I’m confused because I thought the answer was yes, from my research and from the last time I spoke to an official at the Shanghai bureau.
Yet when I went in this morning looking to extend my S2 visa, a different official said that visas cannot get extended twice. What have you guys heard?
During pre-covid times, you cannot get extensions more than once. (And they almost never allow extensions on business visas or tourists visas, starting a few years ago)
During covid times, they are providing 30-day stay permits indefinitely, as long as you prove that you cannot go back to your home country due to no flights / travel ban and that there is a local Chinese or a local company that will be responsible for you in case you run into trouble or run out of money.
However, they have also providing extensions based on the visa type you already have. So depending on whether you were on a 30-, 60-, or 90-day multiple entry tourist(L)/ business(M)/ private(S1 or S2) visa, then they would give you an extension with the corresponding number of days of stay.
So when you visit again, if the visa officer is adamant no extension again, then say you want to apply for a stay permit.
It’s common to hear cases where someone was rejected an extension but then it was granted the next day with a different visa officer at the same exit-entry location (or they went to another location). There definitely is the factor of luck – the visa officer you are designated with and his/her context. Arguments with their spouse or managers, waking up on the wrong side of the bed, starving and about to go to lunch/get off work etc can all affect your chances of your visa applications getting approved.
I would suggest going to the exit-entry/public security bureau when it opens in the morning 9am. (They actually open doors at 8:45am) Much shorter wait times and, more importantly, less crankier visa officers. They deal with all sorts of entitled people demanding and bs-ing. So remember to stay polite!
Good luck, Grace.
Just Another Expat