Will my Chinese visa still be valid if I renew my passport? If so how does that work?

I have heard that you can travel with your new passport and just show the old passport with the valid visa when entering China. Has anyone done that? Recently?

I have also been told that you have to get a new visa, which seems somewhat logical but frustrating, especially when my Chinese visa is only a few months old.

My Chinese visa was issued in late Nov 2014 and I heard the rules changed between the US and China. My visa says it's good for 10 years and my US passport expires in 5.

  • Did they issue visa knowing the expiry of your passport ?
    – Ali Asad
    Mar 16 '15 at 12:24
  • Call customs and find out, it would be much more reliable that way
    – Huangism
    Mar 16 '15 at 14:46

According to the Chinese embassy:

I get a new passport, but I have a valid Chinese visa in my old passport. Can I travel with both passports to China without applying for a new visa?

Yes, you may travel with both passports provided that your visa is still valid and the personal details including your name, sex, date of birth and nationality on both passports are exactly the same.

  • Thanks, the first hit I got on Google seemed to be the Chinese embassy in San Francisco, whose FAQ is from 2013 and says you can't. This seems more up to date. Mar 16 '15 at 23:15
  • I reached out to an employee of my company who lives in China and they confirmed the same. Mar 16 '15 at 23:16
  • 1
    @CaptainAmerica The visa rules in 2013 were very different than they were in 2014. In 2013 the normal visas were at most 1 year (although there were two-year ones for the China-born and through one consulate their spouses as well.) Old visa + new passport simply wasn't a common situation. With the 10-year visas it became a much bigger issue, they addressed it. Aug 16 '16 at 21:04

When you renew your passport, you have to send the previous one to the passport office. When they return your old passport, they will invalidate it somehow. I have seen at least the following methods:

  • Clip a corner off the cover (top right)
  • Cut the cover page in half vertically
  • Punch several holes along the right hand edge

If they punch holes in the right hand edge, it destroys the machine-readable area of the passport and any included visas. This will render your visa unusable. Some countries, if you request it, will use a method of invalidating your previous passport that does not destroy any existing visas that you have affixed to your passport. You will want to make sure that you can do this when you renew your passport.

I don't know specifically about whether or not China will accept a visa affixed to an old passport. Sometimes you will have to request a visa transfer from the foreign consulate, where they will print a new visa label and affix it to your new passport (this will likely cost money, of course).

  • 1
    All my old passports were invalidated by the "punch several holes" method, but the passport was opened first (and in some cases bent over backward) so the only affected pages are the cover and the data page (and in some cases the back cover).
    – phoog
    Aug 16 '16 at 14:26

The China site says you just need to travel with old and new passport: http://www.mychinavisa.com/china-visa-faq/

  • Welcome to the site, we usually discourage link only answers as internet resource typically change often or go offline. Consider adding the relevant parts from that link to your answer
    – blackbird
    Nov 16 '15 at 18:27
  • The linked page no longer says that you can travel with the old and new passports: it strongly suggests you cannot, though does not say to explicitly. The Chinese Embassy to the US says you can travel with both passports, but the Chinese Embassy to the UK says the opposite. Possibly your nationality is relevant, or perhaps the rules have changed recently and one site is out of date. Oct 3 '17 at 12:42

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