Ready to Shoot in China? Learn about visa and travel info on China

May 11, 2020

Visas & Work Permits

What visa do you apply for when you want to come and film in China? There isn’t one easy answer. Each job needs its own specific approach so it’s important to have a Chinese fixer / service producer who is well versed on the latest rules and work-arounds.

The safest option is arriving on a J2 visa. This option costs the most and takes the longest time to process. Commercial and non-commercial visa options exist which have different costs and timing for processing.

Some crews arrive on business visas or tourist visas. This is a good option if you do not have enough time, are mostly (or only) going to be filming small footprint in private locations, and if you are only arriving with little equipment (or no equipment and renting all locally). Business visas are safer, particularly if you are coming to film for a locally based company who can sponsor you.

Some cities allow a Travel Without Visa option for stays of up to 144 hours. Specific conditions apply.

Note some city’s custom officials are stricter than others when it comes to enforcing rules. Beijing customs has become stricter so it’s best not to gamble arriving as a tourist if you are carrying a lot of film equipment with you.

Film crews planning to shoot in Tibet or other restricted areas require additional permits to enter.

Contact us for our local team to advise on the approach that best suits the specifics of your shoot.


Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Roads inside major cities and roads connecting cities are up to international standards. More rural and mountainous roads are slower going. China is well serviced by domestic airlines and most major international carriers have direct flights into China.

Accommodation. It is less expensive to book hotels through foreign travel websites than from within China. Contact us for recommended film friendly hotels in Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Harbin and other parts of China. For longer stays we can also organize serviced apartments.


Final Notes

Safety. With the right service company China is a safe and reliable shooting destination. See here for up to date travel advice.

Down Time. China has a great diversity of regional cuisines.

Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in China, please see below:


Hire China Production Support & Shooting Crew

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in China, please contact us.

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in China, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us.

We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.