China’s “F” visa is generally referred to as a “business” visa. This visa is great because it is good for six months and is renewable indefinitely, although you do have to leave the country at least one time every twelve months. To get this visa you need to have an invitation letter and some reason why you need to stay in the country for so long.
So, what’s the big secret of this visa? …and why do you care?
Well, you care if you are one of the many who have created a means of supporting themselves without having a traditional job. For example, maybe you are a freelance website designer or a technical writer who works through the Internet. In either of these cases, you can work from anywhere in the world. The problem, of course, is that to live outside of your home country on a long-term basis, you have to wrestle with the hassle of getting a long-term visa in a foreign country. In a previous post, I explained how you can live in Thailand on a student visa for ten years. Something similar can be done in China, with an “F” visa.
The secret of the Chinese “F” visa has to do with the seemingly impenetrable roadblock that I casually mentioned in paragraph one, namely, that in order to get, or renew, a long-term “F” visa in China you need to procure an official invitation letter.
The secret, though, is that if you use any one of the thousands of visa agencies in China, they will supply that letter for you, which means you can live in China for as long as you like.
The cost of the visa, including agency fees, is 3000 RMB, or about 450 USD, for six months. If you would like to live in China long-term, but don’t need to be employed locally, an “F” visa is exactly what you’re looking for.