We semi regularly put your questions about life in China to the UK Government, and have received some very useful answers over the last few years.
With everything going on amid the Shanghai lockdown, and Omicron outbreaks across the country, we thought it would be a good time to reach out with some of your questions, and British Consul-General Shanghai, Chris Wood, duly obliged.
And then obliged again...
And, with the situation ever-developing, we followed up once again with six more questions. Here are Chris Wood's latest answers.
Is the visa centre in Shanghai open for those who require visas?
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation in Shanghai, and in line with the directives of the COVID-19 Prevention and Control Emergency Headquarters, our Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Shanghai is temporarily closed until further notice.
For the latest information please visit our website by clicking here or scanning the QR code:
Customers can also contact our Customer Care team at email@example.com for further assistance. Please specify Shanghai and your GWF reference number in the email subject.
When will the UK government resume processing family visas for spouses, and will they reinstate the priority and super-priority visa applications?
It is still possible to apply for a family visa at all China VACs except Shanghai. However, the current processing time is 24 weeks and the process may take longer as UK Visas and Immigration is prioritising Ukraine Family Scheme applications in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
Priority Visa (PV) and Super Priority Visa (SPV) services have been temporarily suspended around the world for new study, work and family visa applications. Across Asia Pacific, PV and SPV is also temporarily suspended for Visit Visa applicants due to localised COVID-19 lockdowns in China impacting our regional operations.
We will continue to monitor application volumes and hope to offer Priority and Super Priority visa services as soon as we can deliver on the expected timescales.
Further information can be found by clicking here or scanning the QR code:
Are there ways to access services such as notarisation of UK documents to apply for travel documents for family members to leave China?
Owing to the current lockdown in Shanghai, we are currently unable to provide any notarial services or services requiring face-to-face appointments in Shanghai. When services do reopen, we offer the following notarial services only:
Making a certified copy of a British passport
Issuing letter for adoption in China
Administering affirmation or affidavit for the purposes of marriage under Chinese law
For legalisation of UK documents, such as birth certificates, you need to contact the Legalisation Office in the UK. This is an online service you can access by clicking here or scanning the QR code:
Or, if appropriate, through local lawyers.
Can the UK government fast track right to abode applications for babies? My child was born here in Shanghai and has a Chinese passport.
Entitlement to right of abode (ROA) depends on the British National parents’ status. If the parent is a British Citizen and has a child born in China, their claim to being a British Citizen (BC) depends on whether the parent is a British Citizen “otherwise than by descent” or “by descent.”
British Citizen status can only be passed down outside the UK upon birth 1 generation. If the parent has already benefitted from this generation provision themselves previously, any child in the next generation would need to register as British.
If the child is British by descent because the parent was BC (otherwise than by descent), they can have a ROA vignette affixed to their Chinese passport as they have ROA under Section 2(1)(a) of the BNA 1981. They would need to apply for ROA to have a certificate of entitlement affixed to the Chinese passport.
More information can be found by clicking here or scanning the QR code:
Indefinite Leave to Remain visas have expired after two years of no travel due to COVID-19 restrictions. How is the government handling them? Is there a process to renew/extend them with the Home Office (and if so, what is the contact point)? Is moving back to the UK with the whole family still an option?
A person will have to obtain and pay for a Returning Resident visa in the usual way and meet the eligibility requirements as explained by clicking here or scanning the QR code:
They must also demonstrate they have strong ties to the United Kingdom and intend to make the UK their permanent home. In these circumstances they should also provide evidence of the COVID-19 restrictions which prevented them from returning within two years.
How do I get a new or renewed British passport?
For anyone who has applied for a new British passport, rest assured that processed passports are being held safely at our facilities. Passport applications and renewals are handled by HM Passport Office; and documents are lodged at the Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Shanghai. Like everywhere else, the VAC is locked down without access.
If you need to leave Shanghai urgently and are without documents, you may be eligible for an Emergency Travel Document (ETD) - a one-way exit document. Information on ETDs can be found by clicking here or scanning the QR code:
Please note applications are only processed online.
24/7 support is available by telephone for British nationals, for all urgent enquiries and emergencies. Please call +86 (0) 10 8529 6600.
For the latest China Travel advice, which includes relevant information for Brits living in China, click here or scan the QR code:
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[Cover image via DriveTribe]