Travel Advice for Chinese Citizens Visiting L.A.

Travel Advice for Chinese Citizens Visiting L.A.

Los Angeles is a favorite destination among Chinese tourists — over 1 million visitors reach LA each year. The city is considered the top port of entry into the U.S. from China, with other major destinations being New York and Las Vegas.

The local administration and businesses operating in the tourism sector make conscious efforts to encourage this trend. After all, Chinese tourists are among the biggest spenders worldwide: in 2018 alone, Chinese travelers spent as much as $120 billions during their holidays.

Monna Sanner, the representative of Starline Tours (the largest bus tour operator in LA), confirms that Chinese tourism is on the rise, telling the Los Angeles Times that “It’s a market that is definitely getting stronger.”

Many more Chinese visitors are therefore expected to visit LA in 2020. But if you’re a first-time visitor, you may be wondering what traveling to the sunny state of California really means. You will find useful information for Chinese tourists traveling to Los Angeles in this article, including:

  • Flight information from China to LA
  • Documents needed for visiting Los Angeles
  • What to do in Los Angeles and top attractions.

How Long Does It Take to Fly from China to Los Angeles?

Although most people think that the U.S. is very far from China, the flight from China to California is not at all among the longest in the world. Non-stop travel time between Beijing and Los Angeles is approximately 12 hours.

The distance between the United States and China is about 11,671 kilometers (or 7,252 miles). This means that Los Angeles is closer to China than New York. However, the time difference is greater, with Beijing being 16 ahead of Los Angeles.

Where Is China Airlines at LAX?

China Airlines is one of the several flight operators that offer flights between the U.S. and China. It uses terminal TBIT (Tom Bradley International Terminal) at Los Angeles Airport for all its flights. However, please notice that some flights are codeshared services managed by other operators — even though they are labeled as China Airlines. Sharecoded flights might land or depart from other terminals, including terminal 2 and 3.

Other airlines flying between China and the U.S. include:

  • United Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Air China
  • China Eastern
  • China Southern
  • Hainan Airlines
  • XiamenAir
  • Sichuan Airlines

What Documents Do You Need to Visit Los Angeles?

Like most foreigners, Chinese citizens need a valid travel permit in order to enter the U.S. territory. This applies also to tourists who decide to visit Los Angeles.

Remember that the visa requirements apply to your passport and not the country you’re leaving from. For example, if you travel from Macau, Hong Kong or Taiwan with a People’s Republic of China passport, you will need the same permits and documentation just like any other Chinese citizen who’s traveling from China.

Usually, a tourist visa for the U.S. is the most straightforward option. There are several types of visas available depending on your specific circumstances. Some tourists may wish to visit their friends or family while in the U.S., while others may mix business and leisure during their time in the States.

For all of the above purposes, a B visa will be required (B1, B2, or B1/B2). These are visas with a 10-year validity that allow for multiple short-term trips to the United States, specifically designed for Chinese visitors. You can obtain one by applying at your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Entering the U.S. with EVUS

All holders of B visas must also apply for an EVUS registration before traveling. EVUS stands for Electronic Visa Update System, a new program that allows B visa holders to register and update their details online prior to their trip(s) to the U.S. This way, they won’t have to visit an American embassy in person and the U.S. border authorities will have all travelers’ details up to date and an accurate record of who’s crossing the border and when.

The EVUS application can be completed from anywhere in the world, as long as you have access to a reliable internet connection. It’s been designed to only take minutes and the supporting documentation required is kept to a minimum. Applicants will receive their approved EVUS registration via email.

What to Bring to the Los Angeles Airport from China

The most important documents to take with you to Los Angeles are:

  • Your valid Chinese passport
  • The U.S. visa linked to your passport
  • The approved EVUS registration.

Remember that your passport and visa for the U.S. are directly linked. This means that you can’t use a passport to cross the border in L.A. different from the one you provided during your visa application. If your passport expires before your visa or EVUS does, you will have to apply for a new authorization once you receive the new passport.

Further supporting documents may be required. This is decided on a case-by-case basis and may include, for example, health or financial information, accommodation and contact details, etc.

Your luggage may be searched and you may be asked a series of questions by the border control officers. Just collaborate with the American authorities and be as truthful as possible in your answers.

How Many Days Are Enough in LA?

It’s not by chance that Los Angeles is the 19th most-visited city in the world. There’s something for everyone here, whether you’re a beach lover, a movie connoisseur, or a shopping enthusiast.

How long to stay in LA will depend on one’s priorities and circumstances. Some stay as little as 3 days, but usually, 5 to 7 days will allow you to visit most landmarks and attractions.

Keep reading to find a list of examples of major tourist attractions that you can’t miss in Los Angeles and the time you will need in order to enjoy them properly.

Hollywood: Half Day

This neighborhood is so iconic that it doesn’t need a presentation. Take glamorous pictures to show back home at the Hollywood sign, the Walk of Fame, and the Hollywood Boulevard. You may even spot one or two celebrities while you’re here.

Universal Studios Hollywood: 1 Full Day

This unique theme park is famous for making a show of every visit. Its legendary rides (including roller coasters and simulators) are based on popular movies and you’ll be likely to visit the set of your favorite film or show. Don’t forget this is still a working studio.

Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory: Half Day to a Full Day

Griffith Park is the largest park in California, covering 4,210 acres of land. The whole family will enjoy some time here, either hiking or riding. In Griffith Park, you’ll also find an observatory, a planetarium, tennis courts, and much more to see and do.

Santa Monica: 1 Full Day

The opening of the new Expo Metro line was a game-changer for tourists who can now reach Santa Monica from LA much more easily.

This is a paradise for all types of visitors: surfers, skateboarders, yogis, business people, shoppers, all come here for a day of fun and relax by the beach. This beachfront city offers world-class waves, an iconic pier, high-end boutiques, and street performances. And thanks to the endless restaurants and bars, you’ll never go hungry.

The Getty Center: Half Day

Art and history lovers will enjoy getting lost in this massive complex designed by famous architect Richard Meier. Located on a hilltop in the Santa Monica Mountains, the museum hosts European collections that range from paintings to sculptures, from decorative arts to photography.

If you prefer ancient artifacts, head to the Getty Villa, a re-created Roman house that preserves art from the Stone Age to the end of the Roman Empire.

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