Shenzhen  Stuff

First off, hello, I'm Steve.

I'll be moving to SZ in the beginning of March or maybe end of Feb for my company, but I've never been there. I have a Chinese partner who has been running the supply side from SZ since '07 but now I need to get over there and stop trying to do all this work from the other side of the globe.

Anyway, I keep getting conflicting info on getting a work visa, one site will say it's the same as the rest of China, the other will say SZ has a separate one.

Can someone from the US how you went ahead and got a visa that lasts more than 5 days? 

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Same as it is all over China.  You can apply for a business visa in the USA via the embassy/consulates or with any of the visa agencies there.

I'm not aware of SZ have a separate work visa. Mine is just the same as I've had anywhere else. Since you're moving here that means you'll need to look at a Residency permit, and that goes hand in hand with a work Visa. To start with, you'll need to get a health check done in your home country, and get a letter from the company you'll be working for in China. You'll either need to visit the Chinese consulate in your country with your passport and said paperwork, or ship it all to an agent for them to take to the consulate. 

From there you'll get a Z Visa which will get you into the country. Once in the country, you'll have to get another health check done, and get your company to do the paperwork to convert the Z to a proper work/resident permit. (You have 30 days to get the conversion process started, not finished, but started.)

Where you can run into problems here can be anything from missing paperwork, to it taking longer than 30 days for your company to get its act together, to them not actually getting you a work visa but a business or tourist visa instead. If you are working and getting paid by a company in china, you have to have a work visa. If you have a business or tourist instead, you are working illegally. Problem is, those visas are cheaper and easier to get, and shortcuts/jury-rigging is the usual way to fix things in China than actually dealing with the problem correctly.

If your company is going to go this route, they won't be telling you. Educate yourself as well as you can on the process, and watch what is going on like a hawk. If they know telling you something might upset you, then they won't tell you, even if it'll make you more upset later when you find out they didn't tell you, or lied to you about it. Its just how things work.

Anyway, best of luck to you.

Oh wait, I didn't see the part about wanting to LIVE in China.  I should have realized that when I saw your profile and it says small business owner with interests in language exchange and dating.

Just come on over on a tourist visa, multiple entry and do visa runs to Hong Kong when needed.

what business are you in? Consumer Electronics, Mobile Phones, parts? 

I have been here just shy of 6 years, and can give you some tips on how to do it all by the book, or avoid the book altogether

contact me by message......

i suggest you dont listen to most advice of the people on szstuff, as most are illegally working as "english teachers" until their schools or massage parlors are busted

either apply business visa, or work permit/residence permit. You can get a 6 month visa in HK for business with a letter and a business card from the USA. This will give you 30 days at a time in China....

Ok thanks guys. So it's not different than the rest of China, that's good. 

Although I think I can get away without a work visa, I might as well just do it the right way.  Knowing I have 30 days helps too.

Ha, I didn't realize I was in to Language Exchange and Dating, I was in a hurry to post when I created my profile. 

Whats all this condescending tone about english teachers?  Is this a Shenzhen thing or just a thing?

Just getting a vibe man....

Do you intend on "working" in China or there on business?  I mean if you own the biz and are coming over to establish a supply network or setup things, you do not need a work permit.  Basically, if you are not earning money within China you do not need it.  However if one was just starting out and wanting to supplement their income by teaching or DJ, then there is a problem.

Ok, thanks.  That explains it a little better.  The company is incorporated in the US, money goes to my US accounts and I pay my partner his share through bank transfer.  Once in a while a transaction goes through him first, but I just deduct the appropriate amount from what I send him. 

Anyway, I'll be networking not working so I suppose the business visa is best. 

I'll probably find it before anyone replies, but how long does a business visa allow me to stay in China, and how many days do I have to exit before coming back?  Weekend trips to other countries could be fun, but week/weeks or a month not that fun..

There is no one set rule for that, oftentimes it depends on how well connected your agent is. You might get a 6-month, 2-entries, 30-days stay visa, or you might get a 1-year, multiple entry, 30-days stay. But I think a 3 month, double entry would be the "standard". If you're hanging around HK and make decent money, then you don't have to worry about it - once your visa expires or you run out of entries, you just go to HK and get a new one.

The only thing you don't want to do, is overstaying your visa. If your visa says 30 days stay, plan on leaving on 28th or 29th day of your stay (leave a margin for unexpected things). Overstaying can be no problem at all (sometimes they don't notice or just don't want to bother themselves, especially if you overstayed only a day or two), but legally they have the right to fine you (not costly), detain you (Chinese jails ain't pretty), and even ban you from coming again. Standard procedure (if you're nice, humble and play stupid) is to fine you 500 RMB per each day you overstayed (up to 5000 RMB, I think) and give you a document with all the visa rules to sign (so that the next time you overstay, you can't say "Oh, solly, I didn't know"). 

The SZ visa you're mentioning is a special type of visa that is valid ONLY for SZ, and only for 5 days. You can get it on arrival at Luohu or Huang Gang borders. Easy to overstay, not useful for you. 

Whether or not you need a working visa is up to you, but if you're planning on doing everything "by the book" and absolutely legally, then getting a working visa makes no sense for you, for many different reasons (starting with the fact that it's actually not that easy to get legally, ending with the fact that according to Chinese law, you're supposed to pay income tax in China on all your income, both the one you make in China and outside of it; for a US citizen who already has a similar deal with his own government, that's costly). 

In general: if you want to get paid in China for the work that you're doing here, you will need a "working visa". If you make your money outside of China and you don't need to have any income here - just get a business visa. 

Ok, found it :

I think I got some bad info from some of those stupid catch-all websites whose main purpose is to rank highly in google for the ad revenue, with absolutely no regard to accurate or useful info. 

May make another topic, but for now, how about driving in SZ?  I don't have a driver's license in the US.  Long story short so not to get too far off topic, I drove like I was in a fast and furious movie when I was young, still battling getting it back.  Anyway, will it be easy to get one in China?  ( I've decided to slow down )

You need a Chinese DL to drive in China, no other, not even the international DL is allowed. It's not costly to get one, if you pay to the right people you can get it even without actually showing up for the tests. Or you can drive without one - most cops won't check a car driven by a foreigner, since they don't speak English. And even if they do, penalties, especially for first time offenders, aren't all that big. 

Having said that - people in SZ drive like idiots. Other big cities (BJ, SH) are a bit better, but only a bit. Going against the main traffic, riding in 5 rows of cars where there are three lanes, suddenly stopping in the middle, trying to decide whether to take the turn or not - that's normal. The way I see it, the only good thing about driving in China is that speeding is seldom the reason for car crashes or collisions - people here don't drive fast, too focused on not getting hit by sbd else. 



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