How to Get a Shanghai Business Visa
It’s a seemingly simple process to get a business visa in Shanghai. There are just two steps (at least for US passport holders, many other nationalities should be similar):
Shanghai Business Visa Steps
- Get a tourist or business visa from outside China (if you are already in China, the easiest place may well be in Hong Kong. See a post about how to get a China visa in Hong Kong). If that’s how you got to China, great. If not, you need to leave and get a new one (I just had to leave because my employment visa expired).
- Apply for a business visa at one of the companies that handles these types of visas two weeks before your visa expires (one week before for rushed service). The typical fee for this is about 2000 RMB for a six month unlimited entry business visa. This is a whole lot easier than trying to go to immigration and doing it on your own, and somehow the requirements are a lot lower – usually just your passport and two pictures.
That’s it. It seems in Shanghai you can get a visa with no restriction beyond the length of the actual visa (business visas from Hong Kong limit your stay for each entry to 30 days, which is okay if you are living in Shenzhen or Guangzhou, but otherwise is a huge headache).
Why is Getting a Business Visa in China so Much Easier Than Getting A Short Term Residence Permit?
The process for getting a one year residence permit in Shanghai can be quite tedious. Why are the requirements for an employment visa so high? Or rather, why are the requirements for a (semi-legal) business visa so low?