China Visa Update

This week I attended an AmCham seminar on the new regulations for Chinese visas. I thought I’d share my notes with everyone so that you can all be informed about the new rules:

  • There are no changes to the Z (work) visa procedure. These visas are converted into work and residency permits inside China upon entrance into the country.
  • Currently people need to apply in their home countries for Chinese visas and cannot apply in Hong Kong (other third countries are currently okay at the moment including Macao). Only those with either HK work permits or HK ID can apply for visas in Hong Kong.
  • Visa processing takes longer so you need to be prepared and apply in advance.
  • For L (tourist) visas, you are required to have a copy of a hotel reservation a photocopy of a round-trip plan ticket.
  • For F (business) visas, you are required to apply at the consulate/embassy in your country of residence. The consulates/embassies are only issuing 30-day single or double-entry visas. The following are the required documents: original letter from the Chinese government ministry; Chinese hotel reservation; photocopy of return plane tickets.
  • F visas can be extended inside China only. If extended in Beijing they can only be extended to July 1st 2008. If extended in Shanghai, they can be extended for the standard 30 to 60 days and count as single entry (and supposedly beyond July 1st). Extensions take five working days and must be applied for in person.
  • For the letter from the Chinese government ministry (usually the local foreign affairs office), this must be applied for by a locally registered company such as a WOFE or domestic Chinese company in the city where the person applying for the F visa intends to visit. IE if the person intends to visit Shanghai, the letter must be applied for by a company in Shanghai.
  • Representative offices must apply through an agent such as FESCO to get the letter from the relevant ministry
  • Those people who are in China for longer than 90 days continually or more than 180 days in a calendar year should apply to be on a Z visa, which would be changed to a residency permit inside China.
  • F and L visas for senior managers can be changed to work and residence permits from inside China. Also all companies with capital over US$3 million can change F and L visas to work and residency permits for all employees. Representative offices also can’t apply directly for Z visas. They must apply for L or F visas and convert them to work and residency permits inside China.
  • These regulations will most like last after the Olympics. The government is really cracking down on F visa holders who are actually residents inside China as they are really residents here, and should therefore be on residency and work permits and be paying taxes.

I hope this clears things up for a lot of people. J. P.S. It’s the Labour Day holiday in China, so I’m not posting for this weekend. I may post a book review on Lost Laowai though so please check there.

Update: Rich at All Roads Lead to China just posted a story that it looks like some multi-entry F and L visas are being canceled. He says the information is third hand but it is something worth watching.

Update II (May 12, 2008): Student visas will not be extended during the Olympics. People of African nationalities also seem to be having problems getting visas.



Filed under China Business

84 responses to “China Visa Update

  1. small company z visa question

    Did they mention anything about applying for z visas if the registered capital of the company is under 1 million RMB? We are a domestic chinese registered company, not a WOFE.

    On allroads they said that it will be difficult to get z visas if your company has less than 1 mil. rmb in registered capital. since we are a service firm, our registered capital is tiny.

    thanks for your help on this and for the post!

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  3. Sinosceptic

    Great update, thanks for making it all a lot clearer than most of the smoke that’s been drifting about on this subject recently. All I can add though is ‘about time too’ – the ‘guidelines’ have been loosely interpreted by locals and abused by visitors for far too long. Time to stump up what they are due, pay their way and be accountable.

  4. Discouraging

    In an earlier post, you criticized people for “panicking” and “overreacting” to the ever tightening visa restrictions in China, and claim that these restrictions are only to deal with volume of visa applications. However, now it would seem that there is more at work than simply increasing visa application efficiency, or dealing with increased application volume; instead the government is now trying to get rid of the F visa “loophole” altogether. A loophole that, by the way, has benefited many Chinese businesses just as much as it has foreigners over the years.

    For anyone trying to renew their visas over the summer, it seems like it’s time to panic. But I guess that doesn’t bother you, since your visa situation is set.

    And if you think this is all about paying taxes, you are flat wrong. The government has enough trouble trying to get Chinese individuals and businesses to pay taxes on income. This is about new visions of “social order” and the perceptions among officials of illegal residents affecting China’s social stability.

  5. oneeyedpanda

    @small company z visa question: I’m not sure about what the rules are for domestic Chinese companies, you’d better check with the labor bureau. I do know that for foreign companies with less than US$1 million in capital you can only change the F visas of senior managers to work permits.

    @discouraged: I stand by what I said in the earlier post, people shouldn’t panic until they get the full information. It just creates rumours that only cause panic. For those who are living here illegally on F or L visas, I sympathize but to be honest and to take a page from fellow blogger, Rich Brubaker of All Roads Lead to China, those people have been getting a free ride and not paying taxes and they know or at least should know now that they aren’t here legally. Yes, my visa situation is stable and I am not affect by the changes, but I pay taxes here and I realize that I’m guest in this country. I posted the information to simply make sure that for those who really want to stay here know what they can do to make sure they have the opportunity to stay in the country.

