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Update China Visa Rules And Policy (year 2013-2016) in Shanghai

VisaInChina starts this China visa news center since year 2008. Check the rules changing every year by clicking following links.

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24th Mar 2017, Based on the new “Foreigner's Work Permit” (FWP) policy. Now it takes about 15 working days to renew the work permit, plus 7 working days for the residence permit renewal. It's total 22 working days (before it's only 12 working days). If your employer didn't register in the new system, it will take extra 5 working days for online account registration. So VisaInChina suggest all my clients start your work visa renewal application with us at least 45-60 days before your visa expiring.

17th Mar 2017, Important Notice 1: From 23rd March 2017, the new “Foreign Work Permit” policy will start in Shanghai. Every company needs to register a new account in the new system. It takes at least 5 working days. To avoid any delay, please contact with your consultant of VisaInChina for the introduction of new system registration (Your company can start to register now!)

Important Notice 2: From 23rd March 2017, the new “Foreign Work Permit” system will start in Shanghai (much complicate paperwork than before). All old system will be shut down. If you have already gave your paperwork to VisaInChina, please co-operate with your consultant to make sure it will be submitted into government before 23rd March. If you will do your work permit application later after 23rd March, then please re-check with us again for the new requirements.

26th Feb 2017, To attract more foreign talent work in Shanghai, now the Shanghai government release the work visa policy further for fresh graduated foreign student, even they didn't have 2 years working experience (the minimum requirement for China working visa before), if they reach following conditions, they can still apply the working permit and visa here in shanghai directly (more details, please check it with our visa consultant):

  1. Have a Bachelors or higher diploma (Issued from any university in shanghai and graduated within 1 year)
  2. Employed by a company registered in Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) or Zhang Jiang high technology park.
  3. Healthy and No criminal record

16th Oct 2016 (update again on 18th May 2017), Shanghai as an experimental unit, will start the new “Work Permit” policy from November 2016, then from 1st April 2017, the whole China will take affect. According to new policy, the old “Alien Employment Permit” and old “Foreign Expert Certificate” will combine to one named “Foreigner’s Work Permit” (FWP). The foreign expert bureau will taking charge of it.

The new policy will divide the foreigner who works in China into 3 categories. Class A (Talent - encourage), Class B (Specialty - control), Class C (Normal - restrict), How to determine?

Class A (if you meet any one of following conditions):

  1. Selected by China talent import plan
  2. Internationally recognized rewards
  3. Scarce jobs encouraged by Chinese government
  4. Innovative and Entrepreneurial Talent
  5. Selected by the Youth-Talent project
  6. Personal comprehensive quality - score >85 points, score sheet below:
Item Criteria Points
Annual Salary paid by domestic company (Highest possible score: 20) 450,000 and above 20
350,000 - 449,999 17
250,000 - 349,999 14
150,000 - 249,999 11
70,000 - 149,999 8
50,000 - 69,999 5
Less than 50,000 0
Level of Education or International Professional Qualification Certificate (Highest possible score: 20) Doctor; Highest level International vocational qualification certificate; Senior technician or equivalent 20
Master's; technician or equivalent 15
Bachelor's; Senior Worker or equivalent 10
Related work experience
(Highest possible score: 20)
One additional point for every year above 2 years Maximum 20
2 years 5
Less than 2 years 0
Annual working time
(Highest possible score: 15)
(Unit: Month)
Above 9 months 15
6 - 9 months 10
3 - 6 months 5
Less than 3 months 0
Level of Chinese
(Highest possible score: 5)
If you are Chinese before 5
Bachelor's or Higher degree on Chinese study (Major) 5
HSK 5 and above 5
HSK 4 4
HSK 3 3
HSK 2 2
HSK 1 1
Age (Year)
(Highest possible score: 15)
18 - 25 years old 10
26 - 45 years old 15
46 - 55 years old 10
56 - 60 years old 5
Above 60 years old 0
Globally recognized university or experience in top 500 company
(Highest possible score: 5)
Graduated from Globally recognized high level university in the world 5
Work experience in Fortune Global 500 company 5
You own patent or intellectual property 5
Continuously work in China over 5 years 5

Class B (your job must be one open for foreign expat), and then you have to meet any one of following conditions:

  1. You have Bachelor or higher degree and 2 years full time related work experience.
  2. You have Bachelor or higher degree and Your salary is equal or over 26,100 RMB/Month (the government will check your income tax receipt next year)
  3. For foreign language teacher in China, you should have Bachelor or higher degree and 2 years full time teaching experience, and you can only teach your native language. If your major is Education, Language or Teaching or if you have recognized TEFL certificate, then 2 years full time teaching experience can be exempt.
  4. Personal comprehensive quality – score 60-84 points, score sheet above

Class C (number of employee has limitation) and it’s including:

  1. Foreigner who came to China based on governments agreement
  2. Internship based on government agreement (F.E. French intern 1000)
  3. Foreign maid who will come to China and serve for Class A
  4. Some seasonal job on border of China that is approved by Chinese government

To apply the “Foreigner’s work permit” (FWP), you need to apply the “Foreigner’s work license”(FWL) first, It takes about 20 working days all together.

Checklist for applying the FWL:

  1. Application form
  2. Working experience letter
  3. Applicant’s highest degree (Authenticated by the Chinese Embassy / Consulate, or Authenticated by the foreign Embassy / Consulate in China, or notarized by a local notary public in applicant's home country)
  4. Applicant’s police clearance (issued by your home country local police department or security department or notary public or Consulate in China is all ok)
  5. Health certificate
  6. Employment contract
  7. Other qualifications if you belongs to class A

If you belong to class A, then you will have following benefit:

  1. No age limit and no working experience required.
  2. Applicant no need to provide any original documents before you come to China
  3. No need to provide official police clearance (using letter of commitment instead)
  4. Have express service, processing time save 50%
  5. If applicant belongs to class A, list 1 (Selected by China talent import plan), most of documents can use letter of commitment instead.

Magic’s (from VisaInChina.com) comments and suggestion:

  1. Most of foreigner’s work permit belongs to class B, no preferential policy
  2. If you have the work permit (old system), you can get at least class B work permit (new system) for sure.
  3. You should start to get your highest education degree authenticated [ Check the procedure and sample here ]
  4. You should start to collect your country police clearance [ Check the procedure and sample here ]
  5. Make sure you provide your personal information and document accurately, because in the nearing future, the whole China will using 1 system and all the information is connected, so any mistake or inaccurate information will cause a huge consequence problem in the future.

If you know the procedure of obtaining above Authenticated Education Degree or Country Police Clearance, please feel free to email it to magic@visainchina.com or you can follow our official wechat and leave the methods there, I would like to share that with our audiences.

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1st Sept 2016, Shanghai government stop issuing official "Letter of Invitation"(LoI), it means right now, if the Shanghai company wants to invite foreigner coming to China for commercial activity (M visa), they only need to write the Letter of Invitation by themselves. And no need to apply it through the government.

17th July 2016, According to the new policy from Shanghai Labor Bureau, for the new working visa application, you are request to provide original 2+ years working reference letter instead of the copy.

1st May 2016, To attract more foreign talent work in Shanghai, now the Shanghai  Labor Bureau provide a preferential policy for fresh graduated foreign student, even he/she didn't have 2 years working experience (the minimum requirement for China working visa before), if they reach following conditions, they can still apply the working permit and visa here in shanghai directly (more details, please check it with our visa consultant):

  1. Master degree or higher degree (Obtain from the university in shanghai)
  2. Employed by a company registered in Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) or Zhang Jiang high technology park.
  3. Skill certificate suitable for his job

14th April 2016, According to the latest policy, the Labor Bureau requires every company to apply a user card (check the sample here!) if they want to hire foreign employee. It takes extra 5-15 working days. To avoid any delay in the future, we suggest every client apply it as soon as possible. More details about how to apply it, please check it with our visa consultant.

1st Feb 2016, Foreigners come from 51 countries who transit (destined for a third country or region - HK, Macau, Taiwan with booked a through air ticket) in Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang within 144 hours (6 days) are exempted from visas for China. Read More Details >>

20th Jan 2016, Shanghai entry-exit bureau request foreigners who got the new passport transfer their old visa to new passport within 1 month (count from new passport issue date), If you don't do that, you will be requested to show up when you renew your next working visa and you will face a warning or small penalty. (it might also affect your long-term visa application in the future, for example, 5 years working visa or green card application) -- Check our service here >>

11th Jan 2016, For the working permit renewal, According to the new announcement from the labor bureau, it will take 5 working days instead of 3 working days. So, we remind all of our clients, please submit your working visa renewal application (Service code: Z1 Service) at least 6 working days before it expires.

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9th Dec 2015, For the employee from HK, Macau or Taiwan, when you apply the working permit here in shanghai, you don't need to provide the health certificate anymore. Before it cost about 700RMB and takes 4 working days to get the health report, but right now, it's really convenient for the people from HK, Macau and Taiwan to work in shanghai.

1st Nov 2015, According to the new rules from the shanghai labour bureau, if you are working in the company as a GM or vice GM, you don't need to provide Company's Articles of Association (AOA) and the assignment contract signed by board of directors.

1st Oct 2015, According to the immigration regulation, If you quit your current company A and join a new company B, after we submit your new Alien Employment permit (with company B), you need to give up your former residence permit of company A and change it to a 1 month 0 entry M visa immediately to avoid the illegal employment, it will cost extra money and time.

1st July 2015, New Shanghai visa rules to be implemented. According to that, it will have a lot of advantage and innovation for the long term residence permit and the permanent residence permit (China green card) . We will keep updating our website focus on those changes if we get more information, feel free to refer to your friend if it helpful. Following are some changes in practice we just get confirmed:

  • If foreign expat work in shanghai continuously for 4 years, every year stay in China over 6 month. Your salary is over 600,000RMB per year and you paid your incoming tax for 120,000RMB per year, with no criminal record in your home country, then you can apply permanent residence permit (China green card or we called D visa);
  • If you work for the company which has the valid high-tech certificate (click here to see the sample), you can apply for the talents residence permit (R visa) for 5 years, after you continuously work for the company over 3 years, then you can apply the permanent residence permit (China green card);
  • Above 2 kind of foreign expat, can personally hire a foreign maid (ayi) and support the maid (ayi) to get a same length personal affairs residence permit (S1 visa);
  • For the university (in China) fresh graduated foreign student, if you plan to invest in Shanghai or open your own business in shanghai, you can apply 2 years personal affairs residence permit (S1 visa) until your business established.
  • For a normal foreign employee, you can apply the Z visa without leaving the country, this is very good since it can save a lot of money and time. (VisaInChina need to double confirm when it will take effect);
  • For a normal foreign employee, after 2 years continuous working in shanghai with a working visa, if you don't break any China immigration laws and regulations, you can apply 5 years long term working residence permit. (Check the Working Z visa section Z1 service>>)

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25th June 2015, From 1st July 2015, Taiwanese can enter mainland China with visa free, they just need to carry the valid TaiBaoZheng (in English: Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan residents - MTP). More details of visa free policy for Taiwan residents: Please click here to download the Q&A!

5th March 2015, China has a new rule (no.78 Rule) start from Jan 2015, especially for foreigner who comes into China to finish a short term work (less than 90 days). In that rule, it determines which kind of situation count as a short term working and what situation count as a short term business. Right now we can only see an outline of that rule, more details about how to process the short term working visa, it's still under discussion (VisaInChina will focus it and keep update). According to the rule:

Which situation count as a short term working? (less than 90days)

  • Foreigner comes to Chinese Co-operation Company to finish some technical, scientific research, management or guidance job
  • Foreigner comes to Chinese sport club/organization to have a trial (including coach and athlete)
  • Foreigner comes to China for a film shooting (including advertisement film and documentary film)
  • Foreigner comes to China for a fashion show (including model)
  • Foreign performance (for commercial performance)

Which situation does NOT count as a short term working? (less than 90days)

  • Mechanical after sales team come to China to repair, install, maintain, remove, guidance, training (Apply M visa)
  • Bid Winner come to China to do the project guidance, supervision, checking (Apply M visa)
  • Foreigner from head office goes to shanghai branch, representative office to have some short term work (Apply M visa)
  • Foreigner comes to China to attend the sports event, including coach, athlete, team doctor, assistant etc. (Apply M visa)
  • Foreigner comes to China work as a volunteer (Apply F visa)
  • Foreign performance (for non-commercial performance) (Apply F visa)

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1st Dec 2014, for the company legal representative, before it's 100% sure you can get 2 years employment permit and the residence permit, now most of chance, they only give you 1 year at the beginning. And when you renew your visa at the second year, then the government will approve your 2 years working visa application.

27th Oct 2014, for a foreigner who married with a Chinese, he/she can apply 2 years Q1 residence visa, if he/she start to work and apply the working visa, it's only 1 year. So he/she choose to work under their family Q1 visa instead of applying a working Z visa, please notice that count as illegal employment. It's very risky. As the Chinese immigration law says, if you start working, you must apply employment permit and working residence permit.

25th Oct 2014, the shanghai entry-exit bureau focus on the tourist L visa extension, they might ask you to provide more document to prove you are a real traveler, for example, hotel booking receipt, extended return flight ticket. And right now, more and more tourist visa extension application was been denied if you have lot of visa in your passport before and looks not like a normal traveler. So now, L visa extension success rate is only about 60%, before it's almost 95% success rate.

11th Sept 2014, VisaInChina found some clients try to:

  • Remove/ tear out their China visa from their passport in order to spare some empty pages.
  • Cross off the expired China visa to distinguish the valid visa.

Please don't do that, it might cause the visa application been rejected and the government officer might ask you to apply a brand new passport as a punishment.

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20th Aug 2014, If there is a Chinese company (register in Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Anhui, Beijing or Guangdong) invite you to China through shanghai pudong(PVG) or hongqiao(SHA) airport, you can apply the China visa on arrival in the shanghai airport. Before only shanghai company can apply the visa on arrival for their clients, more details, please check our "China visa on arrival" service.

24th July 2014, For the "Private non enterprise units" (it's one type of business in shanghai). Now if they want to to hire foreigner (not including citizen from HongKong, Macau and Taiwan), they must apply the "foreign expert certificate" instead of "Alien Employment permit".

13th July 2014, If you enter China with S2 visa, and want to extend your S2 visa in shanghai because of your relative works in shanghai, the relationship certificate must be notarized by either Chinese Embassy/Consulate in your home country or your country's Consulate in shanghai.

1st July 2014, if you enter China with APEC card or visa free (Japanese, Singaporean etc.). You can not apply the residence permit directly (work or family). You must enter with a paper visa paste on your passport, then you can apply the residence permit in shanghai.

5th Jun 2014, all the legal representative of the company must apply the China employment permit (working permit) first, and then apply the residence permit. Before, the company legal representative can apply the residence permit directly without the working permit.

18th April 2014, if you hold a working residence permit issued from other city, you can also apply the China driver license in shanghai. Before only the residence permit was issued at shanghai, then you can apply the driver license in shanghai.

1st March 2014, VisaInChina moved to new office, new address is: Room 820, No.555 WuDing Rd (near North Shaanxi Rd), Shanghai China [ -MAP- ]. Please make sure you deliver your document to correct address.

10th Feb 2014, Macau/HK 12 month Multi-entry (30-60 days limit of each entry) M visa service (Our “Business M visa” section, F0 service) is available.

10th Jan 2014, the shanghai traffic department increased the capacity of driving license written test (from 80 person per day to 200 person per day). So you don't need to wait a month or more to get an exam. Now you only need to wait maximum 5 working days.

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1st Dec 2013, Travelers from the 51 countries may apply for the 72-hour transit visa exemption, which are:

  • 24 Schengen countries in Europe: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherland, Poland, Portugal, Slovak, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
  • 13 other European countries: Russia, Great Britain, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania.
  • 6 American countries: The United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile.
  • 2 Oceania countries: Australia and New Zealand.
  • 6 Asian countries: Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

Will be granted a visa-free stay of up to 72 hours while in transit via following:

  • Beijing Capital Airport (PEK)
  • Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)
  • Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA)
  • Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU)
  • Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN)

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1st Sept 2013, new Chinese Visa Regulations to be implemented. According to that, it will have a lot of changes for the China visa new application (apply the visa outside of China) / extension (apply the visa in Shanghai) rules. We will keep updating our website focus on those changes if we get more information, feel free to refer to your friend if it helpful. Following are some changes we just get confirmed:

  • Some new visa type will be available: when you apply the China visa in the Chinese Embassy/Consulate outside of China, it will have 16 types of Chinese visas can be choose now. More details, Please check government website here. or you can download the new China visa introduction here: English version or Chinese version.
  • When your apply the Z visa in Hong Kong, you don't need to carry the medical check report anymore. But you need to carry your house rental contract or registration form of temporary residence or hotel booking document.
  • When you apply the Residence permit in shanghai, now it takes 7 working days instead of 15 working days.
  • When family member apply the family Residence permit in shanghai, before you only need to provide the marriage license and birth certificate copy, now they need it to be notarized by the Chinese Embassy/Consulate outside.
  • When a living partner (not married) apply the family residence permit in shanghai, before a certification from the applicant's consulate to prove they are living together as partner is enough, now they must register in their home country and the registration certificate must be notarized in the Chinese Embassy/Consulate outside.
  • All visa applicants are required to use the new Form from September 1, 2013
  • If your wife/husband is Taiwanese or HKese, you still can get 1 year family residence permit.
  • Before we have business F visa, not it is replaced by business/trading M visa. It's the same function at all. So for intern, they need to apply M visa to enter China for their internship now.
  • If your wife/husband is Chinese, you have chance to get 2 years family residence permit.
  • When you extend your tourist L visa in Shanghai, a big chance, the immigration officer might request you providing a Original certificate of bank deposit (1 day = 100USD deposit, so if you want to extend it maximum 30 days, then you have to show 3,000 USD or an equivalent of 19,500 RMB deposit in the bank certificate).
  • New! If you have working residence permit in shanghai, now you can sponsor your father and mother in law to get the same length family residence permit.

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1st July 2013, the new Chinese immigration laws take effect. According to that, it will have a lot of changes for the China visa application/extension rules. We will keep updating our website focus on those changes if we get more information, feel free to refer to your friend if it helpful. Following are some changes (for Chinese visa extension in shanghai) we just get confirmed:

