How to Extend or Renew your Foreigner Visa in China

Extend or Renew your Foreigner's Tourist / Travel L Visa

Renewing a foreign visa in China requires a bit more paperwork than other countries.  This guide we’ll hopefully help speed up the process for you.

This guide is catered to US Citizens, but would be helpful to citizens of other countries, such as Canada, Australia, the EU, etc.  This guide was last updated November 9, 2010.

About Tourist (L) Visa’s in China

A tourist visa, also known as Type L Visa is commonly given out for a 30 day term.  You can apply for a double or multiple entry visa and will be granted multiple visits over a 6-12 month period (depending on what you ask for and what city you ask for it).  For US Citizens, it’s the same charge as a single entry visa, $130, for other countries, it runs from $30-$90 depending on the number of entries and time till expiration.

Extended your Chinese Tourist Visa

China does not have a process to ‘extend’ a current visa, instead they will grant you a brand new visa, so technically, you will have two separate (and both valid) visas.  This means you’ll need all the proper paperwork, and for US Citizens, another $130 USD.

Documents needed to (extend / apply for a new) Chinese Tourist “L” Visa

  1. Not in Beijing – See below, but Beijing has more stringent visa requirements that require ¥20,000 RMB in a Chinese Bank.
  2. Cash Money – ¥940 ($130 USD) for Americans, much less for other citizens.  Cash is king here, they don’t take credit cards nor foreign checks.
  3. Black Pen – I need to say this, as they had us redo pages of forms because we used ‘evil’ blue ink!  Personally, I they should make ‘red’ the official pen color to match the party.
  4. Passport – Your passport and visa to leave with them for 5 working days
  5. Photo – One 2 inch by 2 inch visa photo
  6. Hotel Proof – Receipt from your hostel or hotel, with an official stamp to show you’re staying there.  Let them know it’s for the Visa PSB (公安局) office as it’s different then a normal receipt.
  7. Bank Info – A copy of the front of a bank card that has money in it.
    1. I don’t know what the minimum amount is, but there is no way they can check, so I would recommend telling them you have over $4,000 USD.
  8. Copies:
    1. A copy of your passport information page
    2. A copy of your visa page from your passport
    3. A copy of your official hotel/hostel receipt
    4. A copy of your bank info

And be sure to check for Chinese Holidays as they are frequent and a great excuse to shut down an office building for 1 or more days.

And if you’re a couple travelling, be sure to have copies for each person, even on things like a shared bank account.  I was able to use 1 bank credit card, photocopied twice for my wife and I who share the same last name (but the bank card had my first name).

There is detailed information for Xi’an below, including photos on how to navigate the multiple offices you must visit.

Different Cities, Different Requirements

Different cities in China have different requirements for extending, a.k.a., applying for a new visa.

Beijing [not recommended]

The Beijing Public Security Bureau (PSB) [PSB in Chinese: 公安局; pinyin: Gōng’ānjú)] will require you to open a bank account in China and deposit ¥20,000 RMB!!!  Yes, you will need to open a bank account, transfer over $3,000 USD and then get a Certificate of Deposit from the local bank to provide to the PSB.  Because of this, I recommend hoping on a train and heading south to other PSBs.

If you must go to the Beijing PSB, here’s the address.  It should be open Mon-Sat 8.30am – 4.30 pm

2 Andingmen Dongdajie
Dongcheng District, Beijing
Tel: 86-10-84020101

Take the subway, #2 or #5 to Hulxinxijie / Nankou stop at the NE corner of the #2 line.

Xi’an

The Xi’an PSB in the Shaanxi providence is much easier then the Beijing PSB and is a common stop of foreign travelers.  They have separate offices for foreigners and I haven’t seen the lines be too crazy.  Note, the Xi’an PSB has moved, as of 2010.  The Lonely Planet 2010 is INCORRECT and has it located near the bell tower within the city walls, not outside.  It is now a 5 min taxi ride from the South Gate, due south, outside the wall.  From the gate, it will run you about ¥15.  I believe the office is open from 8:30am – 5pm.  Here is the address to show your driver.

