It is a requirement for those who are entering Mainland China to have a Visa, the kind of Visa that you will be given will depend on the purpose of visit. It is important to familiarize yourself with the specifications in each country, for example starting November 2014 the consulates around United States introduced a new policy for issuing of 10 years for those who hold a US passport.
It is important to note that one can only apply for a Visa through the embassy, consulate or an appointed agent. The applicant has to present himself or herself in person at one of the three issuance points. The applicant should also ensure that the passport has a validity of at least fifteen months and has at least 2 blank pages.
There might be some delays in processing of Visa; therefore one should make sure that there is enough time for processing of the travel document.
You need to fill in the application documents; they can be obtained online or through visiting the embassy, consulate or the appointed agent. It is important to note that no mailing is allowed and there is no need for an appointment. An interview will be required at some point and the applicant will be charged a fee for the processing of the document.