International Students' Zone

Note: visa application and entry policies have generally resumed according to pre-pandemic norms. Individual countries may still have specific travel/entry requirements, and students should individually research whether COVID-related vaccinations, testing or documentation is required for entry to China according to information on their local Chinese Consulate or Embassy website.

Visa Application Guidance

Admitted international students must possess ordinary passports with a study visa (Category X) issued for the purpose of studying in China. Students who enter China on other visa types are not eligible to be enrolled at Duke Kunshan University.

A 4-year undergraduate student should apply for an X1 visa, which is a long-term study visa that supports students to study in China for over 180 days.

Applying for your visa will require the collection of student information, preparation of required visa application documents provided by DKU/ISS, and completion of the visa application process stated by the Chinese consulate/embassy of your residential jurisdiction:

Overview of Visa Paperwork / Procedures

Key Documents Needed for X1 Visa Application

JW 202 Form & DKU Admission Notice

What is a JW-202 Form?
The JW-202 Form is the Visa Application Form for Foreign Students Studying in China. It is a core supporting document required for your X1 visa application. Once you have matriculated to DKU, ISS will contact you with a survey and coordinate the process of issuing your JW-202 form with the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Jiangsu Education Department (JED). Please pay attention to your DKU email for communication.

What is an Admission Notice?

An Admission Notice is also required for student visa applications. This document is issued by DKU International Enrollment Management, and formally documents your admission to Duke Kunshan University. 

  • Steps of obtaining JW 202 Form and Admission Notice:
    • Step 1: Personal Visa Information Collection (Student and ISS Action Needed)
      • You are required to fill out the Qualtrics Survey through the link:
      • All information collected will be submitted by DKU ISS to the Online Visa System of the Ministry of Education (MOE), who will review your qualification as international student.
      • Please ensure the accuracy of each answer; you are responsible for all information provided. If you fail to submit your survey or required information, the process of obtaining your JW-202, and your ability to apply for your visa, may be delayed.
    • Step 2: Online Review of the MOE (ISS Action)
      • When all the information you provided is submitted, the MOE will start the online review process.
      • Please note that the review process could take up to three weeks, and MOE may require further supplemental information during the process.
      • Please make sure to pay close attention to any updates/inquiry from the DKU Visa Team.
    • Step 3: Preparation of JW-202 Form (JED/ISS Action)
      • Once the MOE approves your online review, ISS will print and mail the hardcopy of your JW-202 form to the Jiangsu Education Department (JED) for the official chop on each form. *Kunshan belongs to Jiangsu Province in China, and Duke Kushan University is under the direct jurisdiction of the Jiangsu Education Department (JED).
      • This process may take up to two weeks.
    • Step 4: DKU Admission Notice Prepared (ISS Action)
      • While your JW-202 is being finalized, DKU will prepare and print a required ‘Admission Notice’. This form will also be chopped (stamped) by DKU administrators as an extra validation that you have been admitted to DKU.
    • Step 5: Final JW-202 and Admission Notice Hardcopies Mailed to Student (ISS Action, Student Receives)
      • Once your final JW-202 has been returned from the JED, ISS will mail the original hard copies of your JW-202 form and DKU Admission Notice.
      • These documents will be sent to you by express delivery service according to the mailing address you provided in the ISS Visa Survey. Tracking information will be sent to you for this package.
        *Reminder: Please provide correct mailing address and contact number to avoid any delivery delay.
      • Both the JW-202 and Admission Notice are required application materials for your visa application. Original forms will be returned to you by the Chinese Consulate/Embassy issuing your visa. Keep these forms safe to apply, and bring original copies with you to China! They will be required for your Residence Permit Application upon arrival in China.


X1 Study Visa

After you receive the JW 202 Form and the Admission Notice in the mail, you may apply for your X1 visa at the Chinese Embassy or Consulate General in your home country, with other supporting documents required. Please note:

  • Generally speaking, you are required to apply for an X1 visa at a Chinese Consulate or Embassy that has jurisdiction over your established residence (you may not apply in a 3rd country you are visiting, for example)
  • Every country (and corresponding Consulate/Embassy) has slightly different application requirements and procedures. You should thoroughly research the procedures for the Chinese Consulate/Embassy of your established residence.
  • Most consulates/embassies require submission of a visa application in-person, either by the applicant or an authorized representative. If you do not live within travel distance of the consulate/embassy for your jurisdiction, many students independently use visa application services.
    • DKU cannot recommend visa agent services; research options and use good judgement based on available feedback. DKU will not be able to troubleshoot or advise on issues that may arise with visa agent services.
    • Using an agent will involve additional agent fees that may vary, in addition to the visa application fee itself.
  • It is highly recommended to apply for your visa using a passport that is valid through your graduation year (ex: May 30, 2027), to avoid needing to change your passport (and reapply for a residence permit) during your study in China.
  • According to immigration/consular policy, you should apply for your visa no more than 60 days prior to the start of your program (DKU semester start).
  • Your visa will typically be issued with “ZERO” entries, because it must be converted to a Residence Permit after entry (see below). This is normal.