Xi’an PSB Address:
Xi'an PSB address in Chinese

Navigating the Xi’an PSB office (it’s confusing):
Xi'an Foreigner's Tourist L Visa renewal office

Navigating the Xi’an PSB.  Give yourself 1-2 hours.  There is a place to make photo copies directly across the street (on the right side of the picture above) and places to take visa photos down the cross street, near the bus terminal.

  • Step 1 – Head to the right most door (in red) and goto the 2nd floor for Foreigners.  And for Foreigners, that means the 3rd floor, but it’s labeled 2nd, as it’s Ground, 1st, 2nd,….  You will fill out an application and hand over your paperwork, she’ll give you a form for the next step.
  • Step 2 – Head around the building and up to the 17th floor, room 1707 to get a form so you can submit payment.
  • Step 3 – Head back outside and towards where you were for your first visit.  But this time, in the center of the building, there is an office that will take your cash.  It is a mix of foreigners and locals, so it can get quite busy, but there is a spot reserved just for foreigners, so cut through the line (it’s okay, you’re in China) and head all the way to the right of the office and you should see the sign.  The office is ‘closed’ for lunch, from around 12p-1pm.

Leshan

South of Chengdu in the Sichuan providence, this is supposed to be one of the easiest places to renew a visa for foreigners as they are a bit more lax on the requirements, it’s not as popular of a destination for tourists, and is a day trip from beautiful Chengdu (120km) but if you visit, be sure to go see the Giant Buddha.

From friends, this is what I’ve heard:

  • Super easy application
  • You can get it in 1 business day
  • You must have a Leshan address for your hotel/hostel, there is a cheap hotel right next to the PSB
  • It will cancel your current visa and issue a new visa (as opposed to Xi’an which allows you to keep your current visa and get  a new one)

Other Cities in China

Here is a list of other PSB Visa offices located in various cities around China.

Other Information:

Applying for a Chinese Tourist Visa (the first time)

It’s recommended to apply for your Visa in your country of citizenship, as China will sometimes make it difficult to apply for a Visa inn a foreign country.  For instance, in South Korea, US Citizens cannot apply for a Chinese Tourist Visa at the Chinese Embassy, US Citizens must go through a third-party tour group, tacking on even higher fees.

Helpful Links & Resources:

Notes:

Have you had other experiences or learned of new helpful information or tips?  Please post in the comments below and I’ll update the guide.

33 thoughts on “How to Extend or Renew your Foreigner Visa in China

    1. I don’t believe you can renew for a year, you may be able to apply for a longer visa outside of China in your home country (or at least get multiple entry visas). But renewing for that long would be difficult.

      1. How long do you think they would give me? Also with, is it possible to go to Hong Kong and re-enter in China many times?

        1. It’s not possible to re-enter many times. You can probably get two 30 day visas only.

          But if you have special circumstances, you should contact your local Chinese consulate.

  1. Nice information.And now a days there are a lot of facilities offering by different banks so that to increase the user rate.And recently military credit cards are offering the best facilities.The best thing about this card is it automatically pays you the rewards in your account monthly without the usual $50 minimum like most credit cards.

  2. China Visa Extension for 3,6,12 month contact me :Sophia 150 000 84676 MSN: sophia-zouf@hotmail.com

    Chinese Visa Extension & Conversion
    We are a professional China visa agency with more than 8 years visa extension experience, we can help you to get 3, 6 or 12 month visa with 1,2 or M entry. Based on every visa situations we’ll make different visa solutions for each of our customer Reliable and safe, we can provide satisfactory service for you as below:

    01. We render 3, 6 or 12 months F visa to EU, US, AU passport holders.
    02. We render 6 months F visa for Philippines, Indonesian and Thailand and African passport holders.
    03. We renew the expired China visa.
    04. We render invitation letter for all the country.
    05. We render UAE Electronic visa

    We’ll always be here to support and help you.
    Documents required :
    1. The passport with the valid visa;
    2. One 2-inch passport pictures (with blue or white background);
    For more information, please contact me :

    Please answer the following questions for your visa solution and quotation:
    (1) What’s your Nationality?
    (2) When is your Latest Entrance Stamp on the Passport?
    (3) What is your current type of visa & When is your Current Visa Expire?
    (4) How long and how many entries you want to apply?
    (5) what kind of visa you want apply?

