How to get a Chinese visa with the least amount of money

The other day, I received a friend’s newsletter which shared a very helpful tip about how you can extend your Chinese visa with the least amount of money.  As a Chinese language school in Beijing, we often need to provide visa or extend visa for our students. Just last week, we helped one student extend her visa which cost about 1500 RMB in total for another 3 months visa, it took her about 2-3 hours to finish the visa extension process including traffic time on subway.

If you follow the way mentioned in the newsletter, it would cost about 800 RMB  , however, you will need to take train and spend one night in Erlian.  Below is the tip my friend shared and step by step information how you can get your visa extended.


First, head to the Beijing Railway Station and hop on the K23 to Erlian/Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. It leaves at 8AM on Mon/Tues/Wed and arrives in the border town Erlian at about 8:30PM that night. Cost for your hard sleeper: about 148 kuai.

You’ll have to spend the night in Erlian, so head to one of the hotels across from the train station. Rooms range from 80 kuai to 150 kuai per night. For dinner, the “ganguo” (dry pot) at the restaurant near the bus station is pretty good (40 – 80 kuai).

Unless you want to see the sights (there’s a dinosaur museum that is supposed to be interesting), just hop in the cab the next morning and tell the driver that you want to go to the “guomen” (the border). Cost of the ride: 10 kuai.

You have to buy a ticket to cross the border (5 kuai). You then hitch a ride in a dilapidated jeep to drive you from China to Mongolia (50 kuai one way, which is unfortunately the “foreigner price”. Cabs can’t drive you to the border). You’ll get out and go through both customs, get your stamp in Mongolia and then turn around and enter back into China, where you hop in another jeep for another 50 kuai.

Given the limited return options for the train (it leaves for Beijing only late Thurs and Sun nights), most people opt to take the sleeper bus leaving a few times every day (220 kuai).

Total cost of your visa run: less than 800 kuai.


My friend’s newsletter called Expat Package which is a weekly newsletter about life in Beijing. If you are interested in received more tips from him, you can sign up for his free newsletter here: