A little status report to explain our silence over the last few weeks! Things are progressing on a number of fronts, all leading to ensure we’ll soon be ‘official’ citizens of PRC…
Taken in the most literal sense, we will soon both be ‘official’ holders of a ‘Resident’s Permit’ which allows us to not only reside, but also work in the country. Seems simple enough when you say it like that, but there has been a lot of red tape and it’s taken a huge amount of time to complete all the various tasks to reach this point.
To summarise our situation then and now (and hopefully help anyone else looking to make a similar move as we found little on the internet to inform us before we came)… Sam arrived on a ‘Z’ visa (a work visa issued to someone before they arrive in China, once they have been offered a job). This is valid for 1 month, so needs converting to a Temporary Residence Permit as quickly as possible once you’ve arrived in the country. In order to convert, forms need completing and a health check carried out (more on this later!).
As we’re not married, I came to China on a one month Tourist Visa. In order to live here on Sam’s Temporary Residence Permit, I needed to visit the British Embassy with lots of documentation to show that our relationship was ‘as married’. Then, once Sam’s Temporary Residence Permit was processed and issued, I could apply to live here on that – on what’s called a Dependent Temporary Residence Permit (though this doesn’t entitle you to work). I also had to go through all the form filling, health check and numerous trips to the Exit and Entry Visa Office!
In the meantime, my Tourist Visa was expiring and I therefore needed to get an extension from the Chinese Embassy. Once I found a job, I needed to convert my visa again, from a Dependent Temporary Residence Permit to my own Temporary Residence Permit. Usually, when converting from a Tourist Visa to a Temporary Residence Permit, you need to leave the country and re-enter, but luckily I avoided a trip to Hong Kong by taking the extra step in between!
If you would like more information about this please get in touch – I feel like quite the expert now!
We’ve also had a couple of weeks now to familiarise ourselves with the nearby supermarkets, fresh fruit and veg stalls and the local police station (don’t be alarmed – all visitors not residing in a hotel need to go and ‘register’ there within 24 hours of moving in!). Plus, we can also now totally get a taxi back to our flat without having the Chinese name written down... A real step to becoming Shanghainese!
Sam’s work is progressing well, although the hours are long! And I have also found a job – splitting my time between an Events agency and PR agency, which are both part of the same group. Two weeks in, there’s a lot to learn – as much about cultural ways of working than being in a new office environment, but it’s challenging and exciting. Plus, it comes with free trips back to London!!
And the thing that most makes us feel like ‘official’ residents of Shanghai? Having guests come to stay and showing them around! LJ (a friend from Freuds) arrived after just six weeks of us being here and spent a whole week being entertained by the craziness of Shanghai life. And, next week we’ll have another visitor too! Iona is coming from Canada, using Shanghai as a stopover on her way back from travelling to Manila for work.
More to come soon!