Visas may be extended once you are within the country. However, those planning to live in China will quickly learn that rules and regulations are often not transparent and can change from situation to situation. The best bet is to inquire with the Exit and Entry Administration of the Public Security Bureau (PSB) when you are ready to renew or change your visa.

If you are in Beijing with an employer or school, they will more than likely help you with this procedure. Many employers retain the services of visa agents because of the constantly-changing rules.

Applicants must go to the Public Security Bureau (PSB) Exit and Entry Administration office for the municipality where you will be ‘resident’ on the night following the submission of your application materials. You do not need to make an appointment to visit the PSB. Make sure you have the address of your residence with you as you will need to fill out a form which requires the address. Smaller centers might not have good English speakers so it is a good idea to take a Chinese friend with you if you can. Ask at the hotel or temporary residence you are staying at if you are not sure where the PSB Exit and Entry Administration office is located. You can also call the PSB hotline to ask for the nearest location: 86 – 10 – 8402 0101.

It is not possible to hold two concurrent visas so when you apply for your new visa or extended visa, the old visa will be cancelled. The new visa will run from the date of issue. If you’d like to make the most of your original visa, it is a good idea not to apply until the old visa is about to expire so that you do not lose any unused time on the old one. A good rule of thumb is to allow two weeks until the old visa runs out before you apply for the new one.

You will need to gather the following documents:

  • Your passport – with at least one pair of blank facing pages and at least 6 months validity remaining on the passport. If your passport does not comply with these rules, you will need to get a new passport first. If you are entering on a visa that will be converted to a Temporary Residence Permit, it would be wise to have at least two pairs of blank facing pages left in your passport. Blank pages can be added by the United States Embassy in Beijing.
  • A passport photo – if you buy one from a recognized passport photo retailer you will ensure that you get photos of the correct dimension and background color. You can also go into any small photo shop and tell them the purpose of your purchase to ensure you have an appropriate photo taken.
  • The application fee in cash – this will depend on nationality and type of visa but will run a few hundred RMB. Bring 500 RMB in cash per visa to be sure that you can cover the fee.
  • Photocopies of current documents: 1) photocopies of your passport ID page; 2) your current visa; 3) your last entry stamp; 4) a photocopy of your residency registration*.

Residency Registration*

This is either the Temporary Residence Permit that the Z Visa and X Visa required within 30 days of entry, the registration slip from your hotel, or the accommodation registration printout from the police station for the area in which you are living. Everyone should have one of these documents since it is required that all foreigners must register their accommodation details within 24 hours of arriving in Beijing. If you are living in a hotel certified to accommodate foreigners, they have automatically registered you when you checked in. So if you are staying in a non accredited hotel, with friends, or in an apartment but have not registered, you should either register at the PSB or stay in an accredited hotel for one night in order to get the registration slip from your hotel. Please see the registration section for more details.

In addition to the above documents, you may need additional documentation depending on the type of visa you are renewing or applying for:

L Visa- This can usually be extended for an additional month with little hassle. If you are planning to stay longer at your hotel or check into another hotel, it can be helpful to show them a copy of your accommodation and/or flight itinerary.

F Visa- To extend this type of visa, you will need additional documentation from your sponsoring Chinese organization similar to those required when first entering the country on this visa.

X Visa- To extend this type of visa, you will need additional documentation from your sponsoring Chinese organization similar to those required when first entering the country on this visa.

Z Visa- To extend this type of visa, you will need additional documentation from your sponsoring Chinese organization similar to those required when first entering the country on this visa.

Important addresses:

Exit & Entry Administration of the Public Security Bureau: 2 Andingmen Dangdajie (by Xiaojie Qiao), Dongcheng District (8402 0101 8401 5294). Mon-Sat 8.30am-4:30pm.

Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau: http://www.bjgaj.gov.cn/eng/

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