How to Get a Chinese Visa For The Canton Fair

Matthew Chipchura
Matthew Chipchura
Feb 28, 2023
6 min read
A Chinese visa for the Canton Fair and a passport with money

How to Get a Chinese Visa for the Canton Fair?

Are you gearing up to attend the prestigious Canton Fair in China? As one of the world's largest trade exhibitions, the Canton Fair attracts thousands of buyers and exhibitors from around the globe.

However, before you can embark on your business journey to China, securing the appropriate visa to China is paramount. 

In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about obtaining a Chinese visa for the Canton Fair, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience.

A comparison document for how to get a visa for the Canton Fair
Comparison between business (M) and tourist (L) visa's for the Canton Fair

What is the Canton Fair?

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of getting a visa for the Canton Fair, let's get to know what it's all about. Imagine a colossal exhibition space spanning over 1.18 million square meters, teeming with booths and pavilions brimming with products ranging from electronics and machinery to textiles and household goods. 

This is the Canton Fair — a grand spectacle that unfolds in three phases each spring and autumn in the bustling city of Guangzhou, China, where the world's manufacturers, suppliers, and international buyers converge to showcase and explore the latest trends and innovations in a vast array of industries.

With more than 25,000 exhibitors and over 200,000 buyers from around 210 countries and regions, it's a melting pot of cultures, ideas, and business opportunities. Whether you're a seasoned entrepreneur seeking to expand your product line or a startup looking for that breakthrough supplier, the Canton Fair offers a platform like no other.

Getting a Visa for the Canton Fair

So, you've made the exciting decision to attend the Canton Fair in China. You've maybe already booked your flights, packed your bags, and you're ready to embark on this exciting business adventure. 

But wait — what about the visa? 

Navigating the visa process can seem daunting for a first-time visitor to China, but we’ve got you covered with a step-by-step guide on how to secure your visa for the Canton Fair.

Understand the types of Chinese Visas

First things first, if your country isn't exempt from obtaining a visa to visit China, the first step is to determine which type of visa you'll need for your trip:

  • If your primary purpose is business-related and you’re heading to China specifically to visit the Canton Fair, then you'll likely require a business (M) visa. 
  • However, if you're planning to explore the fair more casually or engage in non-commercial activities, a tourist (L) visa may suffice. 
  • You should apply for a multiple entry visa to China so that you’re able to leave and return to Mainland China while visiting places like Hong Kong or Macau.

Once you've figured out the appropriate visa type, it's time to gather the necessary documents and kick-start the application process.

Determine Your Eligibility

Before you dive into applying for a Chinese visa to attend the Canton Fair, it's time to do a quick passport check. Grab your passport and take a look at the expiry date. Is there at least six months of validity remaining? 

If so, you're one step closer to eligibility:

  • To apply for a Chinese visa for the Canton Fair, you must meet certain eligibility criteria, including having a valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining.
  • Additionally, if applying for a business (M) visa you will likely need to obtain and provide an invitation letter from the Canton Fair organizers or a company registered to exhibit at the fair.

Now that you've confirmed your passport doesn't expire next month and that you aren’t visa-exempt, it's time to take the next steps. 

If you've opted for a business (M) visa, head over to the official Canton Fair website to obtain your free-of-charge invitation letter to support your visa application process.

Gather the Required Documents

The documents needed for a Chinese visa application typically include a completed visa application form, a recent passport-sized photo, a valid passport (6 months validity), and supporting documents depending on the type of visa you're applying for.

  • For a business (M) visa, you may need an invitation letter from a Chinese company or the Canton Fair organizers, as well as other business-related documents.
  • If applying for a tourist (L) visa, you might need to provide proof of hotel reservations, round-trip flight tickets, and an itinerary of your trip.

It’s important to research and understand the specific requirements based on your visa type and home country. For example, residents of some countries might require hotel reservations, round-trip flight tickets, etc, while others don’t. 

Apply for your Visa to China

Now that you've gathered all the necessary documents, confirmed your eligibility, and decided whether you’ll apply for a business (M) or a tourist (L) visa, it's time to apply for your visa to attend the Canton Fair. 

  • Gather all Required Documents: Start by compiling all the required documents for your visa application, including the completed application form, passport-sized photo, valid passport, and any additional documents specific to your visa type.
  • Purchase accommodation & flights: Research, book accommodations and flights with flexible options, obtain confirmation documents, and attach proof of bookings to your visa application as required by Chinese visa requirements for your specific home country.
  • Submit Your Application: Once you have all your documents, you can submit your visa application through the Chinese embassy or consulate in your home country. Be sure to double-check the application form for accuracy and completeness to avoid any delays in processing.

Keep in mind that obtaining a Chinese visa for the Canton Fair takes a couple of weeks. So, don’t delay your application until the last minute. Otherwise, you will have to pay rush fees or risk not receiving the Chinese visa on time.


With your visa application submitted, you're one step closer to experiencing the excitement and opportunities awaiting you at the Canton Fair. By following these steps and ensuring all your documents are in order, you'll soon be ready to explore the vast array of products and industries showcased at this prestigious trade exhibition.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Get a Visa for the Canton Fair?

To get a visa for the Canton Fair, first determine your visa type (business or tourist), then gather required documents and apply through the Chinese embassy or consulate in your home country.

How to Get an Invitation Letter for the Canton Fair?

Visit the official Canton Fair website to request your complimentary invitation letter using their Buyer E-Service Tool (BEST), which can be used to support your visa application for China.

Do I Need a Visa to Attend the Canton Fair?

Yes, most attendees will need a visa to visit China for the Canton Fair but some countries are visa-exempt. The specific requirements vary depending on your nationality, so be sure to check with the Chinese embassy or consulate in your country.

What Type of Visa Should I Get for the Canton Fair?

If you're attending primarily for business activities such as networking, sourcing, or exhibiting, the business (M) visa is recommended. On the other hand, if you're attending more casually to explore the fair or engage in non-commercial activities, the tourist (L) visa may suffice.

Matthew Chipchura
Matthew Chipchura
Founder, Advanta Sourcing

Contact us

Have questions about sourcing, product design and manufacturing in China? We've got you covered — get in touch to learn how we can help.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Ready to save time, money and resources? Join our monthly newsletter to get valuable insights on product sourcing & manufacturing in China.
We care about your data, learn more in our privacy policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
© 2023 Advanta Sourcing Ltd. All rights reserved.