UK Visas for Chinese Citizens 2023: This guide offers an in-depth look at the application process, fees, and entry requirements for various UK visa types for Chinese nationals. Whether you’re planning a tourist visit to London, pursuing studies, or joining a spouse, this article outlines the costs and timelines involved. For instance, a 6-month tourist visa is priced at ¥1,059, while student and spouse visas cost ¥4,512 and ¥17,000, respectively. Those opting for priority services can expect an additional fee of ¥4,605. Processing time averages around 3 weeks post-biometric submission.
Table of Contents
1. UK Visas for Chinese Citizens 2023
Chinese citizens must apply for a UK visa to visit, work, or study in the country. Visa requirements differ based on the type of application.
UK visa fee in China varies by visa type.
Specifically, UK tourist, student, and spouse visas cost ¥1,059, ¥4,512, and ¥17,000 in Chinese Yuan Renminbi (CNY), respectively.
In 2023, the standard visa application processing time for non-settlement visas in China is typically 3 weeks.
Priority service shortens this to 5 working days at an additional cost of ¥4,605.
For spouse, partner, and family applications, the UK settlement visa processing time post-biometrics is usually 12 weeks.
Priority service is available at 6 weeks for an extra cost of ¥4,605.
The fee for next-working-day visa processing through the super-priority service is ¥9,209.
For a 7-15 day trip from China to the UK, estimates range from ¥13,000 to ¥40,000 for a solo traveler, ¥26,000 to ¥77,000 for couples, and ¥52,000 to ¥155,000 for a family of four.
Visitor visas permit stays of up to 180 days per UK visit.
For spouse, student, and work visas, the duration aligns with the visa’s validity. Extensions are possible by meeting leave to remain (LTR) conditions.
2. Tourist Visa Requirements for Chinese Citizen
Chinese citizens are required to apply for a visa to travel to the United Kingdom. The only exception to this rule is for those holding dual citizenship with visa-exempt countries such as the USA, Australia, New Zealand, or the European Union.
UK Visit Visa from China
The standard visitor visa is a versatile option that allows Chinese citizens to engage in tourism, family visits, business-related activities, and even short-term studies. Before applying, it’s important to be familiar with the eligibility criteria.
The UK immigration authorities examine multiple aspects such as the clarity of the visit purpose, financial stability, accommodation plans, and compelling evidence of intended departure back to China.
For the year ending September 2022, out of 52,137 visa applications resolved for Chinese citizens, 46,596 were granted, while 4,931 were rejected. The success and refusal rates stood at 89.37% and 9.46%, respectively.
In 2023, the UK visa application fees from China are categorized as follows: ¥1,059 for a 6-month visa, ¥3,684 for a 2-year visa, ¥7,100 for a 5-year visa, and ¥8,868 for a 10-year visa. All these visa categories limit your stay to a maximum of 180 days per visit.
The standard visitor visa processing time is approximately three weeks. However, applicants can opt for expedited services. A one-week priority service is available at a charge of ¥4,605, and the next working day super priority service is priced at ¥9,209.
UK Tourist Visa for Chinese Citizen
Applying for a UK tourist visa entails a multi-step process that starts with filling out the online application form. Payment of the visa fee (¥1,059) and submission of biometric data at a visa application center are the subsequent steps. Chinese nationals must also provide certain supporting documents.
- Proof of intent to return to China, backed by employment contracts or educational enrollments
- Bank statements showing sufficient funds for the duration of the stay
- A detailed travel itinerary and proof of accommodation, such as hotel reservations
For those traveling exclusively to London, a standard visitor visa is adequate. The application procedure remains the same, involving the submission of an online form, verification of documents, and the collection of biometric data.
ADS Visa for Chinese Tour Groups
For Chinese travelers interested in group tourism, the ADS (Approved Destination Status) visa serves as a specialized UK entry permit. This visa enables organized tour groups from China to explore the UK for up to 30 days. It’s an attractive alternative to the standard tourist visa, particularly for first-time travelers to the UK. Costs and processing times may vary, but ADS visas typically have expedited procedures. To learn more about the ADS visa, visit our detailed post ADS Visa UK for Chinese Tour Groups.
Other UK Visitor Visa Requirements for Chinese Citizen
- Marriage Visitor Visa: Best suited if you plan to marry or register a civil partnership in the UK. UK Visa for Chinese Citizen Fee 2023: ¥1,059. Duration: Up to 180 days.
