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I'm going to apply for a student visa in China to study Mandarin for one semester (4 months).

However, after I get the student visa, I would also like to travel to China before my enrolment at the language program. So the schedule might be something like this:

  • Get the student visa in December 2017.
  • Travel to Shenzhen in January 2018, visa-free.
  • Leave China in January 2018.
  • Enter Shanghai with the student visa, and stay there for 4 months.

I fear that my student visa would get invalidated when I enter into Shenzhen, and once I leave it on January 2018, my student visa can no longer be used.

In this case, can I enter and exit China without cancelling my visa? I have a Japanese passport so I can stay in China without visa for up to 15 days.

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There is a similar procedure when one has a Chinese visa (any kind) in the passport, but you want, for instance, to enter China on a 72- or 144-hour transit visa. What you do is inform the Immigration officer of your situation. What I did too was put up a PostIt on the visa. Preventive action beats having to explain later why they cancelled it... :-)

Hand over your passport and entry form, with the VISA NUMBER section left empty, and tell them that you are not using the student visa today, but wish to enter visa-free. Speak slowly (the Immigration people in Shenzhen are usually nice, but their English, 馬馬虎虎...).

  • So... the answer is - "depends on the immigration officer"? I still fear that my visa gets validated and no use any more... – Blaszard Oct 14 '17 at 23:07
  • There's no "depends on" here. You have to communicate clearly and firmly with the officer, and he or she will do as asked. This is not an unknown situation, and they are aware of what can be done. – user67108 Oct 15 '17 at 7:07
  • So as far as I "communicate clearly and firmly", it should be that I can enter it without validating the visa? Is there any chance my visa still gets validated? – Blaszard Oct 17 '17 at 14:40
  • I wouldn't worry too much. Been there, done that, no issues. Just do like me: put a PostIt over the visa sticker :-) – user67108 Oct 18 '17 at 6:11
  • In your case has it always been a transit visa? Have you experienced it on any other visas? – Blaszard Oct 18 '17 at 10:29

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