Five Questions and Answers Regarding Work Permit, Visa and Immigration Matters
Prolonged periods of lockdown in parts of China, like Shanghai and Beijing, have shrouded these cities in a blanket of uncertainty and fear of losing one’s autonomy, livelihood, sanity, and more. The announcement of loosened restrictions on 1 June did little to allay the fears and uncertainties that many people continue to experience. As a result, many are looking to leave the country in search for greater freedom. Enquiries on visa and immigration related matters have increased 50%1 since the lockdown in Shanghai, and the Chinese government has stopped issuing passports to its citizens to curb movement and travel.
As restrictions are being lifted in stages and people are slowly regaining some form of freedom, many are still struggling to navigate the changes while reviewing alternative plans for living arrangements. This is especially crucial for employees who have been relocated to China for work.
In this article, we will answer some of the burning questions you may have regarding work permit, visa and immigration matters.
1. How do I extend an expired work permit & residence permit during the lockdown?
- Work permit renewal can be done virtually with e-Stamped documents. If e-Stamp is not available, it can be renewed, at a maximum, for three months each time with a commitment letter signed by a legal representative.
- If your residence permit has expired during lockdown, as per the immigration officer’s verbal confirmation both over the phone and on site, it can be renewed, with no penalty, before August 2022.
2. How do I extend the expiry date of entry visa of destination city due to limited or frequently cancelled flights?
- Requirements may differ across cities. For example, in a recent case, we managed to extend an employee’s entry visa to Shanghai from Qingdao. We submitted all required documents on 30 May, and the visa was granted within two weeks.
3. How do I depart China if my visa has expired during lockdown?
- We can work around the issue if your visa has expired during the lockdown and you want to depart the country. We handled a similar case where the employee was looking to exit the country on an expired visa. We worked with the tenant representative to obtain the “proof of lockdown letter” from a neighbourhood committee. With that, the employee was able to travel out of China with no penalty. However, this must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis depending on the current situation of the city.
4 Is the PU Letter still required for a visa application for entry to China?
- According to the latest news and updates released by the Chinese government, the PU letter has been exempted starting on 6 June for both employees and their family members coming from Singapore, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Italy, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, USA (Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago), who are looking to apply for the Z visa or S visa.
- The PU letter is still required for M/F business visa applications.
- Foreign employees and eligible dependants who are approved to work in China can apply for the Chinese visa at the overseas Chinese embassy/consulate directly by presenting a work permit/work permit notification letter or kinship documents (for accompanying family).
5. Can I apply for a Q type (family reunion) visa to visit my family in China?
- Application for a Q type visa without PU letter has been resumed in some countries, but you will need to check with the immigration authorities if your country still requires the PU letter.
- This is a major step taken by the government to shorten the processing time for new arrivals and to welcome foreigners back into the country.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to find out more about other current visa and immigration issues.