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If a Russian citizen is currently living in China on a business visa, is it possible to convert to a work visa without leaving the country? Even if you do have to leave the country to "activate" the new visa, is it possible to do all the paperwork and such within China (Beijing ideally)?

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Well, yes and no.

You might prepare - or get others to prepare - much or all of the required paperwork from anywhere.
But China almost always requires a work visa to be approved and issued by a consulate in your home country,
and this almost certainly requires you to be there in your home country because you must surrender your passport with the visa application (so they can put it in there).
Certainly it violates the letter of Chinese law to not have your passport while in-country.

  • So, yes, there may be a lot of things you can prepare from anywhere, including inside China.
  • But you almost certainly can't get the visa in your passport without being in your home country.

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