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 then obliged again...
And, with the situation ever-developing, we followed up once again with five more questions. Here are Chris Wood's latest answers.
Can I apply for a UK visa or collect my new/renewed British passport?
The UK Visa Application Centre in Shanghai has resumed operations, both for new visa applications for the UK and for the return of new or replacement British passports. But please do not visit the Shanghai Visa Application Centre before VFS Global have contacted you.
You will receive an email from VFS Global when your passport is ready for collection, or to let you know when your passport has been mailed back to you in line with the options you chose at time of application.
In line with COVID-19 prevention recommendations by the local authorities, there will be significantly fewer appointments available than usual and customers may not be able to secure appointments on their preferred dates. We seek your understanding and patience at this time.
Please follow local pandemic prevention and control regulations during the application process. You can also check the VFS website by clicking here or scanning the QR code...
... or the WeChat account VFSGlobal for further information.
Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO), who process passport applications in UK, are now seeing unprecedented demand as more than five million people delayed applying for passports during COVID-19 because of restrictions in international travel.
In March 2022 alone, HMPO processed more than one million new passport applications, the highest output on record. HMPO still anticipate the vast majority of applications are being dealt with within 10 weeks.
Customers should allow as much time as possible to renew their passports and keep in touch with HMPO to get updates on their applications.
I am applying for a student visa to the UK. When should I apply?
For those applying for student visas to the UK, we encourage you to apply as early as possible. Student visa applications are currently taking on average five weeks to process. We recommend students apply in July, if able to do so, rather than waiting until August if they need to travel in time for their September course start date.
Priority and super priority visas are currently unavailable. You can find further information on submitting student visa applications by clicking here or scanning the QR code:
What support is available for businesses post-lockdown?
The Shanghai municipal government released measures to support businesses in March and May.
The March measures include a range of subsidies and tax benefits, as well as recovery support across a number of industries including retail and catering. Find out more by clicking here or scanning the QR code:
The May measures include those aimed at stabilizing foreign investment and foreign trade. Find out more by clicking here or scanning the QR code:
We would encourage you to have a look at the details of these measures via the above links. These measures are effective until the end of 2022. You may need to take professional advice as to whether and how these measures might apply to your business.
UK businesses operating in China that require support can contact the UK Government’s Department for International Trade (DIT) by emailing email@example.com. They can also contact the British Chamber of Commerce Shanghai by clicking here or scanning the QR code:
Is there any support available for protecting pets, or transferring them out of the country when I move?
We encourage you to have a relevant back-up plan for care of your pets should you be taken in to a quarantine facility. There are a number of local community groups providing support around pet care and we encourage you to reach out to them.
Unfortunately, the British Consulate can’t support with pet care or transfer.
I need documentation urgently processed at the Shanghai Entry-Exit Bureau. Is this possible?
The Exit-Entry Administration of Shanghai Public Security Bureau has resumed services. They have said that a green channel will be provided to applicants who need to leave the country urgently and require a stamp from the Entry-Exit Bureau to do so.
Examples of urgent circumstances they will consider include visiting critically ill patients, attending funerals, or school-related reasons. Appointments for urgent circumstances and for other matters can be made through their service hotline on 12367.
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]