There are two visas for students. The X visa is for students who will be staying for longer than six months and the F visa is for those whose program is less than six months.
It is not difficult to obtain either visa as long as you are enrolled in an official university course. The private language schools are useless for getting a student visa since immigration authorities don’t recognize them as official teaching institutions for visa purposes. Chinese universities are your best option if you really want to learn Mandarin: their languages courses for foreigners are hard, but the effort is rewarded with a quick progression in your Mandarin skills. Even if you’re going to study in a private school, enrolling in an official course to get the visa could be a good idea: they are not expensive and in long term can save you the money of trips abroad that you would need with an F or L visa.
Student visa (X)
- original copy of a valid passport
- approved JW201 or JW202 form
- completed application form
- notice of admission from your intended university
- 2 x passport-size photos – no more than 6 months old
- health check required
- maximum validity -1 year
- Processing time is 4 days
For more information, visit the Shanghai Municipal Government website.