- Private Medical Treatment Visa: Required for medical treatments lasting between 6 and 11 months. UK Visa for Chinese Citizen Fee 2023: ¥1,842.
- Visiting Academics: A 12-month Academic Visit Visa is available for scholarly purposes. UK Visa for Chinese Citizen Fee 2023: ¥1,842.
- Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE): For paid tasks like lectures or assessments, this visa lasts up to 30 days. UK Visa for Chinese Citizen Fee 2023: ¥1,059.
- Parent of Child Student Visa: For parents with children in UK day schools, this 12-month visa is available. UK Visa for Chinese Citizen Fee 2023: ¥5,866.
- Transit Visas: Necessary for brief transits. Airside Transit Fee: ¥322; Visitor in Transit: ¥589.
Note: If you hold a standard, marriage, or medical visitor visa, you do not require a separate transit visa for brief stopovers in the UK.
3. UK Student Visa Requirements for Chinese Citizen
The UK Student Visa permits Chinese citizens to pursue a range of educational opportunities in the UK, from higher education to Student Union roles.
For a successful UK Student Visa application, Chinese must satisfy specific criteria. These include a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from a UK institution and proof of English language proficiency, commonly through an IELTS exam. Financial solvency for tuition and living costs is also mandatory.
In the year ending September 2022, a total of 116,767 Chinese applied for student visa UK. 117,482 applications resolved, 116,990 student visas granted to Chinese, and 194 applications rejected. Therefore, the UK student visa success and refusal rate for Chinese are 99.58% and 0.17%, respectively.
Chinese students applying for a UK Student Visa are required to pay a standard fee of ¥4,512, with the expected processing time being around 3 weeks. For expedited processing, an additional fee of ¥4,605 is applicable.
Furthermore, for those requiring next-day processing, the total cost for a super priority student visa in China amounts to ¥13,721, which includes the application fee of ¥4,512 and super priority service charges of ¥9,209.
In addition to these fees, all Chinese students applying for a UK Student Visa must also pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), which is £624 annually.
The short-term study visa is designed for Chinese studying English in the UK for 6-11 months, costing ¥1,842. A 6-month course costs ¥1,059.
- During term time, degree-level course students can work up to 20 hours weekly, with the option of full-time employment during holiday breaks.
- For sub-degree level courses, the limit is 10 hours per week.
- Dependents of degree-level students can work; however, those of sub-degree students cannot.
Chinese graduates can avail a 2-year post-study work visa. PhD holders can get a 3-year visa.
4. Family Visa to UK from China 2023
The UK Family Visa under Appendix FM allows Chinese citizens to join family members who are either settled in the UK or British citizens. Categories range from spouse visas to adult dependent relatives and parent of a British child visas.
In the year ending September 2022, a total of 736 Chinese applied for family settlement visa UK. 482 applications resolved, 431 family settlement visas granted to Chinese, and 39 applications rejected. Therefore, the UK family (spouse) settlement visa success and refusal rate from China are 89.42% and 8.09%, respectively.
Spouse or Partner Visa UK for Chinese Citizens
- Eligibility: Chinese applicants are required to meet the criteria specified in Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules, including proving a genuine relationship, having financial stability, ensuring secure housing, and possessing English language skills.
- Validity & Extensions: The initial validity of a spouse visa is 33 months, which can be extended after 30 months. Applicants can transition to Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years under spouse route.
- Cost: The standard application fee is ¥17,000, with the option for expedited processing available for an additional ¥4,605.
Other Family Visas:
- Fiancé(e) Visa: For Chinese planning to marry or engage in a civil partnership in the UK. The visa lasts 6 months. After marrying or forming the partnership, they can switch to a spouse or civil partner visa. UK Visa for Chinese Citizens Cost 2023: ¥17,000.
- Parent of a British Child: For Chinese with sole guardianship of a British child. UK Visa for Chinese Citizens Cost 2023: ¥17,000.
- Adult Dependent Relative: For Chinese needing extended care from a UK relative. UK Visa for Chinese Citizens Cost 2023: ¥29,929.
- Returning Residents: Chinese who were previously settled in the UK and wish to return. UK Visa for Chinese Citizens Cost 2023: ¥5,866.
5. UK Work Visa for Chinese Citizen 2023
Chinese citizens need work permit for working and doing business in the UK. Chinese often choose the Skilled Worker visa when seeking employment in the UK. Other options include visas such as the Innovator, Startup, Global Business Mobility, and Health and Care Worker.
