Visa Process

Getting Your Visa: What You Need to Know and Do

The visa application process can feel like one of the more daunting processes to complete, but we assure you: all of our students do it every year, and we’re here to help! From start to finish, the visa application process will take several weeks to complete. Stay on top of your tasks, and be prepared for upcoming tasks.

About X1/X2 Student Visa

Before you arrive in China, you will need to apply for an ‘X1’ Chinese Student Visa.  Student Visas in China are labeled “X1” or “X2” based on the duration of intended study. Full-time DKU undergraduate students will apply for and study on an X1 visa, intended for more than 180 days of study. 

After Entering China and Arriving at DKU: Obtaining a Residence Permit (See: “After Arrival” Pages)

Your Student Visa ‘X1’ Visa will only be valid for 30 days after your arrival. You must apply for a Temporary Residence Permit (TRP – hereafter referred to as a Residence Permit) within these 30 days in order to obtain a legal status in China at Kunshan Entry & Exit Bureau. You become eligible to apply for a Residence Permit once you have arrived on-site as a registered student of Duke Kunshan University.

International Students at DKU must possess ordinary passports with study visa (Category X), and must apply for a Residence Permit within the first 30 days of entering China. Entering China with other kinds of visas do not allow you to study at Duke Kunshan University or receive a residence permit.


Before You Begin: Have Your Passport

  • All students will need a valid passport to receive their X1 China Student Visa; this is your first, and most important step!
  • If you do not currently have a passport: apply for one immediately!
  • If you have a passport:
    • Ensure it is valid through at least June, 2025.
      • If your current passport expires before the end of the 2024-25 Academic Year (late May, 2025), we strongly recommend applying for a new passport now, however: contact DKU International Student Services immediately to consult.
    • Ensure you will have at least two blank visa pages in your passport.
  • Technically, visa processing and document issuance cannot begin until you have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the start of the DKU Fall 2024 term. However, we strongly recommend that you have a passport with validity through at least June, 2025, or you will need to apply for a new passport from within China. Doing so may be complicated depending on your country’s local consulate/embassy requirements.

Applying for Your Visa: A 10-Step Guide!

You will be applying for your Chinese Student X1 visa at the Chinese consulate or embassy with jurisdiction for your particular home residence (usually, according to the nationality of your passport, and sometimes the region of your home country where you reside). Chinese embassies/consulates typically have similar requirements for visa applications, but the specific requirements (such as required documents, application instructions, processing instructions, etc.) will vary by each Chinese embassy or consulate. You need to locate the embassy of your home jurisdiction to determine what your requirements are.

Please check the official websites first of your local Chinese embassies or consulates (under your jurisdiction of residence) for current X1 visa policies, procedures and required documents. Here are the useful links of Chinese embassies and Chinese Consulates:

Chinese Embassy:

Chinese Consulates:


Use the links above to find the embassy/consulate for your home country.

Expect to spend some time looking on your country’s website for the information you need!

Some consulates and embassies do not have updated information on visa application requirements and policies on their website. If the website information of your local embassy/consulate is not updated or seems out of date, you may need to call or email your local embassy or consulate to receive this information or make an appointment for consultation. 

After you have been matriculated to DKU and activated your DKU NetID and DKU email, International Student Services (ISS) will send you a Visa Survey by email. 

The survey will be sent mid-May (around May 15—May 17) to your DKU email address. Using your DKU NetID to log-in, complete all items in the survey as thoroughly as possible. 

The Visa Survey contains important information DKU needs to complete steps for initiating your visa application documents. Specifically:

    • Information needed for DKU to complete the government system request to issue a JW202 Form. This form is required for all X1 visa applications, and confirms you are registered as a full-time, degree seeking DKU student and eligible to apply for your visa as a student.
    • Admission Notice from DKU: an admission notice from DKU will be physically mailed to you; be sure to follow survey instructions and list a mailing address where you can receive the Admission notice during the summer. 

Please note: ISS cannot request your JW202 form or issue your admission notice until you have completed this survey! You will not be able to apply for your visa without these documents.  Please monitor your email closely, and be sure to complete the survey as early as possible to avoid delays.

Please follow the instructions in the survey and make sure you provide accurate information. Again: any incorrect information may delay processing of your JW202 form and Admission Notice and mailing time and may delay your X1 visa application. If you have any questions due to a unique situation, please email DKU ISS ( directly before submitting your survey .

The JW202 Form is an essential and required document to apply for your X1 student visa. It verifies your enrollment as a full-time DKU student and the degree dates of your enrollment. 

Since August 2023, the JW202 form is fully digitized from its previous paper-based format. All international students’ JW202 forms will be sent to students via your DKU email.

    • Once you receive the JW202 form and Admission Letter, please sign your name in the “Signature of Applicant” on your JW202 form

Using mailing address and contact information you entered in your ISS Visa Survey, ISS will send you your DKU Admission Notice. All students will receive:

    • A color, digital copy of your DKU Admission Notice to your DKU email. Some consulates/embassies may accept this copy
    • An original, physical hard-copy of your DKU Admission Notice, mailed by FedEX to the address you have listed on your ISS Visa Survey. Some consulates/embassies will require this original hard-copy of your Admission Notice; do not lose it, and when in doubt, be sure to include this with your final visa application materials. 
    • Keep your phone number active always after you receive the FedEx tracking number shared by ISS office and get ready to pick up your documents.
    • Sign “Applicant Signature” on your Admission Notice when you receive it

Using the information you have gathered in STEP 1, confirm that you have all required documents needed to apply for your visa at your local consulate/embassy.

General Requirements/Documents Needed (Confirm with your Chinese consulate/embassy):

    • Main Documents for X1 Visa Application:
      • Passport (The remaining validity must be more than 6 months with at least 2 blank visa pages)
      • Original and photocopy of the signed Admission Notice issued by DKU.
      • Original and photocopy of your signed JW202 form
    • Other Supporting Documents for X1 Visa:
      • Photocopy of the bio-page of the passport
      • COVA Visa Form (printed and signed confirmation page)
      • Others documents specifically required by your local Chinese embassy may include your proof of Residence (which may include a copy of your driver’s license, utility bill, bank bill).
        • Some application processes require you to submit: fingerprints from a designated agency, your most recent Chinese visa or Chinese residence permit (if you have had one previously)

Make sure you understand clearly:

    • Documents required for your visa application
    • Understand Your Application Procedure:
      • Some consulates/embassies require an in-person interview to complete your visa application
      • Other consulates/embassies allow mail-in applications, or allow you to apply using a visa application service. 
    • Fill out the “China Online Visa Application (COVA)” form and make appointments for on-site submission at the Visa Office.
    • Visa applicants need to log on to the website “China Online Visa Application (COVA)” to fill in the COVA forms, and make appointments for on-site submission at the Visa Office by the website “Appointment for Visa Application Submission (AVAS)”
    • After completing the COVA forms as required, you may be asked to print the full set of COVA forms and sign on the Confirmation Page. If the COVA forms are not prepared as guided, the application will not be accepted. Please double check your local Chinese embassy’s required policy regarding COVA and AVAS information.
    • In addition to the printed and signed COVA forms, visa applicants also need to prepare the original documents and photocopies (including “A.Basic Documents” and “B.General Documents”) to submit on-site to the Visa Office. If the original hard-copy documents and photocopies do not meet the requirements or are not sufficient, the application may be returned, and the applicant may need to fill in the COVA forms again and make another appointment for on-site submission. Please check your local Chinese embassy/consulate for accurate and specific information about their required documents.

You’re approaching the finish line! All that remains is to actually apply for your visa. 

Using documents and information you have gathered from previous steps, complete your visa application process:

    • Some consulates/embassies require an in-person interview to complete your visa application. In person-appointments may require an advance appointment: be sure you understand this requirement if it applies to your consulate/embassy
    • Other consulates/embassies allow mail-in applications, or allow you to apply using a visa application service. 

NOTE on Visa Application and Agent Services:

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, and if the consulate/embassy allows authorized representatives to apply on your behalf, many students independently use local visa application services.

    • DKU cannot recommend visa agent services; research your options and use good judgement based on available feedback. Do some basic due-diligence online with research; if visa agents are allowed, you may have several options. DKU will not be able to troubleshoot or advise on issues that may arise with visa agent services.
    • Visa agents/services will have separate fees for the service of assisting with your visa application fee (in addition to the visa application fee paid to the Chinese consulate/embassy itself). Please ensure you understand what services are covered by these fees; DKU cannot help troubleshooting or advise on these arrangements.

Congratulations! Your visa application should be submitted with this step! The hardest part is over! Only a few steps remain.

Once you have submitted your visa application (either in-person or through an authorized representative), monitor your visa status accordingly and submit additional documents if requested or required.

This step is complete when you have had your passport returned to you with your Chinese X1 Student Visa in it!

Once you have received your Chinese X1 visa, please contact ISS to let them know immediately and keep ISS updated on your visa status and flight information via this link:

Note: If flight schedule changes, please make sure to update information in the sheet and reach out to ISS ASAP. Any needed changes to your flight itinerary will require you to contact your booked airline individually.


    • Pay attention to the ‘Enter Before’ date printed on your visa; you must enter mainland China before this date, which will be 90 days after the ‘Issued On’ Date.
    • 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/come to DKU. You will need these documents to apply for your Residence Permit after your arrival at DKU (this is a separate process that will take place once you arrive at DKU, and ISS will help all students complete these requirements).

You’ve got your visa! Congratulations!

Be sure to visit other pages on “Preparing to Arrive” to make sure you are prepared for travel and your DKU move-in date on August 9th, 2024! We cannot wait to meet you here!