Issuance of your X1 Visa (In Your Passport)

  • Once your visa has been issued, pay attention to:
    • ‘Enter Before’ date printed on visa: you must enter China before this date, which will be 90 days after the ‘Issued On’ Date
    • Once you enter China on your Student X1 Visa, it will only be valid for 30 days. You must apply for a Residence Permit (once at DKU) within these 30 days to obtain a legal stay in China. This is noted on the X1 visa. DKU will coordinate this process, which is required for all students (see ‘Residence Permit’ below)
  • DKU will not be able to help you apply for a Residence Permit until you are officially registered at Duke Kunshan University.
  • Thus, if you plan to arrive in China early with your study visa, please keep in mind that your 30 days countdown would start from your date of entry.
    • We do not recommend entering China on your X1 visa more than 3-4 days prior to the move-in date at DKU. This will shorten the time you have available to successfully apply for your Residence Permit.
  • Make sure that your Admission Notice and JW202 forms are returned  with your passport after obtaining your Chinese visa. Keep these documents with your passport/visa, and make sure you bring them with you when you enter China. You will need these documents to apply for your Residence Permit after your arrival at DKU.

Residence Permit

An X1 visa allows you to enter China for the purpose of study, while the Residence Permit is the legal document that allows you to reside in China for 4 years as a DKU student. An X1 visa must be replaced by a Residence Permit within 30 days of entering China. Additionally:

  • A X1 visa is for single (original) entry only, and valid for 30 days only
  • A Residence Permit is multiple entry, with no limit to the duration of stay through it’s expiration (your expected graduation date)

Upon your arrival to DKU’s campus, ISS/Campus Staff will take copies of your passport information, X 1 visa page, and your entry stamp to register you at local police station (which is required for all foreign passport holders, regardless of visa type).

After you are registered at the local police station, you will need to:

  • Complete a mandatory Health Exam at  the Kunshan Quarantine Bureau, organized by Student Affairs. You would need to prepare one copy of  passport-sized ID photo of yourself in white background;
  • Once you have received your Health Exam report, you will go to the Kunshan Entry/Exit Bureau (EEB) to apply for your Residence Permit. You would also need to prepare one copy of passport-sized ID photo of yourself in white background, and bring the original JW202 and Admission Notice documents, along with your Police Registration form.

Once your Residence Permit application is received, it will take approximately 2 weeks before it is issued. During this time,  you will not have your passport, but you will receive an official receipt from the Entry & Exit Bureau as substitute for your passport. You can use this receipt to check-in to hotels or take trains, but you cannot travel outside of Mainland China during this period.

Under-18 International Student – Guardian Authorization Form

Based on the guardianship requirements in the Decree No. 42 jointly issued by the Chinese Ministry of Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Public Security effective July 1st, 2017, Duke Kunshan University (“DKU”) has developed this guidance (this “Guidance”) in support of safeguarding minor students and legal compliance.

This Guidance applies to all international students:

  • whose age is under 18 upon their enrollment at DKU; and
  • whose parents or legal guardians in their home countries are not domiciled in China and will not come to China and live with them. (the “Minor Students”)

Please read the Temporary Guardianship Guidance.

The parents or legal guardians of Minor Students will need to sign the Authorization for Temporary Guardianship to appoint the Temporary Guardian and confirm their acceptance of the requirements set out in this Guidance.  Minor Students shall, upon enrollment, submit to DKU the signed Authorization for Temporary Guardianship and supporting documents.  The supporting documents include the following:

  • Photocopy of Chinese citizen’s identification card and Household Register (Hukou certificate), if the appointed Temporary Guardian is a Chinese citizen; or
  • Photocopy of non-Chinese citizen’s passport and China residence permit, if the appointed Temporary Guardian is a non-Chinese citizen.

Please find the form on guardian consent here.


International Student Health Insurance

All international students are required to be enrolled in a medical health insurance plan.  DKU offers pre-selected plans.  Additionally, students can apply for a waiver if they can provide proof, in English, of existing coverage for inpatient and outpatient treatment in mainland China that is commensurate with insurance coverage requirements. Information about selecting a plan will be sent to students’ DKU email addresses over the summer. (Note: this insurance covers your study while residing in China. When students participate in a study abroad program, they must abide by the student medical health insurance policies of their host institution or program).  

