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Public service announcement: Student visa regulations in Yunnan

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Editor's note: GoKunming received the following list of regulations for foreigners wishing to study in Yunnan from administrators at Kunming College of Eastern Language and Culture (KCEL). It has been approved by the Public Security Bureau for dissemination to current and potential students.

The guidelines are published here as a public service announcement only, and should not be understood as legal advice issued by either GoKunming or KCEL. Please bear in mind the laws and stipulations below are for Yunnan only and may differ in other provinces. The list is reproduced here in its entirety and edited only for clarity.

Rules and regulations for visa applications

To safeguard the school's educational policy, foreign students must read and understand the following rules and regulations:

When foreign students register, they must fill out an application form truthfully and accurately. The following sections must be correct: residential address in Kunming, e-mail address, phone number (home and mobile/cell phones), passport details (nationality, passport number, valid dates), visa type (e.g. student, tourist, etc...), visa term of validity and study time frame (i.e. how long you will study at the school).

After registration, you should inform the school immediately of any changes to the above information. Any complications or monetary losses incurred by not informing the school of new information are the student's full responsibility.

The Chinese government's residence laws and regulations for foreign students, as well as the rules and regulations for foreign students and families, must be strictly followed in order to obtain a visa. They are as follows:

I. At least 15 days before their visa expires, foreign students must give their passport information and the necessary documents (i.e. four photos, residence paper from local police station, and in some cases, a medical check report) for visa application to their school.

II. If a foreign student's family members need to apply for a visa, they must provide original documentation (not a photocopy) of proof of relationship (i.e., marriage and birth certificates) plus the Special Approval Letter from the Chinese Embassy or consulate in your home country. This approval letter must be obtained before you leave your home country, prior to arrival in China. Without this approval letter, schools will be unable to handle your family members' visa application.

III. All changes to your address within Kunming must be registered at the local police station [called the paichusuo (派出所)]. The foreign student must do this within ten days of the move. You must also inform your school, and they will be responsible for changing your address at the Kunming municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB).

IV. If foreign students replace or change their passport, the old passport and new passport must be given to the school within three months for the necessary updates to be arranged (both at the PSB and the school).

V. In order to apply for a residence permit, foreign students must study a minimum of ten hours per week, for at least three consecutive months.

VI. When you and your family apply for a visa, you must pay all visa expenses. This is in accordance with the Chinese government's regulations.

Tuition fees

I. After the payment of tuition fees, schools are not required to refund any money. If exceptional circumstances result in a change of study term or study hours, you must consult with school administrators. They may calculate a tuition fee credit. This credit can only be carried forward to the next term/semester. However, if students do not use the remaining tuition fee credit within the year, then the credit will be canceled.

II. Tuition fees are only for the foreign student themselves to study at our college. You cannot transfer your tuition fee to other students.

III. Tuition fees must be used within the agreed study deadline (e.g. one or two months or one term). There is no carry-over (to the next term or next year), nor refund for missed lessons (except in approved exceptional circumstances, see below).

V. Tuition fees should be paid in Chinese currency (RMB). Other currencies will be changed into RMB according to that day's exchange rate.

Illness and missed classes

I. After you have decided your type of study class, your study hours, and your length of study time, you must properly attend all classes. You should not be late for class nor leave early before the class is over; nor skip any classes.

II. If a student falls ill, they must report to the school. If you need to leave for one to five days, you must submit a written application, and have it authorized by a school administrator. If you need to leave for more than six days, you must submit a written application and have it authorized by the principal or dean.

III. For missed lessons, if a foreign student is enrolled in a small class, the school cannot make up or refund money. However, the school can make up a missed lesson if the foreign student is enrolled in private lessons (one-to-one classes). The foreign student must apply to the administration, and once approved, must make up the missed lessons before the end of the term/semester. Any missed lessons do not carry over to the next term/semester.

IV. School monitoring of attendance:

• If a foreign student misses up to ten lessons for no valid reason or explanation, the school will issue a disciplinary warning.
• If a foreign student misses up to 20 lessons for no valid reason or explanation, the school will issue a serious disciplinary warning.
• If a foreign student misses up to 30 lessons for no valid reason or explanation, the foreign student will be asked to leave the school.
• If a foreign student misses up to 40 lessons for no valid reason or explanation, the school will report the foreign student to the Kunming municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB), who will cancel their residence permit.

Visa handling procedures for international students' relatives

International students wanting to apply for a relatives' visa for family members must apply in a timely manner. Please contact the school office at least 15 days before your visa expires. You need prepare the documents as follows:

I. Present your and your relatives' current passport and valid visa. Your visa's validity period cannot go past your passport's expiration date.

II. For a spouse you need to present your wedding certificate along with a certificate of authenticity obtained from the Chinese Embassy in your home country. For a visa for children, you must provide proof of relationship along with a certificate of authenticity obtained from the Chinese Embassy in your home country. Please contact the Chinese Embassy in your home country to verify the proper procedure to obtain the necessary documents.

III. Present two recently taken one-inch color passport photos.

IV. Present your recent temporary residence registration form (from your local police station). If you move, you must notify the school and present your new registration form within ten days of moving.

General information for international students

Illegal employment

Foreigners cannot perform any paid work during their period of study.

Foreigners who work in China illegally shall be fined no less than 5,000 yuan but no more than 20,000 yuan. Where circumstances are serious, they shall be detained for no less than five days but no more than fifteen days.

Offenders may be ordered to exit China within a time limit. Where foreigners engage in activities not corresponding to the purposes of stay or residence, or otherwise violate the laws or regulations of China, which makes them no longer eligible to stay or reside in China, they may be ordered to exit China within a certain time limit.

Where a foreigner's violation of this law is serious but does not constitute a crime, the Ministry of Public Security may deport them. The penalty decision made by the Ministry of Public Security shall be final. Deported foreigners shall not be allowed to enter China again within ten years, calculated from the date of deportation.

Illegal residence

In any one of the following circumstances, a foreigner shall be deemed to be residing in China illegally:

• The applicant's stay or residence exceeds the duration specified on his or her visa, stay permit or residence permit.
• The applicant overstays the visa-free period and fails to obtain a stay permit or residence permit.
• The activities of the applicant go beyond the restricted area of stay or residence.
• Other circumstances where foreigners reside illegally.

Whoever is held responsible for failing to register accommodation or report such registration to the public security organ, or for accommodating aliens without valid certificates in contravention of the provisions of the present rules, may be served a warning or fined from 50 to 500 yuan. Those whose offenses are serious may at the same time be ordered to leave the country within a specified time.

Illegal missionary work

Aliens who conduct religious activities within Chinese territory shall abide by Chinese laws and regulations, shall not establish religious organizations, set up religious offices, sites for religious activities or run religious institutions within Chinese territory. Nor may they recruit followers, appoint religious personnel or engage in other missionary activities.

Where aliens conduct religious activities that violate these provisions, the Department of Religious Affairs and other related departments of the People's government at or above the county level shall dissuade or stop them. Where those activities violate the control of the entry and exit of aliens or administration of public security, the public security organs shall punish them in accordance with the law. Where a crime is constituted, they shall be investigated for their criminal responsibility by relevant judicial organs and punished accordingly.

Editor's note: Although not mentioned above, foreign students are strongly discouraged from traveling during the school week. If a student nonetheless makes travel arrangements during times when they would regularly have class, they must inform both their school and the paichusuo of their plans no less than five days before departing. Foreign students are free to travel during weekends and other time periods when no classes are scheduled without notifying their school.

Image: Fudan University

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