New visa procedures taking effect today will allow expats in Shanghai to renew their residence permits online without forfeiting their passports for a week.
China Daily reports:
Foreigners who have their applications approved online now must leave their passport at one of the offices of the Shanghai Exit-Entry Administration Bureau for seven days. This means they cannot leave the country, travel freely or open a bank account during that period.
The amended procedure truncates the waiting time to about an hour, provided the applicant takes all of the required documents to the administration’s office in Pudong New Area on the specified date.
“This is mostly aimed at foreign executives who need to travel often in China or internationally to do business,” said Li Feng, a spokesman for the administration, which operates under the Shanghai Public Security Bureau.
There is still a wait of up to one week for the visa renewal to be approved and stamped, Li explained.
Shanghai is one of the first cities in China to introduce such measures, aside from Hubei province, which began accepting expats’ online visa registrations in 2012.
New visa laws introduced on July 1 have led to a crackdown on foreigners overstaying their visas. By the end of July, there had already been 485 reported overstays from Hongqiao and Pudong airports.