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Overstaying your visa on the Chinese mainland

Don’t overstay your visa. This seems obvious, and yet we hear enough stories of people doing this that it bears repeating that this is not a good idea at all. Here’s why. 


The basics

Although the punishments described below vary in severity, overstaying your visa at all may jeopardize any future visa applications. In most cases, you will get a written warning saying that you cannot overstay your visa again within a given period of time.


There is no “grace period”

Unfortunately, the rule that allowed for a ten-day grace period is no longer in operation in China. That means that you may be liable to pay a fine from the first day that you overstay your visa. 

If you find yourself in this situation while trying to exit China the border officials’ reaction may be anything from giving you a telling off and letting you go, to asking a few questions, to even denying you passage until you pay a fine.

If you’re not on your way out of the country when you discover your situation, you should go straight to the Exit-Entry Administration Bureau, where officials will interview you and ask you to sign a written statement (basically declaring that you have been very foolish). You may have to pay a fine at this point, although if this is your first offence it is possible that you will be sent on your way with an order to sort out your visa situation and not to make the same mistake again.

Unfortunately, exactly what will happen is difficult to say, and there are no guarantees that overstaying by just a small amount of time won’t have some kind of negative effect.


Being fined

If your visa expired more than a few days ago, you will almost certainly be fined. The fine is 500 yuan per day , with a maximum fine of 10,000 yuan. For example, if you overstay by 12 days you’ll be fined 1,000 yuan

You may also be given an official letter of warning. This means you have been placed on a two-year probationary period. You shouldn’t have any problems applying for or renewing visas during this period, but if you overstay again you may be blacklisted.

If you overstay your visa by a significant period (this is usually considered as being over one month, but basically it’s up to the discretion of the officials you find yourself dealing with), you may even be jailed for 5-15 days, and/or deported. 

If you are deported, you will be given a red stamp in your passport that gives you 10 days to leave China. You will then be banned from returning to China for ten years. If you are merely “ordered to leave” you may not be blacklisted. For more information on these two sanctions, see this article.

Your embassy or consulate is unlikely to be willing to intervene on your behalf in any dispute over staying in China on an expired visa. However, in extreme cases it is worth trying to talk to them anyway – they may at least be able to offer you a specific route out of your situation. In most cases, though, it’s up to you to know when your visa will expire, and to deal with the consequences. 


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95 Responses to Overstaying your visa on the Chinese mainland

  • Hi

    Im currently on a z visa with a working contract. my contract ends on the 29th february yet i have a residency permit lasting 6 months. i plan to travel for a week in china. im told my visa will be cancelled, will this affect my residency permit? can employers cancel my residency without my passport? what are the chances of a fine, etc ? please let me know


  • Hello, I overstayed my residence permit by 10 days and was fined. I would like to stay in China and find another job, but I’m worried that it will be very difficult for me to get a Z visa again. How probable is it that I will be denied the visa after my overstay?

  • hello to all .i want to ask some questions please any one answer me my freind is in hong my question pleasekong and she is over stay at least up to one year and the police caught her/him so now the 6 days already in investigation but police refuse to tell the where is he or she please help me how me find her or him kindly answer me on my mail or here answer

  • I have a 30-day visa for a research trip to Nanjing, arriving December 21st. I’ve booked flights out for the 19th of January, but have just realised that this includes a late evening leg to Beijing, so that I actually leave on the 20th – a few hours into the 31st day, and therefore presumably will be overstaying the visa (I’d guess we’ll get through passport control about 1 am!).

    Could someone tell me if this is any sort of problem, please..?

  • Hi,

    I am an editor who has been living and working in Beijing for around 5 years. My residence permit expired today, but my company is still processing the paperwork to renew it. I underestimated the amount of time this would take. I was on vacation for the first part of the month and didn’t get back until the 10th of October, so that left me only 9 days to renew it. I went to the main Entry-Exit Office at Yonghegong, and they told me that I should just wait to get all the paperwork and then I would have to go to the Chaoyang Entry-Exit Office to receive a punishment, I’m guessing a fine or whatever, and then return to the main Entry-Exit Office. My office said that they could possibly have it ready by tomorrow. My question is, should I expect to pay a fine, since I started the process before my visa was to expire? Second question is what do they mean by “Chaoyang Entry-Exit office?” Do they mean the Chaoyang Branch of the PSB? Also it should be noted that I went through a similar situation in 2010 and I was just given a written warning. Should I expect something more severe? Or am I OK, given the two-year probationary period has already expired?

  • Hi, I have a L visa. My duration of stay is 60 days, I’m staying in Beijing. If I exit to Hong Kong will it renew my duration of stay?

    • Hi Suzanna. We don’t know whether your L visa is a single-entry, two-entry or multiple entry. If it is a single entry visa, your exit to Hong Kong will leave it expired and you need a new visa to enter the Chinese mainland. If it is a double entry or multiple entry, exit to Hong Kong will renew your duration of stay, which means you can stay for another 60 days in Chinese mainland.

  • Can you extend a “temporary residence permit”? Basically we arrived early march 2015 and after a lot of this and that got our TRPs issued on 16 apr 2015. Problem is that because of my wife’s passport having already expired and being on a “1-year extension” (UK passport and this was during the problems they had with issuing new ones), our TRPs expire on 12 jan 2016. Thing is that her course isn’t officially over until the end of january and we have our return flights booked for 31 jan.

    So again, can you extend them for a few weeks or do we really have to pay for new ones? …or else risk being fined when we leave.

  • My Visa expires at the end of this year. 25 dec 2015 but my school said they’ve cancelled my student Visa, the PSB have not called me.. My visa is Valid in My passport but i don’t know if it’s been cancelled or not. I want to go back to my country but on Chinese national day. will i get into trouble if at the airport, if it’s be cancelled without my knowing….

  • I am working in China with a student visa. And I am worried that if government find out I will have to pay a fine. It doesn’t really matter if I have to leave, but what I’m worried about is the fine. What would happen if I can’t afford to pay the fine?

    • Hi Peter. If you don’t have the money to pay the fine then the authorities may confiscate your possessions and sell them to make up the deficit. You may also receive a period of time in detention regardless of whether they do this – but the chances of you being locked up increase if you can’t pay the money that you owe.

  • I overstayed my work visa in China 1 day and flew to Hong Kong. I was not told anything by immigration, not given a warning, didn’t pay any fines. I tried to apply for a new visa in Hong Kong and the agency told me it would be denied because I overstayed one day.

    If I go back to the US and apply for a new visa will there be a problem? Will I get denied for the one day overstay?

    Also, the agency in Hong Kong recommended getting a new passport which doesn’t have the record of my overstay and then exit Hong Kong go to Macao, come back to Hong Kong and apply normally for a visa through them. Getting a new passport in Hong Kong takes three weeks, so that is an expensive option. Plus the visa processing time.

