China Visa when staying with friends

Q: My daughter has been invited to China with her friend's family. While in China, they will be staying with the friend's grandparents. When she applies for her visa, would the name and address of the grandparents be sufficient or will she need more documentation from the grandparents. I noticed if you are staying in a hotel, they require a copy of your reservation, but I am not sure what sort of documentation is required if you are staying with friends. Thank you.

Currently it is not a very good time to apply for a visa to visit China. Since April, the Chinese government has tightened control over visas to enter China. Officially, for tourist/family visit visa (L), China's visa application guidlines identify two situations: one, where travelers stay in hotels, and, two, where people stay their family or relatives. As you noted, travelers in the first category, when they apply for their visa, are supposed to provide their hotel reservation and round-trip flight tickets; for the people in the second category, evidence of "kinship" is required. Your daughter's situation is somewhere in between these situations. On the visa application form there is a place where you can check that, intead of staying in a hotel, you are going to stay someone's home. There is, of course, the difficulty of providing evidence for "kinship." Even if someone is going to stay with an uncle or a sister-in-law, it is not easy to actually show proof for such relationships, and this has been recognized. You should get some concrete information from your host, names, addresses, an invitation letter, copies of their passports or National ID's (not all Chinese have passports but they all have National ID's with which the government can identify individuals). In the past, people certainly stayed with their firends while visiting China, but it is hard to say what is happening given the current situation. You may need to consult some agency that specializes in China visa services. There are many such agencies, and their service does not cost much. This agency here, for instance, addresses an issue similar yours, even though not exact the same (we don't know much about this particular agency).

Additionally, the law says that a foreign who stays with a Chinese family should register at the local police station within one week of his/her arrival. Surely your host will take care of this. Your issue right now is the visa.