    Also China isn’t cracking down on social order or anything like that. If one were staying illegally on a business or tourist visa in Europe, Canada or the US, that person be deported long ago. China is just bringing itself into line with other country’s practices.


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  8. What about freelancers?

    What’s the situation for freelance workers like myself and Chinese spouse (on foreign passport) who for the past six years have always managed to find a way of getting F visas? We both work, often on short-term projects, for a variety of different organisations, some foreign, some local. Is it possible for people like us to convert to a Z visa? Any information gratefully received.

  9. nairbv

    I’m a student in China. I already have an F visa that expires in September. Could I be asked to leave even though I have a visa? Could I be prevented from traveling? I’m sort of hoping to visit qingdao. I don’t really enjoy beijing anyways.

    I really can’t go back to the US (and thus couldn’t apply for another visa from the US) , … I’m an American but I’m based in the Philippines, and couldn’t afford to fly to the US just for the sake of another visa.

    It seems like strict policies will only hurt them. I’m here learning their language, … yet it cost me ~$300 just to enter the country. I had to pay ~150 for a tourist visa to enter, and then another ~150 to get the F visa so I could stay at school. This is my second time entering, because I went to the Philippines over winter break. Back in September, I had to apply to my current university because the one in Beijing wouldn’t bother helping me get a visa to study at their school.

    As compared to about a thousand dollars a semester for the university, the visa fee’s aren’t small sums of money. I’m a student. I don’t have an income, … I’m spending my savings in their country. It really discourages my desire to be involved with this country. I get shafted like that on visa fees, and then my school lectures us about traveling here. I hope I don’t actually run into problems, but rumors are floating around and they’re making me nervous.

    What were policies like regarding visas for Olympics in other countries? Doesn’t the Olympic committee have some sort of requirements opposed on them so that they can’t go profiteering on visa fees when suddenly so many people will need those visas? and what about media? doesn’t the olympic committee have stipulations about allowing in free foreign media? Will reporters be able to get more than a 30 day tourist visa?

    and, photo copy of hotel reservations? I haven’t stayed in many places here that would accept reservations. Actually, I don’t think I’ve encountered a business at all that even accepted foreign credit cards. These regulations don’t seem very practical.

    In practice, … I wonder what will actually happen with these policies. I remember someone applying for a permit to tibet. To apply for the permit, he needed a copy of his plane ticket. To buy the plane ticket, he needed a copy of his permit. He walked back and forth between the two offices for days. Eventually they gave him the permit and plane ticket, and he went to tibet. It provides some headaches, but in the end it seems that the impossible policies are (by necessity) ignored.

  10. oneeyedpanda

    @What about freelancers?: My understanding is you need a locally registered company in China to sponsor you (IE either a domestic Chinese company or a wholly owned foreign enterprise). If you can’t do that or you are self-employed I’d suggest setting up a company in Hong Kong and then opening a representative office in China.

    This is not a fast or inexpensive solution but it is the legal one. If you’re seriously interested in this idea please contact me privately by email ( and I can put you in touch with someone who can help.

    @nairbv: You should be able to extend your F visa inside China in September without a problem. Should you be registered to study I think that you could go on an X student visa.

    In terms if you could be asked to leave the answer is no, as long as you don’t break the law or do anything that would anger the authorities. If you had to leave the country to get a new visa you would be able to do so in the Philippines without any trouble.

    I know the visa fees are higher and they can be a pain the butt but unfortunately there isn’t much you can do. As for your school lecturing you that’s normal. They take responsibility for you here so they’re going to act like your mom.

    I hope everything works out.

  11. J.

    For L (tourist) visas, they are requiring much more than the “published” restrictions (tickets & hotel confirmations). It’s just the tip of the iceberg

    When I arrived at the Chinese embassy in Bangkok with all these new documents, they then asked for copies of citizen ID cards of any Chinese citizens I would be visiting. (I had a letter of invitation with me from a host family). They also wanted ORIGINALS of hotel confirmations (no photocopies or faxes accepted). Also, my E-ticket confirmation was not accepted: they required original paper tickets in hand.

    For a person intent on pouring thousands of dollars into the Chinese economy to see the Olympics, this treatment is demeaning. I promptly canceled plans for a China visit, as is happening with a number of my friends and acquaintances.

    China is shooting itself in the foot. Throwing a party, but locking the door. Absolutely ridiculous.

