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Staying In Rented Accomodation

david lam

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Hi everybody.

I would very much appreciate anybody's help for my situation.

I plan to arrive in Beijing from Russia, and stay for about 3 months studying Chinese (preferably at BNU, but that might not work out with semester dates).

I have a Chinese friend here in London who has an apartment in Beijing that I would like to stay in. However I understand there is an incredible amount of red tape to go through regarding registering for a residence permit with the police. See here

I doubt whether my friend would be able to provide all the documents required seeing as she lives in London. However my question is: seeing as I only intend to study for 3 months, I can potentially come in on a 3 month F or L visa. Can I avoid registering for the permit?

In an ideal world, after the 3 months I would travel to Hong Kong, see some friends in Taiwan and return to China for some travelling. It would be great to do this without having to reapply for a visa. Is this possible on an F visa?

Thankyou one and all.


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As I understand it, the painful process is "Registration Form of Temporary Residence". Everyone in China needs to register their residence, irrespective of which visa they have. The "residence permit" is a special thing you get if you come with an X visa (?), but BNU will do that for you.

I have no idea how you would do this if you are staying in someone else's flat while they are not there.

Also, I'm not sure if BNU would allow you to register with an L or F visa -- anyone know? Seems doubtful.

As for returning after 3 months, if you get a single-entry visa, you can't come back in. If you get a multiple-entry visa, you can.

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BNU "gave" me an F visa when I studied there for one semester (6 month stay) back in 2006/7. I put "gave" in quotes because they simply provide the JW202 or whatever it is; technically its up to the embassy to decide which visa to grant. X visas are for stays of over 6 months.

I asked for a multi-entry visa (so I could return to the UK half way through) but the embassy said no, and that this is processed by the University if needed. BNU will actually apply for you to leave and re-enter if you leave the country while studying, but if your classes are all over then your F visa is also theoretically over, so when you leave for HK and Taiwan you'll need to apply for an L visa to re-enter.

As far as I'm aware, BNU don't do 3 month courses. You could start, do 3 months, apply for permission to leave for a week or two (stating a made up family emergency) and then when you return simply don't carry on with the course.

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Thankyou for that.

Adrian, can I ask which visa you came into the country on: an L visa I assume? As far as I understand it I can get an F visa in London fairly easily, so is there an advantage in not doing that?

On the BNU front, I've read your other posts about it and that sold them to me! However I would only be able to arrive early October. As BNU aren't getting back to me on this, do you know if I can start mid-term?

Thanks once again.


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