The expat community in China has been abuzz since yesterday, when practically every English language blog and media channel published about comments made by Liu Haitao, an official with China's National Immigration Administration, regarding extending foreigners visas.

Mr. Liu announced on Sunday at a press conference that in order to facilitate foreigners' stay in China during the battle against the COVID-19 outbreak, foreigners will have their stay or residence permits extended automatically for two months without needing to apply or go through any special procedures.

Source: 在华外国人停居留期限到期,可自动顺延2个月


The announcement was too vague for our tastes at ShekouDaily and left quite a few questions unanswered. We realize that the topic of visas in China is a difficult one for many and no one wants to risk losing their visa because of misunderstandings. So we held off on any publication of the news until we can get confirmation on the important points you need to know. Unfortunately, having been Sunday afternoon, it was difficult to get any official confirmation immediately following the announcement. Now that it's Monday, we've been able to confirm three key points with the help of our readers who went out of their way to contact immigration directly:

  • Which types of visas exactly does this appy to?
  • When exactly does this take effect?
  • Does this apply to anyone no matter if they entered China before or after the announcement?


Here are the Details:

There are three types of stays in China:

  • Tourist visa, F or M visa, issued by Chinese consultate overseas;
  • Visa extended in mainland China “stay permit”;
  • Resident permits for working, studying or family reunion.

Under the new rule, during the new coronavirus outbreak protection period, and effective immediately, all of these types of visas will automatically be extended for 60 days without needing to go through any application procedure. Anyone who has overstayed their visa will not be deemed to have overstayed as long as the overstay started on or after the 20th of January, 2020. 

Additionally, if you only have a 30-day tourist or business visa and you enter after this announcement was made, you still qualify. You will still be granted the 60 day extension without application.

This is the current policy and is currently being granted to anyone until further notification.

UPDATE: Still unclear? Click here for some example scenarios for further clarification.

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