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  • Nangsi

    Convert Tourist Visa to Study Visa

    This comes up so often I figured it should be a pinned topic. This is my understanding of it, if anyone wants to add anything do so and I'll edit it in.

    1) Can I convert a tourist visa to a student visa?

    Strictly speaking what you do is come to China on a tourist visa and your university then handles the application for a residence permit - which is not strictly speaking a visa, but is near enough. As long as your university has told you to arrive on a tourist visa you shouldn't have any problems.

    2) Why won't the university give me the documents I need to get a student visa in my home country?

    Because it takes time and money and you might not turn up. Even if you do get the student visa, you still need to go through the same process of applying for a residence permit, so there's no advantage to you either way.

    3) Cool, so I can get a 30 day tourist visa, travel for a few weeks then turn up at the university...

    Probably not, as the resident permit application takes time. It's impossible to say how long, but advice would be to have a minimum of two weeks left on your visa. Bear in mind the university may hold on to your documents while they wait for everyone's to be ready,and the PSB may have hundreds of applications to process. Ask, and make sure the university is aware of how much time is on your visa when you hand in your passport.

    4) I keep seeing that visa rules change all the time - what happens if I turn up and can't convert the visa?

    That's unlikely - I don't think we've ever had a report of someone who has been told to turn up with a tourist visa then being turned away. The university wants your money, after all.

    5) Can I get the residence permit early?

    Maybe. There might not be anyone at the university. The university might want (reasonably enough) to do everyone in one big batch. Basically you'll need to ask. If you can get the university to give you enrollment documents and so on, you could probably do it yourself, but you'd need to get the medical yourself (rather than being bussed there with all the other students), go along to the PSB yourself, etc. You can ask, but don't expect massive enthusiasm - the university expects students to turn up when told, not when convenient.

    X) I have this other random question...

    Best people to ask are at the university, they know more about what they can and can't do than we ever will. 'Course, if they don't pick up the phone you can ask us.

    2 months agoin Visa & Legalities-All
    Answers(3) Comments(0)
  • MartnezL

    I was wondering if anyone has had luck converting a L visa to a X1 visa in China. I have read some things that say since 2013 you can not convert a L visa to a X type visa. Can anyone confirm this?

    I contacted the Chinese consulate in Chicago and they said that they do not know. Tonight I will contact Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau and ask them.

    2 months ago

    Based on my experience in Beijing last fall, due to the glut of new students and the October 1 holiday, it takes about 3 weeks for the processing of the residence permit. Keep in mind you can't even apply for that until you get your medical results, which for me took about 10 days for the university to receive following the hospital check-up. Depending on the date you register, you may have to wait 1-2 weeks to get on your scheduled bus to the hospital. So, even though I started doing everything as soon as possible after arriving in Beijing, I was without a valid visa for a few days while waiting for my residence permit to be processed. Some people were waiting 3 weeks without a valid visa (i.e. 30 days + 3 weeks) until they got their residence permit. One guy I know, due to the delay in getting his medical results couldn't even apply for his residence permit until several days after his 30 day visa had expired. But, he had ended up getting his residence permit no problem without any fines. In my opinion, as long as you are able to apply for your residence permit before your 30th day, you'll have no problems. You'll at least have the visa application receipt to show the police (if it comes to that) that you have filed the paperwork and just waiting for your new visa.

    What really annoyed me was my residence locked me out of my room on the 30th day because I hadn't given them my new residence permit. I had to explain to them I would have it in a few days.

    2 months ago
  • Diogo
    Five days is probably cutting it close; I'd guess that the most common number I've seen and been told before is something like 10-20 days for processing in Beijing. It may get done faster than that (depending on guanxi, among many other things), but I guess they cite that high number on the off chance it is delayed and you then become illegal...
    2 months ago

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