In the year ending September 2022, a total of 4,833 Chinese applied for work visa UK. 4,533 applications resolved, 4,435 work visas granted to Chinese nationals, and 64 applications rejected. Therefore, the UK work visa success and refusal rate from China are 97.84% and 1.41%, respectively.
Skilled Worker Visa UK from China
Chinese can work in the UK under the Skilled Worker Visa. This visa is for those sponsored by a licensed Home Office sponsor for specific skilled roles. It offers a path to permanent UK settlement. The cost of the UK work visa for Chinese in 2023 stands at ¥6,621 for up to three years and ¥13,077 for longer durations.
The Shortage Occupation segment of the Skilled Worker Visa comes with a reduced fee structure: ¥5,074 for visas lasting up to three years, and ¥9,983 for those exceeding a three-year duration.
Health and Care Work Visa UK for Chinese Citizens
This visa is specifically designed for qualified doctors, nurses, or allied health professionals from China who are sponsored by a licensed Home Office sponsor. It also provides a route to permanent UK settlement. The UK Work Visa for Chinese cost for this category in 2023 is ¥2,615 for up to three years and ¥5,074 for more extended periods.
Global Business Mobility Visa UK from China
A brief overview of UK work visas available for Chinese under the Global Business Mobility category, along with their 2023 fees.
- Senior or Specialist Worker: For high-level managers or specialists transferring to a UK branch. Fee: ¥6,621 for up to three years, ¥13,077 for over three years.
- Graduate Trainee: For individuals in graduate programs leading to specialist roles in the UK. Fee: ¥2,744.
- UK Expansion Worker: Intended for high-level experts or senior staff involved in growing a business into the UK market. The associated fee for this visa is ¥2,744.
- Service Supplier: For individuals providing services as per UK trade commitments. Fee: ¥2,744.
- Secondment Worker: Specifically for Chinese seconded to the UK for high-value contracts or investments. Fee: ¥2,744.
Quick Guide to Other Work and Business Visas:
Below is a brief overview of various UK visa categories along with their associated fees for Chinese looking to work or do business in the UK.
- Start-Up Visa: For Chinese starting an innovative business in the UK. Fee: ¥4,006.
- Innovator Visa: For Chinese with innovative, viable, and scalable businesses. Fee: ¥10,968. Requirements include an endorsement, £50,000 investment, and B2 IELTS level.
- Investor Visa: For high-value Chinese investing in the UK. Fee: ¥17,350.
- Innovator Founder Visa (Debuted April 2023): This visa supplants the previous Innovator and Startup visas, offering a refined process for international entrepreneurs through an endorsement-based approval system. It provides a pathway towards permanent UK residency for the applicant’s family. The endorsement fee is ¥9,209, with an application fee of ¥10,968.
- High Potential Individual (HPI) Visa: For Chinese graduates from top-50 global universities seeking employment in the UK. Fee: ¥7,570.
- Scale-Up Visa: For Chinese with a job offer from an authorised UK scale-up company. Fee: ¥7,570. Leads to potential UK settlement after 5 years.
- Global Talent Visa: For Chinese who are leaders or potential leaders in academia, research, arts, or digital technology. UK Visa from China Fees vary: ¥4,826 (Approval Letter for initial application), ¥1,768 (Main Applicant with Approval Letter), ¥6,594 (Main Applicant without Approval Letter and for Dependants).
- T2 Minister of Religion Visa: For Chinese intending to undertake preaching and pastoral work. UK Visa from China Fees 2023: ¥6,621.
- International Sportsperson Visa: For elite Chinese sportspersons or coaches contributing to UK sports. UK Visa from China Fees 2023: ¥2,744 (up to 12 months COS) or ¥6,621 (more than 12 months COS).
- T5 (Temporary Worker) Visa: For Chinese in various sectors, such as seasonal, religious, or creative workers. UK Visa from China Fees 2023: ¥2,744.
6. How to Apply for a UK Visa in China?
A comprehensive guide tailored for Chinese outlining the steps to apply for a UK visa. Follow this guide from determining your visa type to getting ready for your UK trip. Note: The estimated cost is based on a UK visitor visa, and priority service could shorten the process to 15 working days from 30.
Total Time: 30 days
Determine the Visa Type
Firstly, ascertain the specific visa category that aligns with your reason for traveling from China to the UK.
Create an Online Account
Access the official UK government website for visas and immigration, and sign up for an account on the UK Visas and Immigration platform.
Fill Out the Application Form
Chinese nationals should thoroughly fill out the appropriate online application form, carefully verifying that all information matches their supporting documents.
Pay the Application Fee
Chinese applicants, upon finishing the UK visa application form, will be navigated by the UKVI online system to the secure payment gateway to finalize their application fee payment.
Assemble Your Supporting Documents
Depending on the type of visa, collect key documents such as your Chinese passport, proof of financial status, and UK accommodation details.
Schedule a VAC Appointment in China
Chinese are not eligible to use the Immigration App for identity verification. As a result, it’s vital to book an appointment at a UK Visa Application Centre (UKVAC) in China.
Attend the VAC Appointment
Arrive at the Visa Application Centre with all your supporting documents and undergo the biometric verification as per your appointment guidelines.
Await Visa Decision
After submission, your UK visa application enters the processing stage. You will be informed of the decision, which is typically made within 3 weeks. If you have purchased the priority service, the decision time is reduced to 5 working days.
Passport Collection or Delivery
You can either collect your passport with the visa from the Visa Application Centre (VAC) or choose a courier service for delivery. If your visitor visa is denied, you have the option to reapply or initiate a Judicial Review. Appeals are not possible unless the application was based on human rights grounds. Note: Common reasons for visa refusal include suspicious intentions and significant unexplained bank transactions.
Prepare for Your UK Journey
With your visa secured, plan your UK travel and familiarize yourself with the terms of your visa.
Estimated Cost: 1059 ¥
- Application form
- Valid Chinese Passport
- Recent passport-sized photos
- Invitation letter (if applicable)
- Payment for visa fee in USD
- Proof of UK accommodation
- Internet access
- Chinese Passport
- Financial documents such a last 6 month bank statements
Materials: Photocopies of original documents, Printed online application form, Postal envelope (if mailing documents is required)
- Beijing UK Visa Application Centre: Beijing Inn, A901-919, B Zone, 9th Floor, Building B, Second group, No 5 Dongshuijing Alley, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100010 China
- Shanghai UK Visa Application Centre: 2/F, Jiushi Commercial Building, 213, Middle Sichuan Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai, 200002 China
- Other Locations: Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Jinan, Kunming, Nanjing, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Xi’an
For further details please refer to find a visa application centre.
7. UK Visa Supporting Documents Checklist from China
- Valid Passport: Must be valid for the duration of your UK stay.
- Application Form: Completed on the UK Visas and Immigration portal.
- Proof of Accommodation: Details of your UK stay.
- Financial Proof: Evidence of financial capability.
- Travel Itinerary: Outline of travel plans.
- Proof of Ties to China: To show intent to return.
- English Language Proficiency: When required, generally via an accredited test.
Reminder: This compilation includes all essential primary documents applicable to every category of UK visa. For any supplementary documents specific to your visa type, please check the respective guidelines.
- Work Visas: Includes employment offer and Certificate of Sponsorship.
- Study Visas: Requires Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).
- Family Visas: Requires relationship proofs.
- Tourist Visas: Additional trip details may be necessary.
The inclusion of documents from a UK sponsor can positively impact your visa application, especially for visas like family or work that require a sponsor’s support.
- Letter of Invitation
- Sponsor’s Immigration Status
- Financial Documents
- Accommodation Proof
- Relationship Evidence
Remember: Sponsor documents are supplementary; meeting the primary visa criteria is crucial.
8. FAQs: UK Visa Requirements China 2023
How to Pay for UK Visa Fee in China?
Applicants can pay the online application fee via debit or credit card after completing the application form.
When is the UK Visa Approved for Chinese?
Approval or refusal of UK visas for Chinese is communicated upon passport collection.
How to Track UK Visa Application in China?
Tracking a UK visa application after biometrics is currently not available for Chinese. For status inquiries, contact UKVI via phone or email.
Is Work Allowed on a UK Visiting Visa for Chinese?
Work is not permitted for Chinese on a UK visitor visa. Breaching these conditions could lead to visa cancellation and a re-entry ban.
Can a Chinese Work in the UK?
Yes, Chinese can work in the UK provided they obtain the appropriate work visa, such as a Skilled Worker Visa, Innovator Founder Visa, or Health and Care Worker Visa, among others.
How Much Does It Cost to Bring Someone from China?
The cost can vary widely depending on the visa type, sponsorship requirements, and other associated fees. Fees can range from a few hundred to several thousand US dollars.