pronged North American plugs.

Adapters are so common that many hotels will actually provide them to you if asked. Otherwise they can be bought cheaply in most major cities in China. So, unless your appliance is not rated for 200 volts and it is three-pronged you do not normally need to bring adapters and converters with you to China.


Emergency Information for Canadians in China

Embassy of Canada in Beijing

Consular Section
19 Dongzhimenwai Dajie, Chao Yang District
Beijing 100600, China

Telephone: 86 (10) 5139-4000
Fax: 86 (10) 5139-4448

E-mail: [email protected]



Consulate General of Canada in Chongqing

Room 1705, Metropolitan Tower
Wu Yi Lu, Yu Zhong District
Chongqing 400010, China

Telephone: 86 (23) 6373-8007
Fax: 86 (23) 6373-8026

E-mail: [email protected]

Consulate General of Canada in Guangzhou

China Hotel Office Tower, Suite 801
Liu Hua Lu, Guangzhou
Guangdong 510015, China

Telephone: 86 (20) 8611-6100
Fax: 86 (20) 8611-6196

E-mail: [email protected]

Consulate General of Canada in Shanghai

ECO City Building, 8th floor
1788 Nanjing Xi Lu – Jing An District
Shanghai, 200040, China

Telephone: 86 (21) 3279-2800
Fax: 86 (21) 3279-2801

E-mail: [email protected]

Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong

Street Address:
9th Floor, 25 Westlands Road
Quarry Bay
Hong Kong SAR, China

Postal Address:
8th Floor, 25 Westlands Road
Quarry Bay
Hong Kong SAR, China

Telephone: 85 (2) 3719 4700
Fax: 85 (2) 2847 7561

E-mail: [email protected]


Read More about the Role of Canadian Embassies Abroad


Lost or Stolen Belongings


Stolen Wallet

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Calling Canada from China

To Call China from Canada is much easier than calling China from Canada. Just dial the following:

  • 00-1-(3-digit area code)-local number


List of area codes in Canada

Province Code Province  Code
Alberta 403 / 587 (southern Alberta)

587 / 780 (central and northern Alberta)

Nunavut 867
BC 236 / 250 / 778 (majority of BC)

236 / 604 / 778 (Metro Vancouver)

Ontario 226 / 519 (southwestern Ontario)

249 / 705 (northeastern Ontario)

289 / 365 / 905 (Greater Toronto Area)

343 / 613 (eastern Ontario)

416 / 647 (Toronto)

807 (northwestern Ontario)

Manitoba 204 / 431 PEI 782 / 902
New  Brunswick 506 Quebec 418 / 581 (eastern Quebec)

438 / 514 (Montreal)

450 / 579 (Greater Montreal)

819 / 873 (remainder of Quebec)

Newfoundland and Labrador 709 Saskatchewan 306 / 639
Northwest Territories 867 Yukon 867
Nova Scotia 782 / 902

Only newer 3G and 4G cell phones will work in China, provided you have activitated international service.


Maps of China

China By Ssolbergj [GFDL (, GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

by Ssolbergj / Wikimedia Commons / GFDL 1.2


Administrative Regions of China By en:User:Sameboat [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Administrative Regions of China [Public Domain]




Shanghai By Chk2011 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Shanghai by Chk2011 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

  • Greenish Yellow = Chongming County
  • Blue = Baoshan
  • Light Pink = Jiading
  • Light Purple = Yangpu
  • Lighter Green = Hongkou
  • Pink = Zhabei
  • Brown = Putuo
  • Pale Yellow = Pudong
  • White = Jing’an
  • Blue Grey = Changning
  • Purple = Huangpu
  • Green = Xuhui
  • Orange = Qingpu
  • Minhang
  • Light Blue = Songjiang
  • Pale Green Yellow = Jinshan
  • Grey = Fengxian


Beijing By ASDFGH (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Beijing by ASDFGH / Wikimedia Commons / GFLD 1.2

  • Beige = Inner City (left to right: Xicheng, Dongcheng)
  • Pink = “Urban Area” (clockwise from top: Haidian, Chaoyang, Fengtai, Shijingshan)
  • Blue = Inner Suburbs (clockwise from top: Changping, Shunyi, Tongzhou, Daxing, Fangshan, Mentougou)
  • Light Green = Outer Suburbs (left to right: Yanging, Huairou, Miyun, Pinggu)


Chongqing By Made by Msnox (Msnox) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC BY-SA 1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Congqing by Msnox / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0


Guangzhou By Chk2011 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Guangzhou by Chk2011 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

