Attending the Canton Fair: Dates, Registration, and Visa Requirements

The Canton Fair, also known as the China Import and Export Fair, is one of the world’s largest trade exhibitions. It is held twice a year in Guangzhou, China and spans three weeks, divided into three phases. The fair showcases electronics, consumer goods, textiles, and medical devices. It’s a prime opportunity for businesses and buyers to explore new products, establish international partnerships, and tap into the global market. With exhibitor participation and support services, attending the Canton Fair can significantly boost business growth and provide valuable networking opportunities.

Who Attends the Canton Fair?

The Canton Fair attracts diverse attendees, including business owners and buyers looking to purchase products in bulk for their stores or online sales. However, the event is not open to the general public. Importers and exporters specializing in bringing products into their country or selling abroad find valuable opportunities at the fair. Manufacturers and suppliers attend to showcase their products and find new customers or partners.

Opportunities for Entrepreneurs and Industry Professionals

Entrepreneurs and startups come seeking fresh product ideas and business prospects. Retailers and wholesalers visit to discover new items to sell to consumers or other businesses. Industry professionals from sectors like electronics, textiles, and home goods also attend to stay updated on the latest trends and innovations. In essence, anyone involved in buying, selling, or manufacturing products wanting to grow their business and explore new opportunities will likely want to attend the Canton Fair.

When is The Canton Fair?

As mentioned, the Canton Fair takes place twice a year. They’ve started the year with an April-March event! With Fall 2024 dates announced, you have time to plan your visa and travel.

The 136th China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) Phase Dates are as follows:

15th-19th October 2024, 9:30-18:00

23rd-27th October 2024, 9:30-18:00

31 Oct.-4th Nov. 2024, 9:30-18:00

What Do You Need to Attend The Canton Fair?

To attend the Canton Fair, you’ll need three things:

  1. An invitation from the fair or a Chinese company
  2. A Chinese visa
  3. A Buyer badge (Buyer’s IC Card)

The invitation can help you get both the visa and the badge.

How to Register and Get Your Buyer Badge

First-Time Attendees

To pre-register for the Canton Fair, visit the fair’s website and click the “Buyer” tab. Then, create an account by providing your personal and business details. 

After that, apply for an invitation letter by submitting your personal information, a copy of your passport, and a business card. After a few days to a week, you will receive the invitation letter via email to assist with your business visa application.

Once you have the invitation letter, you can register for the fair on the Canton Fair website using your details, invitation letter, and a photo.

To collect your buyer badge, pick it up at the China Import and Export Fair Complex or visit one of the 31 Overseas Buyers’ Registration Offices in hotels. If you pre-register, you can use the Express Channels at the Registration Office to get your badge more quickly.

Returning Buyers

Log In and Update Information. Visit the Canton Fair website and log in with your existing account. Check to see that your account details are current. If necessary, apply for a new invitation letter.

Getting A Chinese Visa For The Canton Fair

To Attend the Canton Fair, You’ll need to get a Chinese visa. Specifically, you’ll be applying for a Business visa. 

Along with your Chinese Visa Application Form, you’ll need the following:


You will need your physical passport, which should be valid for at least six months beyond the requested visa length. It should also have at least two blank visa pages and not be damaged. 

Proof of Residency

Provide a copy of the front of your driver’s license, government ID, or utility bill that shows your name and current residence address.

 “Where You Stay Form”

Depending on the embassy/consulate for your state, you’ll need to provide a “Where You Stay Form.” The name and address on this form must match the proof of residency. 

Invitation Letter from Chinese Company

This letter must be sealed with the company’s official stamp. You can use the same letter used to get the fair badge.

Visa Photo

You need to upload a clear photo of you with a white background.

Travel to your Chinese Embassy/Consulate or Hire a Courier Service

Applicants cannot submit their application by mail. Instead, you must submit and pick up your application in person or hire a registered courier to do it for you. While it is possible to travel to your state’s Chinese embassy, submit your application, wait four days for processing, and collect your visa in person, there is a simpler option.

The China Visa Department can save you time and stress if you need a Chinese visa for the Canton Fair. Our registered couriers are located near many Chinese embassies/consulates. We also offer assistance in filling out your application to prevent any mistakes. 

We offer two services: Standard Processing (7-10 business days) and Rush Processing (4-5 business days). Visas typically take 4-5 days to process, but we have about a 10-day buffer for unforeseen delays.

Final Thoughts with the China Visa Department

Understanding the registration process and visa requirements helps you make the most of your time and enjoy the opportunities at the Canton Fair. The China Visa Department is here to assist with the Chinese visa application process and minimize your stress. We also take fully online appointments. Contact us today to get started!

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