China F Visa Update: I Bring Good News for Some

Sunday, April 27, 2008 4:20

Was sent the recent UK Update, and it appears that clarifications have been made now.

I should tell you that I have sent out several emails to AMCHAM, US Consulate, and US China Business Council. I have not heard back from the later 2, and AMCHAM is still working to get clarification. So. Before doing anything, call ahead.

Second to that, if you are working for a company who has a China presence, and you are either planning on being here on a permanent basis, at least 180 days, or think you will be in and out quite a bit, make your life easier and get the Z visa.  You will need 4-6 weeks, and a trip to the hospital for color blind exam, lung x-ray, blood work, and ultrasound, but honestly,  it is worth it.

That is just my 2 cents.

After the break is the email from Ian Crawford of the British Chamber of Commerce

Chinese Embassy websites now makes clear that the following documents should be supplied to apply for F-visas:
(1) A valid original passport. There must be blank visa pages in the passport. Pages for endorsements or amendments can not be used as a visa page. The passport should be valid for at least 6 months;
(2) One completed Chinese Visa Application Form signed by the applicant.
(3) One recent passport photograph affixed to the visa application form. Life photos, copied photos and digital photos printed on ordinary paper are not acceptable.
(4) Visa Notification Form issued by the relevant department of Chinese government or the government-authorized company;
(5) A copy of Chinese hotel booking;
(6) A copy of outward and return flight ticket booking;

For documents required to submit for L visa, X visa, Z visa, J-1 or J-2 visa, G visa, please visit:

According to our information, in Shanghai there are two “relevant department of Chinese government”

1. Shanghai Foreign Economic Relation & Trade Commission.
The invitation letter is available to apply online (the website is in Chinese). The procedure is as below:

Step I: logon
Step II: fill out your “Company Name” and “Organization Code” and then press “enter” button.
Step III: follow the sign and fill out the “Basic Corporate Information”.
Step IV: fill out the application letter, print it out and chop it. Then proceed according to the word instructions listed at the back of the application form.
Step V: the progress of the application is shown online.

If it does not show “Complete” after the time is overdue (usually 3 days), please call 6275 2200 *265; When it shows “Complete”, the invitation letter is available to be picked up from “Shanghai Foreign Economic Relation & Trade Commission”. Please make sure you bring the printed application letter (chopped) and a copy of your business license with you.

Shanghai Foreign Economic Relation & Trade Commission
Tel: 021-62752200 * 265

Address: 11th Floor, No 55, Lou Shan Guan Lu


For rep offices / other organizations who may not have the “Organization Code” therefore could not do this online, you may contact the CCPIT.

Contact person: Ms. Qian
Tel: +86-21-53060228 * 519
Fax: +86-21-63878454
Address: No. 28 Jin Ling Xi Lu

Note: this lady only works in the morning.

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17 Responses to “China F Visa Update: I Bring Good News for Some”

  1. wague says:

    April 29th, 2008 at 1:57 am

    i am realy intrest if is posible i am ready to do it any how any cost if posible
    i am from mali i will like to work here

  2. Rich says:

    April 29th, 2008 at 4:05 am


    I do not know anyone who has found a back door for this. Either you can fill out the paperwork, or you cannot. So, find a job first before coming to China.


  3. Jennifer says:

    April 29th, 2008 at 5:10 am

    Do you know if once you have the paperwork done for the Z visa (and you are still in China) if you have to leave the country and go anywhere or if it has to be your home country? Also, does the whole family have to go or can the person whose work it is be the only one to go back? I can’t seem to find the answer to this anywhere. Could you help?

  4. Rich says:

    April 29th, 2008 at 7:53 am

    Hi Jennifer,

    My understanding, and this precedes the recent changes, is that you have to return to your home country. I am not 100% sure how this would be different for a family, but my guess is that everyone needs to climb into the wagon and make the trek home (unless you want to have the spouse/ kids on tourist visas until Christmas).

    AMCHAM just had a meeting, and I have asked that they send me the notes. Not 100% sure they will send, but if they do I will update on the website.


  5. mmUSA says:

    May 11th, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    hello fr USA…I have friends who are currently working in China as entertainers (singers & musicians) for quite sometime now. Unfortunately, the resort/rest who employed them didn’t secure a working visa for them, i guess for the simple reason that they can always get visa fr HK, needless to say that it has always been easy before the restrictions. Just like a lot of people staying in china, they also suffered the same fate of having to leave to go back to their country of orig. (on their case, Philippines)
    the resort needed them so badly espc for the summer but has no idea on how they can help them, they (mgt) suggested that if they can find a way they will be willing to do whatever it takes so they can come back & continue working with them.
    Can you suggest of a possible way on how they can apply for a Z visa, can they apply fr the phils? what are the requirements? I know i can search the net but after reading your column i felt that i can get the most accurate & reliable answer fr you. Any help or information will really be appreciated. You can respond here or my email shown above. Thank u so much!!!!