  • For L or M visa extension, before it takes 5 working days, now it takes 7 working days.
  • For Residence permit application, before it takes 5 working days, now it takes 15 working days
  • Online application in shanghai was suspended, all the application must go through the immigration officer in person.
  • The immigration office request you to process your visa at least 1 week before it expires, earlier is better. Don't wait until the last 1-2 days.
  • Tourist L visa can only be extended 1 time, maximum 30 days. (before was twice 30 days)
  • If you register too late (over 24 hrs) in the police station to get the registration form of temporary residence, they can charge you maximum 2,000RMB for the penalty (before was 500RMB)
  • If you over stay your visa, they can charge you 500RMB/day maximum up to 10,000RMB (before was maximum up to 5,000RMB)
  • New! Business M visa extension: Only the company who invite you to Shanghai (which sent you the official invitation letter for you to apply M visa in the Chinese Embassy in your country) can support you to get extension in Shanghai.
  • New! If your wife/husband is Taiwanese or HKese, before you can get 1 year family residence permit, but now only can apply 3 month visit family L visa.
  • New! Employee's working residence permit must valid over 6 month, then employee's family member can apply the family residence permit with the same period of employee's visa. Otherwise, family member can only get 3 month visit family L visa.
  • New! For Living partner, before they can get a dependant residence permit attach to the employee's working visa. But now they can only get 3 month 0 entry visit family L visa.

28th Jun 2013, 3-6 month stay M visa services (Our “Business M visa” section, F1/F2/F3/F4 services) in HongKong was suspended. But 12 month Multi-entry (30-60 days limit of each entry) M visa service (Our “Business M visa” section, F0 service) is still available.

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2nd May 2013, Shanghai labor bureau tight the employment permit/visa policy, now for a company hire new foreign employee (both new application and transferring from company A to B, in our “working Z visa” section, Z0 and Z2 services), it takes 10-15 working days to know the result (approve or not), before it only takes 5 working days. And according to VisaInChina practical note, the reject rate is higher than before. Sometimes, the officer might ask for a notarized bachelor degree or working experience reference if they doubt the application. VisaInChina suggest the client watch out his/her visa carefully during the alien employment license/permit procedure. if time is not enough, extend your visa first to get more time to wait the labor bureau's result.

1st May 2013, We heard about the M visa policy (Specially for 6-12 month HK route M visa, Our “Business M visa” section, F0/F1/F2/F3/F4 services) might change after 1st July 2013. We don't guarantee F0/F1/F2/F3/F4 services will be still available after 1st July, so if you are interested in it, make sure you do it before 1st July 2013. (earlier is better)

20th March 2013, For US or French citizen. We can help you get 12 month Multi-entry (30-60 days limit stay of each entry) M visa in HK. It takes only 5 working days. Check here for more details >>

1st March 2013, the traffic bureau update their Chinese Driver License questions, we will provide you a DISC with all questions(translated in english by www.VisaInChina.com). During the exam, the traffic police will random pickup 100 questions. if you can get 90+ scores in the exam, then you can pass and get the Local Driver's License.

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1st January 2013, No visa is required for foreigners who hold air tickets to the final destination and have booked seats on international airlines flying directly through China, and will stay in a transit city for less than 24 hours and do not leave the airport.

Passport holders of following 45 countries and regions will be granted a visa-free stay of up to 72 hours while in transit via Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) and Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) & Hongqiao International Airport (SHA):

Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.

Restrictions of the 72-hour Visa-free Transit:
1. This regulation does not apply to passengers who travel on a single return flight (e.g., Hong Kong – Shanghai - Hong Kong), which means the destination and place of departure can not be the same.
2. The 72-hour visa-free stay only applies to transit via Capital International Airport. Passengers by train or any other vehicles should still apply for a visa in advance.
3. Visitors are not allowed to leave Shanghai to other cities during the 72-hour visa-free period. They can only depart Shanghai from Capital International Airport.
4. If visitors are unable to depart on time due to unavoidable reasons, such as flight cancellation or treatment of sudden disease, they need to apply for a visa from Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB). Otherwise, tourists cannot apply for an extension of stay in Shanghai.

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So if you have any problem with your China Visa or any problem related to your China visas: PLEASE CONTACT

logoMeshing Consultancy Services Co., Ltd.
Address: Room 820, No.555 WuDing Rd (North Shaanxi Rd), Shanghai China. [ -MAP- ]
Operation Time: Mon-Fri 9am-6pm (12:30am-1:30pm lunch) Public Holidy Check here
Tel1: 021-51699039 (You can inquire in English, Japanese or Chinese)
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