How to submit a visa application at the Shanghai Exit-Entry Bureau

This is a 6-step guide on how to submit your visa application at the Shanghai Exit-Entry Bureau. There are a few stations on the third floor you need to be familiar with. Please refer to the floor plans and step-by-step process. 

6-step process:

Step 1: Take photos at orange photo booths

[Step 1/6] The machine will prompt you to take your glasses and hats off. Chin up or down etc. It will take two photos. You get to pick whichever one you like better. If you like neither, you can re-start the process. Once you’ve selected a photo, the photo booth will print a receipt for you with a barcode. Your photo has now been saved digitally and will be automatically inserted in your application form on the next step.

Step 2: Print your application form at blue machines

[Step 2/6] Look for machines that resemble airport self check-in machines. Follow the instructions on the screen to print your application form. You will scan your passport ID page then the photo receipt’s bar code. The machine will automatically populate your application form with your info and the digital photo you took moments ago. 

Steps 3 & 4: Fill-in the blanks on your application form, then ask for a queue number from the receptionist 

[Step 3/6] Go to the standing desks where you can borrow a pen (or bring your own pens) and fill in the blanks on the application form. Most importantly, you will see samples of application forms along the wall that can assist you in completing your application form. These include your home address, company name, company phone number and company actual address (actual office address usually differs from the address where their business license was registered). You will also find company chop next to your signature field. Don’t worry about the company chop or signature. Your company should have already provided you with a document with the company chop on it.

[Step 4/6]  Go to the receptionists with your completed application form and ask for a queue ticket. One of the receptionists will check whether you have filled in the forms and provide you with a ticket. However, the receptionists are not trained to check for accuracy. The immigration officers 

Step 5: Wait in the seating area and watch the queue screens

[Step 5/6]  There are displays hung from the ceiling with the queue number and booth number. Take a seat in the seating area because your wait time can range from 30 mins to 2 hours. When your number is coming up soon, I recommend you to STOP ALL distractions (i.e. smart phones). Keep your eyes on the displays!! DON’T MISS your turn.


Step 6: Submit your application at the window booth you have been assigned to

[Step 6/6]  When your queue number shows up on the displays, go to the corresponding booth number that you have been assigned to. 

If all is good, the visa officer will ask if you want to pick up your passport or have it delivered. If you want it delivered, the officer will ask you to go pay for the delivery at another booth near the bathrooms. Refer to the map & photos at the bottom of this page. Alternatively, you can pay for delivery while you are queuing for your turn in step 5. In order to do this, you should be ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that you are not missing any documents.


If you have overstayed on your current visa, then the immigration officer will tell you to go to room 303 and go talk to the officers there with your documents. The Overstay Officers will look at your documents and ask why you overstayed etc. In my case, they did not ask or say anything to me. 

Extra materials to help you understand the space better

The following diagram corresponds to the tags of photos seen above. You can understand the position and direction of where the photos were taken on the third floor. 

Below are some extra reference photos to help you understand the space better.

You wanna make sure you have the right documents before you go!! You can click here to visit their English site that have the list of required documents for various visa applications.

If the bureau introduces any changes to the submission process or you have any suggestions on how to improve this guide, I would appreciate it if you email to: shanghaiexitentry at gmail dot com. 

Wish you the best of luck on your visa submission!!

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