Applying and registering to the Sun Yat-Sen University

In China if you have to apply or register to something, it usually includes a lot of paper work and going from place to place. Getting into Sun Yat-Sen University isn’t hard for foreign students, but it can be a hassle. Here’s how it happened with me this summer when I applied to the undergraduate degree of Chinese as a foreign language.


The application deadline was June 5th (if you apply for the spring term it’s December 5th), but I handed in my application already in April. I went to the international office and along with the application form gave them copies of passport, copy of my high school diploma and self made unofficial translation, certificate from Guangzhou University and my current HSK certificate.

You can check the admission guidelines from the website of Office for International Students’ Affairs.

Because I had studied Chinese before at Guangzhou University for a year and a half, I was hoping to skip at least year one. They told me to contact them again after one month to hear to which year they will put me in. After that month had passed I sent then an email and heard they decided to let me start from the year two.

I went to the international office again in July and August, first to get my acceptance letter and then to get the JW202 form I needed to get a student visa from Hong Kong. (I had a tourist visa during August at China.)

Notice that these steps might be different for you if you apply from abroad. I had the advantage to be in Guangzhou already and could just visit the office anytime I had questions or needed some documents.


Applying to the university was the easy part. The great hassle begun when the registration week started on 5th of September. Because of the huge amount of students it took me three days to register and pay my tuition fee. The most important thing is to follow the steps they give you, always have all the documents with you and be at the office early at the morning. If the office opens at 8.30am, there’s already a line of at least 20 students at 7.30am.

Because I was already in China I had registered at the police station and already had done my medical check-up. After registration I only had to take all my documents to the exit and entry bureau, wait for two weeks and got my passport with residence permit (which is valid until March).

During registration I gave my newest HSK certificate to the teacher in charge of undergraduate degree students and manages to talk my self to a more advanced class (from 本二上 to 本二下). Before I had hopes to start from year three, but those hopes were set too high.

There are a lot of things to do and remember during registration, but don’t worry, the staff at the international office will help you. Just follow the steps in the document they will give you and you’ll be fine. Also remember that if you study less than 6 months then F visa is enough, if you study longer then you need to enter China with X visa and then change it to residence permit. If you pay the whole year’s tuition fees at once, you can get a residence permit for one year. If you pay one semester like I did, you will get a residence permit for half a year.

Important websites and email addresses

English versions of the university’s websites are quite dated, so if possible, follow the Chinese ones.

Main site:

School of Chinese as a second language:

Office for International Students’ Affairs:

Emails: tanjx(a) and violet_wong(a)