    I appreciate your help,

  • Hi, I overstayed by mistake (foolish mistake) for one day. Now I’m applying for new visa, this will suppose a problem to get it or get into China? On the airport police just gave a warning letter and no fine need to be paid. They explained me that for next time I’ve to pay.
    Thanks in advance for your answers

    • Hi Jamie. It’s possible that this will affect your visa application in the future – you may already have been banned from returning to China for two years. However, this is not certain as in some cases people receive a warning letter and no ban. In this instance, you would be able to return to the country, but any further overstaying would definitely result in a ban or even deportation.

      You could try asking your local Chinese embassy whether or not you will be blocked from re-entering the country.

  • Overstayed visa in China
    Hello everyone, my name is Leslie I’m African. I came to China four years ago as a student. But after one year of studying I had financial problems so I couldn’t further my education which left me no choice but to out, But whilst I was still at the process of ping out , I did all my possible best to renew my X type but no luck ….
    Anyways , I started working as a NANNY illegally in a Chinese house for 3 years now .. And now i want to go back to my country ….. Please can anyone advise me on how to go about it ? I have 10,000RMB . I’m ready to pay the PSB … But my question now is what is the first thing I have to do ? Where do I have to go ?? And I will like to know if I have to buy a plane ticket before going to the PSB or after or how exactly do I go about it ? The police station or PSB …**im in Beijing so I will also appreciate it if I can get an address of PSB office in Beijing . Thanks …. Your replies will be very much appreciated. Please help me .

  • Finnair postponed my flight two days due the Military Parade, resulting in a one day overstay. What are the consequences of this?

    • Hi James. We are sorry to hear about the trouble that the parade has brought you. There is no relevant official notice regarding your issue, so we would advise you go to the Entry and Exit Bureau of the PSB and talk to them about arranging a solution. You could ask them whether they can give you a Stay Visa that will allow you to stay a few days more without overshooting your visa. Good luck!

  • Hello sir
    I applied for first time Chinese tourist visa in Feb 2015. Unfortunately I overstayed in china for 8 days and I was given a official letter. Last week I applied again for chinese tourist visa and today I came to know that my visa was rejected. Is there any way to get visa in future or I can’t enter china again

  • I have a child who was arrested in Beijing. She was arrested 5 days ago for overstay and l only found out now. What is the process of her being released. How much is the fine? Can she be able to apply for another visa after paying the fine. What are the chances of being deported. We from South Africa.

    • Hi SandySi. We are sorry to hear about the arrest. As we don’t know how long your daughter overstayed in China, it’s difficult for us to say anything for sure, as the punishment differs depending on the overstay period. If she simply overstays a few days, she might face a fine of 500 yuan per day, with a maximum fine of 10,000 yuan. If she overstays for a longer period, she might face a fine and be ordered to leave, or even deported (these are two different concepts; more on this below). 

      The sentences are made at the discretion of the police, so again it is difficult to guess exactly how long she will be detained for. However, the maximum number of days is 15.

      If your daughter overstayed by just a few days then, generally speaking, it won’t affect her future visa application. However, if she overstayed too long and is being ordered to leave or even deported, she will not be able to apply for a visa for anywhere between two years and a decade. You can check our article on Overstaying your visa to find out more about the matter, and this article for an explanation of the differences between overstaying your visa and being deported. We wish you and her the best of luck!

  • Hello I am on an L visa and working for a school my school has not said anything about getting my z visa and my L visa expires on the 22nd of this month so I know this is a silly question but if I leave China on the 22nd I should be fine right?

    • Hi Brandi. First of all, it is not legal to work on an L Visa, so it would be best for you to stop working in the school as soon as possible. If the police were to find out that you are working illegally, you might be fined and be ordered to leave, or even deported. Being deported or ordered to leave will also affect your future visa applications. For more information on the differences between the two, see this article. 

      Regarding your question about leaving the country, the duration of your stay is calculated from one minute past midnight on the next day of your arrival, so you should leave before the 11:59 pm on the expiration date. 

      As an example, if you have a visa that allows you to stay in China ten days and you enter at 3 pm on August 1, the duration of stay is calculated from 0:01 am August 2, and you have to leave before 23:59 pm August 11.

      We don’t know your exact entry date, so we can’t tell you whether you should leave at 11:59 pm on the 21st or on the 11:59 pm on 22nd. We’ll leave it to you to figure out – or you could ask at your local PSB.

      Make sure you do the math right, as overstaying could also result in fines and punishment, and affect your future visa application for two to 10 years. Good luck!

  • I have been issued an M-Visa , is it possible for me to work once i arrive in China ? What if i get a good job will the company be able to change my M-Visa to a working Visa ?

  • Hello ,

    Please i have an overstay of 5 months , what can i do please ? i am scared to go to the immigration , if i pay them 10,000 yan will they allow me to go away free without being detained or blacklisted ?


  • I’ve seen bits of information on this topic here and elsewhere, but i wanted to ask the question directly to get some clarity.

    I have a 10 year tourist visa to China which allows me to stay for 60 days at a time. If I journey to Hong Kong during my stay and immediately reenter the mainland, does that mean that I can effectively stay in China for as long as I want? Realistically, I want to stay for around 100 days — is that possible with the travel-to-HK method?


  • Hi,

    I’m currently on a student visa which will expire at the end of july. I have started an internship now which will last until the end of september. As I need a new visa I will go to HK this month in order to apply for a new visa. My first question now is if an M Visa is the right Visa to apply for. I only need it for 2 more months.
    Also as I read before, my current Visa will be replaced by the new one, in case I get it,as soon as I enter Mainland Chin again. My internship goes until the 30th of september so that I will also overstay my visa for 4 days since I will be back from HK on the 26th.
    Can I go to the Exit entry bureau and try to get a document from them for the airport to prevent paying a fine?

    • Hi Tina. Yes, the M visa is the right type of visa to apply for when doing an internship in China; for more on that, you can check our article visas and internships.

      As for your worries about overstaying the visa, you really do not want to overstay even one day. If you do, you can receive fines, warnings and maybe even affect your future visa applications. Don’t worry, though – we have two options for you to avoid overstaying.

      The first is when you apply for the M visa: you can apply for one with a 90-day duration, explaining to the visa officer that a 60-day visa will cause you to overstay for a few days. Once they see that the 90-day visa will help you stay in China lawfully, they will hopefully agree to give you one.

      Alternatively, you could apply for an M visa with a duration of 60 days, and extend it when it is approaching expiration. Normally the extension of your stay can not exceed your current visa stay period, so if you apply for a 30-day visa it can be only extended for another 30 days, with would still leave you four days short.

      With regard to extensions, please keep in mind that the invitation letter offered by the company must have been issued by the Shanghai Foreign Affairs Department, rather than being written by the company itself, otherwise it can’t be extended.

      Alternatively – if it’s okay with your company, and you have the money, you could stay for an extra four or five days in Hong Kong before applying for the new visa, which will ensure that a 60-day visa expires when you’re due to depart the mainland (you may wish to give yourself an extra day just in case your plane is delayed).

      Good luck!

  • I wrote to you previously explaining I had overstayed my Z visa by five days. This happened because I was with a new start-up company I was the first overseas worker they had ever employed and did not really know the residence/work permit procedures. As soon as I found out they had not been able to complete the residence permit within 30 days I resigned and booked a flight home, however I was five days over by the time I left. At the airport I was given a warning letter, no fine and sent on my way. I have now been offered a teaching post in China, which I have accepted. I only have months left on my passport, so have applied for a new ten year passport. The school have sent an invitation letter and suggested I apply for a Z visa to enter China and they will then take care of all the other paper work, residence visa and work permit. On the Z visa application it asked if I have previously applied for a visa and if I have ever overstayed. How should I handle this situation, obviously on my new passport will not show the old visa, should I answer that I have previously had a visa and that I overstayed, will I need to write a letter explaining the circumstances and that I will ensure this does not happen again. Should I personally go to the Chinese Embassy in London to make the application or work through an agency? I’m not sure if it will make a difference, but my wife has also been offered a teaching post at the school and our two children places at the school. I look forward to hearing from you

    • Hi Nathaniel. Even though you have changed to a new passport, your previous visa and exit-and-entry records will have been retained by the PSB, the Chinese Customs officials and the Visa Office. If these authorities decide to seek it out, there is no way that you can hide the information about your overstay from them. 

      Of course, we don’t know whether the visa officer will check your previous information or not, but if you keep the fact from the embassy and they find out that you were being dishonest, you might end up being denied a visa anyway.

      If you want to take the honest route, you can present your previous visa to China, along with a letter to explain why you overstayed, explaining that it is not your fault nor did you intend to overstay, and promising that it won’t happen again.. 

      If you have the time, you may wish to go the embassy yourself and explain your situation politely and apologetically to the visa official. You are more likely to be able to give a more detailed and informed explanation of what happened than your visa agent, and may be able to explain any further questions that the visa officers may raise. Of course, if you are short of time, you can find a trustworthy agency and ask for their advice on the matter, and ask them to explain the situation to the visa office. We wish you best of luck!

  • Hi !
    I am currently on a student visa which will be expiring in 6 days. I had booked my ticket to leave on the 9th of July. This means that I will be overstaying for 9 days overall. Can I still get my visa re-newed and avoid any trouble while exiting the country or is it too late to take action ? On the Embassy website it said that it would take 20 days to renew my visa.

    • Hi Beatriz. It is a little bit late to renew your student visa at this moment. But don’t worry, you can go to the PSB and explain your situation, then ask to apply for a zero-entry L visa instead so that your stay will still be legal. You can follow our guide on how to apply for a L visa. The documents you will need are as follows:

      1.Completed visa application form,

      2.One recent passport-size photograph with white or blue background,

      3.Original, signed passport (with at least six months before expiration),

      4.Money for visa application fee,

      5.Confirmed return flight ticket and a photocopy of the ticket,

      6.Your current X visa and residence permit.

      However, we can’t give guarantee that you will definitely get the visa, as the conditions around the issuing of this visa are very vaguely defined in the law, which only says that it must be issued to foreigners with special circumstances or needs. Our advice is based on previous similar cases in which some people have managed get such visas in similar situations. It is better to go to the PSB earlier to make the application, so you know ahead of time whether it will work or not.
      If the PSB turns down your application, you might have to change your departure date to leave before the permit expires.

      Good luck!

  • Hi I’ve overstay my L visa for like 3 weeks. And next week I’m planning to get back to my country. What will happen to me and do you have any suggestion of what should I do? Please help.

    • Hi Bryan. Unfortunately, you are most likely going to have some kind of a fine, as outlined in the article above, and possibly some kind of time in detention too, although as it’s only three weeks that might be less likely to occur. We can’t advise you on what to do as we don’t know your exact situation, but here is a rough guide: 

      Although we said in the article that embassies are not usually inclined to help in instances such as this, you may want to go to your nearest embassy anyway and ask them for advice and help. They may be able to do something for you (at least give you advice), especially if you are from a smaller country.

      If they will not help then the official thing to do is go to a police station and explain what happened. It is possible that the police will be sympathetic to your situation and will allow you to leave without paying a fine or going to jail, but you should prepare yourself for the worst. You may spend 5-15 days in a local jail and pay a fine, but after that you will be deported back to your own country. 

      If you are deported, the law says that you will not be able to return to China for 10 years. 

      You could attempt to try to just leave the country without going to the police station, but you may well be found at the customs and have to go through all of this with the additional weight of having attempted to flee the country. 

      Good luck – we hope your embassy can help you with a solution and that all of this will be sorted out with minimal fuss.

      • Thanks for your reply. I got 1 more question. Is it possible to avoid being detain if I add more money?

        • Hi Bryan. The size of the fines that the authorities charge is based on the length of the overstay, the purpose and reason why you overstayed, your attitude and other factors, all at the discretion of the police. Theoretically this can’t be negotiated with the police, though we can’t say that it won’t work in practice.

          Our advice is to keep a polite attitude and apologize sincerely, as this is the best way of keeping the punishment as minimal as possible. Good luck!

          • Hi James, Thank you so much for your advice. They fined me 10.000 RMB and I’ve paid them. And I’ll go back to my country soon. Thank you so much for your help. Cheers!

          • Cheers! The pleasure is ours – we’re sorry you had to pay a fine, but we’re glad you are now able to return to your country. Have a nice trip home – we wish you the best for the future.

  • I’ve accidentally overstayed my tourist visa for 2 days. When I leave the country will they ask me if I’ve registered at a PSB? I wasn’t aware that I was supposed to register.

    • Hi Mike. There are two issues here.

      Firstly, registering at the PSB: If you stayed at a hotel then the staff there should have registered you with the PSB automatically when you checked in. You could ask them for your registration form, if you’re worried about not having proof, but anyone checking these details should have access to the PSB’s database and be able to confirm that your hotel checked you in.

      If you stayed at private accommodation, such as a friend’s house, then you could explain to the staff that you didn’t know that you were required to register with the PSB. As you’re on a tourist visa, they are unlikely to be too bothered about this. At present, there is nothing in the law stipulating fines for not registering.

      Regarding overstaying your visa: This is probably a more troublesome issue. If you’ve only overstayed by two or three days then there’s usually a chance that they wouldn’t care too much. However, having not registered could make them see you as a troublemaker, and decide to cause a little bit of a fuss. However, we wouldn’t expect much more than you having to sign a form apologising for overstaying your visa, and accepting a written warning not to do it again. This would put you on a two-year probation – should you overstay your visa again during those two years, you would then be blacklisted for a period of time (probably 5-10 years). You might also have to pay a 500-yuan-per-day fine.

      The best thing to do is be polite and apologetic, and make it clear that you are very sorry and won’t do it again. Try not to be frustrated or dismissive, even if the officer lectures you. Copping an attitude will not help – very much the opposite! Remember that what happens as a result of you overstaying your visa is at the discretion of the visa officer. We wish you the best of luck!

  • I overstayed by 5 days, no fine but gone a warning letter at the airport, will I still be able to get another visa for China?

