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Shanghai speeds up expat visa renewals

New visa procedures due to take effect on January 2 mean expatriates living in Shanghai will no longer have to forfeit their passports for a week when renewing their residence permits online.

According to the former policy, foreigners who have their applications approved online must leave their passport at one of the offices of the Shanghai Exit-Entry Administration Bureau for seven days. This means they cannot leave the country, travel freely or open a bank account during that period.

The amended procedure now truncates the waiting time to about an hour. After the bureau approving the visa-renewal application online, the applicant only need to provide all of the required documents to the administration's office in Pudong New Area on the specified date, and gets their passport within one hour.

The new visa measure is one of several implemented recently to make life abroad more convenient for those who choose to work in Shanghai.