    > Welcome to China .
    > We can help you extend your visa for 3.6.12 months!
    > Mobile phone: 0086-150 0008 4676 (7*24 Hours)
    > Skype: sophiazou861218
    > MSN and EMAIL:sophia-zouf@hotmail.com
    > Address: 11th floor ,No.168 of Yuyuan Road, Jinan,Shanghai
    > web: http://www.visashanghai.com
    China Visa Extension for 3,6,12 month contact me :Sophia 150 000 84676 MSN: sophia-zouf@hotmail.com

    Chinese Visa Extension & Conversion
    We are a professional China visa agency with more than 8 years visa extension experience, we can help you to get 3, 6 or 12 month visa with 1,2 or M entry. Based on every visa situations we’ll make different visa solutions for each of our customer Reliable and safe, we can provide satisfactory service for you as below:

    01. We render 3, 6 or 12 months F visa to EU, US, AU passport holders.
    02. We render 6 months F visa for Philippines, Indonesian and Thailand and African passport holders.
    03. We renew the expired China visa.
    04. We render invitation letter for all the country.
    05. We render UAE Electronic visa

    We’ll always be here to support and help you.
    Documents required :
    1. The passport with the valid visa;
    2. One 2-inch passport pictures (with blue or white background);
    For more information, please contact me :

    Please answer the following questions for your visa solution and quotation:
    (1) What’s your Nationality?
    (2) When is your Latest Entrance Stamp on the Passport?
    (3) What is your current type of visa & When is your Current Visa Expire?
    (4) How long and how many entries you want to apply?
    (5) what kind of visa you want apply?

    > Welcome to China .
    > We can help you extend your visa for 3.6.12 months!
    > Mobile phone: 0086-150 0008 4676 (7*24 Hours)
    > Skype: sophiazou861218
    > MSN and EMAIL:sophia-zouf@hotmail.com
    > Address: 11th floor ,No.168 of Yuyuan Road, Jinan,Shanghai
    > web: http://www.visashanghai.com

  3. Just to let you know, it is no longer possible for ANYONE to get a Chinese visa in South Korea unless you are going to be in the country for more than 6 months, there is an additional requirement of an ‘alien registration card’. If you’re just passing through and planning on getting a visa while you’re there, you wont be able to. Pretty sure this changed around the middle of 2010. cheers!

    1. yeah, we ran into that same issue in Korea as we didn’t have an ‘alien registration card’ and the chinese consulate wouldn’t give us a visa!  However…, we heard through somebody at the consulate that you could apply through a Tour Agency in Korea and they can get you a visa – this is just what we did in October of 2010.  We had to pay a little extra and wait one week, but we received a dual-entry 30d visa (good for 60 days total).

  4. Hi, I know this question might sound a little stupid … but is it possible to renew a visa if you do not have any more available pages in your passport?

    1. Nope – you can’t. A friend of mine came a cropper and actually had to fly home to the UK, reapply for a new passport (as it is considered ‘expired’ if it’s full!) then apply for a new Chinese Visa before coming back to Beijing to complete his residency application. Cost him around 10 days and quite a few quid 🙁

      1. If you are US citizen you can go to the embassy here in Beijing and they can assist in adding pages to your passport without having to leave the country.

  5. Hello, I understand I will need a Chinese bank account if in Beijing. Is this easy to set up? And if I am not staying in a hostel or hotel but a flat I have rented, how do i get around this? Finally should I start applying for an extension the moment I arrive in Beijing? Can see this turning into a nightmare.

  6. Hi there, has anyone had a situation when a new passport has been issued (no more empty pages in the old one) however an old, no longer valid passport still has a valid visa. What’ s best to do: show up at the Authorities immediately after new passport comes to effect, or just wait until it expires and submit both passports for a new visa. Well, something tells me perhaps the former.  

    1. Good morning Anasalek

      The visa in the old passport is still valid.

      When crossing the border you take just both, no problem.
      I assume that the passport number has changed.
      The only thing you have to do now is to go to the local police in order to get a new Registration Form of Temporary Residence for Visitors,
      because the passport number has changed.
      You have to take both passports to the police

      Greetings Torsten Reckleben

  7. I am looking to get a visa extension on my ‘L’ tourist visa issued within the US. I am in Beijing, but I’ve heard that the PSB here is notoriously strict about extensions. I wanted to know if any one had any advice about the best city to which to travel in order to get the most favorable (and least difficult) visa extensions? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Do you also have an American passport?
      If so we can offer a 1 year F visa – each duration of stay 60 days – multiple Entries
      During the application you need not leave China.
      After you got the new Visa you have to get out of China and back inside to activate the new visa,doesn’t matter to where.
      If you’re interested just use our form mailer.
      Greetings Torsten

  8. The link to “Other cities in China” above takes you to a wrong site. We applied for a tourist visa in Hanoi through a travel agent. It took 4 days but we only got 20 days in China. We are hoping to renew once in China, somewhere in the south.

  9. I just had my one month tourist visa done at the Xi’an PSB as indicated in this post. The only error is the office opens at 9am, not 8.30am.

    1. I’m thinking about extending my tourist visa in Xi’an. Did they ask you to open a Chinese bank account with $3000 in it?

    2. Just did mine today (june 2014). Opening hours are 9am – 17pm.

      Another error : seems like they changed the way they handle payment, in a very good way, there is no longer any need for the “step 2” on floor 17, just head to the step 1 (rightmost door, 2nd floor), fill form, go out to step 3 (door next to first one), pay, go back to step 1 and it’s over.

      You can do copies on the floor right below step 1, for 0.5 yuan / page.

      Took me less than 30 minutes to get everything done, getting there at 9am. Everything was really quick. Total cost was 168 yuan.

      Only bad thing was they told me I could extend my visa just once, not twice, so I’ll have to leave China in 30 days.

      1. I’m just wondering why they only renew for one time?
        I thought they can renew twice..

        I had a 60 days L-VISA which I got in Germany. After the 60 days I renewed for another 30 days in Shaoxing (no problems to do it at all). Now I’m in Beijing but because it is quite inconvenient rule which ask you to open a Chinese bank account I wanna go to Xian (as I travel to Datong and then to Xian) and to apply for a second renewal.

        What do you think guys, will it be good way to go to Xian to do it?

        And other question: can I apply for a F-Visa in Xian with an invitation letter from a company located in Beijing?

  10. One day extention because of the tickets schedule
    Hi, I am Bolivian (South America) but I study and live in Brazil, I have a 15 days F visa , I am going to Guilin to an academic event. My flight is From São Paulo-Brazil to Guilin (connection in Beijing) round trip, I purchased a 15 days round trip. When I purchased the ticket I just think in my final destination (Guilin) in this case I think there were not problems, but I’am afraid to have to do imigration in Beijing . I am arriving in Beijing on July 16 early in the morning (immediately I will depart to Guilin), and my return is programmed for July 31st from Guilin, so I will be in Beijing on July 31st after midday, and the flight from Beijing to São Paulo depart on 00:20 of august, 1st, (but the policy of my flight does not permit me to left the airport so I will stay there just waiting for my fligth) I am afraid to be stopped or punished because of the time (some hours, because my entry in Beijing will be early in the morning). Thus, I would like to know if I will need to ask for a visa extension (just for some hours or a day) if you know about the PSB requirements in Guilin, and if it is an ease procedure and how much time it takes. Thank you in advance for your time.

  11. Hi guys – I have recently come into China on a Z visa. My employment isn’t working out, so I planned to travel around for a bit, before going back to England. Can i exit China on a Z visa after more than a month? Thanks very much!

  12. Hello! Thanks for this information! I was wondering if you knew the name of the hotel located next to the PSB in Leshan? Thanks!

  13. I’ve just extended my Visa in Leshan…It was straight forward….I just brought one photo, filled in the application and gave a brief description of my itinerary. I came the day after at 4 PM and they sticked the new visa which starts one day after the end of the first one…The staff is super friendly and there’s one young guy with glasses speaking a very good English!!! Good luck and Enjoy China 🙂

  14. Hi,
    thanks for the information. Does anyone know if there are other places where you can get a new visa in Sichuan or Yunnan than Leshan?

    thanks,
    Vera

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