Extending Your Stay in China during Covid-19

60-day automatic extension:

60-day automatic extension only works if you are already in China. It only grants exit out of China. It does not grant you entry into China or re-entry into China.

Life after 60-day automatic extension – apply for stay permit:

If you are nearing the end of the 60-day automatic extension and would like to stay longer, then you would have to apply for a stay permit. They have been granting only 30 days at a time. It’s recommended that you go apply for your stay permit 7 business days before your 60-day automatic extension expires. Scroll down to see the list of required documents for the stay permit application. 

***Caveat: The stay permit will replace / cancel any visa you had, including tourist visas, business visa, family visas, and any visa you can think of. China allows only 1 visa at a time. You can always re-apply for the visa you had, i.e. 10 year L-visa, in your home country, after the pandemic period is over. 

(Edit: I just got the following answer from someone: “When I called two days ago they said M visa can apply for 2nd extension after automatic extension ends that DOESN’T cancel existing visa. Haven’t applied yet though so not sure what happens in practice.” )

(Edit2: Someone confirmed that, after the 60-day automatic extension, he applied and got another extension and it did not cancel his existing multiple entry M visa. Read more details here. Meanwhile, another person with a multiple entry S2 visa also got an extension without the multiple entry S2 visa. To see the person’s notes, click here. It seems that the exit-entry headquarter located in Pudong will say they won’t cancel your existing multiple entry visas – M and S2 visas, confirmed thus far. Whereas, other exit-entry bureaus say they would cancel existing visas.)

(Edit3: Five good Samaritans shared their experiences in extending their visas. Scroll down to find their stories under “Visa-Related” articles.)

You would have to apply for 30-day stay permits every 30 days if you want to continue to stay in China.

Other options to staying longer in China:

Get a work permit, study permit, or a spouse visa to someone who has a residence permit or a Chinese citizenship.

Required Documents For Stay Permit Application

Source: https://gaj.sh.gov.cn/crj/enzwgk under stay permit tab

“II. Documents required:

1. The applicant’s original, valid passport and visa;
2. An original and photocopy of the Registration Form of Temporary Residence for Visitors filled in with the applicant’s current valid passport and issued by a local hotel in Shanghai or the police station in the district of Shanghai in which the applicant resides;
3. A completed Visa and Residence Permit Application Form for Foreigners, and the applicant shall go to the local exit-entry administration of public security organs in person to take a free photograph, or the applicant who meet the relevant requirement of applying for visa without come in person shall submit one color identification photo (taken within 6 months, white background, 2-inch, bareheaded, without modification, photographic paper printed, without smears);
4. Supporting documents consistent with the reason for application:
(1) Visa-exempt foreigners shall provide application documents corresponding to the visa service notice relating to the reason for entry;
(2) Foreign seamen shall submit the seaman’s book (or other international travel documents), a verification letter from a shipping agency, and an air, boat, or train ticket with a confirmed date and seat, as well as family relation certificates for any accompanying family members;
(3) Those approved to renounced Chinese nationality shall submit their Certificate of Renunciation of Chinese Citizenship, foreign passport (or other international travel documents), and documents verifying the reasons for the stay;
(4) Foreigners whose reason for residence has been terminated shall submit proof of such termination;
(5) For foreign infants born in China, the applicant shall submit the original and photocopy of its birth certificate (including auxiliary pages) and valid passports (or other travel documents) of both parents;
(6) Relevant documents proving other reasons for the stay.
Notes: 1. Exit-entry administrations of public security organs may, as they deem necessary, require applicants to attend an interview or submit additional supporting documents (such as proof of financial support, proof of change of information such as name, or business operation certificate, etc.). Applications which fail to provide the requisite information within the required time will be rejected, unless caused by a force majeureevent.
2. All decisions of exit-entry administrations of public security organs rejecting applications for extension, replacement or re-issuance of ordinary visas, or rejecting foreigners’ applications for residence permits or permit extensions, shall be final.”

  • police registration (accommodation registration)
  • application form (available at exit entry bureau)
  • standard visa photo for all china visas
  • a statement explaining why you need to stay longer in China (and, if applicable, no available flights to your home country… home country banning people coming from china etc.)
  • and any applicable supporting documents (printed screenshots of airline flight schedules, countries regulations during the coronavirus period, etc..)

A Stay Permit will cost 160 RMB for most nationalities but it seems it can cost as much as 800 RMB.
[Pay-it-foward?] When you get your stay permit successfully, I hope you consider paying-it-forward and share your experience so that others can be better informed with the latest information you share with us. Please email shanghaiexitentry[-a-t-]gmail.com your nationality, cost of stay permit, and anything in your application process worth noting that you think others would find helpful  

Sources that will cover new announcements by the government:

Below are some sources that would most likely announce / cover news on policies that affect foreigners.

  • Ministry of foreign affairs‘ website: https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/web/
  • Wechat official account: shanghaifabu 上海发布
  • Exit-entry bureau Wechat official account: shgacrj 上海公安出入境管理
  • [my favorite] Shanghai Unicom’s English Wechat official account: WOShanghai
  • And other expat magazines / classifieds: smartshanghai.com, thebeijinger.com, etc…

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