Can you get stuck between Taiwan and China?


I’ll try to keep this both short and clear.

I’m US passport holder. I am currently on 90-day visa free stay in Taiwan. In my passport I have a Chinese visa, which has not yet expired. However, AFTER receiving and using the visa, I received a China work visa/resident permit. The resident permit is now expired. Here’s where it gets tricky, the Chinese visa office never cancelled my older visa.

What I mean, is they physically didn’t slap a “cancel” stamp on the visa. So by visual inspection it seems completely valid.

Clear so far?

So, no one really knows what will happen if I try to enter China with the visa. Luckily, that’s not the point of this post

BUT…what happens when I leave Taiwan, have the exit stamp, and then attempt to enter China on my visa? Taiwan has no way to know the visa might not be valid, so even though they will ask to see my visa to China, I doubt they will have any reason to deny my exit from Taiwan.

  1. China allows me to enter. OK. Done.

  2. China points out this visa is not valid, and denies me entry.

At this point, I’ve left Taiwan before my visa is expired, have the exit stamp, but I haven’t entered any other country. When China denies my entry, can I just get back on the next flight to Taiwan and still receive another 90-day entry?
Will I forever be stuck in no man’s land? Forced to return to the US? Pushed off to HK to sort out this mess?

I’m asking this question mostly out of curiosity for the technical workings and precedent for these kinds of visa issues.

If you just want to reply saying: “Don’t do it.” or “You’re asking for it.” Thank you for your concern, but you can save yourself the time. This is for people that are interested in understanding the full extent of visa scenarios.

For any other ideas, thanks for taking the time to share!

And if you do have any ideas how to check the validity of my China business visa.

Edit: I’m a fan of the Kinmen/Xiamen connection. Which possibly complicates things, because they can only put you on a boat back to Taiwan, otherwise they would have to let you in the country, even if it’s just to fly out…


If you are denied entry to any country, you will likely be put on a flight back to where you have legal right to reside.

Airlines might consider allowing you to book a ticket to a third country as long as you meet that country’s visa or visa-free requirements (such as money and a ticket out of there).


It sounds like a simple case of deportation back to where you flew in from.

Whether the Mainland authorities give you a nasty stamp and whether Taiwan gives you a hassle followed by a shorter visa exemption are interesting questions.


Give it a try and report back to us!


I could see a “nasty stamp” from China, if they are not happy with the situation.

I wonder from the Taiwan point of view, if they would be unhappy about this crack in the system. I’m thinking a visit to the immigration office to hear what they have to say about this. I feel like they would have run into some version of the “no man’s land” problem before.


Off topic, but…

I once got stuck between America and Canada. I had gotten a contract to deliver a car from Montreal to Calgary and grabbed a little Dutch girl to share expenses. Instead of taking the northern route around Lake Superior (what’s with that name anyway…Lake “Superior”? They are all great lakes), I tried to cross into the US at Sault Ste. Marie. The border crossing there is on either side of a bridge. As it was a “drive away” car, I was refused entry on the grounds that I wasn’t insured to drive in America.

So we were turned around and pointed back towards Canada. As we attempted re-entry, my little Dutch girl was hassled on visa regs. It took us more than 2 hours to straighten things out.

Sorry, it was off topic, but you got a nice little joke for reading it.


[quote=“Toe_Save, post:6, topic:159020, full:true”]
(what’s with that name anyway…Lake “Superior”? They are all great lakes)[/quote]

Size matters, so they say. :whistle:


[quote=“yyy, post:7, topic:159020, full:true”]

The name of Lake Superior comes from the original French lac supérieur, meaning “upper lake,” i.e. it’s the one above Lake Huron. No need for the other lakes to get an inferiority complex.


Another thing to consider is that if the visa is not valid it is still possible to tell based on its expiry date and/or the china exit and entry stamps on the passport. Airport check in should be able to spot that, but I guess maybe they could miss it if they weren’t checking properly. If you did manage to arrive - like people said - there is a likleyhood that they would ask you to book an onward flight on the spot and give you a visa on arrival, black stamp, or a funt in the backside towards the same plane you just stepped off :slight_smile: zero chance they would make a mistake and let you in on an expired visa, they are on top of that. When they scan your passport they practically know what you had for breakfast that morning.


[quote=“Liam_Og, post:9, topic:159020, full:true”]
If you did manage to arrive - like people said - there is a likleyhood that they would ask you to book an onward flight on the spot and give you a visa on arrival[/quote]

There is such a thing in China, but it’s limited to certain ports of entry and other conditions. Iirc, not being American is one of the conditions.

@the lake people:

The British, upon taking control of the region from the French in the 1760s following the French and Indian War, anglicized the lake’s name to Superior, “on account of its being superior in magnitude to any of the lakes on that vast continent.”[10]

Thus spake Wikipedia. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Oh didn’t know that. I guess that would increase the odds of the bad stamp so.


China has a 72 hour visa free for some cities but you have to apply and show the airlines when checking in.


And you need to be in transit to a third country/region, iirc.


Wow, I’ve found a kindred spirit.
Wouldn’t the airline desk in Taiwan contact the border authorities in China to check? They are able to do that. They might put you on the phone with a Chinese border officer, it’s not unheard of.


To offer a conclusion to this situation. Partially based on information from this thread, I decided it was in my interest to just apply for a new visa to China. Here’s what happened:

Normal application process
China visa agent was surprised my visa had not been cancelled. We discussed my situation and he told me (without checking in the system):
Your business visa is cancelled in our system, but for some reason they forgot to physically stamp cancelled on that visa, so it does appear valid. Because we are talking about China, it’s anyone’s guess if you would be able to actually get through at a immigration crossing. Mostly likely it would work sometimes but some agents would notice the error and who knows how they would proceed from there.

When applying for a new tourist visa, they kept my old passport which had my old visa, when I picked up the new visa, sure enough they had physically stamped CANCELLED on the old business visa. The new visa is the standard 10 year, 60 day before stay, multiple entry.

So those are the facts. My feeling is that if it had been a one off, and it wasn’t do or die to get in to China, I could have tried once. But if it being a visa I want to rely on for the next several years, it was worth it for me to not have the unknown element for every time I want to visit China.


Like if the only spaceship left to get off the planet is leaving from China the next day? :eek:

I suppose in an emergency you can ask if they offer asylum. :idunno:


I get stuck in Hong Kong occasionally… stay out too late in LKF, miss my flight… reschedule…