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ZhuoMing

Best visa option for an 8 month stay in China, with 4 of the months spent studying

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ZhuoMing

Hello, I am in the process of planning a big trip to China. I want to spend around 8 months in China, with the first 4 of the months being spent studying at Keats in Kunming, and the remaining time living at Chengdu and travelling all over the country. I was wondering how to handle the visa situation.  I am currently wondering what the exact requirements for getting an X1 visa are, and if there is some way to get that even if I will only be spending 4 months studying. One thought that came to my head is perhaps if I did say, 2 months at Keats, followed by two months somewhere else, and then return to keats for another 2 months for a total of 6 months. Would I be able to get an X1 visa in this case? And if I did would I be able to stay another two months after my studying is over? 

 

Obviously another option I have is to get a multi entry tourist visa, and just do little trips to other countries every two or three months, depending on whatever stay duration I get on the visa. This is doable but probably not optimal. Otherwise, I could get an X2 visa for the time I spend at Keats and switch it to a tourist visa afterwards. If I did this, how much extra time can people stay on an X2 visa? Will they grant a few extra days, weeks, months? I did a semester in China a few years ago on an X2 visa, and I remember some of my classmates stayed in China for a few weeks after the semester ended. I wonder how long this can be stretched out, and if there is a maximum time they will allow people to stay after their study period ends. This option would probably be better than staying on a tourist visa for the entire time, but I imagine it will require me to file a second visa application, and still do a few Hong Kong runs for the final few months of my stay. 

 

So my main questions are:

Is there some workaround I could use to get the X1 visa in my situation?

Whats the longest duration I can milk a student visa for after I finish studying?

If necessary, what is the process for switching a student visa to a tourist visa?

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889

What's your nationality? Americans and Canadians normally get up to ten-year tourist visas permitting a 60-day stay per entry. Britons applying in the UK usually get two-year tourist visas permitting a 90-day stay per entry. Schengen Europeans get a much rawer deal.

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ZhuoMing
1 hour ago, 889 said:

What's your nationality?

I am an American. The ten year multi entry visa is what I was considering, but I figured if I can get a student visa it might be better for my situation. 

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ChTTay

First thing that springs to mind is ... what have Keats said are your visa options? 

 

Can they get you a student visa for 2 months or do they themselves recommend a tourist visa?

 

I would guess you cannot stretch an X student visa after you’ve finished studying. They’re designed to last the amount you’re studying with a buffer for you to leave. The ways things are now I wouldn’t push it. You don’t really want anyone asking why you have an X visa for Keats Kunming but you haven’t been in Kunming for a month anyway. 

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ZhuoMing
16 hours ago, ChTTay said:

First thing that springs to mind is ... what have Keats said are your visa options? 

Keats said my options are to do a student visa for the four months then switch to a tourist visa, or to stay on a tourist visa the entire time, which is the option they recommend. There's no way they'll give me the X1 if I only study for 4 months. They recommend doing the tourist visa the entire time because it will prevent me from having to do the application process twice. The options look like this:

 

Student Visa -> Tourist Visa 

*2 trips out of china

*2 visa applications 

 

Tourist Visa 

*3 trips out of China (assuming I get a 60 day stay on the visa) 

*1 visa application 

 

If I am able to get the 10 year visa with a 90 stay this would be a no-brainer. I heard the stay duration largely depends on the consulate you apply at, which for me is New York. 

 

Does anyone know if they typically do 30, 60, or 90 days on the ten year visa at the New York consulate?

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889

No, tourist "L" visas for Americans get a 60-day stay on the ten-year visa.

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abcdefg
8 hours ago, ZhuoMing said:

If I am able to get the 10 year visa with a 90 stay this would be a no-brainer.

 

Like @889 said, the 10-year "L" visa for US passport holders currently only comes with 60-day length of stay. I tried to get 90 days and was told it was just plainly no longer available. (Houston Consulate; not New York.) 

 

You could phone one or two visa agents in the New York area and ask about this just to confirm. Sure would be sweet to have 90 days length of stay per entry. 

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