    • Hi Nathaniel. Don’t worry – if you received a warning letter then you’ll be placed on a two-year probation. That means you should be treated normally when applying for future visas, but if you overstay your visa again within those two years then you will be placed on the blacklist. Of course, we can’t guarantee anything, because we don’t know the exact details of your case, but this looks to be the most likely outcome. We’ve updated the article to reflect this…

  • Hello!

    I’m a studen in Shanghai and graduated four weeks ago. However four weeks ago also my visa expired so I ask my university to give me a new visa because I will get my diploma certificate in june. So I waiting until yesterday approximently 31 days to get my yellow sheet to extend my visa until july. Do you know how much it will cost me around for a month?
    I mean its redicilous that my university take so long to give me this permission that I can extend my visa. I just want to prepared what might can happen tomorrow..

    • Hi Michael. We’re not sure quite what you mean. Did you ask your university to renew your visa before it expired, or did it expire and then you asked them to renew it? Is the visa currently renewed or is it a new visa?

      Also, what do you mean by “how much it will cost me”? Do you mean what punishment you may receive if you have overstayed your visa by a month? 

      And we are not clear on what exactly you are doing “tomorrow”. 

      Sorry for all these questions, but we don’t want to give you inaccurate advice.

  • I work for a reputable company in a senior role and I am on a Z Visa – work permit type set up. My (Year) Work Visa expires 6th June. Unfortunately I have to go to HK for an interview this weekend – 22.5. – not something I can discuss with my employers – and then on Monday 25.5. I can apply for the work visa extension. There is no guarantee I am going to get the job in HK so I need the China Work Visa. I will have about 2 working weeks in which to successfully apply. I know this is too tight. I know I am already late. But I have to go for this interview in HK. So the question is (i) is 2 weeks doable (I will submit all the documents they need and photos on Monday 25.5. and I am not changing job – it’s the same job) and (ii) if it takes a little longer – say 3 weeks – then I assume all will be well. I would appreciate realistic advice.

    • Hi Bob,

      In your case, I guess it will not be a problem. Last year I also started my work/residence permit extension only 1 week before the expiry date. After I applied, they gave me a letter/certificate/receipt showing that my permit is being processed – they told me to show it to police in case they asked then it would be fine.

      Eventually nobody asked me a thing about that. 3 weeks later I received my passport (so in 2 weeks after expiry date I didn’t have my passport with me). The starting date of the new permit was before the original expiry date.

      My advice is, telling your HR you will need to travel to Hongkong on abc date, and will start to extend the permit on abc date. They should hire a agency to do it for you with no problem.

  • hi there, i have a question. im on a L visa. my stay is up to the 21st. but my flight ticket to go home is on the 22nd at 1am. which means im going to overstay for an hour or so. will that be a problem for my next entry into china?

    • Hi Kenneth. To be absolutely sure, you should check with the authorities. But as far as we know, so long as you get through customs before your visa expires (which you will probably have to do anyway if you’re catching an international flight – leaving it to one hour before taking off isn’t a good idea!) then you should be fine.

      Arrive at the airport as early as you can. Once you have gone through customs and entered the departure lounge area you will technically have left China, and your visa/residency permit will be irrelevant. You will have to stay within the departure lounge area until your plane arrives, however.

      We do recommend you double-check this with the airport and customs authorities to be absolutely certain.

  • i have over stayed for one year but still have my passport with me. if i decide to give myself to the police will i be imprisoned or detained?

    • Hi Zack. We’re sorry to hear about your situation, but realistically yes, you are probably going to be detained. You will also almost certainly be fined the maximum amount (10,000 yuan) and will either be deported or told to leave China (for the difference between these two concepts, see this article).

      The best we can say is to be super polite and apologetic with the police, and try to present your case in the most reasonable-sounding, sympathetic way possible. We wish you the best of luck!

  • good day! may i ask?i am an hongkong contract then my employer get me a multiple visa (L type) in china.i want to go in china for shopping before going back to my country but im refused to enter maybe my employer cancelled my L type visa is it possible?

    • Hi Aiza. We’re not quite sure what your situation is. It sounds like you had a Tourist Visa (L Visa) to visit the Chinese mainland from Hong Kong, but you were not allowed to enter by the customs officers? We’re not sure why you would be denied if you have a visa in your passport, nor why they didn’t explain this to you. The only thing we can say is to call your boss and ask him or her if they know what the problem might be.

      That said, many things are cheaper in Hong Kong than on the mainland, as the mainland has many more taxes on certain items (especially foreign imported items) so it could be that you would get better bargains where you are!

      Good luck – if you find out what happened, please tell us as we would be very interested to know.

  • Hi , my father had his visa expired in december but he could not return as he was expecting to receive money in china, he kept waiting as he had no other choice nor money to come back . He was caught by police. He had a limited company over there but could not renew the company due to loss in business. Plz tell me what would happen to him , would he be deported or may get saved due to his company

    • Hi Hamza. We’re sorry to hear about your father. Unfortunately, because he overstayed his visa by quite a few months he will most likely be fined some money (at most 10,000 yuan) and put in jail (thankfully not the same as prison) for a few days. If he doesn’t have the money to pay the fine, your family members may have to pay it, otherwise, his bank account may be frozen and his company sealed until the fine is paid. He may also be ordered to leave China once the fine is paid. It is unlikely he will be deported in his case (being ordered to leave is not the same as being deported, and will not usually result in being blacklisted from coming back to China in the future.).

      Your father’s company should not affect his case one way or the other. However, do make sure that he is up to date on paying his taxes (we know you said he doesn’t have a lot of money, but we don’t know whether he has paid up) as if he doesn’t then he could end up being charged with tax evasion and being deported. If there are problems he should explain himself to the authorities as politely as possible and try to look as sympathetic as he can – this will be much more productive than getting annoyed or argumentative.

      We wish your father, you and your family the best of luck for the future.

  • Hello there!

    I’ll be completing a 3 month unpaid internship in Shanghai this summer. I currently hold a 6 month, multi entry tourist visa which grants me access for 60 days at a time. Can you foresee any issues with registering with the local police upon arrival? (And also when I come back with a renewed visa)

    Thank you :)

    • Hi James. Unfortunately, it is forbidden to perform an internship (even an unpaid one) on a tourist visa; you really need an F Visa. Possibly your business intends for you to convert from your L Visa (tourist visa) to an F Visa once you’re in the country, which can be done – you can then extend or renew the visa by leaving the country, same as a tourist visa. 

      Obviously we can’t advise you to come to China and do the internship on a tourist visa.

      Regarding the local police station, if you came to China for a regular tourist holiday then there shouldn’t be any problem – you could follow the same steps outlined here.

