A valid passport and visa are required to enter China and must be obtained from Chinese Embassies and Consulates, stationed in the respective countries, before traveling to China. Applicanst should fill in one visa application form appropriately with one recent passport size photograph. Applicant's passport must be valid for at least 6 months and two blank visa pages is required.
There are eight categories of ordinary Chinese visas, which are respectively marked with the letters C, D, F, G, J-1, J-2, L, X and Z. The most popular type of visa, an L visa, is also known as a tourist visa. It is issued to those who visit China for tourist purpose, family visit or other personal matters. The G visa is issued to those who transit through China. American passport holders must obtain a transit visa through all Chinese airports except Pudon International Airport in Shanghai. Some nationalities, among those British nationals, do not need a visa transiting China en route to a third country, if they are staying within the confines of the airport for less than 24 hours.
Persons transiting China on the way to and from Mongolia or North Korea, or who plan to re-enter from Hong Kong or Macau needs to obtain a double or multiple entry visa to gain re-entry to the mainland. Special permits are required to visit Tibet as well as many remote areas not normally open to foreigners. Every foreigner going to Tibet needs to get a travel permit which can be done through local travel agents. Most areas in Tibet are not open for foreigners exept Lhasa City and part of Shan Nan.
You are required to register your place of residence with the local Public Security Bureau within 24 hours of arrival. Chinese authorities are now actively enforcing this requirement. If you are staying in a hotel, registration is done on your behalf as part of the check-in process.