Please note that new immigration procedures which particularly affect crew changes have been introduced in China with effect from 1st July 2013.
Under the new arrangements, immigration have simplified the procedure for signing off whereby a transit visa is no longer necessary.
Instead a temporary entry permit for conducting the signing-off formalities will be required which can apparently be issued in much shorter time. However, such permit has restrictions in that the off-signer must depart China direct from the port where the temporary entry permit is issued (without transfer via other cities in China).
For those ports where there is no international airport available (e.g. Fangcheng, Yantian, Kemen, Luoyuan, etc), signing off might become problematic with some uncertainty as to how this will work in practice.
Presently the application of the procedure is not uniform with ports applying the procedures differently. We expect it will take some time before this can be streamlined to all ports and, for the time being, we suggest Principals check the feasibility and workability with us on a case by case basis.
Procedures/requirements for onsigners remain unchanged so far.
Further information will be posted as and when the picture becomes clearer.