Visa latitude for expats caught overstaying by pandemic lockdown

Chen Huizhi
Exit-entry authorities in Shanghai said they will not levy penalties and foreigners will be able to apply for visa extensions "later."
Chen Huizhi
Visa latitude for expats caught overstaying by pandemic lockdown
Ti Gong

Vikulov, an expat in Shanghai, gets a short-term-stay visa at the Minsheng Road branch of Shanghai Exit-Entry Administration Bureau on Thursday.

Expats in Shanghai who overstay due to pandemic control measures will get "understanding" from the exit-entry administration, Shanghai police said on Friday.

In the past few days, the administration's hotline, 12367, has received over 200 calls a day from expats who say they're not able to renew visas on time due to lockdowns.

"Those expats will be able to apply for a visa extension later with an exemption of penalty," said Yu Yijun, vice director of the law department of Shanghai Exit-Entry Administration Bureau.

At the Minsheng Road office, an expat surnamed Vikulov received help from the police on Thursday.

The visa for Vikulov and his family expired the previous day when the residential complex where they live was still under lockdown.

What's worse, Vikulov, who has just resigned from his previous job, is not able to get a work-type residence permit in Shanghai at the moment. Neither can he return to his country in the near term due to unavailability of flights.

Considering the awkward situation he and his family are faced with, the exit-entry authorities issued him and his family with short-term-stay visas.

"To those who have already purchased flight tickets and overstayed due to lockdowns, we will give them priority in the visa extension service once they can come to us in person to apply," said Zhou Chen, vice director of the bureau's foreigner document administration department.

Foreigners who leave China must possess a valid Chinese visa.

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