  12. oneeyedpanda

    @J: Thanks for the tip. I didn’t know about this and have passed it onto some friends who are having family visit them here.

    I don’t know if every consulate/Embassy will ask for the ID numbers of Chinese friends people are visiting as the visa process gives a lot of leeway to consular officers.


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  14. Jason Trailey

    I am about to switch from an f visa to a z visa….. is it going to be a huge problem?? I know that there are factors such as registered capital, resume experience, etc…….. I have been out of school for two years, its a large company, but what other problems can i expect?

  15. maria

    do I need visa to stay in macao? I’m, indonesian, It ussually not necessary, but is there any rules changes? thank you

  16. Harv

    I have a multi-entry F good thru mid-August. Came back to Kunming May 2 after a one week dental/medical trip to Bangkok. All smiles at Kunming Airport Immigration. Noticed only 1 other foreigner being pulled aside for special attention, while the mass of the rest of us were processed in less than 5 minutes each.

  17. oneeyedpanda

    @Jason: If you’ve submitted your resume and university degree to your company you shouldn’t worry too much. The decision is really in the hands of the local labour bureau and it depends on how well your company plays up the fact that you are needed to fill the job (not a Chinese national). I’ve heard of very few requests for work permits getting rejected.

    As for what else to look out for, you’ll need to go for a health exam. It takes about an hour and is really thorough. Your company will probably pay for it so take advantage of it.

    Also if you’ve already rented an apartment and registered at the police station you’ll need to re-register your visa. You’ll have to also re-register within 24 hours of re-entering China from a trip outside the country.

    @Maria: I am not familiar with any visa regulation changes for Hong Kong or Macao, but it is best to check with the local Chinese consulate/embassy in your region. Mainland China landing visas for Singaporeans staying in the country 15 days or less have been suspended for the Olympics, so it is best to check.

    @Harv: Good to hear, I assume that regulations are a little less strict in the non-Olympic venue cities — excluding that T place of course.


  18. meg

    i am an american currently studying for one year (sept 07 – july 08) at blcu (beijing language and culture university) and i have a residence permit allowing me to live here, which expires on july 31 2008. i recently registered for an august 08 intensive chinese course at blcu and i am wondering if anyone knows if i am going to encounter problems renewing my residence permit vis-a-vis all these olympics restrictions. any info. at all would be helpful, thanks.

  19. oneeyedpanda

    @meg: Since you’re on a student residence permit and are signed up for another course you can probably extend it with no problem. You should talk to the foreign student office at BLCU.

    The only problem you may encounter is that you may not be able to get an extension past the end of your course (IE past the end of August if I understand your message correctly).


  20. Seida

    Is there any problem getting visa from China to Ethiopia (any developing countruis? Any policy change on exit visa?

  21. mmUSA

    hello fr USA…I have friends who are currently working in China as entertainers (singers & musicians) for quite sometime now. Unfortunately, the resort/rest who employed them didn’t secure a working visa for them, i guess for the simple reason that they can always get visa fr HK, needless to say that it has always been easy before the restrictions. Just like a lot of people staying in china, they also suffered the same faith of having to leave to go back to their country of orig. (on their case, Philippines)
    the resort needed them so badly espc for the summer but has no idea on how they can help them, they (mgt) suggested that if they can find a way they will be willing to do whatever it takes so they can come back & continue working with them.
    Can you suggest of a possible way on how they can apply for a Z visa, can they apply fr the phils? what are the requirements? I know i can search the net but after reading your column i felt that i can get the most accurate & reliable answer fr you. Any help or information will really be appreciated. You can respond here or my email shown above. Thank u so much!!!!

  22. christina

    i’m in between jobs and would like to spend a month in shanghai. do you know if it will be a problem to get a visa if i don’t have a current employer? i’m looking to stay in a hostel, will those reservations be acceptable?
    thanks for any insights!

  23. Karen

    I was in Guangzhou last week but had to return to India as my visa could not be renewed. What are the condition in applying for a residence permit?

  24. oneeyedpanda

    @Seida: I’m not a visa agent and I don’t have any knowledge about getting exit visa from China. As mentioned in the most recent update above it is very difficult for Africans to get visas to China right now. You may wish to delay your plans. Your other option is to check with the embassy in Ethiopia.

    @mmUSA and @Karen: To get a Z visa you need to be sponsored by a company that is locally registered in China (either a Foreign Representative office, wholly owned foreign enterprise or a domestic Chinese company). That means you need to be employed by them. As I am not a visa agent, I don’t know the exact documents involved. However, if you are employed by a China-registered company for a legitimate reason, you shouldn’t have a problem getting a z visa. I think if the resort that mmUSA talks about gives the local labour bureau a call they should be able to arrange working permits for his friends if the resort can show that foreigners not Chinese are necessary for this job.