  6. Igniz says:

    May 12th, 2008 at 6:21 am

    These Visa Notification Forms for an F visa; I assume the business in China would have to acquire these from the MFA in their province?

    I can’t seem to find a source for those anywhere or any information on how to get one.

  7. Stefano says:

    May 17th, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing this information. Does anybody know where to get quickly the Visa Notification Form in Beijing?

  8. Rachel says:

    May 24th, 2008 at 4:55 am

    Hi Rich

    I am going to Shanghai to teach english for a year. I am waiting for work permit from School. Do you know how long does this take?

    I start teaching end June and have not got my tickets yet, which are getting higher by the second. Do you know if I can go with a one-way ticket if I get my Visa Z. Or is it better to get a return ticket. I don’t really know what dates i will be back home

  9. Michael says:

    May 27th, 2008 at 5:44 am


    I got as well a job for teaching English in Shanghai for 2 months and an other internship for 1 month in Shenyang. I am unsure if I need a Z or F visa for internships. I was told by my embassy that I would need a Z visa because the f visa would be valid for only 30 days. Can anyone confirm that?



  10. Andy says:

    May 30th, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    If anyone can clear this up or give me advice I would be grateful. As part of my degree I have to study a year at Nanjing University and I have a visa for that and a residence permit I think, and this starts in September. However, I planned to do a short course at Shanghai this summer and getting the visa for that is impossible. The rules keep chnaging but the last I was told is this:
    1. a tourist visa requires a return flight (which i dont have as I will be there 1 year+) and only lasts 1 month and i need it for 3
    2. even if i get a month 1 visa and buy a return flight planning not to use it just to please them, they are unable to extend or upgrade any visas until after the olympic games.

    With this in mind, how can I go to China this summer 3 months before my course at Nanjing so i can attend my 1 month course at Shanghai??

  11. allison says:

    June 14th, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    I have heard it might be possible to process a work visa in HK, through the wan chai visa office, rather than returning to the home country.. does anyone know if this is possible?

    I am currently on F visa, have all paperwork to apply for a Z visa but prefer not to fly back to USA to process.

    also, have heard a rumor that no visas (L, F, or Z) will be given to any foreigners of any nationality, regardless of country of application, after july 1.. does anyone have news about this or know if this is true?

    thanks for any replies!!

  12. Mark says:

    July 12th, 2008 at 1:30 am

    I am getting a Z visa now (I am in China). I have been told that I will only need to take my work permit to HK and wait 2 days for it to be processed there rather than return to Australia – that is a big money saving for me.

    Also be warned, L visa’s issued now have a requirement to leave the country every 30 days, don’t get cought out like many are now thinking that you are in for 2 0r 3 months and you just have 2 exit availabilitys, this isnt the case and if you or someone gets a 5000 yuan maximum fine, it is written in law that there can be a warning administered (doubtful) or a smaller fine imposed. As most Police will pocket at least some of the money you don’t have a great chance of it being lowered though. This is the actual law title and then the writing of that part of the law –



    Hope it helps someone.

  13. lao Hu says:

    July 18th, 2008 at 12:16 am

    Normal L type tourist visas can be extended at the local police station one month at a time for a maximum of three times.

    I’ve extended my visa twice already without any problems but was informed that it wasn’;t possible to get the visa changed into a Z visa and even if I had the paperwork that it had to been lodged in my home country.

    A lot of conflicting information mostly due to where and with who you dealing with at the time.

  14. Kevin LU says:

    July 21st, 2008 at 12:10 am

    # 12
    Where did you quote the law in Chinese? It is wrong information.
    The fine is not ranging from 100 to 500 rmb, but 500 to 5000 rmb. And the detention can be 3 days up to 10 days.

    Anyway, if you are not on purpose to overstay the visa and only 2 or 3 days exceeding the date, you may get a warning paper only.

    Don’t try it in Olympic period.

    # 13,
    Normally speaking, tourist visas can be extended twice (instead of three times as you mentioned), 30 days for each time without your leaving

  15. Tony Soprano says:

    April 17th, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    I overstayed 2 years and got me 10 days of detention because i finally turned myself in. I was requested to exit and re-enter within 10 days, which I didnt LOL
    I had a good reason though, I wasnt able to leave china. Monday they want to see me, lets see where this is going. Another 10 days of detention? No problem, food is nice there.

  16. Robert says:

    August 21st, 2009 at 2:17 am

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  17. Five steps to get the residence permit inBeijing, China says:

    September 17th, 2009 at 1:00 am

    There are five steps to get the residence permit in China.
    1.physical examination .You should do it in the hospital which is appointed by the consulate or embassy of PRC in your country or in Beijing International Travel Healthcare Center which is located in xi bei wang ,hai dian district.It is near Xi Er Qi subway station on line 13.
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