Good Samaritan Case Study 8:

How to apply for a stay permit

I read your website and wanted to contribute.

I found your website after searching around online. I needed a stay visa. A lot of people I asked told me a lot of different answers. I read all the other “good samaritans” posts and got an idea of what to do.

Here’s EXACTLY what you need to do:

1. Automatic 60-day visa extensions are over.
I came into the country just in the nick of time on March 7 with an M-Business visa (60 days per entry.) This means I should’ve been out of the country by May 5 or so. I went to the Entry-Exit Bureau (1500 Minsheng Lu) in Shanghai (where I live) and got the “automatic 60 day extension” the first time. This requires no paperwork, as it is “automatic.” This allowed me to stay until July 8 or so. Most people are beyond the cut off for the automatic 60 day renewal since the borders have been closed for some time.

2. Checklist of things you need to bring to get a stay visa:
-“No Flight Certificate” – This is simply a print out showing there are no flights available to your home country. I used the Trip app and took screenshots of flights for July 3 to July 10 (ten days.) I resized them on a few sheets of paper, printed them, and clearly circled all the dates and sections where it said “no available flights.”

-“Financial Support” – This is proof that you have money to buy a flight home if they become available. The government needs to know you’re not trying to stay here because you can’t afford to leave. I used my banking app to take a screenshot of my credit card balance and told them it was my account balance. Another couple I met took a screenshot of their actual account balance. Both worked. You also need to print this. (My account balance was in USD in case you’re wondering. It wasn’t a problem. The balance does not need to be in RMB.)

-Temporary Residence Form – This is the form that you should’ve gotten when you moved into your new apartment and registered with your local police station. You can get this in person or online at this website ( if you’re in Shanghai. You need to print out one (in color) or make a color copy of the one you already have (so they can see the red stamp.) Don’t give them your original. They will keep it.

-Application Letter Explaining Why You Need to Stay – This is exactly what it says it is. Write a short letter explaining how “there are no flights to your home country (with flight pics from above) and connecting to flights in other countries is impossible (especially if you’re American.) In the letter, I also included a sentence saying “the flight screenshots were taken from the Trip app (C Trip in Chinese)”, since they should be familiar with this app. Be polite in your writing.

3. Once you get to the bureau, go to the picture machine, take a picture of yourself, and keep the receipt (with your face on it.) Then, go to the main desk and get a number. It’s better to go in the morning, closer to when they open, for shorter lines. The staff takes a long lunch break around noon and wait times can be long during that time. Also, it’s better to go 2-3 days before your duration expires just in case there’s an error or you do something wrong. Sit and wait until they call your number. When they do, go to the window, give them the flight printouts, the letter, the temp residence, and the bank balance print out in one stack, along with the filled out “visa extension form.” The visa extension form can be found there and is straightforward.

After you give them everything, sit quietly, they will check it. If you have an M-Business visa like me, your visa will be cancelled. If you have a tourist visa, it won’t be. If you have an M-Business visa and you want to keep it, you should speak to the company that gave it to you about helping you renew it. If you don’t have access to that company, they have gone out of business, etc., you don’t have a choice, it will be cancelled.

They will ask you if you want to pick up the passport in person or delivered. If you pick delivery, you must go to the delivery window and get an envelope. The envelope is free, but you pay on arrival (to your house.) The envelope/delivery fee was 12 RMB. If you can’t write your address in Chinese, write in on your phone or show a picture of it to the person behind the counter. They can write it for you. Take the envelope back to the window that you gave your papers to, and that’s all. If it’s accepted at the window, that means it’s approved.

It cost me an astounding 940 RMB (plus the 12 RMB delivery fee) for a total of 952 RMB. The guy came directly to my door and let me use WeChat Pay. Normally, this stay visa fee is much cheaper, around 165 RMB. Unfortunately, the trade war between USA and China has caused a price increase for us. The Canadian and British people I’ve spoken to are still paying the normal fee.

I submitted by application on July 3 and it arrived ay my house on July 14 (about 11 days.) The stay visa takes up a whole passport page and has my face on it. It says it was issued July 10 and allows me to stay until August 3 (about 25 days + the days from July 3 to July 10.) I was told I could come back to the bureau and do the entire process again on or before August 3 if there are still no flights available or if I haven’t found a job.

The receipt come attached to the back of the envelope. Keep it. It has important personal information on it.”

Thank you for spending the time in detailing out your experience with us, Good Samaritan #8!!! 

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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