  • Light Blue = Conghua
  • Pink = Huadu
  • Green = Zengcheng
  • Light Yellow = Baiyun
  • Dark Yellow = Huangpu
  • Light Pink = Tianhe
  • Darker Blue = Yuexia
  • Lighter Blue = Haizhu
  • Orange = Liwan
  • Greenish Yellow = Panyu
  • Grey = Nansha (New Area)


Shenzhen By Blowwhite1 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Shenzhen by Blowwhite1 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

  1. Futian
  2. Luho
  3. Nanshan
  4. Yantian
  5. Boa’an
  6. Longgang
  7. Guangming
  8. Pingshan
  9. Longhua
  10. Dapeng


Driving in China

The driving conditions in China are somewhat legendary and most foreigners who are in the country only briefly to travel or do business do not drive. When people rent cars, they usually rent drivers as well. This is an easy option for business travelers but may not be affordable for the average person, though wages are very low. If you are staying there longer and want to buy a car, many people suggest hiring a driver.

You cannot drive in China with an International Driver’s License. Nor can you drive in China with a license from Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan. Only licenses from Belgium and Hong Kong can be used to get a Chinese license without a test. The test is written and available in English in major cities, but requires a 90% pass rate. Basically, we are telling you to not plan on driving in China.

Oh, by the way, China has the highest number of traffic fatalities in the world.


Transportation in China


Taxis are usually cheaper in China than in Canada, in part because there are so many of them. There should be a set rate for the first few kilometres, after that it should be about 2 or 3 Yuan per additional km. If the driver does not turn on the metre, exit the vehicle as soon as possible. If you cannot speak Chinese, get someone who writes Chinese to write down your destination in Chinese so you can give it to the driver.

You can also take rickshaws or motorbike taxis, however you should only do so if you speak Chinese. Please note that these vehicles are not regulated and the operators regularly gouge tourists on the price.



In China, as in Canada, there are muncipal buses and long-distance buses.

City Buses

City buses are usually locals or express. The local bus is cheaper and the express bus stops less frequently. Telling the difference without reading and speaking Chinese can be very difficult. Rail travel is recommended if it is available.

The major cities are all launching “Bus Rapid Transit” lines, which should make travel by bus better.


Long Distance Buses

Buses are cheaper than taking the train from city to city. However, price, comfort and safety all vary wildly from company to company and service to service. Some buses will not depart until they are full, for example.  If you can, take the train. If not, try to get a bus with sleeper beds.



China has the highest volume of rail passenger traffic in the world. China also has the world’s fastest train and a number of other high speed lines. The high speed and regular rail network covers much of the country and is the best option for travel from city to city.



Over 20 major cities in China provide some form of urban rail, including subways, above-ground rail and light rail. Information on these routes is more easy to understand for tourists and so taking the subway, the train or the tram in the city is recommended over the bus, if you do not have a private driver.


Internet in China

The internet is heavily regulated in China. In order to be accessible to web browsers in China, a site must have a “ICP license.” To get the license, the site must be operated from within China. Therefore you can expect to not be able to access your email, social media accounts or favourite sites while you are in China.

There are over 100,000 internet cafes in China and they often provide better service than regular connections. Internet cafes were, therefore, extremely important in China. Now most hotels will provide Wifi so internet cafes are less important for tourists than they used to be.


Shopping in China

China has the largest population in the world and manufactures more consumer goods than any other country. The options are endless. If you would like to see more information about shopping in China, let us know by completing the form at the bottom of this page.


Food in China

In Canada we are used to “Canadian Chinese,” except in the big cities, where there are a few different kinds of Chinese. But there are actually at least 8 different cuisines in China:

Cuisine What’s it Like?
Cantonese The closest thing to Canadian or American Chinese food
Sichuan Spicy and closer to Vietnamese and Thai than other types of Chinese food
Anhui Fowl, dumplings, soups
Shandong Broths, creamed soups, seafood and chicken, lots of salt
Fujian Soups, stews, use of fish sauce and other local sauces
Jiangsu Seasonal vegetables, “soft” meat, seafood, emphasis on similar colours
Hunan Spicy, emphasis on deep colours, braised and smoked meats
Zhejiang Mellow flavours, poultry and seafood
  • Xingjiang: Halal: kebabs, roasted meats
  • Mongolian: Hotpots
  • Tibetan: Soups, dumplings, indigenous meats and cheeses
  • Yunnan: Fusion of mainstream Chinese cuisine and the cusine of various minorities

IMMIgroup does not provide visa services, except to the United States and Canada. This page refers you to CIBT, the largest provider of visa services in Canada.

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