China visa question - L - F?

Old Jul 27th, 2004, 01:03 AM
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China visa question - L - F?

Can I change an L visa to an F visa once I am in Beijing, if I get the right credentials from my language school?
I have an L visa for 70 days, but have been told by the school that once there, I don't really have to change it.
Is it likely I could be 'caught' with the wrong visa. If so, what are the penalties?
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Old Jul 27th, 2004, 01:28 AM
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The change required for proper legal employment would be to a Z, a proper working visa, not an F. The information provided by schools is generally such as to induce you to take up the position, and its truthfulness is by no means guaranteed. While there are expats who work for long periods on a succession of F visas, and all goes smoothly, if you put yourself in the position of working illegally, you effectively forfeit the right or ability to ensure the enforcement of the terms of your contract, and in many cases these contracts are breached in one way or another. Any terminal benefits such as bonuses or air tickets are in particular likely to be imperilled. Essentially the only valid clauses in a business contract in China are those which it will cost a party more to break than to abide by.

There are Web sites which particularly cater for those currently working as teachers in China, or who are considering taking up employment there, where you'll find advice born of direct experience, and a large number of horror stories, too. If you do a search of the Frommer's site you'll find this very topic has recently been discussed.

Peter N-H
http://members.shaw.ca/pnhpublic/China.html
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Old Jul 27th, 2004, 03:58 AM
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Peterm,

Thanks, but this is for me to be a student, not a teacher.
My school says L is fine, but if I go back to the embassy here in London with a request for a new F visa for the same period as my L, it might look like I was telling porkies as to my intentions when I first applied. It is TLI in Beijing where I will be studying.
Any more advice?
Thanks,
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Old Jul 27th, 2004, 08:16 AM
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Ah so. In that case there is very unlikely to be a problem, assuming that your course is shorter than 70 days.

You will be able to buy one extension of 30 days in Beijing. Changing to an F visa in Beijing should not be possible, but with the assistance, rather expensively, of certain dodgy agencies serving expats, probably is.

But the student visa, the X (for xuesheng) visa is something else again. To buy an F visa before leaving home you'd need a support letter, and if you have one then it doesn't matter than you've changed the purpose of travel (expect no refund). But the school would only be able to give you support for an X visa, I suspect.

In short, if your L visa is long enough, then don't worry about it. This isn't a country which is pro-active in government in any way, and not one where people are stopping you to ask to look at your visa all the time. There's no profit in it, and they simply don't want the hassle, and even if it happened, as long as there's a valid visa of some kind there, no one's going to ask further questions. The school stands to lose out if there's a problem with your visa. If it's happy then there's no problem.

Peter N-H
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Old Jul 27th, 2004, 10:30 AM
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Nigello: "Telling porkies as to my intentions?" I confess that's a British expression I've not heard-it's cute!
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Old Jul 27th, 2004, 11:19 PM
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To tell porkies = to tell lies
Porky pies = lies in Cockney rhyming slang
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