Visas/procedures/requirements for studying in China


You will need a valid visa during your stay and study in China. Some students, already living in China, make there own visa arrangements. Alternatively you can apply for a Chinese student visa from your home country before travel. Before applying, you will need to process some documentation with the host university BFSU. It is also possible to arrive to China with a tourist visa and transfer that visa into a student visa once you arrive. (NOTE: Student visas are actually entitled ‘resident permits’ but act in the same way as a visa).

Costs in addition to tuition fees

There are a few additional costs over and above tuition fees and equipment. These are not charged by Bolton University, but are levied by the Chinese education ministry and apply to all foreign students studying in China.

You will need a health check to enrol at BFSU, our host university. This is a one-off cost of 400 RMB, and the required student insurance costs 600 RMB per year.

There are a few other procedures when moving to China (not requiring any fee) and we can inform you of these after successful application.

We strongly recommend you get comprehensive, independent travel insurance – as well as the local one required by the university. We can give you more advice about this if needed, but often decent backpacker coverage insurance is suitable.

Getting connected

When the course starts you are required to have the following:

A Skype ID

Twitter account, and follow @davidc7, @djclark, and @sharronlovell

A VPN (if in China – costs around 5 dollars per month)

A local sim card (these are cheap to buy and monthly 3G packages are cheap, around 70RMB/month)

Internet access (easy to set up once in China)

Google Chrome has a translator built in which is pretty handy for surfing Chinese sites; it is not perfect but gives you a rough idea and helps you to navigate the otherwise impossible.

Mobile Phones

You can buy local sim cards everywhere, and can find RMB100 top up cards for mobile phones in most convenience stores. Instructions for loading the stored value onto your phone are available in English. Alternatively you can register your phone and pay a monthly bill (starting at around 70RMB/month). Should you need help doing this, we can assist during induction week.

Money and Finances

It’s worth setting up a local bank account so you can get a local ATM card for when you are travelling in more rural places. It is easy – just go to a big branch of any major bank near you. ICBC, Bank of China, and China Construction are all fine. It takes about 30 mins and you only need to deposit 10 RMB.

International credit cards are widely accepted by ATM machines, but not by small local shops or businesses, and it is often better to use cash in those places.

You can more detailed advice on banking in this article from

Other resources

  • The Beijinger
    Website of one of the popular monthly expat magazines in the city.
  • Online Dictionary
    An online dictionary with English and Chinese for language learners.
  • Sinocism
    Useful newsletter by Bill Bishop, aggregating and commenting on the most important articles on China of the day, from Chinese and international media. Follow Bishop on Twitter.