Here’s a hot tip. Don’t overstay your visa, they really don’t like it. Over the four years or so of staying in China I was always on time with renewing my visa, in which case I would travel to Hong Kong and get it renewed, or, go to the local PSB (Public Security Bureau) in the mainland and get it renewed there.
This time, through bad planning and stupidity, I had overstayed the visa by about four days, so I went down to the PSB at Louhu in Shenzhen, and was informed that I was to be given a deport notice and that I should leave the country. Dramatic! I explained that I had an apartment and other concerns to take care of, he said he would give me a 7 day visa to take care of my things. Also needing a new passport, they kindly allowed me extra time to arrange a passport replacement and then return to the PSB to get the 7 day visa pasted in.
I also had to go to the local Police station where I was registered (temporary residence registration that all long stay visitors are supposed to do), and stated what happened, and was then asked to sign a confession, and was lucky enough to be given a warning, they can dish out fines in the realm of 5000RMB per day. I was fortunate.
Back to the PSB in Louhu, explaining that I wanted to return to China, they said I would have to get a visa in another country and that I should try Hong Kong if I did not want to return to Australia immediately. So, off to Hong Kong I go.
I couldn’t decide whether to go to the China embassy or go via a visa agent, I chose to go via a visa agent, in this case Forever Bright Travel. Once they saw that I had overstayed, they pretty much said no chance, even though I had corrected everything and made a confession whilst in Shenzhen. The Foreign Ministry in HK, where they forward the documents, really don’t like people who overstay apparently.
They said there was little chance of the visa being approved in Hong Kong. And that I would have to go to my home country and apply from there. So, some advice. Don’t overstay your visa. The only option I had was to get a ‘Port Visa’ which allowed me back to the mainland for a short period, more on that below. Update: after completing the port visa and returning to HK, I submitted my details again, asking for a L visa and was approved. Apparently, once they can look back and see exit stamps that are within your visa stay period, things are OK. But they also warned me that they are cracking down on visa renewals due to illegal workers who keep renewing in HK and returning to the mainland teaching illegally under an L visa and not paying taxes etc..
Getting a Visa and Renewing Visas in Hong Kong
Firstly I dont think this is something that should be taken for granted if you look at the Foreign Ministry Office website it states ” If you don’t reside or work in Hong Kong permanently, you are required to apply Chinese visa from the Embassy or Consulate-General of Peoples’ Republic of China in your resident country.”
Regardless, people still get visas in HK, which you can apply at that office, or via a visa agent as mentioned earlier. There are many types of visa and you’ll need the right supporting documents depending whether you are coming for business, pleasure, studying or visiting relatives. You can also get visa’s that are issued by the PSB in Shenzhen, in HK via a Visa agent you may be able to get 30 day single entry, and at the Louhu border you can get a Visa On Arrival, or Port Visa, for 5 days. The PSB office at the Louhu border is open between 7.00 AM and 11.30 PM. The price for select countries is 168 RMB, a picture of the tariff table for different countries is below:
The Port Visa office is located after you cross the border from Hong Kong, there will be a duty free store on your right, look ahead and you will see the Shenzhen border with cues of people, look left and you will see and escalator that goes up one floor to the office.