This is more of a guide than one of my regular blogs, about extending your visa. At the beginning of this month I had to extend my visa for an extra month as the residence permit I was on expired before I planned to go back home.
As I was technically still under contract I wanted my employer to do this for me because it’s so much simpler for them to do these things- and it’s their job- but they weren’t willing to help me 爱莫能助. So…
To get the extension you need a temporary residence document filled out in Chinese, stamped by the place you’re staying at (or with a recipt from hotel), and also stamped by the local police station nearest to your residence. Probably the hardest thing about this is finding the nearest police station, the right department, the right person, the right time of day, the correct celestial date etc etc etc On top of this If you need to find someone at one of these places that speaks English, then you can forget it.
Technically, as I’m now a tourist I’m only meant to be staying in designated places for foreigners i.e certain 3/4/5 star hotels. (but, of course, I’m not doing this!) I took the form to my local police station, and after eventually finding the right person to talk with, he asked me where I was staying, what I was doing etc…, how long I’d been here. I was fortunate to meet a very helpful polieman, probably a similar age to me and very eager to help.
We started talking about football, David Beckham, basketball (I always say just because im tall doesn’t mean I play basketball!) The officer was obvioulsly bored, the other police in his office were playing majiang (mahjong) on their computers.
They have a database of all the foreigners that have registered before, and he tried to look me up on this database but gave up after I told him I haven’t used a Chinese name to register this. He didn’t seem like he cared much, just going through the motions, he was more interested in talking about Manchester United.
He then went to the next office gave the paper to his superior – who was sitting in a reclined position chain smoking – then he gave the form the red stamp.
After this I went to the place in Changchun that deals with visas, it’s the city Public Security Bureau 市局 near to People’s Square on guangming lu .
I’ve extended visas myself before, It really is very straightforward when you know how, a million times easier than trying to do this in a western country I’m sure.
Every time I have come to this place it’s always been packed with Chinese applying for passports, permits to travel and the like. I think they need a bigger building.
Annoyingly, there is only one desk that deals with foreigners (desk 3), you can’t just line up with the Chinese. (Interestingly Hongkong and Taiwanese also have to use this desk, one country right?).
As my old visa was a residence permit (Z visa) I had to have this changed into a L (旅游) tourist visa if I was to stay in the country. For me this presented no problem as I’m not working and I only wanted a 1 month extension.
For this you need to give them a photocopy of your previous visa, photo page in passport and bank statement (According to them you should have 800 yuan per day of stay, so it isn’t cheap!)
You’ll be asked a few questions – I was asked about my old visa, where I was working, what I’m going to do now and why I want to stay in China. For the last question
I simply said ‘我想去旅游’ ‘I wanna go travel!’ and that was sufficient to asuage her!
I’m told by others that they do speak some English here, I did everything In Chinese so I’m not sure of this – but whether you could do everything without knowing some of the language, I’m not so sure. But it would be interesting trying.
Then you will be given another A4 sized form to fill in, which is the actual visa application form. You need one passport sized photo for this. Took about 2 minutes to fill in, gave that back then got a recipt telling me to come back in three days time.
The L visa costs 160 yuan and takes 3 days to process, I applied the day before my visa was due and got it back with the new visa date 1 month after the expiry of the old one.
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