  • Hello! I have a particular situation and I don’t know who should give me accurate information. Here is my sitation: I left my job at the beginning of the April and my former employer didn’t give me any cancellation letter of my work permit, since she asked for 9000 RMB and I didn’t want to pay for that. I went to the E-E bureau 4 times so far, each time they provided me different and controversary information. First they told me that if I stay in mainland China until my residence permit is valid (21/01/2016) there is no way that she can cancel my residence permit and I am safe, nothing can happen to me. The lady wasn’t too happy to give me this kind of information, but she had to because I was asking – she had that attitude of ‘Oh my God, we will have a foreigner running around China until next year and we won’t be able to control her, but I still have to provide all these information.’ This made me really happy, but a week and a half later I went back because for me it was unbelievable that was so easy to leave my job and still have the possibility to stay in China. So the last 2 times (I had to several times with different people because at the E-E bureau they were really rude) they told me that I better leave China ASAP to get a new visa in HK and come back with a tourist visa. My question is: how do I know if my residence permit is still valid or no and if I fligh to HK what are the chances that I will get a tourist visa? Aren’t they going to be suspicious that I am applying for a tourist visa right after a working visa? I also have to mention that after solving all this situation I would like to study Chinese so I will apply for a student visa here in mainland China. Thanks a lot and I hope I can get an asnwer from you ASAP!

    • Hi Paula. Don’t you worry about your situation. When you leave your company, the company can cancel your work permit, which means that you can’t work without it until you are hired by another employer. In most cases, the new employer will require a release letter with the company stamp of the former company. In your case, you might have difficulty getting that. You may try to explain your situation to the new company they may offer to hire you without one.

      If the company requires a release letter then you are in a tricky position. Another way around it would be to go out of the country and apply for the job as if your previous job in China had never existed, and use the reference letter from the employer prior to your last one (which we assume you have, as your Chinese employers would have required one) to apply for a new job.

      However, your former employer can’t cancel your residence permit without your presence – you can read more about that here. Therefore, you can stay in China to the expiration date on your residence permit. If your former employer is going to cancel it, and you go with them to the Exit and Entry Administration Office of the PSB to make that happen, you can immediately apply for an L visa using the residence permit cancellation paper and (if your employer gives you it) the release letter at the office, without going to HK to apply.

      If you can’t get the release letter, don’t go with them to cancel your residence permit. Wait until at least one-to-two weeks before the expiration date of your residence permit to go to HK and apply for an L visa. While you hold a valid residence permit, you are staying in China legally.

      You can also apply for a student visa on the Chinese mainland within the validity time of your residence permit. Check with the school or university to find out when you can apply and when you would get the enrolment letter, as getting an enrolment letter will take time and you want to make sure that you will stay legally in China. If your residence permit expires before your student visa is obtained, you will need to get an L visa to remain in the country. Once you graduate from within China, you will not require a release letter for your next job.

      • Thanks a lot for your answers! I have some updates in my situation. I contacted my former employer and she didn’t cancel my work permit, so right now everything is just fine. She doesn’t want to cancel my residence permit either, although she thinks that I’m leaving China to go home. I have a question, to check if I understood right: although she can cancel my work permit, if my residence permit is still valid I can stay here until it expires (21/01/2016)? Sorry for being so pushy, but I don’t want to do anything illegal, to get fined or end up in jail when I want to leave. Thanks for taking time to answer! Paula

        • Hi Paula – no worries at all. Our job is to answer questions!

          You can stay in China for as long as your residence permit is active with no hassles. Just make sure that you leave China (or get another visa) before the expiry date. You might want to leave a day or so before it fully expires, just in case there are problems with delays or cancellations. Good luck with your job hunt!

          • Hi! Thanks for your answers, they made me more relaxed, but I have one last question. As I mentioned before, at the E-E bureau the lady told me that I can stay in China with my valid residence permit even if I left my job, but she also mentioned that if I leave the country I cannot come back with the same residence permit. Is that true? In the summer I would like to go home, and I don’t want on my arrival to mainland China my entry to be denied if I have the documents. I just want to know if I have to apply for a new visa while I am home or I can come back with the same one? Thanks a lot, and sorry for having so many questions! Have a nice day! :)

        • Hi Paula. We’re afraid that the lady at the E-E office is right. You can continue staying in China while your Residence Permit is valid. However, a Residence Permit is not the same as a visa, and your Z-Visa has been cancelled. After you leave the country you will need a new visa to re-enter, since you do not currently have an active visa. That means applying for a new visa when you get home. 

          Also, once you leave China your residency permit will expire, which means that when you return you can only stay as long as your new visa allows for. It might be a good idea to look at your future plans and decide whether it is worth this hassle.

          We hope that this doesn’t affect your plans too badly, and that everything goes well for you.

          • Hi guys! I am back! I would really love to go home for the summer and come back after a short holiday, and I still don’t know if my former employer canceled my work permit or no. I would like to know if there is any possibility to check this information – any bureau where I could go, any website, or whatever. Thanks a lot for everything, you helped me a lot! :)

          • you can leave China and get out without any problem, I’m the same situation as you. Is normal when your work for a little employer they don’t care about anything and they want you to worry about.

            Just ask a Chinese friend to call PSB and ask them if your work permit is cancel, but about the resident permit you can freely go in and out. Your employer can not cancel, just wait until your visa is gonna end go to HK request and L visa and request a new work visa or student visa. Of course you have to follow all the procedures. I stayed many years here and the little employers always do that, bothers you a lot.

  • hi I’m angie, my cousin went to china September 2009 and until now she’s still there. She told me that she will come back here in the Phils. on the first week of April but until now we have no idea what was happening with her, before the police put her in jail she told me that after one week maybe she will arrived here in the Phils. Unfortunately, her passport was lost and she was overstay for almost 3 years i think. Can you please give me an idea what would be the possible punishment with her.
    Thank You

    • Hi Angie. We are so sorry to hear about what happened to your cousin. She overstayed her visa in China for too long and her being detained is unavoidable.

      But don’t worry too much. Being detained isn’t like going to the real jail, which is saved for more serious examples of law-breaking. She is most likely to be fined the maximum amount of money within (10,000 yuan) and stay in detention for 5-15 days. After that she will be deported and it is likely she will not be allowed to re-enter China for another three-to-five years.

  • Dear sir
    I over stayed my L visa over 1 year (367 days) in China. In 2014 December I turned myself into police, and they put me 40 days in detention. When I got out I had 7 days visa with remark : permitted to stay until 25th Jan (other). I don’t have any remarks or deportation stamps in my passport. Now I have a good job offer from China, to work in a trade company. I’m afraid I might get rejected from getting z visa. If anyone has experience or know a solutions for this please tell me. Thank goodness so much
    Manu ( india)

    • Hi Manu. Sorry to hear about your problems in China. If you know someone who is still in the Chinese city you lived in, you could ask them to go to the Entry & Exit bureau to ask whether you have been blacklisted. They will need a signed letter from you saying that you represent them, plus some other documents. You can find more information on how to do this here.

      Other than that, the only thing we can say is to give it a try; your new company’s visa agents will find out soon enough if you’re not allowed a Z Visa.

      We wish you the best of luck with your efforts!

  • Hello,

    Great info. I have looked all over the web and have been able to find a lot of information about punishments for overstaying a visa. I haven’t seen much about waivers or exemptions.

