A passport is required for most international travel, so make sure yours is up-to-date. Visitors to mainland China require a passport that is valid for at least six months prior to entry.
Visit the US State Department website to understand how to get or renew your US passport.
How to get a visa:
A visa is required to enter the People's Republic of China. Visas can be obtained in person at the Chinese Embassy or Consulate-General
in your area. If visiting the Chinese Embassy or Consulate is not convenient or possible for you, travel and visa agencies
also handle the visa process for a fee.
Mail applications are not acceptable.
Where to get a visa:
Here is a contact list
for the embassy and consulates in the US. Note that the embassy and consulates are generally closed
on US and Chinese national holidays. Check their individual websites
Validity & Cost:
Tourist visas, or "L" visas, are usually valid for 3 months prior to travel and are then valid for a 30 day stay. Visa costs are more expensive for US citizens than for citizens of other countries. See the Chinese Embassy
site for the most up-to-date information.
The Chinese Embassy
site publishes the most up-to-date information on visas in English.