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Overstaying a Visa in China

January 26, 2010

So I have a former roommate in China who overstayed his visa through his employer’s mistake, and attempted to leave the country. He had heard that they charge you 500 yuan ($75) a day to a maximum of 5000 yuan ($750) if you overstay your visa, so once he went over 10 days, he didn’t worry about it so much. They don’t blacklist you if you pay your fine. Four months later, he tries to go home for this last Christmas. He buys a plane ticket and on the appointed day, takes a train to Beijing to fly out to the USA.

They stopped him at ticketing because of the overstay and sent him to immigration. The immigration officer told him that the penalty was 5000 yuan, which he was prepared to pay. Then she noticed he was four months overdue, and consulted a supervisor. They told him that he could not leave the country. He must report to a Public Security Bureau Entry/Exit Center (Immigration) and apply for an exit order.

He told them that the plane ticket cost him 10,000 yuan ($1500), and that if they did not let him pay the fine and leave, he’d be forced to go back to Qingdao and work illegally until he could raise the money.

Upon hearing that, they looked surprised (Note: I myself would not have said that), and consulted with a higher-up. That person came out and told him “That’s fine. You still need an exit order to leave.”

So now he’s back in Qingdao teaching English to raise enough money to leave the country. Good thing he still had his lease.

Do any of my readers in Korea have direct experience with a long-term overstay (either happened to you or to someone you know personally–not a friend of a friend or someone you know online)? I’d be interested to know what the similarities and differences are.

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