    On February 12th I was hit on my motorcycle where I live in Weihai, China. I broke my leg and ankle/foot and had to have surgery. I can’t fly for a few months after surgery, it’s dangerous…. however on March 22, I was supposed to leave China to fulfill my F Visa 90 day multiple entry visa. It is now March 27 and the PSB called the guy who booked my ticket and immigration is looking for me. Any thoughts? I can’t walk….. can’t leave my apartment, etc.

    • Hi Caleb. Sorry to hear about your accident and further problems. Technically, you have already overstayed your visa, and if the PSB are trying to contact you then they probably assume you are doing so on purpose, with the intention of cheating the system. Since your visa expired within the last ten days, you are (as mentioned in the article above) in something of a grace period in which you do not have to pay a fine. Do check with a visa agent, but we would gather up the documents pertaining to your injury and subsequent hospital stay (including proof of surgery, and – if you have one – a doctor’s note about not being able to fly), take them to the PSB as soon as possible and explain what has happened. You may then be able to apply for a visa extension.

      This can be done through a representative, who will need a signed statement from you saying that they are allowed to act on your behalf. 

      As ever, we don’t know the exact details of your situation, so we can’t give you exact advice, but that’s what we would do. However, if anyone else reading this comment is in a similar situation, they should go to the PSB (if possible) before their visa runs out, to explain the situation. Good luck – we wish you well! 

  • Hi im ira, im overstay for 1 year and 6 months, and i wanna go back to my country! What i have to do please help me

    • Hi Ira. We’re sorry to hear about your troubles. Unfortunately, at this point your options are very limited. Firstly, go to your embassy and ask their advice. They might not be able to directly solve your problem, but they may have some advice that they can give you, or some contacts that might make things easier for you.

      Other than that, the only thing you can do is go to the police and turn yourself in. Be polite and calm and apologetic, and admit your fault. Don’t get angry. Show that you are remorseful, and give a good reason why you overstayed for so long. They will most likely fine you the maximum amount (10,000 yuan) and may also want to put you in jail for 5-15 days. The punishment is at their discretion, which is why it’s best to go as early as possible, and be as polite and remorseful. You will then be deported. You will also very likely not be allowed to re-enter China for another three-to-five years.

      We’re sorry, but we can’t see any other way around this. Take along a Chinese friend who can convey your worries and remorse, and make a good case for why they shouldn’t crack down too hard on you. We wish you the best of luck.

      • Thank you james, can you advice me what good reason i could tell them! I’m very scared to go to police station maybe they will put me in jail for a months. And what if I don’t have money to pay them the penalties?

  • Hello James. I wanted to ask about advice in my case. I have business M visa on 1 year, and I had to exit every 2 months, but I didn’t went out last 3 times, and I overstayed when my visa expired 2 months because any office visa didn’t wanted to help me. I am too scared to go to police, or my embassy because I don’t have money to pay the fine. What should I do, and what do you think how serious it could get? I am girl and really scared of jails…

    • Hi Benita. We’re sorry to hear of your predicament. Unfortunately, things will not get better if you don’t take any action – they can only get worse. The first stop should be your embassy; they may or may not be willing to intervene, but they could have some specific advice or contacts that could make this easier for you.

      Otherwise, unless you’re planning to stay in China forever, or somehow smuggle yourself out of the country, you’re going to have to turn yourself in to the police. Be apologetic, sympathetic and compliant; don’t be angry or cause a ruckus because that won’t help. They will most likely fine you the maximum amount (10,000 yuan) and may also want to put you in jail (not a ‘real’ prison) for 5-15 days. The punishment is at their discretion, which is why it’s best to go as early as possible, and be as polite and remorseful. You will then be deported. You will also very likely not be allowed to re-enter China for another three-to-five years.

      We’re sorry, but we can’t see any other way around this. But the sooner you go, the better your case will look. Take along a Chinese friend who can convey your worries and remorse, and make a good case for why they shouldn’t crack down too hard on you. We wish you the best of luck.

    • I’m in the same situation, tried going to two police station and even though they acknowledge my crime they didn’t detain me, going to back to the PSB again to see if I get a different result.

      • Hi Peng. We’re not sure what you’re saying. The police have acknowledged that you have overstayed your visa, but they are refusing to do anything about it? What do you hope to achieve by going to the PSB?

  • Hi James,

    Wondering if you might have some suggestions for my family. From the US, I came to China with an M visa with multiple entries back in August. My wife and two sons were given L visas with multiple entries and 90-day durations back in August as well to accompany me. All of us except my son were given one year on the visa. My son was only given until February 2015 because his passport expires June 2015. We didn’t notice this until it was right up against the deadline.

    We applied for a new passport in Guangzhou and then decided it probably would be best to go to Hong Kong to apply for the new visa since my sons visa was about to expire. Unfortunately, Chinese New Year made all of these arrangement very difficult and expensive. As it turned out we caused our son to overstay his 90-day duration by 7 days. When we went through immigration there was no fine but we were asked to sign a lot of paperwork and make a ton of photocopies before being allowed to leave. It took about 45 minutes and really made us nervous we would miss our flight, but we made it through to Hong Kong.

    When the passport was ready, my wife took a train to Guangzhou, picked up the passport and returned to Hong Kong. We asked an agency to help us apply for the new visa and they took the old and new passport and a copy of our son’s birth certificate with them to the foreign affair ministry. Unfortunately, they said that the ministry denied the application because our son overstayed his visa.

    Now the agency is recommending we take our son to Macau and return to Hong Kong so that his new passport will have a Hong Kong entry stamp so that they can re-apply without bringing the old passport. It seems like they are suggesting we should pretend this is his first visa application and pretend the old passport and visa never existed. This sounds a little risky to me since I would expect the visa office to ask if he has ever had a Chinese visa before and then look it up and discover the same problem. Or will they just assume our son came just now even though his parents have older visas and lots of exit and entry stamps?

    We need a new visa for my son but not necessarily an L-visa. My wife’s family live in Haikou, China so perhaps a family visit visa has a better chance of getting approved? For us time is a little sensitive as it becomes more and more expensive to stay in Hong Kong.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


    • Hi, Marco. At present China is undergoing another of its tightening up periods with regard to visa policy, which is why it’s difficult to apply for a new L visa if you have a bad record in Hong Kong; if you have overstayed once, the chances are you will be denied a visa there, as has happened with your son.

      It is still quite surprising that you ran into these difficulties, however: in general practice, a foreigner overstaying their visa by no more than ten days will not be fined, and they should be able to apply for a visa extension within seven days of the expiration date at a local Chinese mainland police station. However, in such cases after the first seven days have passed, it becomes difficult to get a new visa.

      We will now go through the possible solutions to your case that you have mentioned; note that we – just like a visa agency – cannot guarantee any success here, as a multitude of factors can play into any visa application. If you are in any doubt, you could get a second (or third) opinion from other visa agents. Ultimately, it’s your choice and your responsibility.

      Regarding the Macao renewal, the agent’s suggestion to go to Macao, return to Hong Kong and apply for a new visa could work, and operates on a ‘grey area’ principle – ie. that nobody is outright stating that it is your son’s only passport, or lying about it, but they are allowing the visa processors to come to their own conclusions.

