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Overstaying your visa in China

Overstaying your visa in China

Today it is not too hard to obtain a Chinese visa. There are many types of Chinese visas you can apply for, depending on the objective of your trip and the duration of your stay. The important thing is that you do not overstay that visa. In this article, you will learn about what happens if you overstay your Chinese visa and what are the best methods of approaching the authorities if you do.

Getting a visa is easy

If you have a valid passport (>six months of validity left + 2 empty pages) and all the necessary documents then it should not take more than 2-4 days working days to obtain your Chinese visa. Depending on the country where you apply for it, you can choose to receive it faster, in just one day, but only in cases of emergency and if the Chinese Consular Office approves it.  If you want to travel to China, the best time to apply for the visa is 60-15 days before your departure. 

The Chinese visa is not expensive to get, and the price may vary from $30 to $140 depending on the type of visa, the country where you are applying and your nationality. You can use this visa if you are located almost any country of the world, including UK, Canada, Australian and most of EU countries from the nearest CVASC (Chinese Visa Application Service Center). If you are working or traveling in Asia, you also have to possibility to apply for a Chinese visa in Hong Kong.

Reading a Chinese Visa

Now you will learn how to read your Chinese visa. In this example, we will use an L visa, which is a tourist visa, so very commonly used. You can easily find a list of all types of visas you can opt for. Now, regarding the VISA above:

  1. Visa Category. In this case – L; 
  2. Expiration Date. You have to enter China before this date. If you don’t, it will expire, and you will have to get a new one if you want to enter China; 
  3. Issue Date. Is the date on which this L visa was released. This L visa had a validity of 6 months (29 may-29 November 2007); 
  4. Full Name. Applicant’s full name;
  5. Date of Birth. Applicant’s date of birth;
  6. Number of Entries. Represent the number of times you can enter and exit China with this visa. 
    1. “1” means that you have a single entry and exit. Once you exit China, it becomes invalid. Note: going to Macau or Hong Kong counts as an exit,
    2. “2” means that you can enter and exit twice before the visa becomes invalid, 
    3. “M” means that you have the privilege of entering and exiting Chine as many times as you need or want. Note: you can do so as long as the visa is valid;
  7. Duration of your stay. This represents the number of days that you are legally permitted to remain in China after each entry; 

Note: if you have a double entry visa that has a duration of each stay of 30 days, then you are obligated to exit China 30 days after your first entry. Then you can enter China a second time (before the expiration date of the visa), and you can stay another 30 days. 

D, J1, Q1, S1, X1, and Z Visas require a Resident permit for which the duration is most of the time 000. If you do not apply for the Resident Permit within the 30 days since entry, your VISA will expire, and you will have to leave.

What happens if you overstay your VISA?

The law is pretty clear on what happens if you overstay in China. In the beginning, you will be given a warning. In more severe cases, a penalty of 500 CNY per day will be imposed (not to exceed 10.000 CNY). Sometimes, but not too often, illegal residents are detained between 5 to 15 days. The law in clear but is still vague about what “serious case” means. 

If you wish to remain in the country more, and you have overstayed, you can make an application as soon as possible. You should also apologize for your error and promise it will not happen ever again. 

If you have overstayed but you are still leaving China, you can just go to the airport or border and deal with it there. Sometimes you will have to pay the 500 CNY per day fine, but if you’ve overstayed only one day, you can leave without being charged anything.

The biggest problem with overstaying your visa is that you could be deported from China with no right of re-entry for the next 10 years. Therefore, the best thing you can do is to respect the period of your stay and exit the country before your visa becomes invalid.

Photo Credit: Thetshirtco

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