Good Samaritan Case Study 7:

L-visa holder's experience getting a stay permit

July 1, 2020


We’ve been reading with attention your website for a while now and it’s super helpful. Thanks for the efforts in helping strangers and putting your personal time into this. I thought I would share our recent experience as a little contribution and also as I have noticed in the forum some people are in similar situations.

Getting a 30 day stay permit on a L (tourist) visa

The situation :
Me (work visa) + my partner live together in Shanghai. My partner has a 10 year L visa on an American passport, with 60 days for each duration of stay (used to be 90, but after a lost passport issue the duration of stay was reduced). Last entry of my partner was 5th of March, so with the 60 days gracious extension the duration of stay expires on July 3rd. (!) About two weeks ago, the local police officer knocked on our door as a “friendly reminder” that the visa was about to expire and that we should go to the entry exit bureau to sort it out. My partner went ahead to the entry exit bureau of the Huangpu district (which was indicated by the police officer). The Bureau was quite empty, the officers were nice and it wasn’t a long wait even in the afternoon. The officer told my partner to come back with a few documents a few days ahead only of the visa expiry date to apply for a 30 day extension.
Also, my partner told the bureau about the police officer, at which the bureau people looked a bit annoyed and were asking my partner to describe precisely which police officer it was (what he looked like etc) which was rather funny.

The result :
We went together on Monday as we had read that you need to provide someone’s ID (although I’m not Chinese, we thought we could give it a go as I work for a European consulate here). The same officer recognized my partner and was very helpful, and the bureau was mighty empty even though it was 3/4pm. He also helped us reprint a document through his desk instead of making us come back the next day (his first option). No difficulty in providing or justifying the request for an extension, the officer simply took our documents and explained the extension will be valid until 29th of July. He gave us the option of getting the passport delivered to our door or picking it up in Pudong. A few remarks :

– No mention of the stay permit voiding the 10 year L visa (we will see when we get the passport back, but he didn’t say anything about it)
– No need for a Chinese person to vouch for you / or someone else’s ID /or a letter of invitation written by someone else
– Passport will be sent back to our apartment via post on 8th of July (7business days later)
– We will have to pay *940 RMB* directly to the postman who drops it off

Documents brought :
– Registration police document (we had to refill it multiple times, for name issues, but they really don’t look at the date)
– Some printed screenshots of Google flights / ctrip itineraries (SH to San Francisco) with the problems clearly underlined (impossible transits in Asia, etc) – however the officer barely glanced at them
– Letter of intent written in Chinese by my partner himself and signed explaining clearly the situation (i.e. we can’t book flights because the transits are all banned / flights unavailable)
– Application form and photo slip which you can do directly at the bureau

All in all, the process was painless, although expensive. No feeling of being pressured in justifying the stay request or high questioning from the part of the officer. Everyone in the bureau was nice and it was really empty (and we headed there a monday afternoon around 3 pm…) .They helped us out even though they were about to close (around 4 pm)
We will send an update once we receive the passport if ever there is some surprise (like a huge X on the 10year visa lol 😀 )

Thank you for sharing your experiences with us, Good Samaritan #7, and in such great detail and TWO MORE follow-up updates afterwards shown below. Really appreciate it. 

July 15, 2020
Hi there,
Sorry for the late update, but here some extra info on the stay permit : definitely DOES cancel the tourist visa, as there is a huge red stamp on it now “CANCELLED” in English. We were still able to travel in mainland China with it without any issues at all.  Might have to reapply for a second extension, and if it works out I will send a second update.

July 29, 2020

Hey just another expat,

Another update, if people are concerned about getting a second stay extension / permit : we did it! Went to the same bureau, was absolutely empty, got a different lady though. She was asking much more questions, really prying into why my partner couldn’t leave (is it because you don’t want to go or you can’t go, what are you doing in china, etc) and I even had to show my documents to her as well. We understood her concern and answered honestly and frankly about the flight situation – we had called the airlines who fly to the US, so we didn’t BS or anything. She accepted, but said next time for a third extension it’s the Pudong bureau. Finally, 7 days until passport gets delivered at door for 940 RMB, same documents, same place. I don’t think they will accept a third time though.

I hope you will be able to come back into China soon, hopefully before the end of the year!

Stay safe and well

Please consider sharing your experiences in extending your stay in China and paying it forward to inform others during this challenging time. You can email your experiences / findings at shanghai exit entry at gmail dot com, all in one word. Thank you.  

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