Visa Relaxation is Over!
The fun is over. As of April of this year, China began strictly enforcing its visa rules. Prior to that the visa rules have been fairly relaxed to the point that some foreigners had taken up residence and even started businesses by extending their visas.
If you are planning on going to China anytime soon you will need to be conscious of the new rules and standards and plan accordingly. If you're planning on going to China for business there will be a little more than a small inconvenience, for others it may be more serious.
Remember that need at least 10 working days to get your visa so plan accordingly. It may be wise to contact a larger law firm and ask them which visa service they use. You will pay a fee, but they know what is required and you will avoid having to go to the Chinese Consulate in Chicago.
If there is a possibility that you may need a continuous presence in China this summer you may want to consider getting a Z visa or finding an agent to act for you.
There are four main types of visas:
- F Visa- Business Visit.
- - L Visa- Tourism.
- - Z Visa- Working permit.
- - X Visa- Student Visa.
For each type of visa there are things you are going to need. If you are going to China between now and October, you will need the following:
Only single or double entry visas are being issued. If you leave the mainland and go to Hong Kong it will count as a second entry if you return to the mainland. If you plan to stay somewhere other than a hotel you will need to register with the local police department and you will need to carry your documentation with you at all times. Other things you will need to get are:
- Official invitation from a registered private or government entity with Chop(seal)
- - Confirmed hotel reservations covering your entire stay or the address of where you will be staying
- - Return travel ticket
As of July first, no L visas will be issued unless you hold tickets to the Olympic Games, confirmed hotel reservations covering your entire stay, and your return travel ticket. If you do not hold Olympic tickets you will need to show financial resources of $100 per day either in cash or a financial account in your name.
- Copy of the employing company's Business License
- - Signed letter form the board of directors
- - Copy of your Chinese employment contract with the company
- - Cover letter from the company
- - Health Checkup form (issued in the last six months)
- - Resume
- - Certified university degree/copy of original degree
- - Eight pictures (pale blue background)
*all materials in English must be translated into Chinese
Without an invitation from an educational institution or the government with a chop (seal) you will most likely not be issued a visa or given an extension. Students in China will not be able to extend their visas even if they are planning to attend school in the fall. Students should return home and submit their visa applications as soon as possible.
Other factors that you may want to consider are:
- Existing U.S. visa holders may only renew their visas in the United States.
- - If you overstay your visa will be fined per day, may have a jail stay, possible imprisonment, and future inability to get a visa
The Chinese Government has indicated that on October 17, 2008 the visa rules will be reviewed but that they may not change. There are many theories as to why the Chinese government is tightening its visa requirements but it is clear that the days of China's relaxed visa rules are over.