    @Christina: If you’re coming here as a tourist, a return plane ticket and hotel reservation should be sufficient to get a 30-day visa, but please note that currently, you’ll probably have to return to your home country after your 30 days are up.

    I hope this helps.

  25. DG

    Hi i am planning to travel back to China to set up a Representative office for an architectural firm i work for in the UK. I am married to a chinese national who returned to the UK with me at the beginning of this year after I was working as an architect in Shanghai.

    My question is what is the best route for me to take with regard to visas? How do I get into china to set up the office in the first place – on an L visa? If so can I change this to an F or Z visa after setting up?

    Its all bona fide and supported by UK and Chinese companies, but I’m just worried about the initial visa situation. For information I will be paid in the UK not China, i don’t know if this affects anything.

    Thanks in advance.

  26. Douglas

    One eyed panda,

    I am currently in China with a work permit and residence permit, however I will be changing employers in July, will it be necessary for me to go back to my home country and start the whole application from the beginning? Or can we just change my D visa and work permit to the new company?

    Any info will help.

  27. oneeyedpanda

    @DG Are you setting up the rep office on your own or through a law firm or consultancy? I’d suggest going through one of the two as they can help you negotiate the hurdles such as what visas to get.

    As to your visa, I think you have to go in on an L as rep offices are allowed to apply for visa application letters directly. They must go through visa agents — again a consultancy can give you the best advice on how to do this properly.

    @Douglas, I think you continue on your old visa and work permit until it needs to be renewed. Then you just have your new job apply for a renewal when they expire (This is what I did when I switched jobs). You will also need a note from your old employer stating that you have left that job and the dates for which you were employed there.

    I hope this is helpful.

  28. DG

    We were hoping to do it through a combination of our own efforts, the contacts of the chinese company and the help of a lawyer family member in china.

    So your advice would be to get an L visa and then sort everything out once things are established? I was just worried that there might be problems in setting up a RO with an L visa.

    Assuming this is OK, how long do you think I am eligible to get for an L visa, bearing in mind my wife is chinese?

    Thanks a lot for your help!

  29. oneeyedpanda

    @DG: I would say L visa is your only option, but I would suggest speaking to a law firm or consultancy that has experience in this. Relying on Chinese contacts or friends of the family — unless they have experience in this area and are going to follow all the rules to the letter — could only cause problems for you later.

    I would say an L visa is probably the easiest for you to get right now with the current set up situation you described above. There is a limit on F visas and you could get one if you worked with a law firm or consultancy that could help you apply for the visa notification letter. If you work through friends or family who will be doing this in an unofficial capacity, your only option is an L visa and yes that may cause problems for you later (This is an unknown factor at this point).

    You could try to get a spousal L visa, but I don’t have any experience with this type of visa or know its limits (may only be valid for visiting your wife’s relatives for example) or the documents required to obtain it. It is usually available for a longer period of up to one year.

  30. focalpt1

    maybe the real message in this visa regulation is that China is going to be a country that is tight, like the US or Russia, and not one that is relatively open, letting people come and stay as they will, as India and Brazil are so far becoming. funny thing is, what China needs are consumers to teach people what are consumers, and foreigners are consumers. funny this is also that they are so close; if they followed their rhetoric they could be a truly great and balancing country for our age. they’ll be getting their engines going, and an epic thing will either happen or happen, and what we should hope for is an enlightened class emerging, like the upper mobile class demonstration in Chengdu against the refinery. those weren’t (as they’re called) “strong fingers.” This was a concered group of Knowledge Workers.

  31. Kevin

    I am currently residing in Indonesia which has Visa-on Arrival for PRC national. My aunt want to visit Indonesia next month on a tourist visa.

    Does my aunt require exit visa from the Chinese authorities? Will Chinese immigration require my aunt to have a visa to Indonesia? What documents does she need?

    I welcome your comments to this homepage or via my email. Thank you in advance.

  32. oneeyedpanda

    @focalpt1: yes I agree

    @Kevin: I am afraid I know nothing about exit visas from China as foreigners don’t require these. You need to speak to your aunt’s local public security bureau.


  33. Jason Trailey

    Dear OneEyedPanda,
    Thank you for the advice, how do you know so much 🙂

  34. oneeyedpanda

    @Jason: You’re very welcome. I’m just trying to stay on top of everything.


  35. Iqbal

    I am “CEO” of one of top printing company in Pakistan, would like to draw your attention towards the bad behaviour of Chinese immigration department at Shenzhen Huanggang Customs at 20:45 on 20th of May, 2008.
    I applied my Chinese Visa along with all necessary required documents and got Visa as per procedure of Chinese Embassy in Islamabad-Pakistan on 31th of March, 2008.
    I also got Hong Kong Visa (Double entry) and Thai Visa (double entry) to cover-up my whole journey. The purpose to got Hong Kong Visa was to open my company Bank account with HSBC as I had already formed a Limited company in Hong Kong in July 2007. After completion of Bank formalities, I planned to go to China for the negotiation of different Raw Materials and for Printing and Lamination Machines. All appointments with the suppliers were scheduled.
    But when I showed my passport to the immigration officer, she asks me to go with another officer for further checking and interrogation. I followed and they ask me to sit down at a stool that was lying outside of immigration office. I sit there about more than two hours without any reply from them. They appointed two Police officers to watch me.
    After that they take me to interrogation room and check my body with a scanner and after that they instruct me to put down all things from my pockets and minutely checked step by step. Latterly they checked my entire luggage including my Laptop computer and asked me to run this computer. I did all what they required. I was very much surprised for what is going to be happened with me. After that one Police officer came with camera and took my photographs with different angles. He also takes many photos of all my documents and luggage. Finally after more than one hour they asked me to sign a document in Chinese. I refused because I can’t understand any Chinese so he forced me to sign. I told them that I would not sign unless I knew what document I would be signed. After that one person came and point to the each sentence and speaks in English and he assures me that what he said is same as mentioned in that Document in Chinese. He asked me to sign document again with a note written by me that “I already got back all things in my luggage after checking”. I wrote same and signed.
    This all procedure took more than three hours, in the meantime I requested them to go to wash room, but they refused me. I’m patient of high blood pressure and was feeling much uncomfortable at that moment. I thought I would be falling down in soon, I felt my eyes were in pain and my heart beat was abnormal. At 23:45, a person told me that “On the behalf of Chinese law, you are not welcome to China”. I asked them that did they find some problem with my visa or passport. They said “No”, so I asked them that why they cancelled my visa? They replied “on the behalf of Chinese Law, I have right not to answering your question”. They didn’t give me any refusal document, just asked a bus driver to send me back to Hong Kong Customs. I arrived at my hotel in Hong Kong about 3:00 am.
    I always trip to all over the world for my business and still have valid visas of UK and USA. I frequently visit China for my business and last year 2007, I visited 3-times.
    This is my first time to get so bad experience with Chinese immigration. I want to ask Chinese Immigration department to give me clear answer in written form for this insulting behaviour with me on dated 20th May, 2008.

  36. oneeyedpanda

    @Iqbal: I have heard of these stories before and there seems to be some abusive treatment on the hands of the border guards towards certain nationalities. It’s unfortunate that you had to experience this.


  37. MO

    Dear OneEyedPanda,,
    On 17 Oct 07,If I have previously applied a Category L Mutiple entry visa from the chinese embassy in Singapore.
    Is it still valid as my expired date runs out on 17OCT 08? since this new ruling is in force?
    Is this Visa still valid??

    Many thanks.

  38. oneeyedpanda

    @Mo: If you’re already in China, your visa will probably be respected if you stay in the country until it expires. Should you leave and try to re-enter the validity of your visa may be cut to 30 days. This is up to the entry and exit administration at the city where you enter.

    I hope this helps.

  39. john

    Clarification for Mo:
    Presumably your visa has a per-stay limit, e.g., 30 or 60 days. I’m sure OEP meant that you won’t have problems if you stay in China within the per-stay limit (not that you could stay until the expiration date). At the end of your 30 or 60 day stay, you would have to leave and come back. And then it appears there is this new risk that on that new entry your multi-entry visa would be revoked for subsequent visits.

  40. Mia

    Hi. I currently have a F multiple entry visa and am going to China to study. However, my host institution and advisers from my program are saying that I should re-apply for a new visa that allows me to stay in the country for 90 days. If I do that, I don’t think that it would be a multiple entry visa and I won’t be able to visit other countries on my time abroad. But if I have to re-apply for a new visa I will. My question is, I already have a visa and I haven’t even gone to China yet. If I wanted to change my visa from a F multiple entry visa with a duration of 30 days stay to an L visa for 90 days duration, will the embassy consulate charge me another $130.00? or will they simply just give me the visa that I need since I already paid for the previous visa and didn’t even use it?


  41. oneeyedpanda

    @Mia Since F visas can no longer be changed to L and vice versa, yes you will have to reapply and pay a new processing fee.


  42. Mia

    Another question, Is it possible to go from an F multiple entry visa with duration of 30 days to a duration of 90 days? And if so, will they charge me since I wouldn’t be changing from F to L visa? I would just be changing the amount of time I can stay in the country at a time.

    Thanks for your help.

  43. suleiman

    Dear Oneeyedpanda,

    At last I found someone who has clarified what the hell is going on with the Chinese visa. I have been looking for days to find clear and precise answers to many questions and u answered most of them. I am in the process of applying for the Chinese visa here in my country (Libya) but I heard its really chaotic at the embassy in Tripoli and that the Chinese embassy only gives a 20 day “L” visa but I am getting an invitation from a Chinese company which I guess is an endorsed firm by the Chinese government, the company confirms to me that I will get an “F” visa with that letter, and I will be able to extend my stay in China. Do you think that is possible? I really need more than 20 days to check on my shipments. Thanx for your help.

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  45. oneeyedpanda

    @Mia: I am not sure if that is possible as F visas right now are being issued for stays of no longer than 60 days (90 days or more require a student or working visa).

    @suleiman: I’m not sure as I know that the consulates and embassies are limiting stays of people from some African nations to less than the standard 30 days as before.


  46. dan

    hi ive been living in guillin for last 3 years ,i recently managed through a local friend of mine to secure a 6 month f type 0 entry visa whilst staying in guillin teaching without having to go to hongkong and leaving the country. due to a family illness i have had to make an emergency visit back to the uk but plan to return within a week or 2 my visa is valid until oct. my problem being will i be able to return on this visa and plead my case or do i apply to local consulate and run the risk of them rejecting me as i never used the new visa to expiry, my entire life is now in china including my wife tobe and i was in the process of obtaining a residenty. any advice as you can guess im worried stupid of not being able to return. thanks bro your a superstar

  47. Mia

    Hi again! I have another question about China visas. Right now I have an F multiple entry visa with a duration of 30 days. However, I think I might have to reapply and get a different visa, L for duration of 90 days since I am going to Beijing to study at BNU. If I reapply and request an L visa with 90 days duration, will my F visa that is already on my passport remain there? or will they remove it and replace it with the new visa? Is it possible to go into China with two different visas, F and L?

    Thanks for your help,

  48. Nancy

    Here’s the problem: my son got an L visa, 90 stay validity, double entry in March before the rules changed (he’s a student). Subsequently, he enrolled in his U.’s Chinese program, to be held at Tsinghua. The Consulate insists he cannot attend the program on the L visa and cannot stay in China after the program ends (August 8). He has an internship lined up for the rest of the summer…do you think an extension of an F or X visa can be gotten in China, for the internship? And is so, by which danwei? Thanks for any suggestions you can provide.

  49. oneeyedpanda

    @dan: I would go the legal route and reapply you might get rejected but I wouldn’t take the chance to plead my case.

    @Mia: I don’t think they will remove the F visa from your passport though they may mark it as canceled. If you’re going to study I would apply for the proper visa which for students is an X. Trying to study on an L even for a short period will probably just get you in to trouble. In this period of uncertainty it’s best to play it safe.

    @Nancy As the information in the post says F visas are not being extended past July 1st in Beijing and X visas are not being extended past the end of classes. If your son has an internship lined up as the company to provide him with the documentation for a Z working visa (they should be able to do this if it’s a proper internship). As I just mentioned to Mia, it’s best to play by the rules. If you don’t your son can end up with a “must leave China within 10 days” stamp on his passport. After that he would be banned from entering for three years and then he could have a lot of trouble getting a visa after that.


  50. Nancy

    Thanks for the advice, I totally agree re: playing by the rules….for a 1 month unpaid internship at a Chinese newspaper, do you think they’ll bother with the paperwork? Can any company (e.g. a WOFE) offer an internship and get him a Z visa? it’s just for one month.

  51. Nancy

    OK! apparently, the Chicago consulate left his unexpired L visa in the passport, and issued him a 90 day single entry F visa in addition. So he’s OK…all the students in his short term program received F visas…

  52. oneeyedpanda

    @Nancy Glad to hear things worked out. In some cases it is still possible to get a 90-day F visa.


  53. Soph

    Hi there,

    So sorry to bother you, bu I am having real trouble contacting the Chinese embassy in Bangkok and their website seems to be useless.

    I am an Australian citizen and I will be doing a RTW trip leaving Oz early July. I have a tour of China booked beginning 1st September which means I am leaving Australia too early to apply for a tourist visa.

    I will be travelling through Macau, Hong Kong and Bangkok in that time before entering China. I was planning on getting a visa in Bangkok but am very concerned about the post above in which paper tickets (who gets on these days??) and original paperwork is required. Have you heard anymore about this situation? Do you think Macau might be easier?

    Thanks again,

  54. oneeyedpanda

    @Soph I would recommend getting your visa in Australia not in Bangkok as you may run in to trouble applying from a third country. Chances are if you go through Macao you’ll be under much more suspicion as it was used by people who were living in China illegally on F or L visas.

    If you’ve got a tour booked submit your iternary with letters from all the hotels you are staying plus E-ticket receipts and you should be okay. Your tour company should also be up-to-date on how to do this.

    But the Chinese government is even guaranteing visas for Olympic ticket holders, you need to apply as early as possible and do it from a place where you can change your travel plans if you are denied a visa.

    However, if you’re planning to backpack around China without a fixed schedule — change your plans. China doesn’t want that kind of tourist anymore.


  55. Soph

    Thanks for the quick response. It’s all a little frustrating at the moment! The Australian Chinese embassy tell me that they are issuing visas with a 30 day validity ie have to be in and out of of China 30 days from ISSUE date which I find very frustrating. I have a plane ticket booked to HK on the 8th July and the tour in China starts on 1st September. I guess i’ll double check with the tour company.

  56. Soph

    Tour company is not sure they can get the relevant paperwork to me before I leave Australia. !!

  57. oneeyedpanda

    @Soph: Sorry to hear you ran into trouble. Hope it works out.


  58. Chris J

    hi there,
    first let me say what a great job your doing here relieving peoples fears.
    i have a flight to shanghai booked and intend to backpack for 30 days round china before heading south and im disgusted china doesnt want my type of tourist anymore.
    how strict is ‘need evidence of accomodation’ – for every night? or would the start be acceptable?
    also, to get around this, if i booked 2 flights out, one leaving after a week (and didnt take it, making it easier to produce evidence of those nights), would i still be granted a visa for that 30 day period? or could they restrict it to a week?
    with thanks,

  59. oneeyedpanda

    @Chris J: You need reservations for those nights and if you were to book two flights out and not take one but instead leave later it’d probably produce a red flag in your file when you tried to leave later and it would cost you a lot of money as you must get the ticket issued in order to obtain a visa — a flight reservation is not good enough (authorities anticipated people trying to pull the trick you described).

    This is a time of tight security for China and it’s best to play by the rules. Book hotels for your planned route in advance. Don’t try to plan as you go. Should you get caught you could get the “must leave China within 10 days” stamp and be banned from entering the country for three years. After that you would face a lot of difficulty getting a visa.


  60. Mohamed

    Hi J

    If some one wants to attend the olympics he or she must have a valid visa for 6 months, how is that possible when china now gives only a month?How do people attend and enjoy the game?


  61. oneeyedpanda

    @Mohamed, I think you’re confused. The Chinese government requires that you have a passport that is valid for at least six months. This is a regular require of pretty much every country in the world.


  62. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Straits.

  63. i want to know if i can get another visa in china. I just went back in Philippines(my homeland) because i can’t get a visa in Hongkong and Macau anymore.Before i have F visa and when we try apply Z visa they refused it because they said as of now they stop giving any visa for my country and some other countries. So i decided to go back in Philippines. Now i got a 2 months Lvisa double entry. So all i need to know is there any agencies that i can get or i can renew my visa after this 2 months L visa?Can affect also to my job if i only have L visa?

  64. oneeyedpanda

    @djhoy: There isn’t any agencies that help you get a visa for your situation. If you’re working in China you need to be on a Z work visa. If you try to work on an F visa you could face consequences such as fines and deportation. If you have a contract with an employer in China it should include items such as proper visa documentation. If it doesn’t you need to have a conversation with your employer about getting the right visa.

    I hope this helps.


  65. i know about that, because during my f visa i am only an agent of 1 furniture company which i travelled a lot from china to philippines (vice versa) now that my company decided to get me a visa the problem is the chinese government make a new law that all from philippines can not get a visa anymore instead we need to go back in philippines to get only 2 months.its very difficult right now for there anything that you can help me?

  66. oneeyedpanda

    @djhoy: I’m afraid not, if that’s the law, I’m afraid you have to abide by it.


  67. icarus

    I am a citizen of India. Can a person combine business work on a tourist visa for travel in August 2008 ? What is your advice if someone goes on a tourist visa but travels within China to several places for business meetings or discussions ? Are there any likely issues that may arise with local authorities or hotels, etc ? Especially because China is not an English speaking country, one may not be able to give necessary clarifications in a manner which can be understood by the other ?

  68. oneeyedpanda

    @Icarus You need to go on a business visa. Traveling for business in China on tourist visa is against the country’s visa regulations and something that the visa officers look out for. If you try to enter on a tourist visa and get caught you could face a lot of problems when you try to apply for another visa to re-enter the country.

    Follow the steps in the post above and get your documents in order for a business visa. Get your Chinese contacts to get you the letters of invitations from the foreign affairs bureaus in the cities you will be visiting. Also make sure you have documents showing your hotel bookings and your return air tickets. If you do this you should be able to get your visa.

    As August is the Olympic season I don’t think you will be able to get a business visa for this month. You’ll probably need to reschedule your trips for September or even October after the paralympics. Your local Chinese consulate or embassy will be able to clarify this for you as they are the authority that will issue your visa. They also offer English-language visa services.

    I hope this helps.


  69. Monkeybrains

    Dear Mr Panda,
    I have a single entry tourist visa (for 30 days), and would like to spend some time in china, visit Mongolia and then return to China to catch my plane back. I am happy to book my train ticket in advance – but as I’m now out of the UK (where I’m from, and where I got my visa) I was wondering if I could change my visa to double entry in Beijing PSB? The Chinese embassy in Tel Aviv told me I might be able to get a double entry visa in Hong Kong – but that seems a long way round, and I would definately not be able to get a second visa in Ulan Bataar. Any advice would be most welcome….

  70. Pingback: Chinese Z-Visa Renewing Experience | {BibiLiew.Com}

  71. oneeyedpanda

    @monkeybrains it’s best to go through Hong Kong if you can justify your need for a double-entry (IE with travel itinerary from China and Mongolia with hotel stays included) it should be no problem to get another visa in Hong Kong.


  72. Michal

    Are the Chinese giving L visas for 60 days or 90 days?
    I’m planning on backpacking for about 2.5 months (without leaving china) do you think i’ll get a visa? I’m applying in Tel Aviv


  73. oneeyedpanda

    @Michal the Chinese government is giving 30-day tourist visas but not to backpacker you’d better have a set travel plan (with hotel bookings) that you can show the Chinese embassy. If you can’t do that you may have difficulty to get a visa.

    I am not familiar with the embassy in Tel Aviv so I can’t give you any advice on your chances there.

    BTW this site is moving to its own domain I am more than happy to keep answering questions there.


  74. Michael


    I wanted to ask what would be the best way to go about asking for a visa to China. I am planning a 60 day trip. I understand it’s best to book the whole itinerary in hostels in advance (in which case it would cost about 30$ in cancellation fees in case I won’t be granted a visa).
    I am thinking about the follwing options:

    1. Ask for a 60 day visa, one entry
    2. Ask for a 30 day visa, double-entry (60 days total)
    3. Do one of the above and perhaps add a visit to a Chinese friend to the visa application.
    The only real options I have here are an internet friend or a friend of a friend. I don’t know what this means in terms of a Chinese person and whether or not they will be willing to cooperate. Do you think this is a good idea? Will such a ‘shallow’ connection help my chances in getting a visa?

    Thanks in advance,


  75. Benjamin

    I want to know if I can apply for the China visa outside of my home country when the olympic period is over. Do you know?


  76. tata

    i am going to beijing to study for 6 months and the student visa doesn’t allow me to leave china during the entire 6 months. is there any other ways to help? thanks.

  77. tata

    I am going to study in beijing for 6 months but but my student visa doeesn’t allow me to leave china during the entire 6 months. Any clue what to do?

  78. abid rafique saleemi

    i need business visa or z visa for china can you inform me where i contact? im looking last 5 month to in here but inhere only treverller agents in here want too much money then make a visa for us so please tell me
    thank you
    abid rafique saleemi
    my address
    saleemi trading company
    saleemi house
    arif shaheed road
    wazirabad 52000
    gujranwala pakistan

  79. Josh

    Hi, Sorry to trouble you with my situation.

    I’m on an F visa now. With all the right paperwork from my future employer, can i change that to a Z visa without leaving China?

    thanks a million!


  80. Josh

    Can I change to a Z visa from a F visa without leaving China? Soon I will have all the required docs…

    I forgot to click the ‘notify me of follow up comments’ , so please reply to this question 🙂


  81. jenny

    hello oneeyedpanda

    i just want to know if i’ll still be able to use my residence visa/permit if i go back to my country(Philippines)?because im planning to have a vacation and my visa still valid for 3 months. if not tell me what to do…

  82. kathy lee

    please help me i dont know if i need a visa going to shengzhen china from bangkok im from the philippines im going to ho chi minh then bangkok then bangkok to shengzhen then to macau then to hongkong 2days for every country do i need a visa going to shengzhen then train to hongkong please help me thank you

  83. Peter


    I’m currently working in Shanghai and holding a Z visa but my visa will be expired in 2 months time. I’m thinking of quitting my job and going back to my home country. Question is can I change my Z working visa into L tourist visa once it’s expired? I’m planning to travel around a bit so what would be the requirement and the possibility of changing Z visa to Tourist L Visa once my visa expired?

    Thank you

  84. Why is so hard to get a visa for china?

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