Hi forum users, I need some good advice from ex-pats and others in the know about the 5 year visa rule in China. I have been researching into the internet for possible answers yet they seem to baffle me, each website offers a different answer.
I have been living and working in China for 5 years on the same type of work visa (Z) for 5 consecutive years, so does that mean that I must leave China after my employment contract expires? I really do not want to leave due to settling down here, so legally are there any possible ways to stay?
My second question is a colleague is in a similar position he is now on his 4rth Z visa and next year will be on his 5th and also doesn't want to leave due to many factors. He has an idea that next year he will leave his job and go onto studying full time in China, the University will change his visa into a student visa (X) which will then give him a year out, and after his study year he will return to work and apply for a Z visa, is he then able to stay for another 5 years?
Personally it would be difficult to leave because for me it took so long to find a healthy balance living and working in China and the thought of leaving it behind to start again is rather depressing. The trials and tribulations of visas in China, if anyone can offer any advice or possible solutions that would be very much appreciated.
Is there any reason why you would not just go down to the PSB office and find out for sure from them? They will tell you the rules and are usually quite accommodating.
I always find, that if you tell them what you want to do, they will help you find the best way to solve your problem, within the regulations and the law.
You make a valid point about going to the PSB office, the reason I am asking on the forum is that I would rather go with some knowledge about the situation and be prepared to seek out other options.
In the past I did meet someone who worked at the PSB who just said 'you need to leave after 5 years' without any explanation, which is one of the reasons I thought I could at least try and get some information before embarking on a visit down to the PSB office.
Any advice would be greatly welcomed.
The rule is 5 years in ONE province. After 5 years, say in Sichuan, you must leave and stay elsewhere. After one year you may return to Sichuan.
Several in my city had to leave and all are still in China. 2 plan to return to Sichuan.