New York City is one of the most famous and most-visited places in the world. Its iconic buildings and landmarks, world-renowned museums, stellar entertainment, and status as a global city draw over a million visitors from China each year.
All 5 boroughs of the U.S. metropolis have something exciting to see, with most of the well-known locations being in Manhattan — the original County of New York.
What documentation do Chinese travelers heading to the City of New York need to enter the United States of America? Which airport is best to fly in and out of? And what places in New York are essential to visit? This guide has everything you need to know about traveling to NYC for Chinese citizens.
The first thing a Chinese citizen traveling to New York City needs is the appropriate documentation to visit the US. Nationals of the People’s Republic of China need a visa to enter the country.
Ambassadors, diplomats, and other government representatives (and their families) may be granted type A visas to travel to the US on official business.
The majority of Chinese nationals will have to apply for a B visa. There are 3 types, which are all valid for 10 years:
The B-1 visa grants access to the US to “temporary visitors for business”, while the B-2 visa is categorized as being for “temporary visitors for pleasure”. The most common visa issued is the combined B-1/B-2, which covers both purposes of visit.
Learn more about different types of US tourist visas.
All visitors with a Chinese passport and a 10-year B visa must also register with the Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS), which allows the user to update the details on their visa. It also improves border security and streamlines the process of entering the US, by allowing border authorities to check travelers’ details before they arrive on American soil.
The EVUS online application form is quick and simple to complete.
It is currently only available for Chinese citizens, but it is likely that the project will be expanded in the future to include other countries in EVUS.
New York City is served by 3 airports:
JFK and LaGuardia are both located in the New York City borough of Queens, while Newark is situated just outside of New York in nearby New Jersey.
John F. Kennedy Airport, generally referred to simply as “JFK”, is the best-known of New York’s airports. It is the sixth-busiest airport in the US and is served by international flights to destinations around the globe, including China. For example, there are flights to and from Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, among others.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of JFK is that it is served by the New York City subway, which is far cheaper than getting a taxi, but it can take a lot longer to get into Manhattan and involves changing lines.
The special AirTrain line connects JFK to the A train at Howard Beach Station and the E train at Jamaica Station. Both of these lines take passengers to Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.
When taking the A train to the airport, be sure to catch one bound for Howard Beach/Rockaway and NOT the A train bound for Leffers Blvd.
LaGuardia Airport is the closest airport to Manhattan and is also served by various international flights. This means it is generally the quickest and cheapest option for getting between the city and the airport by taxi, rideshare, or hire car.
However, LaGuardia is not on any subway line, which means visitors who prefer to take public transport to save money must walk several blocks from the nearest subway station and then catch a bus.
Although it is technically in a different state, Newark Liberty Airport is one of the airports that serve New York City and is located at a similar distance from Manhattan to JFK.
While JFK handles more passengers per year, Newark airport is busier in terms of the number of flights. Newark handles international flights to and from China.
Newark Airport is not the easiest place to access using the New York City Subway and NJ Transit. Taxis can cost $70-100 due to traffic on the bridges and tunnels and the fare road traffic must pay to enter NYC.
However, the Newark Airport Express shuttle bus between the airport and Manhattan is generally fast and relatively cheap ($18 one way), only stopping at Newark Airport, Port Authority, Grand Central, and Bryant Park.
The City That Never Sleeps has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world. Its skyline features some of the tallest and most well-known skyscrapers on Earth, and landmarks like Central Park and the Statue of Liberty are famous around the globe.
Visitors from China may want to take a photo in Times Square, see a show on Broadway, or go shopping on Fifth Avenue.
New York is also home to various famous museums, including:
Visitors can go up many of New York’s tall buildings and experience panoramic views of the city and surrounding area from viewing platforms at the top. Skyscrapers that allow people to go up to the top include:
While not a skyscraper, visitors can also climb to the top of the Statue of Liberty. Designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and engineer Gustave Eiffel, the statue watches over New York harbor and is emblematic of the United States.
The iconic statue can be accessed by ferry from Battery Park or from Liberty State Park in New Jersey. It is a good idea to book in advance, as this is a very popular attraction.
Other iconic New York landmarks include:
Some of the unique neighborhoods of Manhattan are worth visiting in their own right. From Harlem’s famous jazz clubs to the restaurants of Little Italy and the bustle of Chinatown, these districts offer an insight into life in the Big Apple’s different communities. Manhattan’s Chinatown is one of the most popular places in the US to celebrate Chinese New Year.
Greenwich Village, on the other hand, is famous for its nightlife, its historical importance for artists and the LGBT community, and for being the location of famous 90s sitcom Friends.
The borough of Brooklyn has its own distinct identity and recognizable accent, being a city in its own right until 1898. As well as having one terminus of the famous Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn is also home to the beach and amusement parks of Coney Island, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, and the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch.