Living in China With Expired Visas
Having an expired visa in China is a no-no. If you live in China, you are probably already pretty aware of this. Let’s take a look at what you need a visa to do in China:
What You Need a Visa to do in China
- Stay in a guest house / motel / hotel (the more expensive the place, the more likely they will check for a valid visa – mid range hotels and up always check, guest houses in tourist cities rarely if ever check)
- Enter or leave China (kind of obvious one, no?)
- Rent an apartment
- Survive random spot inspections at your place of abode or (sometimes) on the street
So basically, unless you are adept at running from China’s police and living on the streets / in the wild, it’s a pretty good idea to keep your visa status up to date in China.
If you want to try and live without one, let me know how it turns out for you.
What the Chinese Government Can do to You if Your Visa is Expired
Legally, the Chinese government can fine you 500 RMB a day up to a maximum 5000 RMB, and can throw you in jail for up to 30 days if you get caught with an expired visa.
But you should be more worried about what could happen – like locking you up and throwing away the keys. Not that it’s likely, but it’s hard to trust the cops anywhere in the world, especially when you are a foreigner. So…
Be safe and keep your China visa up to date
This warning inspired by an article in today’s Wall Street Journal, which says that police are cracking down on undocumented / expired visa carrying foreigners in Beijing in preparation for the Olympics.