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Study Law in China 2024

Study in China

Legal Education in China

Universities offer three year law programs in China. After graduation, the student needs two or more years of experience working in the legal field before they are eligible to take an examination that is only offered two times a year. Upon successfully completing these requirements, the student can apply for a lawyer's license and practice law in China. However, anyone working as a procurator or judge for a least three years can take the bar examination and become a qualified lawyer. In other words, becoming a lawyer in China does not necessarily require a higher education degree.

Tuition Fees

Many international students are choosing to earn a degree in China because of the low tuition costs. Tuition fees for a three or four year undergraduate program are between 11,000 and 40,000 Yuan ($2000 to $6000 USD). Post graduate programs are not much higher and have an average cost of 25,000 to 30,000 Yuan. Once again, it may vary from one school to the other.

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Basic monthly living cost

  • Rent in a shared flat

  • Share of utilities

  • Internet subscription

  • Local transportation


Sample lifestyle cost

  • Fast food combo

  • Cinema ticket

  • Pint of local beer


About China

The People's Republic of China hosts more people than any country in the world, with an estimated population of 1.4 billion. In addition to being the world's second largest economy, China is also the biggest exporter/importer of goods and has been a member of the United Nations since 1971.

Although China has focused on more capitalistic, market-oriented reforms since the 1980s, students electing to study law in China should not encounter issues that many Chinese citizens regularly deal with as a result of governmental control.

China's Legal System

The judicial system of the People's Republic of China is complex and basically consists of the Supreme People's "Procuratorate", the people's Procuratorates, the people's courts and the Supreme People's Court. According to the Article 129 of the Chinese constitution, a Procuratorate is the "state organ for legal supervision" and seems similar to the position represented by a U.S. prosecutor. However, a Chinese Procuratorate has authority that extends beyond just investigating and initiating litigation and allows for supervision and execution of courts and judgments as well as the operation of Chinese prisons.

Because of China's vast rural areas, their judicial system is hierarchical in that Basic People's Courts hold over 3000 courts in each county, which are subdivided into more than 15,000 smaller entities called "people's tribunals". These tribunals can be found in villages and towns dotting the Chinese countryside. In addition, the number of specialized courts is in the hundreds, with each of these courts dealing with forest issues, maritime problems, railway transportation and the PLA (People's Liberation Army).

China's legal system differs most prominently in the fact that they do not adhere to the concept of case law. Instead, most litigation cases are not bound to other courts' decisions and may present their own unique resolutions. Some people's court judges may try to follow previously established legal interpretations but this is entirely dependent upon the judge's beliefs regarding case law.

Chinese criminal laws dictate that reforming rather imprisoning repeat offenders is preferable and includes sentencing convicted criminals to skills, education and labor training as described by the amended Criminal Law Code of 1997.

Visa Requirements

  • X1 Visa - issued to those who go to China to study for more than 6 months.
  • X2 Visa - issued to those who go to China to study for a period of less than 6 months.

What type of Visa do you need?

Visa name

Student Visa (X1 Visa; X2 Visa)

Price and currency

The student visa application fee varies according to your nationality, the number of entries required, the country you are applying in, and whether you want an express service. The fees can be around $30 to $150.

Who can apply for the visa?

Any foreign student who intends to study in China will have to obtain China student visa (X visa). This visa is granted to those students who have already been accepted for admission by a recognized educational institute in China.

Where can you make the application?

Chinese Embassy or Consulate or at the Chinese diplomatic mission

You can submit your visa application form at the Chinese Embassy or Consulate or at the Chinese diplomatic mission in your home country. In case you cannot come personally for the submission, you can send it through a travel agency or a visa agency for submission on your behalf. Remember that applications sent by post are not accepted by most of the Chinese Embassies or Consulates.


How to make the application?

You can download the visa form here: Fill the visa application form carefully and accurately on your computer. Take a printout of the filled-in application form and sign it. Remember that a print out of the application form is essential as hand-written forms are not acceptable. Note that change or correction is not allowed on the printed form.

The following documentation should be submitted at the Chinese Embassy or Consulate:

  1. Original passport with at least six months of remaining validity and blank visa pages, and a photocopy of the passport's data page and the photo page if it is separate.
  2. One completed Visa Application Form with a recently-taken color passport photo (bare-head, full face) against a light background.
  3. Proof of legal stay or residence status (applicable to those not applying for the visa in their country of citizenship)
  4. Original and photocopy of the Admission Letter issued by a school or other entities in China.
  5. Original and photocopy of "Visa Application for Study in China" (Form JW201 or Form JW202).

After arrival: X1 visa holders must register at the local Public Security Bureau (PSB) within 30 days of arrival in China and apply for a Temporary China Residence Permit from the local PSB. X2 holders shall stay in China within the duration period as indicated on the visa, and it is not necessary for them to apply for the temporary residence permit.

When should you apply?

Apply for a student visa at least a few weeks in advance of your planned travel date to allow enough time for the application procedure to be completed on time for you to join your course. The regular processing time is 4 working days. If you want to collect your visa earlier, express service and rush service are available for an extra charge.

X1 visa is normally issued for multiple entries with validity of up to 5 years. X2 visa is usually issued for one entry with validity for up to 6 months.

Processing time

4 Days

Work opportunities

Foreign students are permitted to do part-time work in China. The university should issue a Consent Letter; the hiring unit/company should issue a Certification; the police station will then mark on your visa "Part-time-work; Part-time-study".

Hours per week


Why do you need this type of visa?

Here are some important things that you should not do when applying for a student visa to China:

  • Do not attempt to submit your student visa application form by sending it through the post as it will not be accepted.
  • Do not present false documents for your student visa.
  • Do not hide or misrepresent facts in your visa application.