It’s now coming on two months since the 60-day visa extension policy was announced, which allowed foreigners to stick it out in China rather than return home during the COVID-19 crisis. That also means the initial automatic extension is due to expire soon for many, leading to confusion and anxiety as visa holders scramble to secure flights out of China before the expiration date.
Though it might not be as simple as an automatic extension, there may be a solution for foreigners stuck in such a predicament. Below, we answer your questions about extending your stay in China during this special period.
What can I do if my visa extension is about to run out?
Due to the blanket restrictions on issuing visas, visa extensions per se are not permitted. However, some foreigners have been able to obtain a 30-day stay permit, which is affixed into the passport and grants the holder legal right to remain in, or exit China, before its expiration. It is suggested that those wanting to apply for a stay permit do so seven days before their visa expires.
While it is certainly possible to be granted a stay permit, holders of soon-to-expire visas should not treat it as a sure thing. Rather, the permits are granted on a case-by-case basis according to necessity.
How can I apply for a stay permit?
In order to apply for a stay permit gather the following materials and bring them to the Entry and Exit Administration of the Public Security Bureau:
- Your passport;
- Your accommodation registration slip;
- The standard visa/stay permit/residence permit application form;
- A 3.5×5.3cm full-face photo with white background;
- Any documents relevant to the reason you need the stay permit, including a letter explaining your circumstances (preferably in Chinese) as well as any related proof.
How will I know if the extension is approved?
The entry-exit officer will approve or deny your application on the spot. If approved, they will give you a date within seven working days on which you can return to pick up your passport.
How much will the stay permit cost?
Typically, a stay permit costs RMB 160. Payment is exchanged upon pickup.
Will I be able to renew my residence permit if it is expiring soon?
Yes. A residence permit is not technically a visa and therefore is not subject to extension restrictions. It should not be necessary for those staying in China on a residence permit to apply for a stay permit.