Re-entry visa – help with loss of residence permit in China?

The German Embassy in China has published a fact sheet on “Applying for a visa to re-enter the country”. This is a special procedure that German embassies in other countries do not offer in this way.

What is the advantage of the re-entry visa?

The visa for re-entry is intended to enable residence in Germany for the original purpose through a simplified procedure quickly (within 4 weeks) and with less bureaucracy if the residence permit expired during the stay in China.

What situation should the visa for re-entry regulate?

It is about Chinese who lost their valid German residence permit during their trip to China because of

  • you have lost the card; or
  • The residence permit was temporary and the term expired during the stay in China; or
  • The residence permit has expired because they have been abroad too long (usually 6 months – see our other articles for this problem and solutions).

What situation should not regulate the visa for re-entry?

According to the leaflet, the issuance of a new passport in China is not regulated. In this case, the foreigner could travel to Germany again with a new and old passport and the residence permit.

Note from the Sonnenberg law firm: CAUTION! The fact sheet is incomplete or misleading at this point. This is because the above-mentioned case is often also fulfilled in this situation that the residence permit was temporary and the period expired during the stay in China. This is because the maximum period of validity of a residence permit is always limited by the validity of the passport. Thus, a new visa is not required only if the new passport was issued before the expiration of the old passport and the return trip is made before the expiration of the old passport.
The fact sheet does not mention whether the loss of the settlement permit is included. In our view, a distinction will have to be made here:

  • If the period of validity of the settlement permit card has expired (usually because the passport has expired), a visa of re-entry appears possible in order to arrange the issuance of the new card at the aliens’ registration office.
  • If the settlement permit has expired due to overstaying in China, a visa for re-entry does not seem possible. This is because the visa for re-entry is issued for a specific purpose of residence, but the settlement permit is not tied to any purpose of residence.

Who can apply for a visa to re-enter the country?

The visa for re-entry can be applied for by Chinese if

  • you have lost your residence permit for the reason stated above; and
  • They want to return to Germany for the same purpose for which the expired residence permit was issued; and
  • You submit the application within six months after the residence permit expires

Note from Sonnenberg Law Firm: calculating the time limit for filing an application for re-entry can be difficult in individual cases and should be reviewed by expert counsel. This is because, in addition to the obvious time limit on the residence title, there may still be time limits on the permissible duration of stay abroad, which in turn may vary in length (usually six or twelve months). Proof of the date of expiration should also be obtained by a statement from the immigration authorities.

Further advice from the Sonnenberg law firm:

In principle, the Embassy’s intention to offer a fast and simplified visa procedure is to be welcomed. We can clarify unclear details through practical experience and share them with you.
If you are in China, you can also take steps to avoid problems:
You can apply for an extension of the departure deadline at the Aliens’ Registration Office. You can also apply for the extension of the residence permit before the deadline without having to be present in person. We will be happy to assist you with this. In this way, you avoid interruptions in the residence period and extension of the waiting period for the issuance of the settlement permit.

Photo: / Li Yang