      A new passport with a different passport number won’t change the fact that your son missed the cut-off date for his previous visa, and as every visa issued is recorded, it’s not out of reason to assume that the visa officials have all this information to hand. However, it is difficult to say whether they will bother to check against previously issued passports; your agent may have experience enough to expect them not to do so.

      If you choose to go this route then the agent may advise you never to mention the previous visa unless the visa agents themselves raise the question. That said, if they do ask then it is not a good idea to lie to the visa officer about the facts of your son’s troubles (actually, it’s not a good idea to lie to them in general). This is because if you’re found out, your son may be rejected for a second time and be placed on a blacklist.

      This blacklist would make it impossible for him to apply for another Chinese visa for an unspecified period – usually from three-to-five years, depending on the judgment of the visa officers. At present he is not on such a blacklist – it’s just the visa officer making his or her own decision based on the existing visa record. The slight silver lining there is that even in this worst-case scenario it wouldn’t affect the visas of you, your wife or your other son; you would be able to remain in China as planned. However, separating the family is obviously not something you would want to pursue.

      An application for a family visa does seem like a plausible alternative, specifically a Q visa to visit your wife’s Chinese relatives (there is also the S visa, but that is only for foreigners with permanent residence). The Q1 visa is for those expected to be in China more than 180 days; the Q2 is for those who will be in China up to 180 days. Both can be renewed towards the end of your son’s stay. Once he’s registered with the family in Haikou he can travel anywhere within China, including Shanghai.

      It would, however, require you to get certification proving your son’s relationship to his relatives (specifically your son’s birth certificate, yours and your wife’s passports, your marriage certificate and the hukou cancelation paper issued by the police station where your wife’s hukou was previously registered) which may prove tricky and time-consuming. The birth and marriage certificates, if made abroad, will need to be notarized by the embassy.

      Also bear in mind that the actual permitted length of the stay is decided by the visa official and depends on how close a relative your son is to the Chinese person he’s visiting, so you may want to get your wife’s parents to be the relatives in question, if possible.

      And, of course, there is still the possibility of a denial. Your visa agent may suggest once again not mentioning your son’s visa woes to the embassy/visa agents, which would put you in the same grey area mentioned above. As before, if they ask then do be honest but put forward your case – it’s a first mistake, he overstayed by less than seven days, and you’re trying to keep your family together – sympathetically, politely and apologetically. It’s a tense and stressful situation, but losing your temper won’t help anyone.

      Your visa agents will probably help you out with the details, but for more information about what documents are required and how to go about applying for a Q visa, see this page.

      Whatever route you take, we wish you and your family the very best of luck.

  • i have a big problem ,i need your helps

    i did get the chinese study visa .but when i am get in china in that time were chinese festival and all of those things were close immigration etc…but after that my family get finance problem,so i still in china in overstay for 5 years ,how can i do i still do not have money for pay them?but i really want back in my country

    • Hi Julien. We’re very sorry to hear of your problems, and we hope that things are better for your family now. Before we continue, we want to make it clear that nothing we say is absolutely set in stone – the authorities in China can be unpredictable and we personally know a number of people who expected to have a very bad experience with the authorities, but in the end had a much more positive experience than they hoped.

      Please bear that in mind when we say: if you have overstayed for five years, then you are in trouble. Although we said in the article that embassies are not usually inclined to help in instances such as this, you may want to go to your nearest embassy anyway and ask them for advice and help. They may be able to do something for you (at least give you advice), especially if you are from a smaller country.

      If they will not help then the only thing you can do is go to a police station and explain what happened. You may spend 5-15 days in a local jail and pay a fine of 10,000 yuan, but after that you will be deported back to your own country. It is possible that the police will be sympathetic to your situation and will allow you to leave without paying a fine or going to jail, but you should prepare yourself for the worst.

      (In the article above we originally said that the fine may be more than 10,000 yuan if you had overstayed by a very long time – we are pleased to say that this is not the case. The maximum fine is 10,000 yuan and we have corrected the article to reflect this. We apologise for any concern this may have caused.)

      If you cannot pay the 10,000 yuan fine the police may take the money you have in your bank account and also take away your belongings to pay for the fine. If this is still not enough to pay the fine, you may receive a longer jail sentence and possibly also be made to perform some labour work. There is no maximum number of days for this – it depends on what the police decide. Again, they may be sympathetic to your situation and your family’s financial problems and not give you any extra days in jail or labor work – it is up to them.

      Once you are deported, the law says that you will not be able to return to China for 10 years. 

      Good luck, Julien. We hope your embassy can help you with a solution and that you are able to return to your country soon. Take care.

  • Hello,
    My husband is American and he staying in china years for now. Every single year he has to renew the visa by coming back to US. And while in china he has to exit /enter every 2 months. We did follow the rule very well, no late. Today we looked his visa and it is expired today. 2/4 and I booked his come back flight 2/6 which is the most stupid thing.. Called AA and cannot find the ticket leaving on visa expired date 2/4 so we paid extra and change flight to 2/5. Which is 1 day late not 2 day late. At least this showing we did our best to keep the rule but we were so busy and overlooked the date etc. and china custom do not think as bad. My main question is will this expired exit cause problem when he trying to get another visa in the US when he comes back? He has to renew his US passport and get the Visa there but I am not sure either way if he will get into trouble to get a visa bcz of this incident. And even though he obtain the visa, will this cause any delay when he enter to china when he arrives? Key is not to overlook the date and follow the law but this happened and we are freaking out. Please help. Thank you so much!

    • Hi Victoria. Sorry to hear about the situation your husband is in. First off, we should make clear that we can only give our general thoughts on each person’s situation, not focused advice – whatever you choose to do is ultimately your decision and responsibility. Additionally, in visa cases it is hard to speculate on how successful any specific case will be, as a lot depends (in China and other countries around the world) on how strict a given figure of authority feels like being that day, and whether or not there is a visa crackdown happening.

      However, in this case the law would expect your husband to go to the nearest PSB as soon as possible to explain the situation. In most such cases, especially when the person in question has a good history with visas, they will tell him off (sometimes rather patronizingly…) and give him a warning form to sign that confirms he knows that he’s done wrong and promises not to do it again. In such an instance it is unlikely that this would affect his future visa applications, although he should certainly be careful to avoid finding himself in such a situation again. He should not face a fine.

      He could also attempt to leave the country and feign surprise at the customs desk, though this may lead to a period of questioning and cause issues boarding his plane. Again, it is impossible to say how likely this eventuality is, and it is not what the law would expect him to do.

      Whatever happens, we wish him a speedy passage and a safe flight.

  • Hello, I have been living in China for a year and a half now on a Z legal working Visa. I waited ten days before my visa expired to renew it. I sent it to get renewed on January the 5th and now it is February the 2nd and still have not received the visa nor my passport back. I called the office and had four other chinese call the visa bureau office and they said it was “under investigation” I just recently finished my contract and was trying to catch a flight to america in a week but I had to cancel now for still not having my passport back. I don’t know what to do, as I have tried calling the office numerous times and had other people call to see what the problem was but no one could give a reason as too why it was taking so long. I also know that it is February and spring festival is coming making me more worried about when I will receive my passport back. I had planned on moving to japan to start working there but I cant go back to america to get the paperwork done without my passport, any advice? (the chinese are saying its just taking time and to be patient, and if I saw screw the visa then I think I would have to pay a fine)

    • Hi Thomas. The following is purely for information purposes, and not actual legal advice – you’ll need to figure out exactly what to do according to your own situation. One thing that seems odd is that you say that you want to renew your Z Visa, but that you also just finished your contract. You cannot have a Z Visa without being employed by a company in China, so we’re not sure what you mean here.

      We may have misunderstood what you have written – in which case, please do reply and explain in more detail – but the rest of this post will proceed on the assumption that you have tried to renew your Z Visa on an expired contract.

      If so, it could be that the visa agencies are trying to figure out the nature of your employment status, and are possbily doing a background check on you (calling your former employers, checking your previous visa applications and renewals, etc), which is why it’s taken almost a month to process so far.

      They may conclude that your renewal was a mistake on your part, which it seems to be, and let you off with a warning and a time limit to leave the country. However, it may be a good idea to contact the authorities as soon as possible and explain what has happened, in case they come to the conclusion that you have deliberately tried to cheat the system. You can do so by going to the Exit and Entry Administration Office of your city’s Public Security Bureau (you can find addresses for the four first-tier cities’ offices here), with a Chinese-speaking friend if necessary, and doing what you can to explain your situation. You may wish to make it clear that your attempt to renew the passport was in error, not an intentional attempt to defraud the system. If you have a visa agent, they may be able to state your case more clearly, or get in touch with a more important figure in the PSB organisation.

      You have overstayed your visa at this point, so are liable for a fine (as outlined above) and possibly a more serious punishment. However, the fact that your passport and visa have been in processing during that period may count in your favour, and the authorities may let you off with a warning. Obviously this is dependent on your situation, the people you are dealing with and how well your case is made.

      Regarding the Japanese job, and getting back to the US to process your application, you may want to assume that you will be delayed in the country for at least another couple of weeks, and operate on that basis. The US Embassy may be able to issue an emergency travel document that would allow you to travel abroad without a passport, but they may decline to do so given your situation, and presumably your Japanese contract will require your passport for visa processing reasons when you’re back in the USA anyway. At the very least, it’s worth trying to talk to your nearest embassy or consulate for advice and information, as well as the PSB – they may have options that you hadn’t thought of – although as mentioned above, you cannot expect them to intervene on your behalf, either to speed up the visa process or to extracate you from the situation you are in.

      Again, all of this assumes that you have attempted to renew your Z Visa with an expired contract. If this is not the situation, let us know and we’ll offer whatever thoughts we can.

  • Hi, I have a multiple entry tourist visa, so on lasts 30 days each time. I plan to stay 3 months in China at the end of the year so when my visa is close to expiration. Will I be able to extend my visa once in China for another 2 months? And what is the likely hood of being able to do this in Xinjiang either Kashgar or Urumqi?

    • Hi Julia. if you are in the country on a tourist visa (or L Visa), you are allowed to renew it one time for a period of 30 days – that means a total of 60 days for one visa. You must submit the application no less than seven days before the expiration date. For more information, you can see this article for information on the process and the documents you will require.

      Unfortunately, you cannot renew the visa multiple times, so if you want to be on the Chinese mainland for three months in total, you will need to make at least one trip off the mainland to get another 30 days. Many foreigners travel to Hong Kong to do this, although ‘visa runs’ are also available in other countries, including North Korea and Outer Mongolia.

      Laws regarding visas are subject to change, and often do, so we would strongly recommend you contact either the authorities or a visa agent (or both!) closer to the time in order to ensure that you don’t run into any issues. Enjoy your time in China!

  • I need help!

    I have a “M” Business Visa for one year, expires in May 2015 with multiple entries but I must leave every 30 days (never understood this logic – blamed it on politics). Anyhow, I was late twice (the first time in over 10 years of doing business in China). The first time i was in the hospital and showed the border security people the information. They gave me a “VERBAL” warning but they did make record of the incident in their computer system.

    The 2nd time, I was one day late (forgoet that October has 31 days, not 30 and was one day late).

    Both times, I accepted the blame with no fight, no argument.

    The 2nd time, from November 6th – December 26th, the officials in Shenzhen (Guangdong Province) had me do all kinds of things, which includes:

    - Paying a fine for 10,000 rmb
    - Paying for administration fees so that I can re-registered my temporary residency in Shenzhen (I have a studio apartment)
    - Paying for a backgroung investigation to ensure that I have no criminal record (don’t have a record anywhere in the world)

    Then, they took my passport and a few weeks later, they gave it back… cancelled my one year visa and replaced it with a 10 days exit visa and told me to take my paperwork, go to Hong Kong to get a new visa. I asked if I would have any problems and they said “no”.

    I went there and it took me a week to find out that Hong Kong refuse to assist foreigners with a Chinese Visa unless they are citizens or residents of Hong Kong.

    What I did next was, in my opinion, obsessive punishment. I went to Hong Kong prepared to be there for a few hours, ended up being there for 10 days. I was homeless for five of those days because there were no hotels available because of the holidays. I got ZERO HELP from the American Consulate in Hong Kong or the American Embassy in Guangzhou. So, on the 8th of January I bought a ticket to fly from Hong Kong to Guangzhou, had 72 hours to stay in the province, enough time to get to my apartment, pack a suitcase and return to the airport and travel to Spain (I am American but have legal residence status in both the USA and Spain) so that I can go to the Chinese Visa office there to get a new visa.

    They said that they can only grant me a visa for a month which is not enough time to finish my work. I went to the Chinese Embassy and they said that after a month, I can get a new visa in Hong Kong. Told them what happened and they told me that I have nothing to worry about.

    So, my question (sorry for the long explanation) is this: if I return to China (and, I must because of the scope of my work or else get sued by my partners and customers) can I get a new visa in Hong Kong after showing that I have a new visa for 30 days and that it was completed without incidents?

    • Hi Vincent. Unfortunately, it’s hard to predict how visa applications will be received in general, much less in cases with overstays on file. You can certainly apply for a visa from Hong Kong (or, indeed, the mainland) although HK tends to give out shorter-length visas at the minute. It might be best to contact a reliable visa agent – talk to colleagues or friends for tips – and ask them to help you with your application. The good ones have the contacts and experience to render applications as painless as possible. Of course, agents don’t come free – but if you have partners and customers to please in China, it’ll be worth the extra expense.

  • What if i overstayes in china for 1 year and i lost my passport what should i need to do.thank you

    • Hi Samantha. You should be able to get a new passport sent to you by your government – check out your embassy’s website for more information. As for overstaying your visa for a year, you could try to find a sympathetic police officer and explain that your lost passport made you unsure about what to do, but realistically you are probably going to be fined at least.

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