Cruising China: Visa Required?
Taking a cruise to China or within China? Several things should be considered before applying for a Chinese visa when traveling on a cruise ship to or within China.
Hong Kong and Macau are not part of mainland China and therefore a visa is not required to enter these Special Autonomous Regions of China (S.A.R.).
A visa is required to enter mainland China. A tourist visa should be obtained prior to departure from the USA.
Typically what confuses travelers most when applying for a visa is determining the number of entries the Chinese tourist visa should allow for. The answer depends on your cruise ships itinerary.
If you plan to fly to China and then board a cruise ship you will need a single entry tourist visa which will enable you to enter China and travel within China before departing for home. Keep in mind if the cruise ship leaves Chinese waters and enters international waters then you should obtain a multiple entry Chinese tourist visa which will allow you to re-enter China as many times as you need.
If your cruise ship departs from or arrives from a foreign country (for example the USA, Singapore or Hong Kong) and then enters China you will need to have a Chinese tourist visa in advance. Again, you should carefully consider if the ship will enter Chinese waters once or several times during your journey. This will determine whether or not a single or multiple entry tourist visa is required.
We strongly recommend that everyone visiting China by cruise ship or for anyone planning to take a cruise after arriving in China by other means, obtain a multiple entry tourist visa prior to departure from the USA. The application process to obtain a single entry visa is the same as for a multiple entry visa. The cost is also the same. It is often difficult to determine which visa is required and as we have seen getting a straight answer from your cruise line can be equally hard to come by. For this reason we recommend you error on the side of caution and obtain a Chinese Multiple Entry Tourist Visa.
Apply for a Chinese Visa now.