Getting Settled

Getting Settled

At the Cooperative Center for Studies, we’re here to help you find the best programme for your interests and goals – and to assist you throughout the entire process of applying, getting ready, getting settled and getting home.

China is a world leader with a truly unique combination of rich cultural heritage and dynamic growth. Opportunities and challenges in business, management and global responsibility abound, and through our relationships with key Chinese institutions, the Cooperative Center for Studies is working to support students and scholars in effecting positive change in the world.

The major cities of our Chinese partner institutions host lively international communities with deep connections to China, creating ideal environments to pursue research, studies and training within the context of international management.

Here’s some important information to help you get to China and get settled.


While there are several steps to the process of securing your visa to China, it is relatively straightforward and should be stress-free as long as you get started early and check in with us about any questions along the way.

Who needs a Visa?

The answer is simple: everyone! Check the requirements of your local* Chinese consulate and bring all required documents when you apply. We recommend applying at least two months prior to your planned date of travel. Your local consulate, along with the Chinese government, will evaluate your application and determine if you qualify for a Chinese visa. We’ll do everything possible to help.

*Note that while you may live far from the nearest consulate, you may be able to use an agent to submit your application for you.

How does it work?

  • Step 1: Upon your acceptance to the programme (usually within two months of receiving your application), we’ll send two important documents to Audencia Nantes’ Office of International Relations, who will then contact you to come pick them up. You’ll include the documents in the visa application that you submit to your local Chinese embassy/consulate:

    JW202 form, "Visa Application for Study in China"

    Admissions letter (for visa purposes only)

  • Step 2: While we’re processing the above documents, check the requirements of your local Chinese consulate online to make sure you have time to assemble all the necessary components of your application.

  • Step 3: Determine if you need an X1 or X2 visa.

  • Step 4: Gather all required documents.

  • Step 5: If you’ll be studying in China for more than six months, you may need to have the Physical Exam Form filled out by an approved physician (depending on your consulate), so build enough time for the examination into your process. Download the Physical Exam Form.

  • Step 6: Fill out your application, listing this person as your contact in China if one is requested: List your primary contact at the international office of the institution you are travelling to.

  • Step 7: Take all required documents, payments, photos and application to your local Chinese consulate to submit your application.

Note: Please check the requirements of your local Chinese consulate as early as possible in case the consulate asks you to provide additional documentation that will extend the time it will take for you to receive your visa.

X1 or X2 visa – which do you need?

X1 visa: Will you study in China for longer than 180 days? (Degree programme and year-long exchange programme students, that’s you!) If so, you’ll need an X1 visa. You’ll also need to obtain a Residence Permit within 30 days of your arrival in China.

X2 visa: Will you study in China for no more than 180 days (for a semester exchange or summer programme, for example)? If so, you’ll need an X2 visa.

What if I already have a valid non-student Chinese visa?

Please contact the international office at your institution to ask how your non-student visa can be converted into a student visa.

Do you need a residence permit?

X1 visa: If you’re entering China with an X1 student visa, you’ll need to apply for a residence permit for study within 30 days of your arrival in China. (We recommend doing this earlier rather than later.)

X2 visa: If you’re entering China with an X2 student visa, a residence permit is not required unless you’d like to travel outside of China while you’re there. (Note that most X2 visas are single-entry, so you’d have to apply specially for a multiple-entry X2 visa and a residence permit in order to travel outside of China during your stay.)

The Chinese residence permit is essentially a multi-entry visa and is initially valid for one year. If/when you return for a second year, you may be able to apply for a residence permit valid for multiple years (based on the planned duration of your study).

How do you get a residence permit?

Again, the process is relatively easy, but please note that early entry can complicate obtaining your residence permit!*

  • Complete a physical examination while in China. (Don’t worry, we’ll help you arrange this!) Depending on your country of residence, you may be required to complete a physical prior to arrival too. Please check the information on your local China embassy/consulate official website before you leave for China.

  • Let us help you obtain your residence permit when you arrive.

*If you have an X1 visa, please do not enter China more than one week before your official move-in day. Chinese law requires that you convert your X1 visa into a residence permit within 30 days of your arrival in China, but some of the documents you’ll need in order to do this can only be issued after the school registration date. The process of getting a residence permit usually takes three to six weeks.

Important terms to understand

Visa validity ("Enter Before") means that the visa is valid and can be used to enter China from the date of issue to the "Enter Before" date marked on the visa (Beijing Time). If your visa has additional unused entries, you may enter China before 24:00 (Beijing Time) on the visa expiration date.

Entries refers to the number of times you are permitted to enter China during your visa’s validity period.

Invalid: a visa becomes invalid if there are no entries left or the visa validity expires. If your visa becomes invalid, you must apply for a new visa before entering China. You will not be allowed into China with an invalid visa.

Duration of Each Stay refers to the maximum number of days you can stay in China each time, which is calculated from your date of entry to China. If you overstay the end date of your stay without getting a visa extension, you’ll be subject to fines (500RMB for one overstay, up to 10,000RMB for repeat offenses) and other penalties (5 to 15 days detention) for violation of the visa laws and regulations in China.


Each university offers a slightly different set of accommodation options. Here is an outline of what’s available at Beijing Institute of Technology to give you a picture of accommodations in China. Contact us for specific questions about housing at our additional Chinese partner universities.

Beijing Institute of Technology
So that you’ll really get to be a part of the Beijing Institute of Technology community, BIT makes on-campus international student housing available to Audencia students without any additional cost. All bedrooms are doubles.


  • Bedroom (shared with one other international student – Audencia students can opt to room with one another)
  • Living room (shared with five to seven other students)
  • Bathroom (shared with five to seven other students)
  • Shower (shared with five to seven other students)
  • Community kitchen on each floor
  • Laundry room
  • Internet access (small additional fee applies)
  • Air conditioning/heat
  • TV
  • Landline phone for local calls
  • Bookshelf
  • Desk
  • Wardrobe
Questions? Ask us!

Photo credit: Top photo by Maros M r a z (Maros), edited by Thegreenj [GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons