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Got a question about Chinese visas? We’ll answer it!

Welcome to One-Stop, the only place you need to look for advice on Chinese visas! Below you’ll find all the information you need to put the ‘ease’ in visa, but if you still have any questions, just check out the Q&A link at the bottom of the page and we’ll do our best to find you answers.


Visa types

Introduction to Chinese mainland visa types

What are the different types of Hong Kong visa?

What are the different types of Macao visa?

Permanent mainland residence: The ”China Green Card” or D Visa

How to get a 72-hour visa exemption to visit the Chinese mainland on a layover

How can I get a Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card?


General visa questions

How do I get a Chinese mainland visa in Hong Kong?

Can I apply for a Chinese mainland Work Visa if I’m not in my own country?

Is my time in China measured from from my date of entry or the visa’s date of issue?

Do I have to enter China from the country or region that I got my visa in?

Can I get a Chinese tourist visa without booking a plane or hotel, or having an itinerary?


Getting your Chinese mainland visa: the documents and processes

Using visa agents

Foreign criminal record checks: Who needs them?

Chinese Criminal record checks

What is a Foreign Expert Certificate? How do I get one?

Getting a Registration Form of Temporary Residence

Medical examinations for work visas in China

New Z Visa regulations from Oct 31, 2014


Self-employment and visas on the Chinese mainland

How can self-employed foreigners arrange a Chinese visa?

Can I get a work visa by registering a business in China?


Troubles with the law 

Overstaying your visa in China

What will happen if I’m caught with the wrong kind of visa on the Chinese mainland?

In what situations can my passport be legally confiscated on the Chinese mainland?


Visa problems and complications on the Chinese mainland

Can I get a Chinese work visa if I have Hepatitis B?

Can HIV-positive people work in China?

What happens to my visa and residence permit if I get fired or leave my job?

What can I do if my old employer refuses to give me my Foreign Expert Certificate back?

I have to replace my passport but my Chinese mainland residency permit or visa is still active. What do I do?


Extending visas on the Chinese mainland

When and how should I apply for a visa extension?

Can I extend my visa without leaving the Chinese mainland?

How do I extend my Chinese work visa in the mainland?

How do I extend my Chinese tourist visa in the mainland?


Relationships and visas on the Chinese mainland

How can I become a Chinese mainland citizen?

How do I get married to a Chinese citizen in China?

Can I become a Chinese citizen through marriage?

If I marry a Chinese citizen, can I get permanent residence or a work visa?

Having a baby in China: Nationality and visas


Visiting Tibet

What you need

Required permits

Getting the visa


Visiting and living in Hong Kong

Do I need a tourist vis to visit Hong Kong?

Visiting Hong Kong with a mainland residency permit

How can I get a Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card?

What are the different types of Hong Kong visa?

How do I get a visa to visit Hong Kong?

How do I get a Hong Kong employment/investment visa?

How do I get a Hong Kong student visa?

How do I get a Hong Kong residence visa?

How do I get Right of Abode in Hong Kong?

How do I get the Certificate of Entitlement to Right of Abode in Hong Kong?


Visiting Macao

Do I need a tourist visa to visit Macao?

What are the different types of Macao visa?

Visiting Macao with a mainland residency permit


US and Canada-specific subjects

What is the fastest way for a US citizen to get a Chinese tourist visa?

Ten-year Chinese visas for Americans

Ten-year Chinese visas for Canadians


Visiting other parts of China

Do I need a visa to go to Guangxi if I have a mainland Chinese visa?

Do I need a visa to go to Inner Mongolia if I have a mainland Chinese visa?

Do I need a visa to go to Ningxia if I have a mainland Chinese visa?

Do I need a visa to go to Xinjiang if I have a mainland Chinese visa?


If those articles don’t answer any questions you might have, head over to our Q&A section and leave a question, and we’ll do our best to help you out!


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62 Responses to Got a question about Chinese visas? We’ll answer it!

  • Hi. I want to go to China for short-term study (3 month). The school has been authorized as a “Forgign Affairs Unit” so that students can apply for X2 visa. Now I plan to study between March-May, but I would like to go to China in January to do some traveling before. Is this possible? Is there any way to arrange this?
    Thanks in advance.

  • If I quit a job in China two years ago before the contract ended, and my former boss hated me, will I be blacklisted and unable to receive a new residence permit if I try again to teach in China? thanks

  • I have a question what can stop me from getting a business visa in china i have a job offer and i would like to no if a convicted felon can get a business visa

    • Hi Joseph. To apply for a Business Visa, a certificate of proof of no criminal record is not usually required. You will, however, need a business invitation letter from a Chinese mainland-registered company or the Chinese government. You can check our article on the documents needed to apply for a business visa. Good luck with your business!

  • Hi there,
    I graduated in June 2015 and is currently an intern in a foreign company based in Shanghai. WillI be apply to apply for a working visa after 1 year in the company? Since the company is based in Shanghai and not outside of China, would my work experience be taken into account?

  • Hi, is it possible to transfer from a Z visa to an X1 or X2 visa, or do I have to return to my home country to start the visa process again?

  • Hi! Is it possible for the company to cancel z visa even only photocopy provided of documents for cancellation?

  • Please help….

    Just had an interview for working visa..I was not able to bring my employment certificate….will it affect my application?

    thank you very much ..I am so worried..

  • Hi

    I have a question. I have an expired z visa and yet still have a valid residents permit from my previous school. I left the school amicably and have found a new school. I still think the residency is valid and haven’t heard otherwise or received any letters. Do i still need to apply for a visa to enter china(not there currently) or can i travel to the mainland and get my residency switched to the new place?


    • Hi Ravi. Yes, you will need to apply for a new Z Visa if you plan to return to the country for work – visas are used to attempt to enter a country at the border; residence permits only work once you’re inside the country. Once you’ve got the new Z Visa, your new company should be able to register you for a new residency permit.

  • Hi there,

    Quick question: I have a residence permit with a company in Beijing, and I’m renewing it with them. If I submit all the necessary forms and documents this week, will I get my passport back from the Visa office before the October National Holiday, as I have travel booked to Seoul??


  • Hi!

    I was hired by Marriott hotel in Shenzhen China. i have my contract signed already.
    and i am currently working here now in Dubai in one of Marriott hotels so basically it will be a transfer process.
    they have applied for my working permit online and they told me it got rejected?
    any thing else we can do ? for me to get all req from and china and apply Z visa here in Dubai? or can we re apply again for the working permit?
    please advise

    • Hi Stacey, we are sorry to hear about your work permit application rejection. A work permit is a different document to a Z Visa, and the Chinese branch of your company should apply for it at their local Human Resources and Social Security Bureau before you apply for the Z Visa. If the work permit is denied, there is no way you can get a Z Visa.

      You company can try to apply for your work permit at Human Resources and Social Security Bureau again. Only when this is obtained can you can start the application process for your Z Visa.

      Good luck!

  • I have got a business visa for a company in china but for some reason the plan has been dropped .What should I do with the visa that I got?

    • is it okay to use that visa as a tourist visa or something since I’m no longer hired for that company?or do I need to go to the consulate and tell them?

  • Hi One-Stop crew,

    Informative website thank you. I travel on an Australian passport however I am really searching for the specific details of the S1 visa (private business affairs for entrepreneurs (specific to Shanghai FTZ). Has anyone received one of these visas? Does anyone know the procedure or the detailed requirements. Where to go to apply?

    Thank you in advance

  • I want to know.

    I worked in China two years ago. The woman I worked for was awful. I lasted 3 months on the job but was asked to leave.

    So I left having gotten a letter of release from her.

    But the letter of release, although valid, is not positive.

    Does this mean I can never work in China again?


    • Hi David, we are sorry about the unhappy experience you had with your ex-employer, but you don’t have to worry too much about the letter of release. The main use of the letter is to prove that you no longer work for the previous employer and that the contract has come to an end, so other companies can employ you in the future without any legal problems.

      Regarding the negative comments on the letter, have people who worked with you write a few recommendation letters and explain to your potential future employer that your ex-boss had a vendetta against you and that the content of her letter is unreliable. Generally speaking, it shouldn’t prevent you from getting a new job. Good luck!

  • Hi,

    I got a Z Visa for my one year contract in Shanghai. The medical examination has already been done, everything alright. So now the new visa with the multiple reentries is in the process of being finished.
    Now the problem. This will still take at least 14 days. But I am supposed to go on a business trip to KL in Malaysia in one week.
    How can I make this possible, as I only had one entry into China when I arrived 1 week ago? Can I apply for a tourist Visa in Malaysia, or will it not work because I am already registered as a Z Visa holder.


  • Hi. I am an Australian passport holder. I have been offered a Chinese govt scholarship to study in China for one year. During this year I have also been offered a job in Hong Kong for one month (work will sort out my HK visa).

    But my question is, from my home country, am I able to hold both a study visa for my scholarship in China and a work visa for my job in Hong Kong simultaneously?

    - Much appreciated.

  • Hello One-Stop, hello all chatters,
    I can see this website provides really in-depth, knowledgeable information, so I’ll have a try and seek answers and advice to my case in this thread.
    Okay, so: me and my wife are Polish with Polish passports, living in the UK (part of the EU) and I got an offer from a school in China to teach English. Actually, I got two of them from two different schools. :-)
    Where is the problem then, youd say?
    Well, the first school didnt enter my wife’s name in the application, saying we needed our marriage cert. to be legalised BEFORE they could start the whole application process within China. Therefore, as the time was running out for 1st of Sep start (new school year) and also because I found out I needed two legalisations to be done (one from FCOffice and only then another one from the Chinese embassy here in the UK, both taking a good few days), the agency did what they did, not including my wife in the process. So we started freaking out about getting a family visa for my wife. We dont want her to go as a tourist as we are planning to travel around freely, with no entry/exit, flight/hotel bookings or itinerary hassle, you know.
    In the meantime, another school offered me a teacher position and I accepted it because they sounded relaxed on starting time AS WELL AS offered assistance for my wife with her family visa. Their agent already seems to be doing our visas without reporting any hassle about getting my wife a family visa. On top of that, packagewise, the second offer is superior to the first one. So, essentially, I let the second school start the application process for both of us.
    NB: the two schools are from different cities, however both are located within Goungdong Province.
    And now I hear my first school’s agent has despatched all the papers by express post and as I look at their copies in an email, I am freaking out: WHAT IF AUTHORITIES IN CHINA FIND OUT I GOT OFFERS FOR TWO F/T JOBS? ALSO, WHAT IF SOME OFFICIAL BODY IN CHINA FINDS OUT ONE PERSON GOT TWO WORK PERMITS? CAN THAT SWINDLE COME OUT?
    I mean I would have gladly cancelled the first contract, but technically the second agent hasnt got any feedback from the authorities yet, so as for today I cannot be 100% sure whether I am accepted by the authorities for the foreign expert cert. This makes you want to stick to what youve got already. However, the feeling now is that the first contract is not ideal (wife not included and package is not ideal), yet the second one is not quite ready AND it might also cook the first one and I will be refused entry altogether!

  • Dear One Stop,

    I have been offered a job in Architecture in Beijing. I have completed the Physical Examination Record for Foreigner with the local hospital St. Paul Hong Kong. My questions are:

    1. Do I have to get the completed Physical Examination Record for Foreigner + all the health certificate attachments chopped and authenticated by Chinese Consulate in Hong Kong before sending back to my new employer?

    2. I have got an overall ‘healthy’ remark and ‘none’ remark for infectious diseases including AIDS and Venereal Disease. However I have a past indiscretion 9 years ago of having a syphilis reactive although the conclusion of non reactive which means
    I am no longer contagious.

    In your experience, will my employers application for work permit to employ me be
    rejected although I am ‘healthy’.

    Thank you for your advice.

    Stephen Lim

  • Hello,

    I am in the process of applying for a China Z Visa and just working for my invitation to work etc to get here. I was wondering, if I obtain the Z Visa from the embassy, would it be possible to fly from Russia (I was thinking of visiting Moscow for a few days before) or would I need to fly from the country of issue of the Visa (back to the UK)?

    Thank you,

    • Hi Sarah. When you apply for a Z visa you should apply for it in your home country. However, once you have the visa you can enter China from anywhere in the world (provided, of course, that the visa has not expired!). So yes, you could certainly enter China from Russia! Have a good time!

      • Oh, that advice comes as a bit of a surprise. I was told by the visa application cenrtre one can apply for their visa from abroad as long as they are legal residents there, eg EU members living in another EU state. The only thing being that inviting body from China must state the country in which the applicant is intending to go to and that indication, once produced, has to be observed, or the application will be refused.

  • Hi, I am going to china next april,when should I apply for a tourist visa

    • Hi there. The validity of the entry date on a tourist visa is usually one-to-three months, so it is advisable to apply for a visa about one month before you intend to departure. If you apply too early, the visa might expire before the departure time, and if you apply too late you might not get one in time. If you are Canadian or a US citizen, you could apply for a multiple-entry 10-year-visa, which would allow you to enter China anytime within the following ten years. However, it costs much more than regular tourist visa. You can find out about the American visa here and the Canadian visa here. Have fun!

  • Hello, I would like to ask you for advise. We are going to China in three weeks and we got visa type L for 18 days. However, after receiving the visa from embasy we found out that we need to stay in China for 25 days. We didnt anticipate any problems with extending the visa in mainland China as we were advised at the embassy. Followingly, we changed our airtickets and made our bookings and travelling plans with a thought that we are staying in China for 25 days. But after some time, I read some experience of other travellers that the visa extention doesnt need to be granted and it is basically based on the good wil lof particular officer. We are two people, one holds passport of EU (Czech Republic), second one has passport of Uganda with temporary residence in Czech Republic and it the past was several times granted with Chinese visa and even residence permits.
    Our problem is we really have to stay in China for 25 days as our air tickets cannot be changed back.
    Dou you think if we will do everything what is required for visa extention, should we be fine or is there anything else what can we do in this situation? (For instance applying for new visa in HK)?
    Thank you very much for your response, we will be very grateful. Alzbeta

    • Hi Alzbeta. We’re sorry about the trouble you are facing, but don’t worry – the L Visa can be extended within Chinese mainland for no more than 30 days. Although it is not guaranteed to be extended, the fact that you have already been to China several times before (presumably without any problems) means that it is unlikely that you will have any issues. You could check our guide on how to extend tourist visa in China for more information.

      If you have trouble extending your existing L Visa, you could try leaving the mainland and getting a new visa somewhere such as Hong Kong, as some people do. However, this is not guaranteed either, and some people have had problems doing this recently as the government is discouraging people from making regular visa runs. For info on the procedure of applying in Hong Kong, see this article.

      Important notice: you should submit the extension application no later than seven days before the visa’s expiration date, as it can take a week or so to process, and you don’t want to risk overstaying your visa. We hope that all goes well and you have a good time in China!

      • Hello,

        thank you so much forr your reply. I also hope that everything will be fine. I would like to ask you for two additional advices that I would be very grateful for.
        1. Will any hotel for foreigners register me with PSB, even if I stay only one night? Must every hotel register each of my stay? Or it is fine to register once and that is enough? if I am taying in total for 3 weeks, do I even need that registration?
        2. Is really Shanghai office for visa extentions open every Saturday? Is it okay to apply for visa extention 6 days before expiration of original visa or it must be really 7 days before?

        Thank you so much for your reply again. Great, that this website exists:-). Alzbeta

        • Hi Alzbeta. When you first check into a hotel, the hotel will automatically register you with the PSB – you don’t have to do anything yourself. , If you are staying in a hotel for three weeks (and have paid), the hotel will tell the police of your plans. If you only pay on a day-by-day basis they will update the police each time you pay until you check out. The important thing to know is that you don’t have to do anything.

          The Shanghai Entry and Exit Office is open on Saturdays. It is better to apply for your extension at least seven days before the expiration date of your visa, just in case you cannot get the extended visa in time and have to leave the country. Good luck!

  • I’m applying for a tourist visa (10 year) but was told I need a letter of employment with my position and purpose of the trip. Is this common? I’ll be on vacation.

    • Hi Dee, yes, a letter of employment from your company and a letter to state the purpose of the trip are required for a tourist visa application. Check our guide on how to apply an L visa for more information. 

  • Hello,
    I’m a Belgian student, and coming year, I would like to do an internship in Shanghai. I wanted to apply for a visa in Brussels, but they told me that it is not possible since China doesn’t want to accept interns anymore, unless they apply for a work visa. This is difficult though, since interns mostly do not have 2 years work experience.
    Do you happen to know anything more about this?
    Your help would be much appreciated!
    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Ellen. As of this year, a new kind of short-term Work Visa (Z Visa) is being gradually unrolled for people who want to do internships and meet certain criteria. Some people would not need a Work Visa to come over as interns. You can check this article to find out what kind of visa best suits your situation. You can also talk to your employer and ask them what kind of visa they typically use in this situation.

      However, as the embassy has the final say on which type of visa you should apply for, and each embassy can make their own decisions on which types of visa the applicants should use, ultimately is best to follow the advice of your local embassy. Sadly, there is still no clear-cut rule on the internship visa in Chinese law. The reason for this is rooted in the fact that the country is now giving out fewer visas for interns.

      It should be noted that some companies can get Work Visas for prospective employees without them needing the two years of experience. This depends very much on the business itself; some can do this and some cannot. It is possible that your business will be able to make this happen for you.

      We wish you the best of luck!

  • I have a question, I got hired to work in China teaching English. I am really excited. What I am worried about is that I had studied in China once before and my last semester grades were not that great and I got into a fight with some other students that were harassing me. Will they check my school records? I am a really goood student here in the US. Thank you so much!

  • Hello,

    I just applied for the Chinese M visa today and they kept my passport in the consulate. Can I understand that since they are keeping my passport my visa was approved?

    I’m asking that because during the interview nothing about approval or denial was mentioned. The only thing said is that I should come back next week to pick my passport up. I’m just wondering if I can already buy my tickets though.

    Thank you,


  • If I have a criminal record from 13 years ago, and I want to be a teacher, they will deny the visa? Is the background check done through interpol? I noticed in the states they typically only go back ten years in all searches. Obviously, its a national check of some sort, but that alone doesn’t mean anything.

    The jobs I am looking at say to get a police check, but is that done on the local level in the states, at an embassy, or can I just let the hiring company deal with?

    Does the company see the visa application?

    I got into trouble for burglary. (Twice, to be considered as one charge) and since then i have gotten two college degrees, learned 2 foreign languages, have a wealth of certifications and so on. Furthermore, its bulls**t. I never was the criminal type. Let me just say an asshole cop got the best of me. Thankfully, my intelligence and personality have made it never matter. It is a felony 2.

    I have lived in 4 countries as well. I have worked in medical management too. It has never mattered, and I don’t disclose such a thing in general, because the checks never go back that far, so far as I can tell. I just say NO on every application of every type. Although, i must say that I had to get a waiver for the medical management job. They didn’t care about it, they could plainly see i am not a criminal. Also, i got waiver-ed for the Marines, but never left. F**k working for that s**t a** government.

    I want to just say NO on the question, as I see many say that they have. However, that seems to be hit or miss, and either the Chinese government isn’t checking, or a lot of those people were not applying for z visas. Both are believable, I’d say. I have had lots of jobs. I want to be a teacher.

    I have certifications and have been teaching. Does it matter if i teach at a private school, or only teach adults? I could really use some advice on this, but let me say (ask nicely) I don’t want to hear the words ‘you cant’, ‘you are not going to be able to’ or ‘this is impossible’. That’s for morons and weak minded people. Those particular words don’t even register in my head when i hear them, so please just shed some light on this without all the opinionated crap.

    • Hi Shidoshi. We’re sorry to hear about the troubles you’ve had. You can go to the local police department where you reside (or last resided) in the United States and request that the police conduct a local or state criminal record search, though a local search should be enough. These checks usually go back to five-to-ten years for employment purposes, although differs from state to state, so it is unlikely to bring up your burglary charges. They will then issue you a certificate of no criminal record (NCRC). You could also go to the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division of the FBI to get a NCRC.

      After that you need get the document authenticated at your State Department and then authenticated at the Chinese embassy or consulate. Once you have finished the above procedure, you can submit the document to your employer.

      The NCRC can only be requested by yourself, and your employer can’t apply for it directly. They also cannot see your visa application so there is no way for them to see anything on your record. So long as you get the Z Visa there probably won’t be any problem for you to teach in any kind of school.

      The only complication is that you have lived in four countries during the past 13 years so the embassy may require you to get a criminal record check in those countries as well. This is at the discretion of the visa officer. 

  • Hello! I’m an EU passport holder and will travel from Turkey to Australia through China. The plane stops in Urumqi and Guangzhou. I know I have right to stay in Guangzhou without a visa but what about Urumqi? I’m not going to leave the airport of course but am I still required to have a Chinese visa? Thanks!

    • Hi Kami. Which specific passport do you hold, and what do you mean by “stay in Guangzhou”? Do you mean leave the airport and see the city? There is indeed a 72-hour stopover rule that allows people with certain passports to leave the airport and visit Guangzhou, but it does not apply to all European countries, even if you have an EU passport. Turkey is not one of the countries that is allowed to take part in the stopover rule. You can read more about it here.

      Of course, even if you can’t use the 72-hour rule, you can remain in the airport for as long as it takes for your next plane to arrive.

      Unfortunately there is no 72-hour rule for Urumqi, so you will have to remain in the airport there regardless of where you are from. We hope htis information help you on your travels!

      • Thanks a lot for your answer! I used the link you provided and found my country on the list, I’m from Bulgaria. But even if I can stay only for 24 hours without leaving the airports, that’s fine for me. Since my time in China (waiting + flying) will be less than 24 hours, I will go and buy the ticket. Thanks again! :)

        • Great! Well remember that while you can leave the airport in Guangzhou, you must return to that airport to continue your flight. Also, the 72-hour visa only works if your inbound and outbound flights are both to/from foreign countries. You can’t fly into Guangzhou, make a 72-hour visit, fly to Urumqi and then fly out of China.

          Hope this makes sense. Have a wonderful trip!

  • I am currently working on an architectural practice in Beijing. Since the economy is in a downturn I was told today that my contract is going to be finished this friday. I want to know what is going to happen with my visa, I have heard that after termination, my working permit is canceled and my working visa is going to be changed into a tourist visa. However I have been told that I can negotiate with the company to extend my working visa and residence permit until I can found a new job, so I wont have to go back home to re start the entire process if I find a new job here, is that possible? I would like to know which options do I have.

    • Hi Federico. We’re sorry to hear about your bad news. This article runs through what happens if you lose (or quit) your job on the Chinese mainland, but to summarise your situation as it seems to stand – yes, technically they should cancel your work permit on Friday, and give you a stamped release letter, which you should hold on to (as you will need to give it to your new employers once you find another mainland job).

      They may also cancel your residence permit, although to do so someone from your company should accompany you (and your passport, which you should keep – don’t hand it over to them) to the Public Security Bureau (PSB). There you will be given a cancellation paper, which usually says that you must leave the country immediately, but which you can trade in for a 30-day tourist visa without leaving the PSB.

      It is also possible that your company may agree to do neither of those things, or to cancel only your work visa, which would allow you to remain in China for the duration of your residency permit. This has happened to a number of people we know, giving them time to get another job, but is at the discretion of your employer. Depending on their size, they may not be able to maintain too many foreign employees at once, and so may be forced to cancel your work visa regardless of how they feel about you (though from the sounds of it, they won’t be hiring anyone else).

      The only thing we can suggest is for you to talk to your boss and try to persuade them to not cancel your residency permit (or even your work permit, if they’re feeling extra kind), which would at least give you a little longer in the country to find a job. Once you do find another job, you will need to get the two HR departments to transfer over your permits, which can be a little bit like herding cats. We wish you the best of luck – and remember, hold on to every document your company gives you, because you will need it when you get a new job!

  • I recently used an agent for my work visa application. After working with the agency and making sure everything was correct I sent my documents. Today I recieved a phone call from the agent stating that the embassy wants an interview with me in person. I live ten hours away and have too busy of a schedule to just pick up and go on a mini vacation to Washington D.C. for my visa. What can I do?

    • Hi Daniel. The only thing we can say is to try to talk to the agent or embassy and see if they can suggest/agree to a solution, such as a video conference call. We suspect, however, that you’re just going to have to take that mini vacation. Best of luck!

  • I’m concerned about timing of my visa renewal this year. I’m here on a residence permit based on my spouse’s working visa/residency and it expires April 9. His process will be completed and is being picked up April 1 and his company has said they can apply for mine that same day. You mentioned 7 days for processing and I’ve also heard 8 working days. Do you think I will have it back before the 9th (or 10th)? Considering there is also a public holiday on the 6th? Unfortunately, I am booked to travel internationally that weekend, thus my extra worry over timing. Is there any way to rush it? Or, should I consider (and can I even do it) instead going to HK to get a short tourist visa in the meantime, rather than run the risk of my passport being gone for processing when I need to travel?

    • Hi SAM. Yes, there is a way to rush the visa application process – namely, with an additional fee. It sounds like you are currently on an S1 or S2 long-term family visit visa, and the normal processing time for one of those is around four working days. Paying for an accelerated service should shorten the process by about half.

      However, you may not be able to use this function if you are from certain countries: since July 5, 2012, express services have been suspended for passport holders from the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

      If your country of origin is among the list, it may be a good idea for you to apply for an L Visa, or Tourist Visa, especially considering the national holiday that is coming up. You certainly don’t want to get a bad record for overstaying, nor do you want your trip to be interrupted.

      Of course, as this reply suggests, we don’t know your full situation, so it might be a good idea to get the opinion of a visa agent on this matter, or that of your husband’s company. Good luck, and enjoy your trip!

  • Hello, I’m a 30 year old British man currently working for an SOE where I currently renew my residence permit once a year. Is it possible for my employer to apply for a longer-term permit than this? I don’t mind additional cost, it’s just because I’ve been here almost a decade now and I could do with saving space in my passport, and the annual hassle of document and stamp collection.

    • Hi Jack. Unfortunately, there isn’t really any way to avoid some form of inconvenience. The rules of the Residence Permits state that the length of a person’s Residence Permit is limited to the same length as their Work Permit or Foreign Expert Certificate. Since these usually last one year, the Residence Permits are similarly short. Companies whose registration capital is more than $3 million can apply for work permits that have validities of two-to-five years for their employees, but even if a foreigner gets one of these permits, they still need to go in for an annual inspection.

  • If I get a new passport when abroad, will I have any problem bringing my old passport/visa to Chinese customs?

    • Hi Jim. There shouldn’t be any problem getting through Chinese customs so long as you bring both your old passport and your new passport; the former to show your visa and the latter to show that you have a valid passport. You will find that the authorities cut off one of the corners of the cover your old passport when you apply for a new one (if they didn’t, you should cut it off yourself), in order to make it clear to the authorities that the other passport is expired. If you are still concerned then you can go to a Chinese embassy or consulate in your own country and ask them to move the visa to your new passport (especially if your visa won’t expire for a long time). There may be a charge for this service.

  • Hi. I’m currently studying at a medical university here in Beijing for the last 4 years on the X-visa (student visa). I have 2 years left before my program ends and i’ll receive my degree. However, I plan to stay here after that and what I want to know is if I can just get a Z-visa (work visa) in the last days of my stay here as a student or if there is any way for me to get a work visa without having to leave the country at the end of my program. Is it at all possible to change from the student visa to a work visa or what would I need to do if I wanted one after I’m done studying.

    Thanks a lot for your reply.

    • Hi Ali. According to the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, foreign students are not allowed to work, start a business or conduct any commercial activities while on their student visa, unless they are working a part-time job to pay their way during their studies (this should be supervised by the school); they must also leave China before the date on their student residency permit/visa expires.

      So you might think that switching over to a work visa would solve that problem – however, even if you get a job offer and confirmation before you use up all the time on your current residency permit, you will most likely have to leave China in order to apply for a Z Visa (aka a work visa) before coming back in again.

      A further complication is that work visas can only be given to people who meet the following criteria:
      1. Over the age of 18 and in good health.
      2. Has experience or relevant expertise in the field he or she wants to work in; though the length of time for this experience is not specified in law, in most cases this is a minimum of two years.
      3. Does not have criminal record.
      4. Have obtained a job offer from a company (foreign or Chinese) in China.
      5. Has valid passport or other international travel documents.

      We don’t know your situation, but we imagine that step two will be the problem there – if you have just graduated medical school you most likely do not have the necessary levels of experience to walk straight into a job, and will have to work in medicine in your home country (or another country in which you can get a medical job) for a time first.

      If you are desperate to stay in China for a while longer after graduating then you could talk to your school in your final year about finding an internship. Once you’ve got the internship and all the relevant documents, you can go to your local Public Security Bureau’s Exit and Entry Office and ask them to extend your residence permit for the duration of the internship. However, this is unlikely to be longer than six months, and you will most likely not be paid (though you may well receive a stipend from the hospital or clinic).

      Hope that was some help. Best of luck with your studies and your future career!

    • My question is similar to that of JimThree, from March 19.

      I have a Residence Permit for Foreigner. My passport expires later this year and so I need to renew it, as I travel frequently, on business, and for visas there needs to be at least six months’ remaining on the passport. If I apply for a new passport from China, then the existing passport is cancelled and can no longer be used for travel (which is no good when I will have to travel on business, during the six weeks’ wait for the new passport to arrive).

      I am therefore planning to return to the UK to get a same day passport renewal. My question is: will the Residence Permit be treated in the same way, that you explained to JimThree, that any other visa will be treated – that by presenting my new passport together with my old passport (which contains the residence permit) together, should Chinese Immigration allow me back into the country?

      Thanks in advance for your help.

      • Hi Paul. Yes, there shouldn’t be any problem so long as you have your old passport (to show that the Residence Permit is still active) and your new passport (to show that you are able to travel during the remaining period of your Residence Permit). Also, when the authorities are clipping the corner of your old passport to show that it is no longer active, make sure they don’t cut off the corner of your Residence Permit (ideally ask them to just clip the cover). This has already worked for one UK member of the One-Stop team.

        Have a pleasant journey!

  • I want to apply for a 72 hour free tourist visa I will be flying from chiang mai to toronto with a stopover in kunming and beijing. I will not leave the airport in kunming but like to apply for the visa in Beijing for a period of 48 hours. Am i eligible for the visa since my initial entry point in china is different then my departure entry?

    thank you for your reply

    • Hi Lisa. I’m sorry to tell you that the 72-hour visa is only available to those who are arriving in and departing from China from the same city, so you won’t be able to get it if you’re travelling within China during your stopover. You could try asking when you land in Beijing anyway, but most likely you won’t be able to access the 72-hour visa office from within the national (ie. not international) terminal in Beijing.

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