The required documentation to support your application differs according to the visa you are seeking. Here we explain some of the requirements though it is not your responsibility to organize all of them, the organisation you will be dealing with will need to arrange the ones special to your visa type, except for tourist visas, of course. Naturally, you should assist where required by providing information. Preparing the documents can take some time, from a couple of weeks to months, as many bureaucratic procedures are involved. It is a good idea, however, to keep checking back with them that they are getting on with it as sometimes matters can slip.
Non-business Exchanges and Visits (F Visa)
F is issued to foreigners invited to China on a noncommercial exchange, investigation or visits for scientific-technological, education, cultural exchanges, health or sports activities. In some situations overseas businessmen with a need to travel frequently in and out of China over a longer period may be granted a 12 month multiple entry F.
The F type has over the years been used as a ‘catch all’ option. Consular offices seem to have been willing to issue them relatively easily and often for longer durations than a tourist L. It is not permitted to work as an employee of a Chinese business in China while on an F (there are a few exceptions such as working for a company funded from overseas), but many people have done so, often with the full knowledge of local officials, but on the other hand some people have been expelled!