How to Renew a Chinese Visa

Renew a Chinese Visa
Renew a Chinese Visa (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Business in China is all about who you know, so finding a good visa agent is the best way to ensure a hassle-free renewal of your Chinese visa. If you would like to do it yourself, which is cheaper, you must renew your China visa if it is about to expire and you are in China. This can best be done in Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Immigration Office, Shanghai's Entry and Exit Bureau in Pudong or in your country of residence at the Chinese Embassy of Consulate.

Things You'll Need

  • Passport photo
  • Pink document from police station
  • Chinese visa
  • Passport
  • Plane ticket home

Have a valid unexpired visa in hand. Otherwise, you would not be renewing for a visa, but instead applying for a visa. If granted in Shanghai, a tourist (L) visa can only be renewed twice for 30 days each, allowing you 90 days in the country total. If granted in the U.S., it is possible to get a 60-day renewal, while some countries do not allow the renewal of Chinese visas. Contact your local embassy or consulate to find out for sure.

Gather your passport, one photo-sized photo and a photocopy of the pink registration you got at the police station when you entered China. At the office, be prepared to wait several hours.

Be prepared to wait three to seven days for the processing of your renewal. In China, this may entail making travel accommodations to, from and in Hong Kong or Shanghai. The wait at pickup should not be as long--most likely, 30 minutes to an hour. At the Shanghai office, there is the option of picking up the visa in person or having it delivered to your home or office for a fee.

Bring an extra photo when taking your renewal forms to the offices if renewing in Hong Kong or Shanghai. With this, officials will provide an official temporary passport for traveling the week without your passport.

Bring any proof of travel accommodations for your trip, especially your flight info, just in case. Officials will want to know that you don't plan to stay beyond the time limit you are allowed.

Tips & Warnings

  • You cannot renew a China visa by mail. It can only be done in person or through an authorized visa service.
  • The Shanghai Entry and Exit Bureau is at 1500 Ming Sheng Road. To get there by subway, take the Line 2 Metro. Get off at the station at the Science and Technology Building and take Exit No. 3. From there, it is a 10-minute walk, including a few hundred meters underground. You will go up a flight of stairs and will be facing east--walk forward (YinCun Road) and cross the first intersection (HeHuan Road). Continue past the Pudong Expo Building and the next building on the right will have a slanted top. This building is the Entry and Exit Bureau. Take a service number on the way in.
  • It always helps to be nice to the people working at the immigration offices, embassies and consulates. They control a lot of what you need at this point.
  • You will be fined a per-day fee or detained when leaving with an expired visa, with the exception of the first 10 days. In the first 10 days, you can go to the immigration office to escape the fine. Officials will ask you questions and tell you to not break the law again. The fines start on the 11th day.
  • When applying in Hong Kong, if you check "yes" to having a criminal record, you will not be granted a visa or renewal. You can reapply in your home country.
  • You are never guaranteed an extension or renewal of your visa, and officials are not required to give you an explanation.

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