by Michael C. Lowe | February 01, 2011

While some organizers have seen no glitches in their delegates efforts to obtain Chinese visas, others have lost attendees to what can be a lengthy, bureaucratic process.

The common keys to success: Apply as early as possible and have a reliable partner in China to vouch for anyone who might need extra assistance.
Prospective delegates will need to present the following to a Chinese consulate.

• A valid passport with at least six months of remaining validity and at least one entirely blank page
• A copy of the passport's information page.
• A visa application page that can be downloaded from the Chinese consulate website:
• An invitation letter from the host company, meeting or exhibition organizer in China, or an introduction letter from the applicant's U.S. company (having both is better)

Once the application and supporting materials are provided, the regular processing time for a Chinese visa is four working days, and the cost is $140, although express and same-day rush service are available for an additional $20 and $30 respectively. For more information:
Applicants for Chinese visas no longer can apply via mail, though they may entrust someone else (e.g., a relative, friend or travel agent) to deliver the application for them. The person must bring the application to a Chinese consulate general; for a list of offices, go to