Eli paid a large amount of money for not registering at the PSB in time, it was actually one of the first posts on Chengdu Living when we started in 2010: Talking Your Way Out of a Visa Fine
This is a different matter. Eli got a temporary entry visa from his school that said “Duration: 000”, he was supposed to go to the PSB to get this changed to a 6M student visa resident permit, because 000 actually means you have 30 days to do this. I had the exact same and unknowingly overstayed my 000 visa for over 2 months and almost got deported too. Eventually 5000kuai and an apology letter was all it needed too. And I know more people who went through the same.
This thread is referring to the Accommodation Registration for Aliens. It’s supposed to be done within 24hrs. Livinginchengdu’s post seems accurate, only you don’t need any passport photo. My roommate has been in China for almost 10 years and he literally never registers unless he needs a visa renewal, in which case he usually does it 2 days before his visa expires – 3 or 6 months after he entered China. He never got any problems.
That being said, I’ve heard from my visa agent that it can differ a lot depending on which police station you’re going to. There’s an increasing numbers of foreigners pouring in year after year and I’m guessing the fact that more and more of these offices are having to deal with this more often, some are getting more strict than others. Maybe they’re getting tired of people not doing what they’re supposed to, while others still don’t really care.
@Clayton, that’s just the standard routine way this thing goes. It wasn’t personal.