International SOS

All international students are required to enroll in a DKU group member plan with International SOS (ISOS).  ISOS is a medical assistance and travel security services company (

Pre-departure Preparation

The university will hold a Resources Fair on the arrival day, where you can (among many things) obtain a Chinese sim card and bank account. Mobile payment is quite popular in China, but in most cases, you need have to attach your Chinese bank card to your account to make it work. In order to have a Chinese bank card, you need to have a Chinese mobile number to receive the verification code from the bank. We highly recommend students plan on applying for both a Chinese sim card and bank card.

DKU will also organize shopping trips during orientation week to local supermarkets and stores for you to purchase basic supplies, such as bedding, snacks, and daily supplies.

Documents to Remember to Pack

  • Your Admission Notice
  • You Passport
  • Your JW202 Form
  • Two copies of 2-inch ID photo with white background, for your health check-up and residence permit
    (the same size as your passport ID photo)
  • One copy of 1-inch ID photo for your student booklet
  • Printed Copy of Passport, Visa, and any other important identification cards (keep separate from your physical passport)
  • Electronic copies of passport, visa, and any other important identification cards
  • Arrival card with DKU Directions, Emergency Support Numbers

Cash to Prepare

Please bring some cash with you as you may need to purchase food and drink during your travel to campus, as well as to top up your student card after arrival on campus. Additionally, you need to prepare cash / RMB on a bank card for your health check-up and residence permit.

Below are the amounts you are suggested to prepare in advance:

Expense item


Health Exam in Required for Residence Permit

400 RMB

  • Based on the rate of last year
  • Can be cash or online payment

Residence Permit

800 RMB

  • Based on the rate of last year
  • Must be paid online. Cash is not accepted.


Estimated 30 RMB per meal on campus

Taxi/Transportation to Campus

See below depending on arrival location and transportation options. Between 100-700 RMB.

Transportation Info

Most international flights arriving directly to China will land in Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG). Some shorter international flights from Southeast Asia and many domestic connecting flights may land in Hongqiao International Airport (SHG).  PVG is furthest from (in the far west of Shanghai), and Hongqiao is closer (in the eastern part of Shanghai, near to the Shanghai/Jiangsu border). 

from Pudong International Airport (PVG)
  • Getting to campus by Taxi
    Taxis are readily available at Pudong Airport by following signs (in English or Chinese) to the taxi line-up after exiting customs and immigration. Avoid individuals that may approach you offering taxi services, and head straight to the official taxi waiting line. Present the address of Duke Kunshan University (in Chinese) from your pre departure materials. Taking a taxi from PVG to DKU’s campus will take approximately 2-2.5 hours (pending traffic), and  will cost around 600-700 RMB. Be sure to ask for and keep your taxi receipt. 
from Hongqiao International Airport (SHG)
  • Option 1: by High-speed Train
    The Hongqiao Airport is inter-connected to the Hongqiao High-speed Railway Station indoors. The cheapest way  to campus is to take high-speed train from Hongqiao Railway Station to Kunshan South Train Station (approximately 20 minutes), then take taxi from Kunshan South station to the campus. The total expense would be around 60-70 RMB.

    You can get to the Hongqiao Railway station by following the direction signs. You would need to go through the security check to enter the train station and purchase the ticket at the counter with your passport and cash. The train between Shanghai and Kunshan runs frequently from day to night. The ticket price would be around 25 RMB. Follow instructions below for taking a taxi once you arrive at Kunshan South Station. Given time to walk to the train station from the airport terminal (despite being connected directly), purchase a ticket, and wait to board the train, this may not be the easiest method of getting to campus, but it will give you the opportunity to practice Chinese!

  • Option 2: by Taxi
    Take a taxi by following signs (in English or Chinese) to the taxi line-up after exiting customs and immigration. Avoid individuals that may approach you offering taxi services, and head straight to the official taxi waiting line. Present the address of Duke Kunshan University (in Chinese) from your pre departure materials. Taking a taxi from Hong Qiao Airport (SHG)  to DKU’s campus will take approximately 1-1.5 hours (pending traffic), and  will cost around 400-450 RMB. Be sure to ask for and keep your taxi receipt.
from Kunshan South Train Station

Take a taxi on B1 floor of the train station to the campus, using the address provided in pre departure materials. It will take approximately 30 minutes, and cost around 40 RMB.