A seminar was held recently in Shenzhen to address issues related to visas for foreigners during the COVID-19 pandemic by the Shekou Management and Service Center for Expats.
(Photo: Southern Metropolis Daily)
According to the seminar, if a valid visa is set to expire during the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be automatically extended by 60 days. However, this extension can only be used once. Foreigners in Shenzhen whose visas have already been extended once but need to continue to remain in China are required to go to the Exit Administration Department of the Shenzhen Police to apply for a 'stay permit.'
For foreigners currently abroad whose residence permits will expire before they are able to return, they will be able to enter the country on Z, L, M, F, Q, or S visas when the epidemic is over, and submit applications for work permit extensions to foreign experts affairs authorities before applying for an extension to their residence permits.
If the expats are now abroad and their residence permits expire before the borders reopen, can they apply for any type of visa to return to China and reapply for the residence permit or they have to start with the Z visa again?
A: Foreigners who could not enter the Chinese mainland within the validity period of their residence permits due to the epidemic could enter with visas of type Z, L, M, F, Q and S when the epidemic is over. They shall submit applications for work permit extension to the foreign experts affairs authorities before applying to the Entry and Exit Administrative Department of the Shenzhen police for the extension of residence permits.
Which department will be responsible for announcing new regulations and how will it be disseminated so that SMEs can find this information easily?
A: New regulations and policies will be published on official WeChat accounts and websites of government departments. You can follow WeChat accounts '国家移民管理局' (National Immigration Administration) and 'ShenzhenForeignAffairs深圳外事,' or visit the website 'Shenzhen Government Online' to get information on the latest policies and regulations.
Will individuals still have to be quarantined when they come back?
A: For now, any individual, whether a Chinese citizen or a foreign citizen, needs to be quarantined when they come back to China. And please check the epidemic prevention and control measures of your destination city in China before your flight. For example, if your destination is Beijing, your entry port will be arranged in other cities, and only after your quarantine in the entry city, you may enter Beijing.
What should I do if my visa is going to expire?
A: First, your current stay can automatically be extended for 60 days during the epidemic, but the 60-day free automatic extension can only be used once. If this 60-day extension is going to expire, then you need to go to the Entry and Exit Administrative Department of the Shenzhen police to apply for a stay permit.
How do individuals contact the closest Chinese embassy or consulate to them to apply for a visa?
A: You can visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, which has a list of all Chinese embassies and consulates around the world. You can search on the map and find the nearest one to contact.