One of the most cumbersome things about living in China (or anywhere other than your home country) is dealing with visa renewals. On May 22, Shekou Management and Service Center for Expats (MSCE) held a Q&A session with two officers from the Entry-Exit Department of Shenzhen to answer visa-related questions during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The following responses were reported by Shenzhen Daily

Q: If expats are now abroad and their residence permits expire before the borders reopen, can they apply for any type of visa to return to China and reapply for the residence permit or do they have to start with the Z visa again?
A: Foreigners who could not enter the Chinese mainland within the validity period of their residence permits due to the epidemic can enter with visas of type Z, L, M, F, Q and S when the epidemic is over. They shall submit applications for work permit extension to the foreign experts affairs authorities before applying to the Entry and Exit Administrative Department of the Shenzhen police for the extension of residence permits.

Q: Which department will be responsible for announcing new regulations and how will it be disseminated so that SMEs can find this information easily?
A: New regulations and policies will be published on official WeChat accounts and websites of government departments. You can follow WeChat accounts, ‘国家移民管理局’ (National Immigration Administration) and ‘ShenzhenForeignAffairs深圳外事,’ and visit the website Shenzhen Government Online to get information on the latest policies and regulations.

Q: Will individuals still have to quarantine when they come back?
A: For now, any individual, Chinese citizen or foreign citizen, needs to quarantine when they come back to China. And please check the epidemic prevention and control measures of your destination city in China before your flight. For example, if your destination is Beijing, your entry port will be arranged in other cities and after your quarantine in the entry city, you can enter Beijing.

Q: What should I do if my visa is going to expire?
A: First, your current stay can automatically be extended for 60 days during the epidemic, but the 60-day free automatic extension can only be used once. If this 60-day extension is going to expire, then you need to go to the Entry and Exit Administrative Department of the Shenzhen (出入境) to apply for a stay permit (停留证).

Q: How do individuals contact their closest Chinese embassy or consulate to apply for a visa?
A: You can visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, which has a list of all Chinese embassies and consulates around the world. You can search according to region and find the nearest one to contact.

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[Cover image via Unsplash]


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