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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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  • This is not true, for staff entering China to get employment almost always enter on a business VISA and is later converted to a proper work permit + residency once the local contracts are all sorted out and the employee has an address in China, however if the person do not have an employment in China then it is not possible as part of the process is to provide the employment contract. – Matt Douhan Dec 2 '19 at 2:58
  • That may be common in some cities, but it is not going to work in an awful lot of areas. A "business visa" is for people who want to declare they are visiting for business - as opposed to tourism - and is not related to seeking employment. Changing visa types in-country is generally impossible, and many people get into trouble with dishonest employers that say it is ok to enter on a tourist or business visa and get a work permit later...... and later never comes. There can be exceptions, but those are always "back doors" and one should be extremely careful. – Mike M Dec 3 '19 at 2:15
  • yes but the OP stated he is living in china on a business visa and then changing it is easy in most places in China apart from the most rural areas, we do this all the time for our clients – Matt Douhan Dec 3 '19 at 2:17

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