Extending a Chinese Visa

What: It is possible to extend a Chinese tourist (L) visa two times for up to a maximum of 30 days each time. So if you had a 30 day tourist visa you could extend it twice for an additional 30 days each time, staying in China for 90 days.

It is also possible to extend a Chinese business (F) visa, but you will need to present an official invitation (if you used one from your own company back home to get your visa in the first place, then that won’t suffice) and the business license of the Chinese company that invited you.

Where: You should apply for a visa extension at the Exit and Entry Administration of the Public Security Bureau (PSB). The addresses of the PSB can be found on the “Advice” page of each city guide on this website. The exact requirements for extending a visa are different in different cities, so it’s a good idea to look for recent information on where it is particularly easy to get an extension. Currently, it is more difficult to obtain an extension in Beijing than elsewhere.

When: You can apply for an extension any time before your visa expires. You can even apply the day your visa expires, but if you don’t have all the necessary documents or your application is simply refused (very rare) then you only have the rest of the day to get out of China. In some cities, the PSB might refuse to do an extension more than 7 days before your visa expires. The new visa is usually issued from the date you applied for the extension. However, in some cities the PSB will issue the new visa from the date your original visa expires even if you applied earlier.

Processing generally takes 5 working days. However, depending on the city it is possible to have done as quickly as a few hours.

How: The following documents are required for extending a tourist visa:

1. Your passport with current visa.
2. A recent 2-inch color photo (standard passport photo).
3. Completed visa application form (this can be obtained from the PSB and filled out on the spot).
4. Residence registration certificate (the pink slip from your hotel or the “Registration Form of Temporary Residence” if you’re staying at a private apartment).

Some PSB offices will only require the first three of these documents and won’t worry about where you are staying. Others have an additional requirement that you need to show proof of funds – $100 for each day you want your visa to be extended. In most cases a printout of a bank statement would suffice, but in Beijing this money (¥25000 for a full 30 day extension) has to be in a Chinese bank account. Yes, you actually need to open a bank account in China to obtain the required document. Therefore, it’s best not to apply for a visa extension in Beijing if at all possible.

Once you have applied, you will be given a receipt that acts as a visa until you can pick up your passport with new visa.

Price: A tourist visa extension costs ¥160 for most nationalities, but is ¥960 for US citizens.

Alternative: Finally, it should be noted that you are quite welcome to apply for a 60 day or 90 day tourist visa in the first place. There is a good chance the consulate will issue it, and even if they don’t you can still extend your visa later so it’s worth trying. A 30 day tourist visa is the ‘default’ option, so to speak. So you won’t get a longer one if you don’t ask.