Diabetes has become a major public health problem in China nowadays. There are almost 97 million diabetic patients nationwide. Latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) is a subtype of autoimmune diabetes. Although it has been reported for about 20 years, the diagnostic criteria of this disease remain controversial. The discussion mainly focused on serum autoantibodies, period of insulin need and age of diagnosis. Besides, β cell function, metabolic parameters, genetic factors and cell immunity may also contribute to the formulation of the criteria. Here, we aim to review and discuss the diagnostic criteria of latent autoimmune diabetes in adults.